“America’s Got Talent” aired the last round of Judge Cuts last night on NBC with Seal as a guest judge. Things are getting serious for the remaining contenders as the last group of seven acts earned passes to the Live Shows and other acts went home. Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Mel B., and Howie Mandel arguably made their toughest cuts yet. Seal pressed AGT’s final Golden Buzzer for Flint, Michigan native Johnny Manuel in an intense moment which included reprising a snippet of his Whitney Houston audition cover at Simon’s request following this week's performance.
Puppy Love Pair Impresses the Panel
Cute young dancers Artyon and Paige kicked things off with an adorable (and well-executed) dance routine to “Dirty Dancing” theme, “Time of Our Life.” It was impossible not to compare them to a mini version of Seal and Heidi and of course, the judges couldn’t resist the opportunity to note it. The pint-sized partners even said they plan to get married some day! Simon wasn’t a fan of their first “Barbie” song audition. But, he won them over this round. They earned a pass through to the Live Shows. Yay!
Magicians Lose an Edge
Illusionists are so fun to watch and Will Tsai delivered a mind-boggling first audition. However, he “underwhelmed” Simon this week by changing a rock into a fish, lighting candles and making his eye change. Maybe the act didn’t have a consistent “theme.” But, it was still hard to figure out how he did the tricks. Likewise, teen magician Henry Richardson did a seemingly amazing job making Heidi’s signed playing card show up under a candy wrapper. Plus, he turned a stack of playing cards in Seal’s hand to a group of plastic cards in the blink of an eye. Despite great efforts, neither act made the cut to the Live Shows.
A Capella Amaze and DaNell Daymon & Greater Works Dazzle
How can anyone resist the glossy vocal stylings of military a capella group In The Stairwell. Once again, Simon wasn’t entirely sold on them the first time he heard them. But, they stepped up their game with a fun rendition of “Bye Bye Bye” and achieved their goal of getting a thumbs up from the British music mogul and ultimately, a pass through to the Live Shows.
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” is such a great, upbeat anthem and the inspirational 42-person choir did a fantastic job pumping up the crowd. Seal was up on his feet clapping throughout the performance and the audience happily joined in. It’s so hard for choirs to make it through in a competition like this. But, this group is awesome and infectious and we’re so glad they made it through!
Two R & B Singers Sparkle and Shine
Flint, Michigan native singer Johnny Manuel’s tenacity is so inspiring after getting dropped from his record label at a young age. He stunned the judges and audience with his Whitney Houston “I Have Nothing” audition cover. This week, he tackled Stevie Wonder’s “Premonition” and it was somewhat shocking Simon was underwhelmed. He asked Johnny to reprise a snippet of his “I Have Nothing” performance. He happily granted the request and crushed it. Seal was so impressed he smashed his Golden Buzzer. It was a beautiful, well-deserved AGT moment!
Likewise, inspirational burn survivor Kechi fought for her place in the Live Shows with a glowing rendition of Donnie Hathaway’s “A Song for You.” It was incredible! She was fantastic with her Ed Sheeran audition. But, this song really highlighted the full range and strength of her voice. She earned a well-deserved spot to the Live Shows as well.
Young robotic dancer Merrick Hanna rounded out the seven acts who survived elimination this week. His expressiveness and storytelling skills through his dance captivated the audience and judges. We can’t wait to see what he does next. Overall, the competition is fierce moving forward and this week’s crop of remaining contenders are clearly revved up for battle.
“America’s Got Talent” airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on NBC.