One final round of auditions features double-dutch, singing, dancing, drumming, mind-reading and a crossover danger act from “AGT Extreme.”
The final night of auditions brought even more incredible talent to “America’s Got Talent” Season 17. If it seemed like there were more incredible acts than usual, it’s because there apparently were.
The judges went way overboard with handing out Yeses, and by the end of this final round of acts, there were a record-setting 138 of them who walked out thinking the live shows were in their future. But lately, only 36 acts have been carrying on. This season, they upped that number to a record 55 acts, but that makes for much harsher live shows than ever before, too.
We’ll get into all the nitty-gritty of that later in this piece, because we don’t want to short change this final group of auditioners, because we really did get to see some special acts and amazing people — including an 88-year-old woman who really knows how to shake her groove thang!
The night brought us some incredible breakdancing, standout piano and a truly surprising double-dutch act that took jump rope into artistry. We also saw a crossover act coming over from “AGT Extreme” and bringing their family tradition inside — but no less dangerous.
Which of these Yes votes will actually make up the Top 55 — spoiler, not all of the ones we saw tonight, even!
We do know most of the answers — and detail them below — but the Judges decided to leave one slot to America. You can check out the four acts vying for America’s Wildcard vote after we take a look at our final auditions of the season.
As with previous weeks, there was a portion of these auditions where Howie Mandel was absent so if you only see three judges’ votes, you can assume it was while he was out.
Fair warning, since I’m safe at home, I’m probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara, and Simon Cowell. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe.
And just for fun, I’m gonna rank them from worst to first to see how my favorites do and then see how they progress as we move into the live shows.
(dancer) It wasn’t much of an act, but we appreciated the bawdy nature of it as 88-year-old Penny stripped and kind of danced within her patriotic theme. Terry with the red, white and blue streamers at the end was the perfect cap to an adorable audition. But there’s nowhere else for it to go.
Results: [[Apparently Yes]]
(singer) So this was a bizarre act with Emily coming out and then singing some low notes with a clearly masculine voice. Turns out it was her husband offstage singing, and then even talking. So it was … human ventriloquism? Like, that’s it? Apparently, her talent is improv lip synch. So that’s … interesting? Oh, and that question mark below? That is Simon’s actual verdict.
(dancers) There was definitely a sense of fun with the formations and visual images these five dancers made, but we didn’t see anything particularly mind-blowing or challenging. Even their formations were just a bit sloppy, too. We love fun formations, but if they’re not paired with incredible dance moves then it’s more of a novelty comedy routine than an actual dance crew.
(acrobats) We’ve seen these types of balancing acts before, but not with the stronger guy walking across the stage, climbing down the front and approaching the judges — all while the smaller guy is balancing atop his head. The strength and control from both men to achieve this simple feat is astounding to even imagine. The ladies were far more impressed with the act than the guys, though, for some reason. Yes, we’ve seen this kind of balancing, but the amount of control they displayed really was more than we’ve seen before.
(drummer) A guy in a cow costume, complete with rubber mask, drumming on buckets shouldn’t be this good, but Mr. Moo Shakes could really shake it down. He has great rhythm and a real performance technique as a drummer that was very compelling. We’d love to see more variety in his instruments of choice, but with the skill he possessed, it could be a very interesting “Stomp” type experience if he leans into the found objects percussion.
(breakdancer) Classic breakdancing with a lot of power and control. With just a few moments glimpsed of what he could do, the flips and jumps and sticking the landing so solidly every time speaks to his training and commitment at this craft. What we saw had some great classic elements, with a lot of his various martial arts influences mixed in which helps him stand out.
(singer) A very different sound for a 16-year-old to sing and write. Simon made a good call having her ditch the cover and deliver an original as it gave us a better sense of who she is as an artist and how she sees herself using her voice. We’d love to see her on something with a bit more of an uptempo vibe to it so she doesn’t rely on runs so much, but there’s no denying that she has this beautifully haunted quality to her voice. Even more impressively, she’s never experienced what she wrote and sang about it and yet it was believable.
(danger act) Michelangelo got sick before they could compete on the “AGT Extreme” finals — after earning a spot there — so they came to “AGT” proper to give themselves a second chance. This time, though it’s still their signature sway poles, the act is happening inside. It makes it seem even higher and yet claustrophobic at the same time! While we were promised new and exciting stunts, we didn’t really get that. It’s an impressive act that they do, but this somehow didn’t feel as dangerous as we’ve seen before from them or other danger acts. We did dig the downward slide to wrap it all up, but wanted more while they were up top.
(singer) Bay attacked “Biblical” like he’d written it for himself. It was such a confident performance from someone who knows the full stretch of his range — which is quite impressive — as well as how to pull out the best moments in a performance. He had this audience right where he wanted them with falsetto moments and soaring power notes throughout. He revealed an opera background and you could sense that, though this wasn’t operatic by any means. But his breath control and command was definitely enhanced by that training.
(pianist) We only got a few moments of David’s incredible performance, but there was so much artistry in how he attacked this piece, and all of those little subtle things like how hard he hit the keys at times and the delicacy of his closing moment revealed just how much vision he has with how he presents his talent. It looked and sounded fantastic.
(mentalists) A very impressive and slick mentalist production with Marina, the wife, outside with Terry while her husband was on stage with the judges. It was fun when she was able to predict Sofia’s remaining battery power, but it got much stronger when she was able to detail an audience memory chosen at random and seen only by Heidi. Even better, Heidi gave up nothing during her descriptions, standing like a statue until she was done describing the memory to perfection. We love that it’s so hard to see how these acts are done, and they’re always mesmerizing.
(jump rope) This was more of a performance dance routine incorporating jump rope than traditional double dutch. It had so much character and a lot of impressive tricks between the rope. The chemistry between the five performers really enhanced the whole audition as well, leaving us feeling enchanted the whole time. Double dutch has been around a long time and there are definitely some talented people with it, but so few bring it to shows like this and make it into something memorable. On top of that, it looked like they got through their entire routine without any errors, which is incredible.
(singer) Audrey has absolutely no idea how special of a talent she is. That voice is blues and jazz and so sultry and rich and textured and … we’re running out of words. We could ride the waves of her vibrato alone for hours and feel fulfilled. She gave us a hint of a sweet head voice, a bit of growl but mostly stayed in this incredible pocket vocally that was so layered it felt like it had already been run through every trick in the recording studio to bring out the best. As soon as she finished, she burst into tears, overwhelmed by the response because she just doesn’t know. Well, hopefully she starts to believe it now. That’s the magic stuff.
From 138 acts who got the Yes verdict (a record high) from the panel, only 55 were actually going to advance to the live shows (including the six Golden Buzzers) — but 55 is a lot of acts, and way more than the usual 36 acts that advance from this stage. That also means that the five live qualifying rounds will be more cutthroat than ever before.
Each week, 11 acts will perform in front of the judges, but only two will advance. America will advance just one act through their votes, with the judges saving one more act from those that landed in the second through fourth positions with viewers. So all the votes will matter, but it gives the judges some say in curating the best Finals they can.
After five weeks, the Top 10 will stand revealed for the Finals. But one more act will join them as the “Final Wildcard” with an Instant Save vote on the final Wednesday of the competition. But they won’t be choosing from all the eliminated contestants. Instead, the judges will each pick one act they’d like to see get a second chance and it is from those acts that America will choose.
But America also gets to vote right now, with four acts already vying for the final spot to advance into the Top 55 — and these acts could not be more different. You can check them out below and vote HERE:
- Sword swallower Auzzy Blood grossed out Sofia and promised he’d break a world record if he comes back.
- Born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita and confined to a wheelchair, Ben Waites inspired the judges and blew them away with his powerful singing voice with plenty of gospel influence.
- Debbii Dawson reinterpreted ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” into a coffee house vocal showcase that was beautifully intimate and raw at the same time.
- Jordan Conley was easily one of the most engaging comedians we saw, with a geat set about his mother’s discipline being like a horror movie. He’s likable and charming and very funny.
- Terry: Avery Dixon (saxophonist)
- Group: Chapel Hart (singers)
- Heidi: Lily Meola (singer)
- Howie: Madison Taylor Baez (singer)
- Sofia: Mayyas (dancers)
- Simon: Sara James (singing)
- ACAPOP! Kids (singers)
- Aiko Tanaka (comedian)
- Amanda Mammana (singer)
- Amazing Veranica & Her Incredible Friends (dog act)
- Amoukanama (acrobats)
- Aubrey Burchell (singer)
- Ava Swiss (singer)
- Bayley Graham (tap dancer)
- Ben Lapidus (comedian/singer)
- Blade2Blade (knife throwing)
- The Brown Brothers (impressionists/singers)
- Celia Muñoz (ventriloquist/singer)
- Cline Twins (hockey trick shots)
- Don McMillan (comedian)
- Drake Milligan (singer)
- Duo Rings (aerialists)
- Freckled Zelda (singer)
- Funkanometry (dancers)
- Fusion Japan (dancers)
- Harper (singer)
- Hayden Kristal (comedian)
- Jack Williams (ventriloquist)
- Jannick Holste (magician/dancer)
- Jojo and Bri (singers)
- Kristen Cruz (singer)
- Kristy Sellars (pole dancer)
- Lace Larrabee (comedian)
- The Lazy Generation (stunt artists)
- Lee Collinson (singer)
- Max Ostler (dancer)
- Merissa Bedows (impressionist/singer)
- Mervant Vera (magician/rapper)
- MetaPhysic Synthetic Media (artificial intelligence)
- Mia Morris (singer)
- Mike E. Winfield (comedian)
- MPLUSPLUS (LED dancers)
- Mr. Pants (comedian)
- Nicolas RIBS (magician)
- Oleksandr Yenivatov (contortionist)
- The Pack Drumline (drumline)
- Players Choir (choir)
- Shu Takada (yo-yo artist)
- Stefanny and Yeeremy (salsa dancers)
- Travis Japan (boy band)
- urbancrew (Flyers of the South (acrobats/dancers)
- Wyn Starks (singer)
- XOMG POP! (girl group)
- Yu Hojin (magician)
“America’s Got Talent” goes live and expands to Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.