‘America’s Got Talent’: 5 Best Auditions From Episode 5 (RECAP)

AGT Season 17 Episode 5
Spoiler Alert
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[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for America’s Got Talent Season 17 Episode 5.]

Howie MandelHeidi KlumSofía Vergara, and Simon Cowell have made their top priority for America’s Got Talent Season 17 clear: originality. And Episode 5 certainly delivered some original acts.

One magician made Mandel declare he’s “never seen magic so unique.” A singer earned a “genius” title from Cowell. One comedian took things back to basics with a premise so silly, it slayed the whole audience. And there was an acrobat who climbed to new heights (literally, he climbed above the judge’s Xes hanging above the stage) — and nearly fell from them. But while some of the acts were, indeed, original, that doesn’t mean they were good in the eyes of the judges.

Some of the rejections from the night included a comedian who only makes jokes about bikes, a guy popping balloons to the “1812 Overture” who accidentally cut his forehead, and a metal choir that basically grunted their way through “O Fortuna” and Britney Spears‘ “Toxic.” Notably, the third act made it through with three yeses and one no from Klum.

The judges weren’t afraid to say no this week. Several musical acts got the cut, because while undeniably talented, the original songs weren’t up to par with the Season 17 uniqueness standards. And while the rejections and critiques were met with boos from the crowd, the panel knows what they’re looking for.

Here, we break down the most impressive auditions, all of which got four yeses from the judges.

Nicolas Ribs

The French magician used video visuals and handheld objects in his act. His sleight of hand started out simple, with some of the tricks being easy to figure out (like a ball in his hand being revealed with swift timing), but as the performance went on, the tricks became increasingly impossible to understand. Ribs plucked 3D objects off of the 2D video screen, wowing the crowd. Mandel said he has “never seen magic better.”

Mia Morris

Mia Morris auditioning for America's Got Talent Season 17 Episode 5

Trae Patton/NBC

With the help of a loop pedal that she called a “recording studio at your feet,” the 17-year-old singer and multi-instrumentalist performed an original song that could serve as a Gen-Z anthem. A Nashville native, Morris started out with beat boxing followed by bass, and then background vocals and electric guitar. Then came the lyrics and drums. The crowd bopped along as Morris jammed out, and the judges couldn’t get enough.

“I think you’re one of the coolest girls that’s been standing on that stage,” Vergara said. Cowell called it a little messy and was met with boos, but he said something like that should be messy and raw and real. He loved the originality of her act, saying he’d rather watch that than someone with a boring backup track. After three yeses, Cowell gave Morris her fourth and called her a “genius.”


MPLUSPLUS auditioning for America's Got Talent Season 17 Episode 5

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The group is a mix of dancers, one of whom is also an engineer. The engineer spent 12 years creating LED-illuminated ribbon dance wands that can be programmed like a dancer can learn choreography. With the theater’s house lights turned down, the dancers literally lit up the stage with a mesmerizing performance that marked their first performance ever. But watching them, you’d never know it was their first show.

“The colors of the light was so soothing. I was in a trance. I loved it,” Vergara said, as Klum added, “I kind of forgot where I was for a minute. I thought I was under the water and just saw jellyfish.”

“Beautiful, very Vegas,” Cowell said.

Lily Meola

Lily Meola auditioning for America's Got Talent Season 17 Episode 5

Trae Patton/NBC

The 27-year-old singer/songwriter performed her original song, “Daydream,” which she said has evolved in meaning over the last couple of years. When she started writing “Daydream,” Meola was living her daydream with a major record and publishing deal. But then her mother was diagnosed with cancer and she became her full-time caretaker. Meola lost her record deal during that time, which sadly ended with the death of her mother.

Meola wasn’t sure she would make it through the performance, but she said holding onto the memory of her mother singing for her would get her through. The song was beautiful, and Meola’s story and performance inspired Klum to use the golden buzzer.

“For Season 17, there’s always a lot of singers on the stage. I was like, ‘I want to give someone else a shot,'” Klum said. “But I can’t help it, ’cause I really, really like you, so I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna push the golden buzzer for you. It’s you!”

Merissa Beddows

The 23-year-old New Yorker is in music school studying opera, but her act was more than just singing. She handed Klum a six-sided die with a famous singer’s name on each side. Beddows began by singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in her own voice, and then followed Klum’s selections.

First was Ariana Grande, followed by her grandma (throwing some comedy into the mix), Stevie Nicks, Celine Dion, Snow White, and Siri. She nailed every single one. The judges loved her — you guessed it — originality, with Vergara calling the performance “perfect” and Cowell saying there’s a “gigantic gap” in the market for someone like her.

What did you think of the auditions? Let us know in the comments below.

America’s Got Talent, Tuesdays, 8/7c, NBC