'America's Got Talent' season 12, episode 2 recap: Singers stun, Simon smashes Golden Buzzer
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“America’s Got Talent” aired the second round of auditions last night on NBC and the contenders set the bar at incredible heights. Several singers turned out among the throng of million-dollar grand prize hopefuls and delivered stunning performances. The most inspiring act, however, came at the end of the night when a deaf singer defied the odds and earned Simon Cowell’s Golden buzzer after her moving original song, “Try.”

A Dog Can Do What?

We thought nothing could top last week’s piano-playing chicken in the Amazing Animal category and then adorable little pooch Mia Moore came along this week and showed the world she can count on command. Not just by Simon Cowell, for instance, asking her to count to 16 (for which she barked 16 times!) She can also count by reading numbered flashcards! Tyra Banks randomly drew 20 out of the deck. Mia looked at it and then barked accordingly. We love, love, love this! Go Mia! We’re so thrilled she’ll be coming back for more!

A Mixed Bag of Fun

“America’s Got Talent” is fun because it’s not just a singing competition. All kinds of entertainers are featured like thrill-inducing British siblings, Billy and Emily England, who did dangerous roller-skating tricks, and charismatic chemist Nick Uhas, who proved science can be fun and exciting.

Pint-sized dancing duo Artyon and Paige tugged on our hearts. They were totally in sync, and so cute!  They smiled constantly, even when grumpy Simon complained about their Barbie song choice. Yes, this song can be irritating on repeat. But, these amazing kids deserved every bit of praise they received! Plus, Colin Cloud’s mind-bending psychic act was totally enchanting and dazzling dance troupe Diavolo kept us on the edge of our seats while they demonstrated grace and agility on their giant rocking structure.

The show also serves up its share of death-defying feats and we’re with Howie Mandel this week. We don’t really want to see one of the Azeri Brothers’ torture stunts go wrong. Props to them, though, for taking such huge risks in the name of entertainment!

Singers Deliver Stunning Performances

Overall, singers delivered some of this week's most stunning performances. After 12-year-old Grace VanderWaal’s inspirational win last season, we shouldn’t have been surprised when 9-year-old singer Angelica Hale blew the roof off with her sparkling, powerful rendition of Andra Day’s hit anthem “Rise Up.”

Hale told the judges she wants to be “the next Whitney Houston” and in our opinion, she is well on her way. She sang the song like she’s been singing it for twice as many years as she’s been alive. Plus, she injected just the right amount of emotion into the song in all the right places. It was spectacular!

Likewise, shy 21-year-old singer-songwriter Chase Goehring took us all by surprise with his cutting, emotional original song “Hurt” which was a plea to a girl in abusive relationship to leave and let him love her instead. The lyrics were brilliant and he floated through the unexpected rap in the middle with incredible ease. Mel B was moved by the song's socially-relevant subject matter. Does anyone else see a younger Ed Sheeran in Chase?

Mandy Harvey Owns the Night

Deaf singer Mandy Harvey’s emotional and inspirational backstory package revealed she lost her hearing as a teen due to a virus. She loved music and singing, and thought she would never perform again when her hearing was gone.

Mandy told her story to the judges using a sign language interpreter. She explained that she sings strictly from memory inside her head and by feeling the vibration of the music through her bare feet on the floor.

Simon asked her what the song is about and she said, “After I lost my hearing, I gave up. But, I want to do more with my life than just give up.”

She sang the vulnerable-yet-optimistic song with a massive amount of heart and a beautiful, distinct tone. The audience rose to its feet during her performance and the judges followed, with a four-judge standing ovation at the end. It was already a breathtaking AGT moment and then Simon said, “Mandy, I don’t think you’re going to need a translator for this and he smashed the Golden Buzzer.

Confetti floated down from the ceiling. Mandy cried happy tears and we bet most everyone watching needed a Kleenex too … sniff, sniff.

“America’s Got Talent” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on NBC. Stay tuned to AXS for more “America’s Got Talent” coverage.