AGT Fifth Judge: Plucked from Audience to Golden Buzzer -- Plus, Who Got Simon Cowell to Sing?!

Once again, “America’s Got Talent” is bringing it with next-level acts that clearly spent the two years in quarantine honing their unique talent — not everyone can shove a hook through their nose and drag two judges across the stage!

This second night of auditions also saw a sexy aerialist that proved just how dangerous a wet, slippery bathtub could be, an undead dance troupe and another group of dancers formed when two rival groups came together to create a new “Fusion.”

Another act figured out a way to get Simon Cowell to sing his heart out, while there were multiple musical acts that left our hearts in our throats and tears in our eyes. One included the return of a breakout singer from a vocal group two years ago singing alongside his young cousin.

But the biggest moment of the night was when a contestant was literally plucked from the audience by the judges during the commercial break (where they often invite audience members to sing) and ultimately invited to audition. It became one of the biggest moments of the young season so far!

Fair warning, since I’m safe at home, I’m probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara, and Simon Cowell. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe.

And just for fun, I’m gonna rank them from worst to first to see how my favorites do and then we can see how you did — i.e., if you agreed with me.

(comedian) “You kind of critiqued your own audition, didn’t you,” SImon Cowell asked Anthony after he sang about comedy songs not really being all that funny. We didn’t get to see the whole audition, but we certainly didn’t see anything funny. It looks like only Howie was in it for the duration, but he’s always willing to give comedians a chance. Still, this one was not funny, and his voice was just okay at best.

Results: N, X, X, X

(singer) Waylon has a respectable following on his social media pages as a singer. His original song, though, was pretty ridiculous and from the brief snippet we heard, he wasn’t singing it that well, either. Perhaps the whole thing was an intentional joke for his socials?

Results: X, X, N, X

(scientist/bodybuilder) He said he was going to show an experiment, then ripped off his shirt to show off his “abs clapping,” which really is a sight to behold and like nothing we’ve ever seen. But other than an incredibly ripped physique, where does the act go? You can’t clap your abs every round and win a million dollars. Clearly, this was a moment for eye candy, though, as the ladies obviously were all in and Simon sided with the enthusiastic audience. We still don’t see how he can advance the act — maybe he’ll take his pants off in the next round so he can flex his leg muscles, too?

Results: N, Y, Y, Y

(comedian) The impression was pretty solid — not great, but solid — but the jokes were so corny, most dads would reject them. This was just not good on any level, other than the fact he had the mannerisms down, the vocal tics and kind of looks like him.

Results: N, N, N, N

(we’re not sure what this is) Zeno can put things through his nose and through his mouth. He showed it with a massive corkscrew and then again with a hook, which he attached to a cart and pulled Heidi Klum and Sofia Vergara across the stage with. But that appears to be the extent of his act. He has a very cool, sinister look, and an effectively silent stage presence, but the act seems pretty limited.

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

(dancers) Points for creativity, and the brief top-down view we got showed the precision and synchronicity of these undead dancers, but the whole piece lacked enough cohesive story or tension to really capture us … at least in the brief snippets we got. But we love the innovation of the concept. We just needed better execution.

Results: X, X, X, X

(comedian) With a very sweet delivery, Aiko certainly had good command of the crowd, but she needs to sharpen up her narrative and some of her jokes. We weren’t feeling them hit as hard as the judges, the crowd and definitely Terry Crews, who was loving it from the curtains. Look, she’s funny and she’s got potential, but there were some slow parts and the routine felt a little disjointed. This stage has definitely seen stronger acts. She comes across like someone who’s pretty new to standup, still working out their stage persona. She also has that hunger about her that makes us believe she could develop into a great standup — she’s just not all the way there yet.

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

(chicken trainer) What started as an act with one chicken culminated in a literal rock-and-roll band. This had us smiling all the way through, helped by how endearing and sweet Zoe is as a person and a presence on stage. But we were genuinely impressed at how well trained her chickens were (we’ve no idea how much you can train one, but we were fully mesmerized from start to finish). At the end, when they were all actually playing their instruments, we were sold!

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

(deepfake engineers) Daniel Emmet, a singer from “AGT” four years ago, joined the two guys who make up this company online to showcase what it is that they do. It was an incredible display of their technology, which digitized Daniel’s face, transforming it into Simon Cowell in real time for a live performance. We’ve seen how far deepfake technology has come, but we’ve never seen it rendered live and with this level of eerie accuracy before. It’s impressive for this show, and the company, but potentially terrifying for the real world. Live interviews faked? Is nothing real? We’re not sure we’ll ever be able to trust our eyes again!

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

(singer) Comparing this opportunity to his idol Elvis Presley, and even The Beatles, appearing on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” Drake was hoping this could help him break through the noise of Nashville and kickstart his career. With an original track that has all the signature narrative and lyrical tricks of a typical country song, Drake certainly came with a lot of style, a great vocal sound and definitely wearing that Elvis influence on his sleeve, and in his moves. The bottom line, though, is he sounds great, he’s got a great look, a lot of energy and writes a catchy, authentic country track. He sounds ready to us.

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

(dancers) This viral dance duo is trying to take their online fame to the next level on America’s biggest stage. They are definitely natural performers, hamming it up from the moment they (slow) walked out. And that continued through their entire audition, which turned out to be a tremendous amount of fun from start to finish. They almost overshadowed their genuine dance skill with all the personality, but that’s a good problem to have. It means the core of what they do is so smooth, you almost forget how technically strong they are. That synchronicity was on point and their moves were great.

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

(singer) Madison (and Terry Crews, per Showbiz Cheat Sheet []) pulled a fast one on the judges, dropping “America’s anthem girl” into the audience where she could participate in the break-time shenanigans of offering to sing a cappella to fill time. Singing “Amazing Grace,” the young actress — who starred as young Selena in Netflix’s “Selena: The Series” — blew everyone away, getting invited to audition on the spot by Simon, she sang the song again, blew everyone away again and scored Howie’s Golden Buzzer.

While the edit made it look like the whole thing was a production fake-out, and Terry Crews even said she was there to audition, an audience member told CheatSheet that only Crews was in on it, hoping the judges would spot her when she started singing. He’d apparently met her earlier that day before taping began. The audience member further argued on Reddit that paperwork was signed on the spot so she could sing, and then after when she carried through. So maybe she was a plant to play with the judges and maybe not, but she is definitely a huge talent. A super-fan of “AGT,” Madison said that she’d been wanting to be on the show since she was four years old and had attended several tapings. If she was a plant, would she have gotten the Golden Buzzer through a traditional audition appearance? We’ll never know!

Results: [Howie’s Golden Buzzer]

(dancers) Two rival dance troupes in Japan that have made appearances on several talent shows and dance competitions joined forces to create a new fusion. What really worked about it is the intricate, rapid-fire moves of the Sisters was perfect to mask the various setup moments for the guys as they went into impressively challenging stunts. There was so much strength and precision with the guys, while the women matched them strength for strength, but offered beautiful synchronicity, painting pictures with their collective formations throughout. Paired with the red and black garb, it was a visual feast.

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

(singers) Jojo is back after competing in 2020 with Resound, this time performing alongside his young niece, Bri. From his season, we knew that JoJo was a vocal force to be reckoned with, but Bri reckoned with him and took him on note for note with a beautiful shared moment on the stage. It took her a few bars to shake off her nerves and own her own greatness, but at her tender age that’s to be expected. She also was smiling a bit too much, affecting her enunciation, but again we take that to the bigness of this moment. Both of them have incredible, big, powerful voices and everything was in flawless harmony going from strength to strength individually and apart.

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

(aerialist) The bathtub full of water certainly added an element of sensuality to this danger act, but it also made it that much more dangerous! Viviana was one of the strongest aerialist we’ve seen to date on this show, with incredible upper body strength catapulting her body through amazing flips and maneuvers. The first two rises felt a tad repetitive, but after that, each one was more and more intricate. On top of that, her showmanship in owning the sexiness of the routine was absolutely on point. She put on a show that had us captivated from the start, with a skill and challenge level that was through the roof.

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

“America’s Got Talent” continues Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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