- The auditions for this season of “America’s Got Talent” are finally over.
- Competitors included an elderly burlesque dancer, an “awesome” singer and a father-daughter stunt duo.
- The judges reduced the number of acts from 138 to 54, with America deciding which acts get the last spot.
After several weeks, the last audition episode of this season of “America has talent” has arrived – which means the judges are about to make some very tough cuts.
But before Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Sofia Vergara gave their final thoughts on which successful acts would move on to the next round, a final group of contestants took the stage in an effort to impress them with their initial auditions.
One such candidate was singer Bay Turner, who sang opera and is now a legal assistant. He shared that surgery to remove two benign tumors in his chest changed his singing career.
“The operation was supposed to be super routine, and the anesthesiologist cut my vocal cord and paralyzed it,” he said. “I spent countless hours using vocal teachers to help me find my voice.”
Turner said he hopes his story can inspire others who are going through difficult times.
“Sometimes when life gets you down, you have to kick up your boots and just figure it out,” he added. “Go on. So that’s what I did.”
He sang a haunting rendition of “Biblical” by Calum Scott to massive applause from the audience.
“It was so powerful and your voice has such range,” Mandel said. “We can feel you singing.
Klum remarked that Turner had this “extra special” star quality, and Cowell predicted that “people are going to love him.”
“You seemed very nervous at first,” Vergara said. “And then it was like all that nervousness went away. It was very special.”
He got four yeses, sending him to the next round.
Simon Cowell interrupts the teenager’s audition after a few seconds. Then she stuns him
Another singer hoping to impress the judges with her audition was Camille K. The 16-year-old from New Jersey started off with a smooth rendition of Let’s fall in love with the night by FINNEAS.
But she appeared to have only managed a few seconds into the song when the notoriously hard-to-please Cowell cut her off.
“It was OK,” he said. “You have a great voice. My only issue is that we need to do something more remarkable, so I’m curious what your handwriting sounds like.”
She then sang an original called “Still in Love,” which she wrote about loving someone who broke your heart.
Cowell called her performance “beautiful” and Klum said the singer “just had that gift”.
Vergara surpassed Cowell with his praise.
“I thought your voice was way beyond beautiful,” she said. “It was spectacular.”
Tears streamed down the singer’s cheeks as she got unanimous yeses from the judges.
Simon Cowell praises singer Aubrey Burchell as an ‘absolute genius’
Aubrey Burchell also took to the stage hoping to impress the judges with her voice. The Target employee, who allegedly participated in “American Idol” in 2018, shared that she was recently diagnosed with autism.
“I want to show other young autistic people who are suffering in silence that you can follow your passion and not go in the box and do what you do,” she said.
She gave an emotional performance of “Call Out My Name” by The Weeknd which left her in a puddle of tears at the end.
“You really have a fantastic, fantastic voice,” Klum said. “You really have the pipes, and it sounds good.”
Cowell took his compliment even further.
“The fact that you made this song your version was awesome. Absolute genius,” he said. “Was every note perfect? No, it didn’t matter. Because I truly believe we’re just witnessing someone’s career about to skyrocket.”
Vergara said Burchell could win the entire competition.
She got a yes from all four judges.
Howie Mandel booed for rejecting jaw-dropping acrobatic duo
The judges also made controversial choices about who they let through and who they eliminated.
When the judges were divided on whether or not to send acrobatic duo The LADS to the next round, the audience went wild over Mandel, who was the deciding vote. (Klum and Vergara voted yes, while Cowell voted no, calling the act “a bit slow.”)
For their act, one member of The Lads was balancing on the head of the other, with only his hand to support him. The member beneath him walked with him on his head all the way up the stage and up some stairs, much to the shock of the audience.
Yet Mandel was not sold.
“It’s season 17, and we need originality, and we need it to explode, and it wasn’t explosive for me,” he said. “That wasn’t a wow.”
The audience booed Mandel. But was that enough to change his mind?
“OK, okay, okay, I hear you,” the judge told the crowd, appearing to relent. “I heard them. But I don’t care. It’s a no.”
So if The Lads failed to impress the judges, what novelty acts did they earn their approval?
A cow drumming on buckets and an old burlesque dancer, apparently.
Penny Starr cracks judges up before slapstick act, Mr. Moo Shakes is utterly entertaining
Penny Starr, Sr., an 88-year-old widow who said she had six husbands who are all deceased, charmed the judges with her lively sense of humor. When Cowell asked her if she would consider getting married a seventh time, she said yes, but “it takes time to break them in.”
She then performed a striptease that a delighted Vergara called “so unexpected.”
“Penny, I want to be you when I grow up,” Vergara said, adding, “We never know what’s coming next.”
“Penny, if you were to move forward, would more clothes come off?” inquired Cowell.
” Oh yes ! Absolutely ! star replied
Another performer, Mr. Moo Shakes donned a cow mask and overalls while rapidly drumming on piles of buckets.
Although Klum turned it down, the other judges saw something in the bovine that she didn’t.
“I like things that are a little silly and good, and my son Eric is going to like you,” Cowell said, utterly elated. “It’s a yes.”
Father-Daughter Duo Return After AGT: Extreme Dreams Are Derailed
The episode also saw the return of two familiar faces: father-daughter stunt duo The Nerveless Nocks. The pair returned after competing on “America’s Got Talent: Extreme” where they were unable to make the final due to the father’s illness.
The duo upped the ante for their audition act, climbing two long, wobbly poles and standing precariously near the judges’ table. No safety nets or harnesses appeared to be used in their act.
After performing a few nerve-wracking tricks high up from the top, the pair slide down the poles in freefall, stopping just short of hitting the ground.
“I’m exhausted,” said a relieved Klum. “You are fantastic, and you make us want more.”
“I think what you did at that time was amazing,” Cowell added.
The duo got unanimous yeses.
Judges cut competition in half – but there’s a twist
Now that this season’s auditions are over, the judges have a tough job to do.
Host Terry Crews, Cowell, Mandel and Klum all met at Cowell’s home in Malibu to analyze the 138 acts that got enough yeses in their auditions and pick 55 to advance to the next round.
Vergara “couldn’t have been here,” Crews said, but she sent her notes in the form of a massive, bedazzled binder.
“We’ve never said yes to so many people,” Klum said.
After a hushed deliberation that took place off-camera, the judges said they had chosen 54 acts to keep in the competition.
As for that final slot, it’s up to America’s vote to decide which act takes it.
“AGT” fans have until Friday at 7 a.m. ET to vote online for “America’s Wild Card,” which will win the last remaining spot in the competition. Cast for the spot are singer Ben Waites, singer Debii Dawson, sword swallower Auzzy Blood and stand-up comedian Jordan Conley.