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Front Runner In the Bottom on AMERICA’S GOT TALENT Season 16 Semi-Finals Week 1 Recap

Pictured: (l-r) Jimmie Herrod, Michael Winslow, World Taekwondo Demo Team -- Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

“America’s Got Talent” (AGT) season 16 entered it’s first Semi-Finals live show on Tuesday night.  Eleven acts performed and out of those, only five move on on Wednesday’s live results show.  The acts were heavy in the singing department.  Singers Peter Rosalita, Tory Vagasy, Korean Soul, Madilyn Baily, and Jimmie Herrod all competed against each other on Tuesday night’s performance show.


Variety acts Michael Winslow, Aidan Bryant, Taekwondo Demonstration Team performed.  And comedian Gina Brillon and magician Dustin Tavella also performed.  Judge’s Wild Card winners Beyond Belief Dance Company returned to the stage after being eliminated.


Judge and executive producer Simon Cowell was in a better mood compared to last week, and even called Howie out a couple of times for being too hard on some of the contestants.   Behind the scenes, Simon called it the best live shows so far this season.


On Wednesday’s Results show, former AGT contestant, comedian Preacher Lawson and singer Ben Platt performed.


Pictured: Peter Rosalita — Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

Peter said if he got the $1 million grand prize by winning AGT he would go suit shopping, get a dog, a mansion for his family and “always have time for fun.”  He’d play the biggest stages in the world.  Peter said the song that he sung for his Semi-Finals performance, he feels very confident about.

After a missed start, Peter had the band re-start the music then he picked it up at the right point.  Peter showed-off his range and power-house vocals by singing “Without You” by Mariah Carey.

Heidi said his voice is “as powerful as he is adorable.” She said that the hiccup he had in the beginning was well-played and he’s amazing.  Sofia said it showed her “the command he has on stage” and he didn’t miss a beat.  “You just opened the Semi-Finals of AGT!”  Simon agreed with the fact that Peter knew he missed the intro on a live show, and said “let’s start again.”  Then, Simon said he got emotional and sad from the song.  He thinks America is going to love Peter and that performance.  Howie said there’s no better way to start the Semi-Finals than with that song.


Michael said no matter how many times he’s done this, he’s always terrified. The first time he stepped onto the Dolby stage his mind went blank.  He couldn’t even remember his name.  Michael said he didn’t remember any of his performance from the Quarterfinals.

In his Semi-Finals performance, Michael decided to make his act interactive by playing a game with the judges that let them pick different categories and he did as many sounds as possible in the two-minutes allowed.  Simon chose the animals category.  Sofia picked Ocean. Heidi chose video games, and Howie’s pick was hardware.

Sofia reacted that she was mesmerized and loved that he made it to the Semi-Finals.  Simon said he has so much respect for Michael and the fact that he was so nervous last time, it did show.  But, now he was just so funny and relaxed.  “You could feel that there was much better feedback from the audience.”  He thought his act was clever.  Howie said he’s a fan and loved that Michael chose to do something interactive. It’s up to America to engage in voting.  Heidi said she loves watching him and loves hearing the audience laugh.  Terry Crews asked Winslow about the Finals.  He answered that if he gets into the Finals he’ll teach viewers how to make their own nosies.



Pictured: Beyond Belief Dance Company — Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC


Beyond Belief Dance Company won the Wild Card judges’ vote and returned for the Semi-Finals.  They really brought their A-Game and got a standing ovation from the judges.  Heidi said she was so happy that they brought them back.  “Vote for these girls.  Let’s not have this happen again!”  Howie said they must have been doubly nervous after coming back as the Wild Card and he urged America to vote.  Sofia said she’s glad that they did make it and “that’s what counts.”  Simon said it was a difficult decision.  He said there were a lot of acts they could have voted for.  “There’s a sense of optimism” about them, he said.  Simon added that right now the whole world needs that.  “Optimism and fun.” He said their performance was better than the last one.

AIDAN BRYANT (Aerialist)

Pictured: Adian Bryant — Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

Aidan said performing at the live shows at the Dolby Theater was terrifying.  He got some negative feedback. Then, after his last performance, he received rave reviews from them.  He said AGT has shown him that he belongs on stage.  The expectations couldn’t be higher. “But, I want to win,” Aidan said.

Aidan also got a standing ovation from the judges.  Sofia said he is getting better and better.  The audience was still cheering so much it was hard to hear her.  Simon reminded everyone that Aidan is 16-years-old and is self-taught.  “In my opinion, this was a Gold metal performance,” said Simon.   Howie reacted “this was so smooth.”  Simon said even with Howie’s criticism, Aidan took it as a man. Then, Howie finished with,  “that was a ‘Wow’ moment.”  Heidi said it was Aidan’s best choreography to date.  Aidan said he wants is “so bad.”


Tory said growing up she’s always had the Broadway dream,  Her and her twin sister would run around the house singing.  Tory had such bad stage fright that she didn’t get cast as her sister’s twin in a school play.  They had another girl play her sister.  Tory said, “every time someone told me I couldn’t do it, that just inspired me.” She said she thanked Howie for lighting a fire in her and knowing she’s going against someone like Jimmie, just makes her work harder.  Tory sang “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from Lion King.

Simon reacted that he loved the fact that she recognized her competition.  He said it was “very difficult following Aidan…You did something good. But, it was too safe for the Semi-Finals.”  He said he prefers people that take more risks.   He used Jimmie Herrod as an example.  He said she’s “a very, very good singer.”  Howie agreed with Simon.  “You are an amazing singer. You have an amazing voice.  This show needs more.”  He said she’s a great talent on the wrong show.  Howie said this show is “about variety.”  Howie joked “it’s not me, it’s you.” Heidi told Tory that any Broadway stage would be lucky to have her and “it was another flawless performance.”  Sofia said she does belong on Broadway and thought that Tory stepped it up.  Tory responded to Simon that she thought she did a great job and was proud of herself.


Pictured: World Taekwondo Demo Team — Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

Howie told them that they are his favorite act so far tonight.  “This was the best act of the night.” He said they are dancers, athletes, acrobats, entertainers.  “You are absolutely everything.”  Heidi said everyone is going to want to get up off their couch and learn how to do what they do, and they are like action heroes.  Sofia said it was “more dramatic” and it was spectacular.  She said they were like “synchronized ants.”  Simon and Howie were surprised that Sofia compared them to “ants” and questioned what she was saying.  Lol.

Simon said last week was not as good as their audition.  But, tonight it was better.

They reacted that as martial artists if they go to the finals there will be more surprises.


She grew up on 80 acres of farmland. Madilyn said she was shy about singing.  She used to sing for her grandmother before she passed away.  Madilyn dedicated her Tuesday performance to her grandmother singing “Red Ribbon,” a song she used to sing for Grandma.

Howie said she’s good and the performance was “very touching.”  He said “I didn’t think that was anything.  I thought you were in the same lane as Tory.”  Howie liked it better when she was singing the mean Tweets.  Heidi reacted “I think this was a hard song to sing and I think you nailed it.”

Simon told Howie that he’s talking out of his ass and told Maidlyn congrats to her for being true to herself.  “Now on the biggest show on TV and on live TV she got the chance to sing her own song.”  He told her NOT to listen to Howie.

Crews asked Madilyn about the song.  Madilyn said she wrote this song when she was at her lowest point when her grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and passed.  She said the song helped her heal and hoped that it would help others too.


Pictured: Dustin Tavella — Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

Dustin said he wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for his wife who believes in him and his dream.  His wife said there’s nothing greater than America seeing what she gets to see every day in Dustin.   Dustin said having his wife with him on his journey is the most magical of all.  His performance was dedicated to her.

Sofia said this is the time that she’s seen him more nervous.  “I think you performed today even better.”  Simon said “we have no idea what’s going to happen on these live shows.”  He said Dustin is a born storyteller and that makes him unique.  He makes them feel happy and emotional and that’s what’s special about him.  Howie called Dustin the orange yogurt (Howie’s favorite) of entertainment.

KOREAN SOUL (Singing Group)

Sooyong of Korean Soul said what brought them together is their singing.  He said most people expect that they sing K-Pop, but they want to show that they can sing like soul singers which is why they got the name “Korean Soul.”  They listened to Simon’s advice from their quarterfinals performance when he said their song choice was “too safe.”  For their Semi-Finals performance, they chose a different type of song.  They sang “You Say” by Lauren Daigle.

At the end of the performance Simon was smiling.  He said the song choice was a billion times better.  But, some of it sounded out of tune.  “I hope I’m wrong.”  He said it might have been where he was sitting.  Sofia said to her trained ears, “It sounded amazing.”  Better than that last time.  She said they applied the judges’ comments from the Quarterfinals show, and it shows.  Howie said he liked the song choice better from last week.  Heidi said “everyone had a moment to shine this time” and she thought they stepped it up.


Gina is from the Bronx, New York.  She said in college she did stand-up every night and has been in this business for over twenty years.   After her routine, Gina received a standing ovation from all the judges.

Howie told her that he’s proud of her.  He also noted that it’s the first season where four comics have made it into the Semi-Finals. He called her a super-star and she’s his wife’s favorite.  Heidi told Gina she’s like a firecracker and she deserves a spot in the Finale.  Sofia said Gina is funny and relatable.  Simon loves the fact that she acknowledges her competition.  He said he was critical last time. “And I’m going to admit I was talking out of my ass.”   Gina said she wants to keep making everyone back home proud.


Pictured: Jimmie Herrod — Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

Jimmie, who is Sofia Vergara’s Golden Buzzer, is from Portland, Oregon.  He said in middle school he joined the choir and was really shy.  His teacher helped him build his confidence.  He said he thought he could hide.  By the end of high school, he was voted as best singer.   Jimmie said the competition is tougher going against the other singers – Peter Rosalita, Tory Vagasy, Korean Soul, Madilyn Bailey.

Sofia called Jimmie “a show-stopper” and she didn’t think he could get better, but he did.  Simon called it “a master class..what an amazing singer you are!”  He thinks Jimmie is incredible.  Heidi said everyone is waiting for Kanye West’s album to drop. But, “I’m waiting for your album to drop!”  And it’s good he was last because “I don’t know who could follow you.”  Howie said by far, Jimmie is the best singer in this competition and what he does is perfection.  “He could win this whole thing.”

Crews asked Jimmie about the extra pressure from being a Golden Buzzer.  Jimmie answered that he doesn’t know how he wouldn’t feel extra pressure.


Simon’s advice to the contestants was that they can’t be afraid to be competitive.  “Winners are competitive and they all “have to bring their A-Game.”  He thought that last night there was a  “very, very clear winner.”  He said this act did something unbelievable on this stage.”  Hmmm….he could have been talking about Dustin Tavella who lowered Heidi’s “X.”  Turns out, Simon was talking about Aidan Bryant.

Pictured: (l-r) Jimmie Herrod, Michael Winslow, World Taekwondo Demo Team — Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

The acts in danger were:  Jimmie Herrod, Michael Winslow, Wolrd Taekwondo Demonstration Team.  It was extremely surprising that these acts were in the bottom, especially since two of them are Golden Buzzer acts – Jimmie Herrod, and World Taekwondo Demonstration Team.

After that shocking news and a commercial break, singer Ben Platt performed on the stage.

Next, it was time to see which act would move on.  Tory Vagas, Gina Brillon, Beyond Belief Dance Company were all called forward.  America voted for Gina Brillon to move on to the Finals.  Howie reacted that he was so excited and “this is the year of comedy.”  The fact that the first act moving to the Finals is a comedian, “blows me away.”  He told her to keep doing what she’s doing.

Pictured: Gina Brillon — Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

Young magician, Shoji was inspired by former AGT winner Shin Lim.  So, Shin Lim came to surprised Shoji in person.  Lim said he himself was inspired by a former AGT contestant to pursue magic.  He said his parents reacted that they were concerned when he told them he wanted to be a magician.  It was Shoji’s birthday.  The judges sung Happy Birthday and presented him with a cake.

Pictured: Preacher Lawson — Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

Comedian Preacher Lawson who’ll be hosting the Las Vegas live show at the Luxor, was up next.  Lawson’s stand-up routine centered about him joking about how he got his name and people mistaking his name for something else.

The next acts called forward were: Aidan Bryant, Korean Soul, and Madilyn Bailey.  The act that got the most votes was Aidan Bryant.  Sofia said there’s nothing she can say to him to help him in the Finals because “he’s got this.”  Simon said when he was referring to one act that stood out on Tuesday’s show, he was talking about Aidan and thinks he’s the one to beat.

Dustin Tavella, and Peter Rosalita were neck-and-neck to see which one got through.  It was Dustin Tavella!

Heidi said she wasn’t surprised that he’s going through.  Howie said Dustin is one of the best magician’s he’s ever seen. And America needs to feel good. “Keep delivering that,” Howie said to Dustin.


Based on America’s Instant Save live vote, the winner was singer Jimmie Herrod.  The judges were ecstatic!  Simon reacted “I’m thrilled for you.  You’re a brilliant, brilliant singer!”  Sofia was so glad that Jimmie got the win and said “I don’t know what happened to America!”


The last two acts left were Michael Winslow and Taekwondo Demonstration Team.  Michael said “no matter what happens, this has been a fantastic voyage for me.”  Taekwondo said they’ve been training non-stop and hope to show America what they’re all about.

It was time for the judges to vote!  Heidi said “it’s extremely hard for me.”  She loved both acts and they’re both worthy of Las Vegas.  Heidi got choked-up as she voted.  She chose World Taekwondo.  Sofia said “it’s hard becasue both of you deserve to be here.”  She thought about where they can go with these shows.  She also picked World Taekwondo.  Simon said the “both acts are…you know, I’m nervous right now.”  He ultimately put through World Taekwondo Demonstration Team.

NEXT WEEK these acts perform:
Northwell Nurses Health Choir
Josh Blue
Lea Kyle
Kabir Singh
Peter Antoniou
Brooke Simpson
Unicircle Flow
Victory Brinker



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