'AGT': Two Golden Buzzers avoid elimination in shocking reveal. Here are the first finalists

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USA TODAY 01 September, 2021 - 08:47pm 20 views

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Two Golden Buzzer acts that earned the best reviews of the night found themselves in danger of elimination. "What happened?" Sofía Vergara said.

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Victory Brinker, a nine-year-old singer, received the first unanimous golden buzzer on "America's Got Talent," sending her to the live round. USA TODAY

"America’s Got Talent" is two weeks away from crowing a winner.

The first five finalists were revealed during Wednesday's results show, following "the best live show of the season so far by a mile," according to Simon Cowell.

Although Cowell said there was a "very, very clear winner" following Tuesday's performances, two Golden Buzzer acts that earned the best reviews of the night shockingly found themselves in danger of elimination. 

Sofía Vergara’s jaw dropped to the floor: "What happened?" Cowell's eye's widened in a moment of disbelief: "We didn't vote." Howie Mandel gasped at the realization that "two Golden Buzzers" are in need of a save from America. 

The three acts that received the most votes automatically advanced. That means they are only one performance away from winning $1 million and a headlining show in Las Vegas. 

Comedian Gina Brillon was the first act to move forward. "This is the year of comedy," Mandel deemed. Brillon broke down in tears on stage: "You have no idea what this means."

Aerialist Aidan Bryant, who taught himself how to fly two years ago on YouTube after watching a Pink concert, joined her in the safe zone. "Right now, you are genuinely the one to beat," Cowell said. Heidi Klum said the 16-year-old's "story is amazing."

Magician Dustin Tavella also advanced. "Thank you guys so much, I feel kind of bad," he said after advancing over 10-year-old Peter Rosalita. Klum replied she was "not surprised" Tavella made it to the finale. Mandel called him "one of the best magicians" he's ever seen.

Singer Jimmie Herrod (Vergara's Golden Buzzer), voicetramentalist Michael Winslow and World Taekwondo Demonstration Team (Terry Crews' Golden Buzzer) finished in the middle of the pack and were on the brink of elimination.

Last night, Mandel said Herrod was "by far the best singer in this competition." Cowell called World Taekwondo Demonstration Team his "favorite act." Vergara said she was "mesmerized" by Winslow, but it was not enough to inspire America to pick up the phone to vote.

"Tough competition last night," Cowell said. "I'm not going to lie, I'm surprised. But America controls the vote now."

The three acts went head-to-head in a live voting round for the "Dunkin' Save," where fans had the opportunity to rescue one performer. Whoever received the most votes in a 30-minute flash round would move on. 

In the end, viewers saved Herrod. "Hallelujah," he exclaimed. Vergara said she was "going to throw up" over the anticipation: "You deserve to be here. I don’t know what happened to America.

It's that time again - @JimmieHerrod, @Noizey_Man, and @WorldTaekwondo1 need your help to make it to the Finals! Save your favorite now at https://t.co/CWMVLjlPdX! pic.twitter.com/zVshzMqrJa

But the results weren't over just yet. The judges had the chance to save either World Taekwondo Demonstration Team or Winslow. Crews called it the judge's "biggest decision of the season so far."

"Both of these acts are worthy of Las Vegas," Klum said before voting for World Taekwondo Demonstration Team to stay. Vergara made a "difficult" choice and picked the World Taekwondo Demonstration Team. Cowell also selected the martial arts group to advance. Mandel didn't even need to vote. 

For six other acts, however, their dreams came crashing down after being eliminated.

The five acts with the fewest votes  – Tory Vagasy (singer); Beyond Belief Dance Company (wild card); Korean Soul (vocal quartet); Madilyn Bailey (singer); and Peter Rosalita (singer) – said their goodbyes.

"America's Got Talent" will return Sept. 7 for the second half of the semifinals (NBC, 8 EDT/PDT).

Next week’s performers include four golden buzzer winners – Léa Kyle (quick change artist), Victory Brinker (opera singer); Northwell Nurse Choir – along with Brooke Simpson (singer); Rialcris (acrobatic group); ChapKidz (dance group); Peter Antoniou (mentalist); Josh Blue (comedian); 1aChord (vocal trio); Kabir Singh (comedian); and UniCircle Flow (unicycle dance group).

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'AGT': Simon Cowell calls self-taught aerialist who learned from YouTube 'the one to beat'

USA TODAY 31 August, 2021 - 09:44pm

The first group of semifinalists hit the stage Tuesday at "America's Got Talent" – all vying for the chance to win. Here's a look at the frontrunners:

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Victory Brinker, a nine-year-old singer, received the first unanimous golden buzzer on "America's Got Talent," sending her to the live round. USA TODAY

"America's Got Talent" semifinals are here.

The first group of 11 semifinalists hit the stage Tuesday – all vying for the chance to win "the toughest competition in the world," host Terry Crews said. "Buckle up people. The acts are now just one performance away from making the finals."

And to make things even tougher, another wildcard is in play. The judges brought back the high-energy Beyond Belief Dance Company, which was eliminated during the quarterfinals. A dance group has never won "AGT" before. 

"I was so happy when you came back because you deserve to be here," Heidi Klum said after the girl's fun-filled routine to Meghan Trainor's "Me Too," which featured their signature sass, TikTok trends and Heelys.

Tonight's show also saw Aidan Bryant emerge as a frontrunner. Cowell called the 16-year-old "the one to beat" leading into Tuesday’s performance and the self-taught aerialist didn’t disappoint with his fiery routine. He received a standing ovation from the judges and studio audience.

"I cannot even talk because they are going crazy for you," Sofía Vergara said as the crowd continued its rowdy applause. "I was on my feet because how could you not. You're 16 years old, self-taught and no safety net… this was a gold level performance."

World Taekwondo Demonstration Teammay have missed the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to COVID-19, but Crews' Golden Buzzer winners delivered another champion-caliber act, featuring "dancers, athletes, acrobats and entertainers."

"This was the best act of the night," Howie Mandel said. Cowell added it was “the best performance you’ve given,” while Vergara compared them to "synchronized ants working hard." (That was a compliment, she clarified.)

The first field of semifinalists was dominated by singers – five to be exact – including Vergara's Golden Buzzer winner Jimmie Herrod, who the judges agree is the "best singer in this competition."

He earned a standing ovation following his breathtaking performance on Pink’s “Glitter in the Air." Klum said, "I know we were all waiting for Kanye’s album ('Donda') to drop but I am waiting for your album to drop."

Cowell said he put on a "masterclass," but Herrod is still looking out for his competitors: "The competition is much tougher now… man that kid can sing."

He's referring to 10-year-old Peter Rosalita, who performed a rendition of Mariah Carey’s "I Can't Live Without You” after a rocky start. Rosalita asked for his backing track to start over after he missed his mark. "Can you repeat, please? Sorry guys," he said. 

Mandel said the hiccup "wasn't your fault. The crowd was screaming. You couldn’t hear the music and you did better than 10 times someone your age." The judges applauded Rosalita's perseverance with a standing ovation. 

"The fact that you knew you missed the intro and you took control on a live show… and then you delivered that amazing vocal," Cowell said. "I got all emotional."

Tory Vagasy sang Elton John's "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from Disney's "The Lion King" but the aspiring Broadway singer wasn't feeling the love from some of the judges.

Cowell called Vagasy's performance "too safe" and Mandel took it a step further: "You are a great talent on the wrong show. Our show is about variety, but I didn’t see the variety."

Mandel was also harsh on Madilyn Bailey. He said her emotional performance of a song dedicated to her late grandmother "was nothing." Cowell hit back: "Am I allowed to saw ass on American television? Because Howie you are talking out of it."

"Do not listen to a single world Howie Mandel says," he added. 

Korean Soul opted for Lauren Daigle’s “You Say” after Cowell suggested their song selection was too “predictable" last week. Tonight, Cowell said their "song choice was a million, billion times better," but still, they "sounded out of tune."

The first group of semifinalists were rounded out by Dustin Tavella (magician); Michael Winslow (voicetramentalist); and Gina Brillon (comedian).

It's up to America to vote for who moves on. 

Fans can vote up to 10 times for each act on NBC.com/AGTvote and the "America's Got Talent" app. The seven acts advancing to the semifinals will be revealed during Wednesday's results show, which will include guest performances from "AGT" star comedian Preacher Lawson (NBC, 8 EDT/PDT). 

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