America’s Got Talent, Season 12, Episode 6: Preview, cast, auditions (July 11, 2017)

ROSEMONT, IL - MAY 08: Howie Mandel attends "America's Got Talent" season 8 meet the judges red carpet event at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on May 8, 2013 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images)

America’s Got Talent Season 12, Episode 6 is fast approaching, scheduled to air at 8 p.m. Tuesday July 11, with judges Mel B., Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell waiting to send acts to the next round — and quite possibly waiting to give some acts the dreaded red X.

We also have our weekly spoiler. This one involves the boy band 5 Alive and their rendition of Poison and Pony. How far will they get?

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America’s Got Talent Season 12: How to watch, TV info for Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Schedule: 8 p.m. EST | NBC
Host: Tyra Banks
Judges: Howie Mandel, Simon Cowell, Mel B. and Heidi Klum

Auditions continue over the next few weeks:
Tuesday, July 11 | 8 p.m. EST | NBC

Judge cuts will begin in July, followed by live shows and results episodes.

America’s Got Talent Season 12, Episode 5: Results, recap for June 27

This was dream week, because several of the contestants noted how it was their dream to be on America’s Got Talent. Well, yeah, right? There was a bit of a change, as AGT devoted more air time than normal to rejected acts. And, where was the Golden Buzzer? There were two blow you away vocal performances, and a first, for this season anyway — a husband and wife team who competed against each other. Here’s what happened:

Act 1: Henry Richardson, Magician

 Seen it once, seen it a hundred times. That’s what some of these card tricks feel like. But Henry Richardson, a 15-year-old from Brooklyn, turns that saying on its head. He said he got into magic by watching America’s Got Talent and his goal is to make “you guys all happy today.” He did magic with his dad, his inspiration, but when Henry was just nine-years-old, his dad was diagnosed with  lung cancer, and he died. Tough times, for sure. So young Henry used all of that inspiration on stage. Richardson’s card trick first blew away Mel. B. when he got cards to travel between his hand and hers. Then it was Simon’s turn, and he pulled off a nifty little trick in which a soccer ball was into the card Mel B. was holding — and Simon was thinking of a soccer ball. That was enough to get high fives from all the judges, and four yes votes that moved him to the next round. Seen it once, see again, and again.

Act 2: Maxim and Maria Popazov, balancer and contortionist

This is a love at first sight story. They met, fell in love, had a daughter — and then decided they should create an act. But instead of working together, they compete against each other! Simon said he liked that competitive spirit. So Maxim started with a daredevil act during which he climbed on chairs that were perched on a table while balancing a cake. Then he did a handstand, And a split. Crazy.

Maria, not to be outdone, did a balancing act on a pole with all sorts of twists, turns and splits, but the icing on the cake was when she went hands free and kept her balance by holding something in her mouth. “Bloody Hell, Maria!” Simon exclaimed. I’ve never seen a couple that got eight total yeses, but that’s what happened — four for Maxim and four for Maria. They’re both through.

 Act 3: The Masqueraders

The singing group is made up of three friends who have known each other since high school, Now, 50 years later, they’re in their 70s, and still chasing the dream. So they belted out the Sam Cooke classic, “A Change is Gonna Come,” and when you saw Simon moving his hands to the music, you just knew they were going through.  I mean, could they have picked a more difficult song to sing?”I absolutely love you three,” he said.  How can you go against old school harmony? You can’t. Four yeses. Keep on dreamin’ guys.

Act 4: Deuntay Diggs

He’s a deputy in the sheriff’s department who has a dream of being a performer. He wanted to share that side of him and let the world know that cops are people, too. With a smile and a crisp uniform, how could you root against him?Then, Diggs started doing some sort of weird dance, and well, he should stick to cop work. The split that he did –skilled and painful as it looked — wasn’t enough to sway the judges. This one was an easy four no votes, with all of the judges hitting the dreaded red buzzer before the smiling deputy could finish.

Act 5: Sarah and her dog, Hero

How often is it you see Simon the softie? That’s what we saw when Sarah and her five-year-dog, Hero, took the stage. When her performance was over — one that featured the shy Sarah in some sort of medevial costume with a sword doing tricks with her dog — only Simon was impressed. “Fantastic!” he said. But Howie said, “I didn’t see one amazing trick,” and Mel B. and Heidi agreed. It looked like poor Sarah was going the way of Deutany Diggs (see able), but Simon came to the rescue. He went on stage and appealed to the judges to vote yes, ad Sarah broke down in tears. Howie and Heidi changed their minds — someone does every week — and with three yes votes (Mel B. was a no) Sarah made it through.

Act 6: Johnny Manuel

He was signed to a record deal  at age 14, and was produced by some of the biggest names in the business. By 17, he was dropped and it’s taken him this long to try to get back to the big time. “I’m finally able to be who I am,” he said, and the first note of Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing had the crowd going, “huh?” A guy singing a Whitney Houston classic that needs a combination of range and power to pull off? Well, he did it, and then some. I mean, this was Golden Buzzer good, maybe the best vocal performance of the competition so far. “I was not expecting that,” Howie said. Neither were we. I was, though, expecting the four yes votes that he received.

Act 7: Sirqus Alfon, digital acrobats

This is our dream, Sirqus Alton said. Well, sometimes dreams can be a nightmare, and that’s the way this started out, when the acrobats got absolutely no crowd reaction to the opening of their act. But then they did do something interesting — they did acrobatic motions while laying on the floor with all the movements projected on a big screen. Simon almost immediately buzzed in no, but the other judges were enthralled. “That was the worst act we’ve had on this year,” Simon said, and boos cascaded down from the audience. So much for Simon the softie But the other three judges all loved them, and by a 3-1  count, Sirqus Alfon is going through to the next round.

Act 8: Final Draft, musicians

Music is all they do, because they want to chase their dream. The four guys are very close, so close they live together — and dream together (there’s the dreaming theme again). So the guys from Atlanta did It’s a Man’s World, and holy molly was this good. Young guys doing old school music with old school harmony and old school moves. This act was a combination of soul and church, and this was a no doubter. “I saw this real passion, this real ambition,” Simon said. We also saw an act that can go a long way. Four yes votes for them.

Act 9: Oskar and Ghasper, digital artists

Oskar and Gasper, the story goes, have rarely been seen in public, and are the inspiration for the show. Since Heidi likes Halloween, she was asked to come on stage, but she had to change first.  She came back in a white body suit and when the lights went out, she started transforming into all sorts of things — the judges (Simon’s head on Heidi is kinda freaky), lights, flashes, all sorts of cool stuff, It was one of those acts that you have to see. “I thought it was incredible. So many outfits, so many morphs, it was a lot,” Mel B said. Howie said he could have watched that for much longer, and yep, we could have. We’ll get to watch it again, though, because this act is going through. Four yeses for them.

Act 10: Vinnie Grasso, Magician

Can he be better than Henry Richardson? Well, he said he was going to do something no one has ever seen before. Was he right about that. In order to prove he was not wearing listening devices or any wires, Vinnie got behind a small screen and striped naked — with his helper, Howe, standing right next to  him. “I can’t unsee that,” a mortified Howie said. But then the trick. A naked Vinnie taped his eyes shut, asked Howie to place a playing card on his tongue, and Vinnie licked it. Using his super human sense of taste, as Vinnie called it, he was correctly able to tell the crowd Howie had selected the three of hearts. That was enough for the judges to give four yes votes. We’ll be seeing more of Vinnie, just hopefully not as much as we did during this act.

Act 11: Carlos DeAntonis, opera singer

DeAntonis is a cab driver who wants to be a professional  singer. “This is my life,” he said to Tyra. I figured they would save the best for last, so a 52-year-old cab driver from Miami who looks like he went shopping at a discount outlet has got to be the guy, right?  (What’s that book by its cover saying?) He did Nessun Dorma,  an aria from the final act Puccini’s opera Turandot. The great Luciano Pavarotti did a breathtaking version, and any operatic tenor would be impressed by what DeAntonis did.  His terrific tenor left the judges — and the crowd — awed. Howie stood up before he was even finished; Heidi was clapping half way through. Yeah, AGT saved the best for last. An opera singing taxi driver, as Tyra noted. “You’re so good Carlos,” Heidi said, Four yeses. What a way to end the night. “I don’t have words to say thank you,” he said, through tears.


America’s Got Talent Season 12, Episode 4: Results, recap for June 20

Tuesday’s show could have been titled, Don’t judge a book by its cover. We had, as Simon called him, a “Wayne’s World” look-alike who played a mean rock-n-roll keyboard; an adorable 9-year-old girl who’s small stature hid a powerful voice and a dance group of guys from the Ukraine who liked like they’d be more at home on a construction site. As usual, there were heart-stopping moments — including one three-hankie performance — and lots of songs dedicated to dad. Here’s this week’s ride.

Act 1: Danell Daymon & Greater Works, a contemporary gospel choir

They are teachers, police officers and beauticians, and since they come from all over the country, they rehearse online. They did the gospel classic, This Little Light of Mine, starting with a solo that had the power of a knockout punch. And when the choir kicked in, it was over. They belted out harmonies, danced and all of a sudden, it  was Sunday morning on AGT!  The judges gave them a standing ovation. “Oh  my gosh!” Mel B said, calling it, “everything and more.” Howie chimed in with, “I generally do not like choir but …  you took this .. to church.” They did, and the Greater Works took it to the next round, too, with four yes votes.

Act 2: Jay Jay Phillips, the rock and roll keyboard player

Poor Jay Jay says he suffered through a horrible heartbreak, and uses his rock-and-roll — and his cat — to heal his wounds. He thought that, in his 90-seconds, he would make his beloved realized what she gave up. With a keyboard strapped around his neck, Jay Jay ripped into the keyboard — but then started lip syncing to I Hate Myself for Loving You. While the crowd loved it, Heidi buzzed him because she wanted him to sing. But Mel B. said he was quirky and Simon said he reminded him of something out of Wayne’s World. Despite Heidi’s no, J.J. somehow made it through, 3-1, when Mel. B, Howie and Simon all said yes.

Act 3: Light Balance Dance Group, from the Ukraine

They came here for a better life in America, and if they win, they want to being their families over from the Ukraine. So here they were, about a dozen guys who look nothing like dancers, kicking it, at the start, to Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic — and using lights to create a funky techno display that blew everyone’s mind, and was as original as anything you’ll see. “We’ve seen dances in the dark before, but not this good,” Heidi said. It was so good Tyra Banks came from behind the curtain to press the coveted Golden Buzzer, sending Light Balance straight through to the live show.

Act 4: Antony Penoso, singer

Anthony, a 58-year-old attorney, always dreamed of being a singer and having a No. 1 song. He’s written songs all of his life, he said, and his wife — who is 25-years-younger than him — is his inspiration. So he sang a song for her, one of his originals, called, Young It Up, an apropos title. Unfortunately, he only got through about four notes and all of the judges, in quick succession, hit the dreaded X. Simon asked if he had a second song, and it wasn’t, well, good. But he does have guts because, even as the crowd jeered, he kept going. The judges spared him any further embarrassment by quickly moving to four no votes. At least Anthony still has his legal practice.

Act 5: Just Jerk Crew, Dance Act from Korea 

This could be one of the last times they perform together because all of the members will serve a mandatory two-year term in the military. When asked what type of dance they would do, they said, “Something you’ve never seen before,” and, they were right.  The modern dance crew had a herky-jerky action during it’s performance, and the judges were transfixed. Mel B. let out an “Oh My God” during one segment, and afterwards, the judges heaped praise. “You are, by far, the best dance crew I have seen this year,” Howie said. Four yeses, and they’re going on.

Act 6: Celine Tam, singer

Who can vote against cute as a button little 9-year-old girl with the face of an angel? Maybe a judge with no heart, but even Simon in his more curmudgeonly days would have a hard time voting against Celine Tam. Little Celine has a sister, Dion, and of course she sang Celine Dion’s, “My Heart Will Go On.” See that heart theme? Well, she immediately grabbed the hearts (there we go again) of the crowd from the moment she hit the first note. Howie smiled so big you could see his molars. Mel B. swayed from side to side and said, “I loved that!” and Heidi said,  “You really knocked it out of the park.” She sweetly sang a beautiful song, and there was no doubt four yes votes were on her way. That’s what happened.

 Act 7:  Men With Pans, comedy duo

Kan and Kevin have been performing for 10 years, and what they performed is, well, interesting. They came out on stage in chef’s garb and pans, disappeared behind the curtains and came back — naked. They used the pots and pans to strategically cover themselves and this was, clearly, naughty comedy. Simon and Mel B. quickly hit the red X button, but good Lord was it funny! Heidi thought so, too, and Howie said it was amazing. But with Simon a firm “no,” it came down to Mel B., who changed her mind and gave Men with Pans that third yes vote. With a 3-1 count, they moved through.

Act 8: Robert, the impressionist

This guy looks just like Robert De Niro, from his facial expressions to mannerisms to his voice. Incredible. He only goes by Robert, He should have stuck with that. He followed his dead-on De Niro with a less-than-impressive Christopher Walken, John Travolta and Jack Nicholson, and ended with wise guy nursery rhymes. He got three no votes and a sympathy yes Howie because, as he noted, it didn’t matter. Maybe he just didn’t want to be a victim of a wise guy.

Act 9: Tom London, magician

He does magic and started by practicing four hours a night when he was a kid. Then he realized — he could use technology to create a one-of-a-kind show. Like any magician, he would like to do a Las Vegas show, and by looking at what he did, yeah, he’s on track for that dream. First, he asked the audience to hold their cell phones in the air, and when they did, he was able to (somehow) manipulate the screens so they turned red and blue.  Then, he did a complicated math  trick that was truly trippy.  “That is ridiculous,” Mel B. said. And it was. Four yeses, and he was through to the next round.

Act 10: Bello Nock, a comic daredevil

He said he rode a unicycle before a bicycle, that his act is “very unique.”  No kidding. He climbed up a pole that was 37-feet high, danced on it, stood on his hands, hung from his feet. And, he had no net.  Mel. B found it a little cheesy, while Heidi said it was fun and dangerous at the same time. Simon wasn’t that impressed. After Howie and Heidi, said yes, Simon said no, but changed his vote to “yes” when Bello said he could be shot out of a cannon over a helicopter. What? Mel B said yes, too, and Bello goes through with four yeses. Let’s just hope he doesn’t hurt himself in practice.

Act 11: Evie Claire, singer.

The 13-year-old singer was signing for her dad. How sweet is that? And there’s a terrible tale behind that sweetness. “My family…about a year ago, my dad was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer and they gave him a five-percent chance to live, and he continued working and supporting our  family and tonight I’m here to sing for him.” She sang “Arms” because, she said, when her dad is having tough days, that’s the song she sings to help him feel better. She cried as she talked on stage, and before she even sang one note, you could feel  everyone wanted her to do well. How could they not? She did a  sweet version of a very difficult song, and smiled through her braces when it was over. All of the judges stood and clapped. There should have had a hankie warning for this one. Four yeses, and she made it through, easy.


Darcy Callus didn’t get the full 90 seconds on air (at least it didn’t feel that way), but what he did get was amazing. He dedicated a song to his dad, God Only Knows, that should be released, like, now.

 America’s Got Talent Season 12, Episode 3: Results, recap for June 13

Episode 3 was a combination of touching a weird.There was a woman who survived a plane crash and has the voice of an angel. A 16-year-old who overcame blindness and sings like a crooner. But this week, there was one of the more absurd acts you’ll see — a man who danced in a black leotard with a pumpkin on his head. Really. That happened. Twelve acts made the air this week, and one got the coveted Golden Buzzer, and it was easy to see why.

Act. 1  Oscar Hernandez, the entertainer

Hernandez, a big guy, wanted to be an entertainer, but his father pushed him into sports. He tried to satisfy him by trying to play football, but that wasn’t his passion. So Oscar broke out some wild dance moves to Anaconda, and the crowd went wild. He even did a split, showing the big guy is limber. The judges sat there, adding a little suspense, but then Simon broke the ice when he said, “Well, we weren’t expecting that.” Then Howie cracked: “It’s like you were possessed by tiny (Los Angeles) Lakers girls… When you do those splits does it hurt your pom poms?” Four yeses, and Oscar was through.

Act 2: Elena and Sasha, a balancing act

So what is this act? Elena explains, “He balances me on his face .. I wouldn’t let anyone else balance me on their face.” We would hope not.  When Simon asked Elena why she entered the show, she quipped, “I don’t know, free sandwiches?” She laughed and her husband, Sasha, just stood there a little dumbfounded because he doesn’t speak much English. Sasha held a gigantic pole, in his hands at first, and twirled around Elena, then put the pole ON THIS HEAD, took his hands off, and they both  twirled hula hoops. She finished off the act by doing a handstand. I didn’t need the crowd’s cheers to tell me they were going through. Heidi said,  “I think the two of you are absolutely incredible.” The rest of the judges thought so, too. Four yeses.

Act. 3: Shamika Charles, limbo dancing

She said she got her love of limbo from her mom. “This is my passion, this is what I was put on this earth for.”  And boy is she limber. Her mom came out and set the limbo bar for her. She did the limbo under a bar, under a bar by balancing a bar on her nose,  and then under a car. A CAR! Howie mouthed, “Oh My God.” The crowd screamed. The judges stood up. Simon said, “I have never ever seen anything like that in my life.” No doubt she made it through. Four yeses.

Act. 4:  Kechi Okwuchi, singer

On October 29, 2006, an ADC Airlines plane went down in Abuda, Nigeria. Some 107 people died, and there were just two survivors. One was Kechi Okwuchi, a 16-year-old girl who was coming back from her boarding school. Sitting next to her best friend, she heard a loud, shearing sound. She grabbed her friend’s hand, held it tightly, and looked into her eyes for the last time.  They found Keichi mixed up with the debris, burned, but with a pulse, and she has since had more than 100 surgeries. “Laying in the hospital bed, with bandages head to foot, not being able to move or do anything else, music was my escape and that’s why it means so much to me.” Now living in Houston, she sweetly sang Ed Sheeran’s instant classic, “Thinking out Loud,” and it was a little hard to hear over the crowd’s cheering. This one will make you choke up. “You are one of the most beautiful people I have ever met in my life,” Howie said. Heidi simply added, “Well, I love you.” There was zero doubt. Four yeses, easy.

Act. 5:  Big Benji, singer

Benchavan Shale, aka Big Benji, loves her some Simon. When he noted that she seemed nervous, she said, “I know darling because I get excited when I see you.” Big Benji, 73, belted out a version of the Frank Sinatra classic L.O.V.E. that was, well, interesting. It was cheeky, cheesy, off key, bad karaoke  fun — but she actually ended up winning. No, she didn’t get through to the next round — three judges said no as Simon gave her a sympathy “yes” vote — but she did get a hug and kiss from her main squeeze, Simon, See? Winning.

 Act. 6:  Les French twins, magicians

There are some acts that defy description. Les French Twins are that. One of the twins started out on stage by himself, and then, through magic “split” himself in two — though that turned out to be his twin. Then, through technology that had a virtual reality feel, they used a huge video screen to put on the most unique magic act you’ll ever see.  Simon started out with just “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” before Mel B. called them “hilariously brilliant. Simon added, “This is 100% a Vegas act. This is really, really, really special audition,” and they got four “oui” votes, and sailed through easily.

Act. 7: In the Stairwell, A-capella group from the Air Force Academy

You have to root for a group of men who are prepared to give their lives for the country and note how willingly they’d do it. “We are military and we’re being trained to be leaders, and music is a way to have fun together.” And did they ever. They did One Direction’s, Drag me Down, and killed it. The tight harmonies, the dance moves, the uniforms — well, killed it for everyone except Howie, who hit the dreaded X button and later said the act bored him.  Mel B. came to the rescue: “With what you guys did with all the harmonies you made it feel … fresh and new.” Howie stuck to his guns, but the other judges were impressed. Three yeses, one no, and the group moved through.

Act 8: Wyatt Grey, comedian

He works at a hotel as a valet parking lot attendant, and thankfully he has a job, because Simon and Heidi, buzzed the Red X almost immediately. Thankfully, his act was short because you felt for the guy because it was so painful. He, and some others, felt the wrath of the judges.

Act 9: Daniel Ferguson, the impressionist

He’s a sales representative from Ohio, and he had what may have been the best act of the night. He sang Cake by the Ocean in the voices of cartoon characters Goofy, Scooby Do, Kermit the Frog, Mickey Mouse, Peter Griffin — and one non-cartoon character — Simon. The best way to wrap up what happened was with Mel B’s comment:  “I’ve never seen anything like this. You killed it.  You nailed it.  I’m telling you, it’s brilliant.” It was all of those, and he got four yes votes, and I’m surprised he didn’t get the Golden Buzzer.

Act 10: Pompeyo family and the most talented dogs in America

In week 2, we had Mia the Cockapoo  who could count — and was amazing. This week, it was Pompeyo family — mom Natalia, daughter Katerina and huband/dad George. Natalia said the family has 18 dogs at home, and brought four of them on  stage. Their dream — a Las Vegas show. As their act progressed, Tyra Banks said “so adorable,” and ain’t that the truth. I’ve never since a dog do a handstand, balance on someone’s hand, or walk on their front legs. The dogs also jumped rope, jumped through a hula hoop — all sorts of stuff.  Yeah, Mia, has some serious competition. Simon said he could see the family in a reality  show, and he was serious. “This is big,” he said. Four yeses.

Act 11: Dancing Pumpkin Man

A man wearing a pumpkin on his head and dancing? It looked like the dancing version of the movie, Frank, in which the lead character, a musician, wears a paper mache mask all the time. It quickly became evident that this was a comedy routine, not a serious dance act, because who can be serious wearing a pumpkin head and black leotard?  He danced to the song, I always feel like someone’s watching me, but there was real doubt whether anyone would be watching Pumpkin Man anytime soon. Watching some inexplicable gyrations, Simon buzzed in no, but the other judges were cracking up. Mel B actually stood and cheered. “Oh my God that was incredible,” she said. While Howie agreed, Simon and Heidi said uh-uh. But Mel B. stuck to her guns, ran on stage and said she wasn’t leaving until someone changed their vote. Simon relented, and with three yes votes, the most absurd act of the night went through.

Act 12: Christian Guardino, singer

At six-months-old, Christian’s parents learned he would go completely blind. When he was 12, they found an experimental gene therapy that worked and helped him regain his site, and now his dream is to became a singer. You could tell, from the music and the set up, that the now 16-year-old was going to be something special. “I have a good feeling about you,” Simon said. Simon must have ESP, or maybe a hint from the producers. From the first note of Who’s Loving You, he, well, he killed it. Absolutely killed it. He sang that with the soul and passion of someone three times more experienced.  Mel B yelled: “What just happened?” What happened was someone who could win the competition. Simon called him one of his favorite contestants he’s seen this year .. “Not only your voice — I just like you.” The Golden Buzzer is the biggest prize of the early rounds, and Christian got one. He deserved it.

 America’s Got Talent Season 12, Episode 2: Results, recap for June 6

This could have been “pull at the heartstrings” week on AGT. Among the contestants — a singer who wrote a song for a woman in a bad relationship; a 9-year-old girl who nearly died; and a musician who lost her hearing and feared she  would never sing again. It’s not fair, folks, that there was no hankie warning for this one.

But just as these touching moments were the serious highlights, there were also the silly ones, led by a guy who did a hand balancing act with an inflatable doll.

Act 1: Edna and her dog, Mia:

Edna’s last name is Moore, and she named her dog Mia Moore (get it) — the love of her life. She calls her the K-9 Einstein. Mia, Edna Moore said, can count any number between one and 50, and reads flash cards. Yeah right, I thought. And, at first, Mia proved my skepticism when Eden asked her to count to four, and Mia appeared to come down with a case of doggie stage fright. But then, Mia the cockapoo counted to four (by barking), and then all the way to 16. “That’s amazing,” Howie said. Then Mia looked at a flashcard that said “20,” and damn if that dog didn’t bark 20 times. Even Simon gave the K-9 Einstein a standing ovation, said he was blown away and called Mia a “Super Dog.” When Simon asked if Mia wanted four yeses, of course she barked four times. She sailed through to the next round.

Act 2: Diavolo, Architect in Motion

Diablo is a very large performance group that does a combination of dance and gymnastics on a moving structure.  That does not go near far enough in describing how amazing the act was. The dancers jumped on an arch-looking structure that moved side-to-side, and the dancers took turns dancing and jumping through the air. “Oh my God! Mel B. yelled after one particularly scary leap. Howie said, “You guys took it beyond the next level. I’ve never quite seen anything like this in my life.” No surprise they sailed through with four yeses.

Act 3:  Chase Goehring, 21, musician

It’s tough on musicians on these shows. You have to separate yourself and be really original. Chase Goehring, a 21-year-old singer/songwriter from a small town in Tennessee, blew originality out of the water. The guitarist performed a song he wrote, “Hurt,” about a girl in a bad relationship he wishes was with him.  The redhead had a little Ed Sheeran in him (in style anyway), and while the beginning of the song was, eh, OK, he blew away everyone when he broke out in a power rap that was, well, original (no pun intended). The judges were equally impressed,and all four gave him a standing ovation. Even Simon said, “Wow,” followed by, “It was bloody fantastic. You did something I genuinely wasn’t expecting in the middle …” Four yeses, and he’s through, too.

Act 4: Jimmy and Judy, hand balancers

The dancers do a hand balancing act, Jimmy Slonina said. Before their performance, he was in a tizzy because his partner had yet to show up, and they were minutes away from taking the stage. But, when Jimmy, in a tacky red leotard that showed his underarm hair in full view, went on stage, he looked skyward, and Judy was descending from a rope above. Mel B. was aghast, and not because of the danger of the act; Judy turned out to be a blow-up doll. “Seriously?” Simon said, who didn’t let 10 seconds go by before he pressed the dreaded red X.. But Jimmy continued on, balancing his head on Judy’s face and smashing it flat. That was enough for Heidi to hit the X, too. Poor Jimmy, who then threw Judy through the air, and she deflated … much like Jimmy’s hopes for moving forward. Howie called his act comedy — really, what else was this? —  and he got some support from Mel B. But Heidi and Simon thought the act was just full of hot air. Their two no votes were enough to send Jimmy and Judy home, probably in search of an air hose.

Act 5: Paige and Artyon

Eight-year-old Paige and 9-year-old Artyon are two cute little kids who did a dance act It started off really cheesy, to the tune, “Barbie Girl,” but it quickly turned into serious skill. The two little ones did some challenging ballet moves , including Artyon hoisting Paige in the air and twirling her .. but Simon hit the red buzzer anyway. You cad! How dare you crush the dreams of little ones? After the act, the crowd chanted, “Let them through.” Simon said the little kids needed more experience, and the crowd booed — loudly. This also set up Simon vs. the other judges. “I love that you’re still smiling even though he’s so mean.” Heidi said, referring to Simon. Simon is no match for cute kids with big smiles. Howie, Mel and Heidi said yes, and the two cuties moved on.

Act 6: Nick Uhas, the science guy

Nick Uhas says he makes science videos for the internet because, “Science is that cool.” For his first experiment, he asked the judges to suck air out of a balloon, and their voices all changed so they sounded like Darth  Vadar. “Simon, I am your worst nightmare,” Mel B. deadpanned. Mel B  and Howie went to the “table of science” and set off a chemical reaction that created a weird looking “Jabba the Hutt” type blob, and then Howie dumped hot water in liquid nitrogen, which blew up in a bog  white cloud. No one died in the pursuit of science, and all four judges said yes. We’ll see more science in future episodes.

Act 7: Billy and Emily England, acrobatic roller skaters

Billy, 30, and Emily,27,  think what they do is like ballet. The brother-sister duo must be close because in the opening, Billy brushed his long red beard with Emily’s brush. Simon noted that they were on the British version of the TV show, and he was excited to see them, again. That was a clue of how stunning this act was. They got on a small platform, and did a bunch of death-defying spins and moves that made me dizzy just looking at it. Words can’t describe what they did — especially when Emily’s head came inches from the floor — and I didn’t even have to wait for the final vote to know they would move on. Howie: “Oh my God. People at home don’t realize how dangerous that was .. for us because we’re so close.” You blew me away.” Mel B.: “What just happened, seriously? That was just crazy, but crazy good.” And is she right. Four yeses, easy.

Act 8: Angelica Hale

The incredibly cut 9-year-old is a singer who overcame pneumonia that it ruined a kidney and she almost died. But her mother donated a kidney to keep her alive. So it’s hard to root against her with a story like that. She also has a goal — to be the next Whitney Houston. Talk about dreaming big.  So the little girl with the little voice belted out “Rise Up” with such feeling and range she had the crowd cheering almost as soon as she opened her mouth. Simon smiled. Her parents cried. This is another one I didn’t have to wait for to write “yes” four times because, well, she’s that good. I mean, stop what you’re doing and pay attention to her good. When she was done, she just smiled a sweet 9-year-old smile. “OMG,” said Howie. Simon said, “This shouldn’t actually happen,. You’re tiny, you’re voice is huge. We may be looking at future star.” When little Angelica said Mel B. was her favorite star, she rushed to stage and wrapped her in a bear hug. This one had all the feels. And yes, all the judges said yes.


Act 9: Azeri Brothers

They have scars on their bodies. Medics were standing by. And no wonder. The Azeri brothers performed an act of strength, danger and pain that is, well, not for everyone. The brothers don’t talk so we don’t have names for them. But they did have some other guy dressed in black who did the talking for them. The act went like this. One brother rammed five nails through a board with his hands and two more with his head. Simon had a legit “WTF” look on his face. Howie was flabbergasted.  Then one laid down on a bed of nail while someone placed a pitch fork on his chest and stood on it. That was enough for Heidi, who hit the red buzzer of death. When they placed a shovel on the neck of one of the brothers — and an audience member stood on the shovel — Howie hit the buzzer. Heidi said the act was, “horrible to watch.” Howie called  it, “A buffet of torture. I think this is too much too far. Somebody is going to die, don’t do this.” Simon had a different take:” It was disgusting but I loved it.” With Mel B. and Simon as yeses, and Heidi a no, it was up to Howie. He asked the crowd if it liked the act and when it clapped loudly, he voted yes. So the Azeri Brothers live another day.

Act 10: Colin Cloud, magician

Magic done right is amazing. The best tricks start with a simple premise that contains a twist that blows away the audience. That’s what Colin Cloud did. He took a simple premise — a coin trick — and turned it on its head. He asked each judge to place a coin in their hand and then accurately predicted where to coin was. He then pulled of a neat trick when he said he heard, from the crowd, the words “white,” “kitten,” and “oscar,” and he pulled, from a box, a little white kitten named Oscar.  Judges like magic, and all four voted yes Colin Cloud is moving on.

Act 11: Mandy Harvey and her interpreter, Sarah

Mandy lost all of her hearing when she was 18, and now, she’s 29. She got sick and the nerves in her ears deteriorated, and she finally went deaf. But that didn’t stop her from pursuing her music dreams — she’d been singing since she was 4-years-old. Now, she feels the music through vibration, and she sang an original song called, “Try,” a homage to her desire to perform the music she loves so much. It was a beautiful, heart-stopping moment. Forget about the song, which she should release on iTunes tomorrow; her grit showed America what you can accomplish if you try. Before the song was over she had the crowd on its feet, and some in tears. Simon simply said, “Mandy, I don’t think you’re going to need a translator for this,” and he hit the Golden Buzzer. She’s going straight through to the live show. She deserves it.

Also made it through

Pelican 212, a band of  brothers and sisters, did a rockin’ version of “We are Family,” and the judges were impressed enough to move them through. They were only on the show foe seconds, but here’s a small bit of their performance.

America’s Got Talent Season 12, Episode 1: Results, recap for May 30

Darci Lynne Farmer

The amazing 12-year old ventriloquist, Darci Lynne Farmer blew away the judges. What seemed to start as a standard “throw your voice” ended up as much more. Instead of talking, Darci belted out a stunning version of Summertime that had the crowd — and the judges — on their feet.

The young performer earned the coveted Golden Buzzer when Mel B. bashed the button. That means Darci goes straight to the live show.

Through to the next round

Ever seen a chicken playing a keyboard? Now you have:

On the opposite end of that, how about a performer who risked his life by escaping shackles before 900 pounds of sand could fall from above and bury him alive?

Others advancing to the next round

  • Preacher Larson – The stand-up comedian blew away the judges with a performance on his 26th birthday, and was so good Simon gave him time for one more joke. He easily moved through to the next round.
  • Yoli Mayor – 21-year-old singer started off on a rocky foot when she started singing,  “I Put a Spell On You,” and Simon stopped the song because he wanted to hear something more “youthful.” So she belted out Ed Sheeran’s “Make It Rain,” and that was so good she made it through.
  • Junior and Emily Alibi – The brother and sister salsa duo performed a spicy number with so many spins it felt like the room was moving. They easily made it through.
  • Visualist Will Tsai – He had four cards covering four quarters and somehow moved the quarters underneath the cards. He then, with a snap of his fingers, moved the quarters themselves before turning them into rose petals. Yes, he moved ahead.
  • Singing Trump – He impersonated the President doing Uptown Funk. That’s an odd combination, and it worked, moving him to the next round.
  • Merrick Hanna – The 12-year-old dancer told the story of a broken, floppy robot through dance. At the end, you could hear Howie saying, “I love that,” and Merrick moved through.
  • Puddles Pity Party – A mime, clown and singer mixed into one. Mimes and clowns are scary, and he made it even stranger by belting out an amazing version of “Chandelier.” He sailed through.

America’s Got Talent Season 12 Preview

America’s Got Talent is back for its 12th season highlighting the diverse “talents” Americans bring to the table. That talent can be anything — singing, dancing, juggling, magic tricks, you name it. While the talent can be silly, the prize isn’t. The winner walks away with $1 million. Contestants need at least three yeses from the four judges (Howie Mandel, Simon Cowell, Mel B. and Heidi Klum) to move on to the next round. A hit of the “Golden Buzzer” and the act is sent directly through to the live performances.

There was some offseason drama that has led to a major change in the show. Host Nick Cannon, embroiled in a dispute with NBC, is out after eight seasons. Cannon, according to a 700-word Facebook post said NBC executives threatened him with termination because of jokes he told on this Showtime Special, “Nick Cannon, Stand Up, Don’t Shoot.”

His replacement is former model and now Hollywood icon Tyra Banks. We’ll miss Cannon, and this is a good time to look back at some of his craziest moments from last year:

History of the “Golden Buzzer”

The “Golden Buzzer” was introduced in Season 9 of AGT as a talent saver of sorts, allowing judges to press it once during the season, automatically sending an act to the next round regardless of other judges votes.

In Season 10, the Golden Buzzer was upgraded to automatically send a talent through past the Judge Cuts and directly to the live shows.

Previous America’s Got Talent winners

Season 11: Grace VanderWaal

Grace VanderWaal, a 12 year-old ukulele sensation. She signed a record deal with Columbia Records and in December 2016 released her first EP, Perfectly Imperfect. She also won the 2017  Radio Disney Music Award for Best New Artist  and hopes to have a full-length album released this year.

Season 10: Paul Zerdin

Paul Zerdin, a British comedian and ventriloquist,  recently kicked off his residency at Sin City Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. His big goal now is to score celebrity guest appearances from Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez at his live show. He starts a tour overseas in September.

Season 9:  Mat Franco

The only magician to win America’s Got Talent, Mat Franco headlined a show at the LINQ Hotel & Casino in 2015. Additionally, he appeared in a two-hour TV special that aired on NBC.  His  “Mat Franco – Magic Reinvented Nightly” won “Best Show” on the Las Vegas Strip in 2016 in the “Las Vegas Weekly Readers’ Choice Awards”. That same year, he was awarded “Best Magic Show” by the Las Vegas Review Journal’s “Best of Las Vegas” awards.

Season 8: Kenichi Ebina

Our most recent winner was a martial arts dancer and mime named Kenichi Ebina. In yet another break from the norm, this was the first time a dance act won AGT.  He’s performed his unique dance style at a number of events, and will soon be in charge of directing a classical manga and anime series in Japan.

Season 7: Olate Dogs

It took seven seasons but finally a non-singing act won the day at AGT headquarters. The dog trick act Olate Dogs claimed the $1 million prize and, funny enough, also released a holiday album. The Olate Dogs’ Christmas debuted in late 2013. Since then, the dogs and their human family have appeared on morning shows, during NBA halftime events, and  have kept a heavy touring schedule and are back on the road starting this month.

Season 6: Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.

Frank Sinatra-like vocalist Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. crooned his way to the finals in Season No. 6. Since his win, he’s released two albums: That’s Life, released November 21, 2011, and a couple of Novembers later, Christmas Made for Two. He’s performed at the Apollo Theater, with the world famous Motown group, the Temptations, has appeared on several morning shows and continues to give con concerts.

Season 5: Michael Grimm

Another singer earned the win for the fifth installment of the NBC show. Michael Grimm signed a deal with Epic Records in 2010, and released an album a year later. He’s performed at the Macu’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and has twice appeared on the Ellen Show. He’s also opened for Stevie Nicks. The biggest news —  he got married!

Season 4: Kevin Skinner

AGT went country for its fourth season, giving the win to crooner Kevin Skinner. After his victoy, he began a 10-week headline show at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. Oh, and he also added $1 million to his bank account. He released an album in 2010 and appeared on the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.  Unfortunately, Skinner went missing in 2014 but was eventually found. Local media reported his family said he’d been suffering from “mental issues.”

Season 3: Neal E. Boyd

In the Summer of 2008, an opera singer wowed viewers. Neal E. Boyd earned AGT’s No.1 spot on October 1, a late-airing finale because of the show’s nearly three-week hiatus for the 2008 Summer Olympics. After signing with Decca Records he released one album, in 2009. He’s performed for former Presidents Barack Obama, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. He ran for the Missouri House of Representatives — and lost — in 2012. Now, he runs an insurance agency.

Season 2: Terry Fator

Singing once again won the day in Season 2 but this time with a twist. A singing impressionist ventriloquist (say that five times fast) won the crown. The year after Terry Fator won, he signed a five-year, $100 million contract to perform at the Mirage Hotel — and he still performs there, all these years later.

Season 1: Bianca Ryan

During the show’s first season in 2006, the then 11-year-old impressed the judges with her tremendous vocals and earned the country’s votes, making her the first winner of AGT. Now 23, Bianca’s released an album in 2006, a couple of EPs, and just recently released her latest single, One Day, on iTunes.

About the America’s Got Talent judges

Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks - America's Got Talent
(Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for 2016 Essence Festival)

Started as a superstar model who created “America’s Top Model,” in 2003 and “The Tyra Show,” which ran from 2005-2010. Was the first African American woman to be featured on the covers of GQ and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Has taken courses at the Harvard Business School.

Howie Mandel

Howie Mandel - America's Got Talent
(Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images)

Multi-talented performer came to fame in 1982 as Dr. Wayne Fiscus on the hospital drama St. Elsewhere. Also a successful stand-up comedian. Former host of Deal or No Deal. Replaced David Hasselhoff in 2010 on AGT.

Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell - America's Got Talent
(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

He started in the music business in Britain and in 2001 became a judge on Britain’s Pop Idol.  He was also a judge on American Idol from 2002-2010. Helped launch the X Factor in 2011. Is executive producer of America’s Got Talent, which debuted in 2006.

Mel B.

Mel B. - America's Got Talent
(Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

An original Spice Girl, she’s now heavy into television. She was a judge on the X Factor before becoming a judge on America’s Got Talent.

Heidi Klum

Heidi Klum - America's Got Talent
(Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images)

The one-time Victoria Secrets model has now transformed into businesswoman, and she should, since she has an estimated net worth of $70 million from her modeling, clothing lines, and other ventures. She’s a host and judge of the hit show, Project Runway. 

What do you think?

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