Auditions are over for this season of America’s Got Talent, which means judge cuts began Tuesday, July 16. During the episode, the audience saw successful acts from the audition phase of competition return with the hopes of impressing the judges and making it through to the season 14 live rounds.
The episode synopsis read “Country music superstar Brad Paisley joins the panel as a guest judge and gets to send an act directly to the live shows with a Golden Buzzer; contestants have one last chance to impress the judges before America votes in the live rounds.” With Paisley joining the judge panel, one lucky act was catapulted right to the live rounds by thoroughly impressing Paisley with their performance.
Here’s what happened on the first night of judge cuts:
Beware of spoilers below, and STOP READING NOW if you do not want to know who made it through during the Judge Cuts 1 episode of America’s Got Talent season 14. This post will be updated live as the episode airs.
With 18 acts performing, and only 7 that could make it through to the live rounds, the pressure was on for the acts to impress the judges and improve on their initial auditions.
The first act of the night was Lucas and his 10-year-old dog Falco, who performed a circus-themed act to “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman. The judges and audience loved their act.
Andy Rowell proved less successful the second time performing a comedy act for the judges, especially guest judge Brad Paisley. Jecko delivered a successful card trick, but the judges seemed bothered by his stage presence. The Orange Magician, on the other hand, delivered a quickchange comedy/magic act that left the judges admittedly impressed by his talent.
A cappella beatbox quartet Berywam were up next, and the judges made sure to emphasize to viewers at home that there was absolutely no supporting track – every sound made they made themselves by beatboxing, singing and dancing.
Next up was the all-female dance troupe Emerald Belles, and the judges were split about their performance. Julianne Hough said their routine had a bit of a “high school element,” but Gabrielle Union said they got better since their initial audition. Howie Mandel said it wasn’t good enough to win or move on, which Simon Cowell disagreed with and Brad Paisley said “Howie can suck it.”
The Sentimentalists, who made it past round one only after appealing to Simon Cowell’s challenge to do something more to persuade him to “yes” them through, enlisted the help of Brad Paisley to complete their awe-inducing act, which included correctly foreseeing not only the photo Paisley would choose on his photo roll, but the color marbles each judge would pick from a jar.
Aerialist partner act Duo Togni delivered an act that involved Loretta hanging by her feet from silks as she spun Daniel around by her teeth. They then invited Howie, who was not impressed by their first audition, to join them on stage, and Loretta finished their act by spinning Howie around by her teeth.
15-year-old singer/songwriter Sophie Pecora gave another heartfelt performance of an original song about overcoming the bullies. Although Simon advised her not to sing about the bullies anymore because they don’t deserve to be talked about, Brad Paisley was extremely moved by her performance and gave her his golden buzzer, sending her into the live rounds and leaving only 6 spots open for the night’s acts.
Acrobat Matthew Richardson told the deeply personal story of losing his father to pancreatic cancer on stage, accompanied by recordings of his father’s voice and his own voice as a child. The ring which is a staple of his act was transformed to look like a dreamcatcher, and Gabrielle pointed out that watch him spin and dance with it was watching him make his own dreams come true. Simon told him that he is one of the acts he believes could headline his own show.
Singer/songwriter Damiyr performed a stirring number that started a cappella and showed a ton of emotion, and Simon said his second audition gave him a real good shot at moving forward.
Chris Klåfford performed an original song called “Something Like Me,” which is about people judging him based on his appearance. He received a standing ovation from all five judges, which moved him to tears on stage.
In spite of plane delays and missing luggage which caused the Missoudi Brothers to get to the theater an hour before they were scheduled to perform, they delivered a performance that proved their strength and dedicated training. After they finished their act, they invited their dad on stage to join them for one last 4-person stunt. The judges were impressed by how well they rose to the occasion in the face of unexpected obstacles.
The last performance of the night was the Ndlovu Youth Choir, who performed an energetic and technical cover of “This Is Africa” by Shakira.
When it came time for the judges to choose their 8 acts to move forward in the competition, the Emerald Belles, the Missoudi Brothers, Berywam, Lucas and Falco, Ndlovu Youth Choir, and Chris Kläfford made it through, joining golden buzzer recipient Sophie Pecora.
Judge Cuts continue next week for season 14 of America’s Got Talent, Tuesday at 8/7c on NBC.