The live shows for America’s Got Talent season 14 began on Tuesday, August 13, with night one of quarter-finals. Eleven acts, plus a twelfth wild card act, were scheduled to perform with the hopes of earning the viewers’ votes and continuing on in the competition.
The official synopsis for the episode reads “Performers take the stage live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood as judging is turned over to the American viewing audience; with judges Simon Cowell, Gabrielle Union, Julianne Hough, Howie Mandel and host Terry Crews.”
BEWARE OF SPOILERS below and STOP READING NOW if you have not watched season 14 episode 12 of America’s Got Talent. This article will be updated live as the episode airs.
Before the episode began, spoilers revealed that Ansley Burns was the first chosen wildcard act for the season.
Although 12 acts would be performing, only 7 could make it through to semi-finals, meaning that 5 would be sent home.
The Judges Delivered Mixed Feedback for Many of the Acts
After host Terry Crew introduced the show and welcomed the audience watching live at home, the show began with a performance by G-Force. Howie Mandel praised them for starting the show on a high and filling him with girl power. Simon Cowell said he didn’t like their song and, if they make it through, they should have someone write a song for them (Gabrielle Union pointed out that previously, he told the girls to take more control of their music).
Greg Morton was second, and he did a number of spot-on impressions from movies including The Lion King, Shrek, Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Godfather.
Carmen Carter sang “Believer” by Imagine Dragons; Union and Julianne Hough were impressed by her performance and song choice, but Mandel said he didn’t like her choice of song.
Emerald Belles dance group was up next, followed by an original song by Sophie Pecora, who received guest judge Brad Paisley’s golden buzzer during judge cuts.
The M Brothers delivered a Vegas-ready stunt performance with high production value that earned them a standing ovation from Union and Hough.
Voices of Service gave a performance that had the audience and judges on their feet clapping along. Although the judges had mixed opinions about many of the previous acts, they were unanimously inspired and impressed by their talent and expressed hope that America would vote them through.
Ansley Burns was next to perform, after her prerecorded package played, explaining how she ended up back in the competition thanks to the wild card. Instead of a background track, she had a band behind her this time; nevertheless, Cowell said he didn’t love the song for her but said he was happy to see her back and knew she had a great voice and personality that he hoped would keep her in the competition.
Alex Dowis’s street art performance was a beautiful narration of the Earth’s history, the evolution of civilization, and a need for more people to look up from their phones and engaged with the universe they live in.
Singer and Broadway fan Luke Islam sang “You Will Be Found” from the Tony Award-winning show Dear Evan Hansen. He received a standing ovation from all four judges.
Bir Khalsa Group shocked their audience with a death-defying act full of dangerous stunts.
Kodi Lee was the last performance of the night. The blind and autistic singer and piano player performed “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” He brought the judges to their feet and moved them to tears, proving his exceptional talent yet again.
Who Makes it Through? Top Predictions
12-year-old Luke Islam’s performance moved all of the judges and was a touching display of his talent and connection to show tunes, so it is likely that he also moved the viewers enough to get voted through to the semifinals.
Even though Ansley Burns delivered a great comeback performance, it is possible her act will be eclipsed by some of the other more powerful and emotional performances of the night and she will be eliminated from competition yet again.
Kodi Lee has been a frontrunner since his first audition (which earned him a Golden Buzzer), and his live performance proved that he absolutely deserves to make it all the way. It would be shocking if Lee did not make it to the semifinals.
The M Brothers performance was sexy and jaw-droppingly impressive, and Simon Cowell’s note about ending with a more dangerous grand final seemed less like criticism and more like he was grooming them for a Vegas-worthy act. M Brothers and Bir Khalsa were the two groups that brought the shock factor on night one, but the M Brothers seem more likely to earn enough votes to stay in the competition.