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Crash and Burn on AMERICA’S GOT TALENT Season 16 Quarterfinals Week 1 Recap

Pictured: The Canine Stars -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC

Twelve of the thirty-six acts that made it to the “America’s Got Talent” season 16 Live Shows performed in the first live show Monday night.  Seven of these acts will continue, and five acts will go home based on America’s votes.

In Monday’s episode, it was a nice variety of acts that ranged from singers, to a magician, variety act, dancers, and comedians.  One act who finally made it to the Live Show after years of auditioning, literally crashed and burned in this first night of live performances which took place at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.

Judge and executive producer, Simon Cowell predicted the acts who he’s betting will end up in the finals.  The judges all agreed on the last act of the night as “the one to beat.” But first, this episode got started with dogs!


Pictured: The Canine Stars — Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC

The “Canine Stars” was up first impersonating the judges – Heidi Klum, Simon Cowell, Sofia Vergara, and Howie Mandel.  Howie reacted that he believes that they “stepped it up.”  Hieid said they were “so amazing” and it was “extra, extra special.”  Sofia reacted – “what a way to open the show tonight.  You guys are amazing.”  Simon said they came to the Dolby and “you have to step the act up,” which he thought they did.   The dogs’ owner said that some of the dogs started out in the pound.  They were rescued.


Pictured: Peter Rosalita — Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC

Peter is 10-years-old and a Philippine citizen.  Peter is young, and little.  But, has a big voice.  This powerhouse singer sang a Whitney Houston song.  Simon said in his opinion, Peter will go to the next round.  “Choose a song next time that doesn’t feel like your mother chose it.”  Simon advised that he wants to hear “something younger” next time.


Simon said they are so good and what he likes is that they “are interesting” and unforgettable.  Simon predicted that they’ll be in the finals.  Howie said “the children are so amazing…so fierce.”  He doesn’t know how America is going to vote.  Heidi said everything in Texas is bigger!  “It’s true!”



Pictured: Madilyn Bailey — Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC

Madilyn from a super small town.  When she was 16-years-old,  Madilyn said she got brave enough to upload her first video of herself singing onto the internet.  She said it lead to a career online.  Madilyn sang “Titanium” song by Sia, which got her much viral success.  Madilyn played the piano while singing this song on the Dolby stage.

Simon reacted that he thought “it was absolutely brilliant…this is the best thing that you could have done for all the doubters out there.”  He added that it sounded like a record and was “outstanding.”  Howie said he liked the thing that makes her stand out when she sang the mean tweets last time.  Heidi said Madilyn got to the Live Show because of her quirkiness.  Thus, Heidi was surprised to hear Madilyn do a cover.  “But you did something beautiful.”

KABIR SINGH (Comedian)

Pictured: Kabir Singh — Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC

Kabir said he wanted to go to Los Angeles, but when his dad passed away, he stayed to make sure his mom was okay.  After his live show performance, Howie reacted that Kabir is so authentic, relatable and “a star”   Heidi said she relates because it reminds her of herself with her mom.   “You made me laugh,” said Heidi.  Sofia said she thinks he’s getting better and loves his relationship with his mother.  Simon said “you’re very likeable.”  He asked how long he’s been on the comedy circuit?  Kabir answered, 12 years, and has made a lot of sacrifices along the way to be there.  Kabir also said that it’s an absolute honor to make a better life for my mom.”  He said his mom is loving it, his newfound fame.  And relatives have come out of the woodwork.


This magician wrote his son Zander into his AGT audition act.  He said “Zander changed everything for our family.”  He said out of the blue they got a phone call asking if they’d adopt his older brother.  They did.  He said he’s going to show his family what it means to chase his dreams.

His live show performance was with a deck of cards.  Howie joined him on stage for assistance in his act.  Dustin had Howie mix a box of cards, and dumped them out. The AGT story book that he brought along predicted that there would be 21 cards faced-up.  All of the red cards were hearts, except the tenth of diamonds.

Heidi reacted that they don’t know how he did his magic.  Maybe it’s his story, makes her feel warm and special.  “Something special about his act.  Sofia sain Dustin has his own special kind of magic.  “You’re at the right place. ‘You’re supposed to be here,” Sofia told him.  Simon commented that even with “a useless assistant” (Howie) he did something amazing.  Simon told Dustin that he’s given himself a real shot at ending up in the finals of this show.

1ACHORD (Vocal Group)

They met a month and a half before their AGT audition.  They sang “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. with a Gospel twist for their live performance.  With an incredible and commanding performance, came a standing ovation from the audience and judges.

Sofia said it was a cross of rock stars and Gospel.  “I was forgetting where I was.”  Simon reacted “this has been the best performance of the night so far.”  And, “I think you guys are magic,” Simon added.  Howie said he can’t believe that they met this year.  “I would buy a ticket to your concert.”  He added “I’m a Jew and I believe!”  Heidi reacted that she could tell that they are church boys.


She was married at a comedy club in New York City.  “My life totally changed when I became a mom.  There’s a fire in me now” she said that her son lit.  She was born and raised in the South Bronx in New York.  Simon reacted that she’s “very funny.”  However, he sensed “a lot of nerves.”  Simon said “I adore you.  I think you’re very funny.”  But, he didn’t think it was better than her audition “because of nerves.”  Howie said that she was better than last time.  He knows she’s been putting in the work because he’s seen her at the comedy clubs.  “I think tonight it paid off.”  Heidi said she loves her and wants a Latina budding comedy.  Sofia said “Heidi was laughing and she never really laughs that much.”  Sofia said she’s a Latina and felt represented.


They’ve been playing for ten years.  They plan to get a bigger touring van if they win $1 million dollars.  Howie reacted that “this is what  America needs.” However, Howie said he found this song “a little underwhelming.”  Heidi disagreed and thought it “was a lot of fun.”  Heidi asked Howie, “why are you being grumpy again!?”  Sofia called them “amazing…I think you guys are unique,” and told them they are in the right place.  “I don’t care what Howie says,” said Sofia.  Simon said he really has liked everybody.  He pointed out that, “the difference between the group we had earlier which was a moment.  This was not a moment.”  Simon added,  “you’re so likeable and talented. For me I didn’t think the song was good enough.”

A band member said, “Everybody is one of a kind and Gangstagrass is a party that everybody is invited to.”

SETHWARD (Variety Act)

Sethward has auditioned for AGT many times before.  But, this season when he decided to audition as a peacock, he finally made it to the live shows.  Sethward stated, “My journey of AGT feels like I’ve been climbing uphill.  I think I could win this thing.”  He received an “x” soon after he came onto the live show stage at the Dolby.  His performance was about him trying to fly.  As part of his act, he pretended that his peacock costume caught on fire.  But, it ended up being a costume change.  He reemerged in a phoenix costume and was lifted above the stage over the flames.

Sofia said “it makes me nervous.”  Howie stated it’s amazing how he’s able to make nothing out of so much.  Heidi said “I was laughing.  But, I’m not sure at what!  Did you guys get  it?”  Heidi said it was confusing.  “I didn’t get it.”  Simon said “It was absolutely bloody awful.”  And, “We can now officially call the show “America does not have talent.”

Sethward’s advice to others who are trying to get onto AGT was,  ‘ It’s really hard to get on this stage and it takes a lot of guts. If I can do it , you can too.”

MATT JOHNSON (Escape Artist)

He’s been perfecting his craft for 30 years.  But, when you do what you do, a lot can go wrong.  He said he hung and drowned himself.  He said “I do this not because I want to die.  I do this because I want to live.”  For this live performance, he said if he doesn’t make it, they’re going to carry him off in a body bag.   He explained his stunt.  He was chained and padlocked to a door by the neck, chest, and waist.  He had to use a single lock pick to make his escape.

A bucket of sand attached to a chainsaw.  The bucket will get lighter, and the chainsaw will get closer to this skull.  He has to escape BEFORE the chainsaw splits his skull.   He managed to escape within minutes.  Howie was already standing and laughing.  While sofia looked on in horror.

Simon reacted, “That was very scary actually.”  He said that the noises that he was making was a “bit over the top.”  Sofia said “where is this going?  It’s horrific.  Howie said he teaches us that if at first you do not succeed in killing yourself, try try again.  Heidi said she doesn’t know why we keep celebrating him to keep trying to kill himself.


Sofia said she hit her Golden Buzzer for Jimmie Herrod because “he gave me goosebumps” and hopes he gives her more tonight.  Jimmie said he got started when his dad gave the family a juke box.   He said despite being teased, I embrace what I have.  I’ve had this dream since I was a kid and because of AGT, this dream is more obtainable than it’s ever been.

Jimmie closed out the first live show singing “Pure Imagination.”  When he was done, what he got was a standing ovation for the audience and judges.  Both Sofia and Howie predicted that he’d win the show “if America wants a singer to win!” Jimmie has been labeled as the one to beat!

Jimmie said “this is a wild ride and you want to do your best.  Everyone is so amazing.”  He said he’s so grateful for Sofia pushing her Golden Buzzer.



Updated August 12, 2021

Night two of “America’s Got Talent” Quarterfinals first live show was Wednesday night’s Results Show.  The twelve acts who performed on Tuesday’s show were whittled-down to seven acts to continue to the Semi-Finals.  The Results Show had two returning past winners perform.  Darci Lynn, who won in 2017, returned, along with last season’s winner Brandon Leake.

There was somebody missing – Nightbirde.” Host Terry Crews explained that Simon’s Golden Buzzer singing act,  “Nightbirde,” Jane had to leave the competition to take care of her health in her continued fight against cancer.

Her AGT Golden Buzzer audition has been seen over 200 million times.  Jane said it was a song that she wrote in the middle of the night.  She said she needed that song.  Howie called her the poster human for courage in the face of diversity.  For beauty and for fight.  Simon said he and Nightbirde had spoken previously a few times.  Jane told him that she felt as if she let people down. But, he said although she hasn’t competed, she’s already won.  He sent their love and prayers.   Simon thanked her for coming onto the show to sing..then he got too choked-up to continue.

Pictured: (l-r) Simon Cowell, Sofia Vergara, Terry Crews, Heidi Klum, Nightbirde (on screen), Howie Mandel — Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC

Jane thanked them for giving her the opportunity to share her talent and story.  She said, “to see people come together has restored her faith in humanity. “We all have the potential to overcome… this has been the most beautiful thing that’s happened in my life.”  With that they judges told her they love her, and Nightbirde told them all she loved them before her Zoom call ended.

Next, the 12 acts came out onto the stage.  Five acts would be heading home.

The first five acts went straight into the Semi-Finals.  The 6th, 7th and 8th place acts were in danger of going home.  The viewers have the chance to save one of them in the AGT Save vote on the show’s app.

The bottom three acts were announced as:  Beyond Belief Dance Company, Kabir Singh, Madilyn Bailey.  They waited to receive the Instant Save votes.

The next two acts called were: 1achord, Gangastagrass.  The act that moved forward to the Semi-Finals was 1achord.  Simon’s advice to 1achord was that they “have an amazing talent.  Three minutes can change your life. Do something original.”

“America’s Got Talent” last season’s winner, Brandon Leake returned to the Dolby stage to perform a spoken word piece.  Brandon said he’s got a new album coming next month, and he has a movie coming out in December and a child on the way.

Brandon will be in a stage show in Las Vegas along with this season’s winner at the Luxor starting November 4th.

Simon said it’s always been their dream to have AGT permanently in Las Vegas, and the Luxor has made that happen.

Dog act, “The Canine Stars,” comedian Gina Brillon, and variety act “Sethward” were the next group to be called to hear which one of them was moving to the Semi-Finals.  The act with the most votes among them was comedian Gina Brillon.   Howie reacted that she’s working harder than any other because he’s been seeing her at the comedy clubs.  Gina was overwhelmed and couldn’t believe she was moving on.

Pictured: Gina Brillon (center) — Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC

The next acts called forward were singers Peter Rosalita, and Jimmie Herrod.  America voted for BOTH of them!  Peter Rosalita and Jimmie Herrod are headed to the Semi-Finals.  Sofia called Peter “a little giant” competing against Jimmie who is “extraordinary” not like anyone else in the world!

The next acts to hear their results were – Dustin Travella, and Matt Johnson.  The act with the most votes was magician Dustin Travella.  He said he was feeling humble and sad because he “loves that guy a lot.”  Heidi advised him to keep her feeling “fuzzy and warm” and showing them things that they haven’t seen before. “Keep doing you,” she told him.

In 2017 12-year-old ventriloquist Darci Lynne and her puppet auditioned, and won “America’s Got Talent.”  She returned to AGT to perform with her puppet “Oscar.”   Darci announced that she just started her new tour “My Lips Are Sealed Except When They’re Not.”

The AGT Save acts returned to the stage – Kabir Singh, Madilynn Bailey, and Beyond Belief Dance Company.  The act that won the vote was bcomedian Kabir Singh.

The judges had to vote for which act would move forward.  Heidi said she’s a huge fan of the Beyond Belief Dance Company and Madilyn did a fantastic job.  But, she felt like Madilyn hadn’t connected with the audience.  She voted for Beyond Belief.  Sofia said they all deserve to be there.  She had to pick.  She said Madilyn doesn’t need her help, so she chose Beyond Belief.  Howie said he went with Madilyn.

Simon said “I genuinely can make a case for both acts.”  He said if Madilyn had done an original song on Tuesday’s show, she wouldn’t be in the bottom right now.  He said he’s going to let America decide.  He voted for Madilyn, making the judges’ votes tied.  Crews read which of the two acts got the most votes from America, and it was Madilyn Bailey.

NEXT WEEK: These acts will perform!

Northwell Health Nurse Choir
Johnny Showcase
Josh Blue
Dokteuk Crew
Aidan Bryant
Peter Antoniou
Korean Soul
Tory Vagasy
Positive Impact Movement
Victory Brinker



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