On May 31st, “America’s Got Talent” returned with a spectacular two-hour premiere episode of its 17th season. Host Terry Crews welcomed series judges Simon Cowell, Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel back to the dais with performances from the first set of performance artists out of thousands that auditioned. The new season continued with the second wave of auditions on June 7 and continued Tuesday night with the third set of auditions on June 14.
As in the past, this season’s champion will take home the $1 million cash prize and the chance to showcase their talent as a headlining act in Las Vegas. The first set of auditions from the premiere was capped off by Terry’s Golden Buzzer selection, saxophonist Avery Dixon. Howie delivered his Golden Buzzer to singer Maddie during the second installment. Do any of the other judges drop the golden confetti on anyone this time? Check out our “America’s Got Talent” season 17 episode 3 recap below to find out:
8:02 p.m. – Up first tonight was The Brown Brothers, Navy veterans and “most of the time high functioning” autistic siblings who showed through their audition that music helps them communicate. More than just singers, the brothers used random cards to mix up songs they’d sing in different voices as chosen by the judges panel. They started with “Kermit the Frog singing Tiny Dancer” and then went into “Donald Duck singing Photograph” and “Simon Cowell singing Someone You Loved.” They smartly ended with “Ben Platt singing You Will Be Loved” to show how solid and varied their musical talent is. The judges erupted with the audience into a standing ovation and told them that they loved their effort and personalities, felt the love between them, and thought they were skilled impressionists. It was a very easy call for the panel to give them four Yes votes to advance.
8:10 p.m. – Australian lyrical dancer Max Ostler took the stage next with the goal of becoming a sought-after choreographer and dancer. In their critiques of his performance, the judges called his dancing “magic,” reassured him that it’s clear he is meant to be a dancer, and Howie saw “joyfulness” in his routine. They appreciated his talent from one judge to the next, each voting Yes for him to go through to the next round.
8:20 p.m. – We were treated to a second sibling act with the performance of the brothers in danger act Blade to Blade. They started their dueling knife throwing act by hurling knives around each other at close range and then upped the ante by putting on blindfolds and throwing axe-blade knives from the same distance. By the end, Sofia said that she was suffering but they brought energy to the auditions that they needed. Heidi added that she was scared and noticed their own relief by the end of it.
8:32 p.m. – Before he could give out his own assessment of their audition, Simon took the brothers up on an offer to join them on stage to be a part of their act. He stood between them as they tossed knives around him at one another. Back at the dais after, Simon closed out the unanimous votes with his own Yes for them to sail on to another round.
8:33 p.m. – Jack Williams came to the show with his ventriloquism act to take the step forward from being a social media act to getting the “stamp of approval” that the show provides. To differentiate himself from the three ventriloquist winners the show’s already produced, Jack performed tongue twisters and incorporated throwing his doll Foster’s voice in a humorous way that paired well with the devious attitude of the doll. The judges got to their feet to applaud Jack, saying that there are a lot of fans that will love his talent because he pokes fun at the art, but Simon said it was “one of the best” they’ve ever had in first auditions. Clearly the judges were all in agreement that he should move on to the next round with four Yes votes.
8:45 p.m. – Stefani and Monique of Duo Ragdolls prefaced their audition as being “creatively beautiful and extremely unique” which Simon liked the sound of, but even their elaborate set of a child’s room couldn’t keep him from joining the audiences’ boos with a hit of his red X button. By the end, all three of the other judges had hit their red X’s as well, unclear on whether they considered themselves dancers or something else. The critiques did not hit them well and so they proceeded to wrestle on stage, destroying their own set and then slamming heads against Simon’s buzzer. Only then did they reveal that they were actually Nikki Bella and Brie Bella from “The Bellas Podcast” with a prank for Simon.
8:56 p.m. – Coming from a small town in Poland, 13 year old Sara James was nervous taking the stage for her rendition of the Billie Eilish song “lovely.” While Sofia, Heidi and Howie were standing at the end of the audition, Simon was taking in the reaction of the audience and preparing his comments for Sara. He said that it wasn’t a perfect version, but she has a “real star glow” and acknowledged that her doing it in front of an American audience must be daunting. In order to make this a moment for her to “remember forever,” Simon stood and hit the Golden Buzzer for Sara, sending her straight through to the live shows.
9:08 p.m. – The eerie writing was on the wall when Terry helped wheel Oleksandr Yenivatov out on a gurney, but the judges were not prepared for the unbelievable contortion stretching that he accomplished in his audition. Simon was not willing to wait for the act to evolve so he hit his red X buzzer after one trick, but the other judges were able to withstand more second hand pain. Howie led the critiques by calling the act amazing and Simon admitted he was “a little bit stupid” and couldn’t follow the storyline. Sofia thought the Frankenstein story was romantic and wants to see more. Based on the added context, Simon rescinded his red X and joined the other judges to make it four Yes votes to see what they can do next.
9:18 p.m. – For a handful of auditions, Howie was missing from the panel due to illness and so Terry explained that it would take only two of three Yes votes to advance. The first act we saw under this prompt was the breakdancing acrobats of Urban Crew from The Philippines. Simon explained to them that the purpose of the show is to discover groups like them with real talent and he added that they have a shot at being in the finals. All-around the judges were impressed with their high aerial flips and excited that they promised to rehearse something special for the next rounds.
9:31 p.m. – Because Howie was not in his chair, the judges invited 10 year old singer Harper‘s dad to watch her audition from his seat. Based on their expressions when she started screaming, the judges were not prepared for Harper to be a singer of death metal music. Still they gave her a standing ovation, exclaiming that the surprise factor was “brilliant” and she performed effortlessly. The judges gave her three Yes votes and her dad gave her a symbolic fourth Yes.
9:40 p.m. – Hayden Kristal followed with a stand up comedy set she hoped would impress Heidi. To set the stage for her performance, Hayden began in front of the mic instead of behind it, signing an answer to the “How are you?” question from Sofia. She explained that she was born deaf to a hearing family and does use an interpreter to help her despite performing most of her set in spoken English. In the course of her set, Hayden poked fun at her dual major of American Sign Language and Zookeeping and the disadvantages in terms of job qualifications that she’s experienced. Heidi fulfilled Hayden’s hope of impressing her with a positive critique and Simon said that her true storytelling was a brilliant topic for her set. The judges agreed that they want to see more from her so they voted her through to the next round.
9:51 p.m. – The final performance of the night came from the men of the NFL Players Choir, assembled from many different pro teams. They told Terry that they’re bonded by their childhood dreams of wanting to sing even after all the physical training they accomplished in their lives for football. Simon was intrigued by the fact that they used to be rivals of each other, but now are together because of Patti LaBelle asking for guys to take the mic during a joint football event. Their enthusiastic rendition of “Lean on Me” had the crowd hyped and Terry screaming “touchdown!” from the side of the stage. Simon asked them to do the chorus a cappella without the backing track in order to hear their voices on their own, recommending with a new standing ovation that they perform that way instead. Simon said that it’s so impressive how quickly they adapted to going a cappella, adding that their energy and story is equally amazing. When Simon started to tell them that he wasn’t going to give them “three Yeses,” it looked like the guys expected him to hit the Golden Buzzer, but instead Simon offered them “three thousand Yeses.”
Sara James was Simon’s favorite performer, but which is YOUR favorite act so far this season and do you think they can take home the $1 million prize? Sound off on the upcoming season in the comments below and with other fans in our reality TV forum. Also be sure to make your predictions to influence our reality TV racetrack odds.