“America’s Got Talent” continued season 18 on August 1 with a two-hour showcase of acts in “Auditions 8.” There are no changes to judges’ dais this summer with executive producer Simon Cowell and long-time judge Howie Mandel taking their place on the ends of the table. Heidi Klum returns as well, as does Sofia Vergara who took a break when “All-Stars” aired earlier this year. Hosting duties are entrusted to the lively Terry Crews once again.
In the audition phase of “AGT,” an act needs at least three of the four judges to give them a “yes” vote to advance to the next round. If two or more judges buzz the act, they are immediately eliminated. Each judge and Crews has one chance to hit the “golden buzzer” and send an act straight through to the live performances.
In the season premiere, Simon led the panel in handing out the first ever Audience Golden Buzzer to Mzansi Youth Choir from South Africa. Simon gave the Golden Buzzer to 17 year old Indonesian pianist and singer Putri Ariani in episode 2. Then, in episode 3, Terry descended the stage to make a dream come true for Chioma & The Atlanta Drum Academy. Howie made his choice to send French dance group Murmuration straight to the live shows in episode 4. And in episode 6, Heidi fell in love with singer Lavender Darcangelo. Sofia is the only judge left to decide on her personal pick.
The format will be the same as in previous seasons, with “America’s Got Talent” airing just on Tuesdays at first with the initial weeks devoted to the auditions that took place around the country. The live shows begin on Tuesday, August 22 with voting results shows following on Wednesday.
Below, read our minute-by-minute “America’s Got Talent” recap of Season 18, Episode 9 to find out what happened Tuesday, August 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. Then be sure to sound off in the comments section about your favorite acts on NBC’s long-running reality TV show and who you think will ultimately join the AGT list of champions.
8:03 p.m. – Kicking off the night with the first audition was Duo Acero, a married couple from Colombia that performed balancing and strength acts on a pole. Sofia called their act both beautiful and sexy, Howie thought they showed impressive moves that they haven’t seen before, Heidi called them “so graceful” and “truly unique,” and Simon acknowledged that they were really good for a type of act that he typically doesn’t enjoy. It was a strong start for the night with all four judges voting “yes” for the act to advance to the next round.
8:12 p.m. – Up next was singer Summer Rios after she received a pep talk via the phone from her mom backstage. Though she’s been singing since she was four years old, the 19 year old told the judges that she’s never really performed for an audience before. Her performance of “Something in the Orange” led Howie to say that they got a peak at what she can do and she should continue, Heidi called her tone beautiful, Sofia called her voice “spectacular,” and Simon said it was a great choice of song that had the audience rooting for her. Going down the line it was an easy “yes” from each judge for Summer to move on to the next round.
8:22 p.m. – Leonard Lee came to the stage next in a third attempt to break the world record for “Most Slam Dunks by a Dog” in a minute. In order to set the new record, Leonard would have to dunk 19 in that minute. Unfortunately, with only a few seconds to go, Leonard stalled at 18, failing to make the 19th basket in the allotted time. Still, Leonard tied his own world record, but it was a “no” from the panel to see him try again.
8:26 p.m. – The large drumline group Pulse Percussion was next up with their choreographed hip hop routine. Howie said they’re “tremendous” and “thrilling,” Heidi called the act “a lot of fun” because of the choreography, Sofia was “not surprised” that they’re world champions in their division, and Simon said that they’re “absolutely amazing” and reminded everyone that drums are a cool instrument currently. It was another set of four “yes” votes for the group to advance.
8:34 p.m. – Of the many acts most excited to perform in front of Sofia, guitarist in a cow costume Rob Potylo and singer in a devil costume Dev the Devil failed to leave a good impression, but Brazilian singer Gabriel Henrique fared much better with his rendition of “Run to You.” Heidi compared his vocal talent to both Whitney and Mariah, Howie called his voice unexpected for sounding like a pop diva, Simon anticipated that people will like him, and Sofia closed out the comments by calling it “perfect” and describing that as a judge she’s been “waiting for that feeling.” Instead of moving to a vote, Sofia hit her Golden Buzzer for him to go straight through to the live shows.
8:54 p.m. – Simon wasn’t sure what to expect when Noodle & Bun began their audition via animation on screen. A producer clarified that the talent was animation and that when the act appears on television that they’ll animate the doll to appear live on stage. For their talent, the animated pets performed as a rock band to an Aerosmith song, leaving the judges and the crowd cheering with excitement. Simon called the act “the best singing dog” they’ve ever had, Howie also loved the act, Heidi continued the ruse that they’re the best singing animals, and Sofia called them adorable. Someone, they all agreed that this was an act worthy of performing again in the next round with an unanimous “yes” vote.
9:04 p.m. – Howie was impressed with the setup for Zion Clark‘s performance before he even took the stage. Ahead of the audition, Zion told Terry about his “super rare” condition that led him to be born without legs. After going through the foster care system all the way to the age of 17, Zion was finally adopted by his mother and then turned his life around to become one of the top wrestlers in his state. He told the judges that he came to the series to show what it’s like “to have no excuses running through your body.” Using voice over to tell his story, Zion completed multiple strength-based exercises on stage. Heidi called him “absolutely incredible,” Sofia said that his smile is the best part of his performance, Howie clarified that “amazing” applies especially to him and he needs to be watched by the audience, and Simon thanked him for coming on the show to “define the word inspiration.” He thinks that Zion will be remembered and make a difference. All four judges agreed with each other that Zion should advance to the next round with their “yes” votes, including the 4 million Simon gave him.
9:18 p.m. – Rock and roll group True Villains is a Nashville band, but comprised of members from all over the country. Simon loved that they came to the show to honor their moms and then joined the rest of the room in a standing ovation following their audition. Howie said they have “great musicianship,” Heidi loved it as well, Sofia called it “a lot of fun,” and Simon added that their unexpected version of a song was his favorite part. It was another unanimous decision for this act to advance to the next round.
9:29 p.m. – 10 year old twins brought their MMA talents to the stage as Twinjas, earning four “yes” votes to move on to the next round. Music producer and disc jockey H.B. Monte hyped the judges and the crowd up to earn his way to the next round. Israeli trio Bomba Circus had the crowd howling with laughter during their naked paddle board slapstick comedy act, leaving the judges no choice but to throw their support behind the guys as well. Howie particularly loved the group, calling their act “tremendous.” Heidi called them her favorite act of the day.
9:41 p.m. – Next up was singer Kylie Frey who comes from a rodeo family in Louisiana. She told the judges that she gained experience by singing the National Anthem for every rodeo she attended and now she’s come to the show in order to impress Simon in particular. Simon was indeed impressed, saying he “really, really” likes her as a writer and musician and that she’s “the real deal.” Heidi added that the whole band was fantastic and Sofia agreed, but Howie differed in saying that he wasn’t moved by the performance at all. Still, the three “yes” votes overruled Howie’s “no” vote for Kylie to advance.
9:52 p.m. – The last act of the night was Texan singer songwriter Sunny Chatum. He told the judges that he was inspired into learning the ukulele by Grace VanderWaal, but then got side tracked from his audition while showing the judges his dream board, appealing to Sofia with compliments, and attempting to give shout outs to friends back home. As Sunny further delayed his performance, Howie hit his red X button and the crowd began to boo instead of help him choose a song to sing. Simon hit his red X button next before the crowd began to chant “sing your song.” Sofia was the third judge to hit her red X button, but Heidi held out until Simon started to beg for the audition to begin. When Sunny moved to “tune up real quick,” Heidi hit her red X button and sealed Sunny’s fate as an eliminated contestant. At that point, Sunny removed a mustache to reveal herself as a comedian that Howie was impressed by in the likes of Andy Kaufman. Heidi stuck to her “no,” but both Sofia and Simon reversed their opinions to “yes” in order to give her the support she needed to move through to the next round of the competition.
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