COMPETITION show America’s Got Talent (AGT) has returned for Season 17 with a slew of incredible talents vying for a $1million prize and the chance to perform in Las Vegas.
Tuesday night’s premiere ended on a heartwarming note as the show’s host Terry Crews told saxophone player Avery Dixon that he “touched the hearts” of everyone in the room.
The host hit the golden button and sent Avery, 21, straight to the live shows in a touching moment where audience members and judges alike were seen shedding tears over Avery’s story of overcoming insecurities and middle-school bullies.
The episode kicked off to an odd start as one singer songwriter, Ben Lapidus, took the stage and surprised everyone with a song called Parmesan Cheese that brought the audience to their feet.
Despite all judges voting against the contestant, the pasta lover continued to lead the audience in the chorus, singing, “I always want more parmesan but I’m embarrassed.”
After the audience’s participation, judge Simon Cowell said that he “wanted to kill” Ben for getting The Parmesan Song stuck in his head – but the tune’s catchiness caused him and the other judges to change their votes and advance Ben to the next round of the competition.
Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Sofía Vergara and Howie Mandel are back to assess the talents battling for the win, awarding golden buzzers, and avoiding the red buzzer that indicates the end of the road for some.
Read our America’s Got Talent live blog for updates…
Who won AGT last year?
Season 16 of America’s Got Talent concluded in September 2021, with a new champion.
Dustin Tavella was the champion, becoming the third magician to do so after Mat Franco in season 9 and Shin Lim in season 13.
“Thank you guys so much. This is absolutely amazing,” Tavella said at the time.
“Before ‘AGT,’ I just never could’ve imagined my two worlds colliding – My passion for my magic and my story about my family.”
Terry Crews hits GOLDEN BUTTON!
Host Terry Crews told Avery Dixon that he “touched the hearts” of everyone in the room.
The host hit his own golden button to send the saxophone player with a heartbreaking story straight to the live shows.
Simon tells sax player he can ‘be loud’
One young saxophone player, Avery Dixon, said that he began learning his instrument in middle school to distract him from bullies who made fun of his looks and his voice.
Avery said that if he won, he would use the money to buy a new living space for his family because the neighbors called the police on him recently for practicing his saxophone.
“Here, you can be as loud as you’d like,” Simon said.
‘Yo or no’
Shu Takada took the stage to impress the judges with his yo-yo talent.
After his mind-blowing audition, the four judges unanimously voted “yo.”
Comedian wins audience over
“I love older moms,” comedian Mike E Winfield started his set.
Mike made all four of the judges laugh as he talked about his experiences with dating and working in retail.
The audience howled in laughter and gave him a standing ovation.
“They love you,” Sofía Vergara said.
“You have a real star quality,” Simon Cowell advised. “I have a good feeling about you.”
A 12-year-old performer has brought four dogs in costumes onstage and told the judges that she has over 100 animals as pets.
She performed a dance routine with the toy poodles jumping over each other and doing choreography – even including a quick outfit change for one of the dogs.
Simon Cowell said that the performance was “everything.”
All judges voted yes for the young performer.
AGT tweeted out a video of the talented singer, saying that she is “redefining ventriloquism” with her original performance.
Judges sing ventriloquist’s praises
“This is the most original thing I’ve ever seen,” Howie said.
Simon said that Celia’s performance is the best original ventriloquist performance he’s ever seen.
With four yeses, the singer is progressing in the competition.
Ventriloquist shocks crowd
An opera singer from Spain is putting on a ventriloquist show and advised before her performance that “all the voices you hear are hers.”
The singer, Celia Munoz, sang an entire song without moving her mouth to form the lyrics.
She flossed her teeth and drank out of a bottle of water while continuing to sing.
Simon Cowell called the latest audition the “BEST WORST” audition ever and tweeted an edited video of the song’s chorus.
Judges change their minds
“I want to kill you right now,” Simon Cowell said to the songwriter. “It’s stuck in my head now.”
The judge said that the contestant’s chorus about parmesan became stuck in his head as the crowd sang along – causing him to change his answer from no to yes.
The other judges followed suit, sending the songwriter to the next round with three yeses.
A singer and songwriter has taken to the stage to earnestly sing a song about wanting parmesan on his spaghetti at Italian restaurants.
“Why are they so stingy? Is there a shortage of parmesan?” he sings.
All judges voted no but were met with the audience cheering for parmesan.
The pasta-loving singer led the crowd in a chorus of “I always want more parmesan but I’m embarrassed.”
Man on fire
A man took the stage and dedicated his performance to his wife before lighting himself on fire.
The fired-up contestant attempted to sing a song but was cut off by judges voting against him.
The fire was put out and the man was sent home.
‘Raise the roof’
Howie Mandel said that it was impressive that the British singer performed so well. He said that Lee Collinson “raised the roof.”
Collinson facetimed his mother and introduced them to the hosts before they excitedly gave him four yeses.
Contestant crossed the sea
Lee Collinson, 20, has taken the stage to sing a song by Dermot Kennedy.
The British singer said that he’s been emotional and nervous preparing for this performance because he lost a friend last year in lockdown, and this song reminds him of his friend.
Collinson said that he had never visited the United States before his trip to audition.
Magic comes to the stage
Mervant, a magician, said that being on this show is a “dream come true” after losing his grandmother last year, who always encouraged him to practice magic.
In his performance, Mervant rapped during his card tricks and illusions. Throughout his rap, Mervant gave shoutouts to Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum, and Terry Crews.
The magician got a standing ovation from the crowd.
XOMG POP! progresses
“Every little girl in America is gonna go crazy when they see you on AGT,” Sofia Vergara said about XOMG POP!
Simon Cowell faked out the audience by saying that he didn’t like the performance… he LOVED it.
Four yeses means that the pop group will continue to the next round of America’s Got Talent.
Girl group takes the stage
XOMG POP!, a music group created by Jess and JoJo Siwa has taken the stage.
Simon Cowell asked if the girls were planning on “world domination” and the girls responded by saying that they love music.
Jess and JoJo are shown backstage during the performance dancing and cheering for the colorful girls as they sing and dance an original song about candy hearts.
Judges expect greatness from drumline
Sofia Vergara said that she expects great things from The Pack Drumline this season.
Heidi Klum said that the performance was “sexy” and Howie Mandel told the group that he could feel their energy.
“This is exactly what this show is about,” Simon Cowell said.
The group will continue to the show’s next round after getting four yeses.
The season premiere is starting with a Chicago group called The Pack Drumline.
The percussionists/dancers are putting on an energetic show after the group’s leader, Perry, expressed his admiration for judge Simon Cowell.
The Season 17 premiere of America’s Got Talent is live NOW!
Tune in live on NBC or stream it on Hulu and Peacock.
AGT contestants who got Golden Buzzers
Throughout the seasons, there have been a number of memorable performances on AGT, but only a select few have gotten Golden Buzzers from judges and guest judges.
Some of those acts are:
- Drew Lynch from Howie Mandel in Season 10
- Freckled Sky from Howard Stern in Season 10
- Piff The Magic Dragon from Neil Patrick Harris in Season 10
- Laura Bretan from Mel B in Season 11
- Grace VanderWaal from Howie Mandel in Season 11
- Sal Valentinetti from Heidi Klum in Season 11
- Darci Lynne Farmer from Mel B in Season 12
- Mandy Harvey from Simon Cowell in Season 12
- Courtney Hadwin from Howie Mandel in Season 13
- Kodi Lee from Gabrielle Union in Season 14
- Joseph Allen from Howie Mandel in Season 14
- Christina Rae from Heidi Klum in Season 15
- Nightbirde from Simon Cowell in Season 16
What is a Golden Buzzer on AGT?
During the auditions, the four America’s Got Talent judges are given the opportunity to push the Golden Buzzer for a single act that touches them emotionally.
This action sends the artist straight to the live performances.
Guest judges are able to push the button for their favorite performance during the Judge Cuts.
Nightbirde received a Golden Buzzer from judge Simon Cowell on season 16 of the show.
How did AGT film during Covid?
Good Housekeeping received a statement from an America’s Got Talent representative who explained that the audience wasn’t entirely “live.”
“AGT filmed with a limited audience and the producers figured out a hybrid solution that combined a live audience with archival footage to bring the energy of our audience to viewers at home,” it explained.
“The live audience’s sentiment and reactions served as a guide to utilize archival footage of audiences from previous seasons and incorporate it into each episode.”
It also pointed out that production followed safety guidelines, CDC guidance, and state and local orders to pull off filming in the time of Covid-19 while still protecting judges, audience members, and the contestants.
Did AGT have a live audience in 2021?
Mask mandates in California for the Covid-19 pandemic remained in place through the audition rounds of AGT, which were filmed in March and April of 2021.
The show found a clever way of appearing to have an audience while still keeping everyone safe.
During the end credits for the show, this statement is listed: “Due to COVID health restrictions, visuals of audience featured in this episode included real and virtual shots, as well as shots from past seasons. The use of these visuals was for creative purposes only and did not impact the outcome of the judging.”
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