'AGT' Season 15 Semifinals Begin: Watch the First 11 Performances (VIDEO)
Semifinals of America's Got Talent Season 15 have begun, with the first 11 acts (including two wild cards) performing in hopes of getting one step closer to winning it all.
With Simon Cowell still recovering from back surgery, it's only Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and Sofia Vergara as judges. Alongside host Terry Crews, they watch as the first group of semifinalists compete, from Universal Studios Hollywood and Florida.
Then their fates are in America's hand, with viewers able to vote (until 7am ET) at NBC.com/AGTVote, via the "AGT" App, and by saying "vote for AGT" into the Xfinity X1 voice remote. Results will be revealed live Wednesday.
The singing and dancing sisters say they want "to deliver a fiesta party" and do just that, showing off their vocals more than moves, across the Universal lot, to "Juice" by Lizzo and "Mi Gente" by J Balvin. "You have the confidence of real divas. I look at the two of you and I see Jennifer Lopez and Shakira at the Super Bowl," Klum says. "This is all about your personality, and it shines." However, Mandel isn't wowed, agreeing he enjoys them and their personalities, but they're "not the best" singers or dancers.
Dance Town Family
They won over the judges, earning them the first wild card spot, and every single member of the dance group showcases why they deserved it with a performance filled with impressive moves and plenty of energy, set to "Jumpin' Jack" by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. "They deserve it," Vergara says of their return. "Your dancing is on point. The energy. You bring joy to all of us." Mandel says their performance "was a step up," as it should have been at this stage, and he enjoys that with their range in dance styles and age, "it has something for everyone."
The musicians, who were brought back in the quarterfinals after being eliminated during Judge Cuts, continue to show how well they perform together, despite not doing so before this season, with "God's Country." "I think you're doing it right," Mandel says, agreeing with Vergara's previous assessment. "You're the all-American men and you graced us with Bon Jovi and U2 and now country, Blake Shelton, so you're checking every box." "I like you more every time we see you," Klum tells them. "I think you guys are a huge inspiration."
The brothers don't pull off their diabolo act, set to "Centuries" by Fall Out Boy, as flawlessly as previously, with two drops, but there are incredible heights, tosses, catches, and fire in front of Hogwarts Castle at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. "We're seeing your passion, the danger of it," Vergara notes, adding they did push themselves to another level, but doing so may have made the routine "too risky," hence the drops. But for Klum, that didn't take away from the act, especially considering the difficulty level of what they do.
The singer was brought back as the second wild card after he couldn't perform in the quarterfinals. (His mother, then he, tested positive for COVID-19.) And his rendition of "When the Party's Over" earns him a standing ovation from the judges. "You did really well," Klum says, but notes, "it's going to be so tough because the competition is really tough tonight, especially with the singers." For Mandel, his "really tough journey" is "well worth it because tonight, you just shined. ... You gave America what they need [and] paved the path" to advance to the finals.
The aerialist once again has the judges concerned as he reaches crazy heights, dangling from one foot at one point, holding onto chains this time, set to "You're No Good" by Hidden Citizens. And then to end it, he only has a cord around his neck, with the chains above him lit on fire as he twirls! While Mandel thinks "there was more danger" in his quarterfinals act and this was more of the same, Vergara and Klum disagree. "It was amazing. This was my favorite time," Vergara says.
The singer once again shows off her vocals by belting out "The Chain." "You're so amazing. You are an all-around talent. You can do it all. You are like a singing chameleon," Klum says, as she's done pop, country, and now rock. "You owned it," Mandel adds. "You know exactly what to do."
The poet once again shows the power of words, this time detailing his emotions in a series of letters to his absent father over the years, in what is, as his previous performances were, the most moving of the night. After the judges give him a standing ovation, Mandel tells his Golden Buzzer, "You are a teacher. ... This is so much more than a performance. These words teach. They're real. They're human." And Klum thinks he "just earned [himself] a spot in the finals."
The drummer does exactly what he says he wanted to: "bring the house down." Starting off on a fire escape on a set staged to look like a burning building and then sliding down to the street, he covers quite a bit of ground and drum sets — and even introduces fire! "It was insane. It was dope. It was you, Malik," Mandel says. "You are a show, and you are a Vegas show. ... There's so many things they can do in that room," like have other entertainers alongside him. "You think like a showman, like a real entertainer," Klum agrees.
For the daughter he didn't meet until he got out of prison after being wrongly incarcerated, he sings an emotional rendition of "Flying Without Wings." "I always have to think more about you than the act. I just go into my own little world when I hear you sing. It's a beautiful tone," Klum tells him. "I hear all the layers in your voice." "When I hear you ... it's the connection with the audience," Vergara adds. "What you make us feel is incredible."
The 11-year-old ends the night by getting a standing ovation after belting out "What About Us." "It's spectacular. It's perfection. You look amazing," Vergara tells her Golden Buzzer. "I cannot believe you are 11 years old with that voice. You sound already like you have recorded many, many records." Klum agrees, noting the "maturity and control and poise" in her voice.
America's Got Talent, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8/7c, NBC