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A New Golden Buzzer is Born on AMERICA’S GOT TALENT Season 18 Premiere Recap!

Pictured: Pictured: (l-r) Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Terry Crews, Sofia Vergara, Simon Cowell, Mzansi Youth Choir -- Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

Wow!! A whole lot happened in the “America’s Got Talent” (AGT) season 18 premiere episode!  There were a variety of acts from mediocre, to bad, to excellent, to extraordinary!  A balancing act that seemed similar to Bello Sisters, but had multiple mishaps, an extremely gifted young singer, then we had a special choir tribute to Nightbirde, a shout-out to Beyonce (who apparently watches AGT),  and finally, a brand new Golden Buzzer was born in this episode. It was like a season’s worth of events in this premiere episode.

AGT fans can be happy that all of the regular judges and host returned for the 18th season.  They are: Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, and Sofia Vergara.  These judges, overall, are very nice.  Except when the act is really bad!  We saw this with a far-out act that consisted of the contestant who flew from Japan just to land a remote controlled helicopter on a landing strip placed on his behind. 

Other acts we saw were a back flipping Dinosaur, a brilliant young singer, a talented comedian, then an incredible choir from South Africa, who’s dedication to previous singer contestant and part of AGT’s legacy and family, Jane “Nightbirde” was beyond words and brought back memories for Simon Cowell. 

TREX FLIPS (Variety Act)

Pictured: Trex Flips — Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

Simon and Sofia didn’t take him seriously from the first sight when the act came onto the stage dressed in a head-to-toe dinosaur costume.  Sofia almost immediately said “no.”  His act is called “Trex Flips”  and he’s a back-flipping Dinosaur that managed to get a standing ovation from ALL of the judges after it was all said and done.  Sofia said she was happy that she didn’t say “no” to him.  Simon asked “when was the moment when you went ‘I know what I want to do?'”  He answered if he could change his job to something he wants to do and enjoy.  Howie said he was surprised and he is “the ultimate surprise.”  Not just the dancing, but the ability to flip, Howie finished.  All of the judges gave him “yes” votes.  

PHILIP BOWEN (Violinist)

Philip told the judges that he was inspired by Itzhak Perlman.  Howie told Philip that that’s his cousin.  Philip was pleasantly surprised by that information.  He’s a father of three and wants to show them that it’s never too late to chase down a dream.  Philip’s parents were watching with pride from the audience, and teared-up multiple times as they watched his audition.  Philip played the violin with a background track.  

Simon said he wasn’t expecting that, he has so much talent and charisma and he made his parents so proud.   Sofia said she was crying a little bit because she sees how important it is for him.  “This is the place where you’re supposed to be.”  Howie gave him his first “yes” followed by three other “yes” votes. 


Pictured: Steel Panther — Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

Steel Panther has been together for 40 years. They sang a catchy tune “Eyes of a Panther.”  By the end of their set all of the judges were standing on their feet.  Simon reacted “that’s how you do it.”  Howie said “wow, wow” and it felt like the most amazing shortened festival.  Heidi loved the high notes that the lead singer, Michael Starr, hit.  

Sofia said she has seen them before because her husband hired them for his birthday.  Howie said “you just do whatever you feel you want to do… it’s so clear that you’ve been doing this for a long time.” Simon called the whole audition “brilliant.” 

Other acts were an older male pole dancer with no pzazz named Allan Reinikka.  Then a rainbow clown act, Nancy LeFancy, who opened an umbrella and shook her behind. She also got “x”s on her audition.

THREE G (Acrobatic Act)

“Three G” is made up of three women gymnasts (balancers) from Ukraine.  They were inspired by the ‘Got Talent’ show in Ukraine.  What they do “is very dangerous.”  They’ve been working as a group for two years. 

In the same vein as the Bello Sisters, this trio gymnastic team of young women tried very hard, but had multiple missteps.  After balancing each their bodies atop of each other, one of them fell three times. But, every time, the women got up and started again.  Howie said the moves that they were trying to complete were “far more dangerous and far more skilled” than he has seen.  Howie said it doesn’t matter that they fell down, but that they kept getting back up. Sofia said the part that they did was “spectacular.”  Heidi said it was incredible and please don’t feel bad that it didn’t happen the way they had planned, and she still loves the three of them

Simon said “the act in my opinion showed us more about you than anything else. ” He said others would have given up and it made them “more human.”  Simon said “this act belongs on this stage.”  They still managed to get four “yes” votes.  Simon said for him it showed how difficult the act is.


Trigg Watson is 33-years-old from Los Angeles.  He combined his tech background with his passion for magic.  “I’m here to show 16-year-old Trigg that all of his dreams have come true.”  Simon already  did not look impressed.   Trigg’s trick was making objects come out of various videos playing on a monitor that included Heidi, Howie and Terry Crews.  Objects like Heidi’s and Howie’s glasses, Terry’s shirt, and a little boy’s orange juice just popped out of the screen. That was the moment that Simon did look impressed. 

Trigg got a standing ovation from everyone.  Howie exclaimed, I’ve never seen anything more amazing, more jaw dropping, incredible.  He said he thinks Trigg can win with that.  Sofia reacted “this is so different” and AGT is the perfect place to come with this.  Heidi said it was “well-done” and “amazing.”  Simon said that act itself, he loved it and it was “brilliant.”  Simon asked if it’s his goal to have his own Vegas show?  Trigg said his dream is to create something that no one has seen before.  

KOZO (Variety Act)

Kozo is from Japan.  He works as a caregiver at a facility for disabled people.  His dream was to be a fire-fighter.  But, he failed the exam.  Kozo’s trick was getting a remote control helicopter to land on his bottom.

The crowd cheered, and Simon genuinely reacted “am I missing something?”  Sofia said “it was creative.  But the landing was not for AGT.”  His response was “it was windy.”   Simon said “you’ve flown in all the way from Japan, to do that?”  Simon reacted, “without being rude, I can do that.”  Howie called it “original, interesting, I was at the edge of my seat.  I liked it.”  And, Howie was a “yes” vote.  Then Simon said, “yes” it’s a no! Heidi and Sofia also voted “no.”  Kozo wanted to do it one more time. Simon assured him that it would NOT make a difference.


Pictured: D’Corey Johnson — Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

D’Corey is an 11-year-old singer from Kentucky.  He wants to be on Broadway and in movies.  He likes Simon Cowell for “keeping it real” like his “mama.”  

His voice sounded like butter as he sang “Open Arms” song by Journey.  He got a standing ovation from the audience before he ended his performance.  Then, the judges stood.  Simon asked him to sing up to the chorus without the backing track. 

It was a good call, because his voice was stellar and we could hear the range of his voice.  Afterwards D’Corey was in tears.  Sofia said he has a place on Broadway.  Howie said he is so much better without the background track.  Heidi agreed, and that it’s good Simon took the music away because the music was in the way. 

Simon said D’Corey has such a distinctive great voice and he’s going to get better and better. “Things are just going to be amazing for you.” SImon gave him his first “yes.”  All four “yes” votes.  Simon said his timing was off, and that was why he wanted to hear him without the track.

SHADOW ACE (Shadow Puppets)

Shadow Ace is from the Philippines.  He said he’s going to revive a lost art, Shadow puppets.  He said growing up they didn’t have electric power, so it was like entertainment to play shadow puppets in the candlelight.

His favorite artist is Beyonce. He said he knows she’s watching AGT and it’s his dream to meet Beyonce.  He gave her a shout-out.  Then,  after his shadow act, he got a standing ovation from all of the judges included Simon who also gave him a thumbs up.

Sofia called it “a real show. Spectacular.”  Simon called it the opposite of boring.  “It’s fun, original, silly, stupid.  All the things that I love.”  Heidi said it was just fun. We were laughing and you had us entrained the whole time.  Howie said people are just going to want to see more and more, and more.  Simon said he really likes him, and it’s his imagination. “You are very talented.”  He had four “yes” votes.  


Orlando is a comedian from Florida.  He said his Improv teacher told him he wasn’t good at Improv, and he should try stand-up.  He said host Terry is over there in the wings giving “motivation talks” and he has a Ted Talk coming up.  His jokes included being married and jokes about visiting Yellowstone park related to the show by the same name.

Simon told him “you are really funny” and it seemed like he was telling them something that really happened.  He responded it did.  Sofia said she’s so glad that his wife helped him start his career.  Howie asked how long he had been doing stand-up?  He answered 13 years.  Howie called him like a fine wine.  

Simon told the other judges that he doesn’t think anyone’s ever  come to AGT and plugged another show during their audition!


Mzansi Youth Choir are from South Africa.  Simon asked about how it started.  They said there was a little bit of a sad story.  A couple was carjacked.  They saw an opportunity to guide young people, and started that choir.  When Simon asked why AGT?  He answered because AGT inspires and gives hope to the people.  

They sang Nightbird’s song.  The same song that she auditioned with.  Simon recognized it and so did the other judges.  They did a tremendous job and everyone was standing and in tears by the end of their performance.

Howie said I’ll always remember Nightbirde and to see it touched people on the other side of the world.  They said they were very inspired and touched by her story.  The song has been a pillar of strength and that’s why they decided to sing the song.

Simon was choked-up and stated that it brought back so many memories for him. “I know how much this would have…meant to her.  Right until the end, she was so passionate about sharing her music.” He called it an amazing tribute that was “breath-taking.”  The audience was chanting “Golden Buzzer…Golden Buzzer!”  Simon said we’ve discussed this, but we’ve always thought about giving the audience something.  

All of the judges and host pushed the Golden Buzzer that was for the audience and for Jane.  A new Golden Buzzer was born!  A fifth judge, Golden Buzzer. 

Pictured: Pictured: (l-r) Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Terry Crews, Sofia Vergara, Simon Cowell, Mzansi Youth Choir — Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC




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