'America's Got Talent' season 13, episode 4 recap: An inspiring opener, a daunting challenge and a Golden Buzzer close
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“America’s Got Talent” aired a new round of stunning auditions last night (June 19) on NBC. This week, an amazing crop of young singers wowed the audience and AGT judges, including a vibrant children’s choir, a 13-year-old boy who delivered a dog-winning performance, a 25-year-old New Yorker who exceeded expectations with a tough challenge from Simon Cowell and a soulful young girl who overcame bullying and delivered a “Natural Woman” performance that prompted Mel B to smash her Golden Buzzer.

Voices of Hope Lift Up the Crowd

It may be the first time in AGT history that a children’s choir as large as “Voices of Hope” (70 members) has performed. The kids were led by a super strong soloist who kicked off an uplifting rendition of “This is Me.” Their collective voices were lovely and their bubbly spirits and the song’s strong message was incredibly moving. Howie Mandel didn’t quite think the act was right for AGT though and was the only “no” on the judging panel. Mel B and Simon both loved them, but, advised they “up their game” for the next round. This kind of act is what the show is all about and it’s going to be fun to see these kids rise to the challenge they were given when we see them again.

Jeffrey Li Wows and Simon Promises to Buy Him a Dog

Teen singer Jeffrey Li is an only child. In his backstory, revealed his wish for a dog to keep him company. When he told the judges this, Simon promised to buy him a dog if his audition went well. Jeffrey smashed his performance of Josh Groban’s signature hit, “You Raise Me Up.” His angelic voice was awe-inspiring, and Howie likened him to be a “male Celine Dion.” He received a unanimous vote to the next round. But, even better, Simon made good on his promise and told Jeffrey they would pick out a dog together. Bravo!

An Amazing Classical Singer Crushes a Daunting Challenge

New York classical crossover singer Daniel Emmet’s charisma shined the minute he took the stage. He took a risk by singing an original classical song. While the audience loved him, and some even jumped to their feet, Simon cut him off and asked him to sing something. The problem was, he didn’t prepare another song. Simon issued a huge challenge, then, by asking him to sing a little-known song (that he later revealed was given to him by a waiter and recorded by Il Divo.)

Daniel readily accepted the challenge and to say he crushed it is an understatement. He sang the song with such power and emotion that it seemed like his own song, that he had sung for years. The amazing thing is, he learned it in just an hour. All the judges were blown away – especially Simon, who didn’t know how he would do with the song. We can’t wait to see what he does next. Of all the acts last night, he has incredible star potential. (Watch his performance below).

An Explosive Stunt and a Golden Buzzer Close

After a montage of not-so-great acts and a jaw-dropped trapeze act, daughter of last season’s daredevil act Bello Nock came to show up her stunt-loving dad. Annalise Nock called her act “the exploding coffin.” She climbed into a box that was nailed shut and survived after it was blown up by six huge sticks of dynamite. Talk about scary! Simon almost agreed to get in the box with her next time. We’ll have to see if he follows through.

Dominican Republic native teen Amanda Mena turned to music and singing to overcome bullying from not speaking English when she first came to America with her mom. She delivered a totally-poised and powerful rendition of “(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman.” Simon praised her “natural” soul and Mel B said she had “goose pimples” everywhere, then stood up and said, “Here’s to all those bullies” and smashed her Golden Buzzer, sending a shocked Amanda straight through to the Live Shows. (Watch her moving performance above).

Overall, the competition is really heating up – especially among this season’s crop of incredible singers. The bar is set incredibly high and only the best of the best will move on as the competition gets even more intense.

“America’s Got Talent” airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on NBC.