'America's Got Talent': Indian Dance Crew, Youth Choir and Stand Up Comic Shine in Quarterfinals Week 2
By Zach Seemayer
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America's Got Talentreturns Tuesday night, and ET is following along throughout the two-hour episode to break down all the best, biggest and most surprising moments from the second exciting night of competition amid the Season 14 Quarterfinals.
The show's panel of charismatic judges -- including Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, and newcomers Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough -- will be sitting in judgment once again over a dozen quarterfinalists who made it past this year's brutal Judge Cuts round.
Out of 12 acts, only seven will be moving on to the semifinals, which means the artists who have made it this far will have to up the ante once again if they want to keep pursuing their dream of being AGT champions.
The fun kicks off at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC, and you can follow along with ET for a look at all the acts who laid it all on the line for their big shot this week.
Ndlovu Youth Choir Shines In Pink
Closing out the second night of the season 14 quaterfinals, the brilliant, wildly charismatic Ndlovu Youth Choir hits the stage in bright pink jumpsuits for a distinct, incredible reimagining of U2's "Beautiful Day" that is unlike any rendition you've likely heard before.
Gabrielle is overcome with glee, telling the kids they "set that stage on fire," and Simon agrees, explaining that they absolutely "popped."
This is what effusive praise sounds like, and it feels like the judges would give them a Golden Buzzer if it was an option.
We'll find out tomorrow night how much the judges' praise impacts actual votes. Is a feel-good group of young vocalists the kind of act America is looking for? We can only hope.
Tyler Butler-Figueroa Inspires the World
Tyler - Simon's Golden Buzzer - is an incredible child with an even more amazing talent, and his performance tonight proves just how brilliant he is on the violin.
The 11-year-old musician delivers a powerhouse performance of "Don't You Worry Child" that is absolutely beautiful, and Simon is the first to shower him with praise, calling him "America's Golden Buzzer" act.
Most of the other judges clearly like the performance, but their feedback is measured and only vaguely positive -- not outright effusive. It's hard to say if that's simply because the show's running long, or if they're not as impressed as they've been in the past.
Tyler is undeniably talented and heartwarming and he deserves a place in the semifinals. We'll find out if America gives him that chance tomorrow.
Light Balance Kids Bring Billie Eilish and JoBros to Life With Lights
Wow, Billie Eilish is getting a lot of play tonight!
Light Balance Kids take the stage, and the team of brilliant young performers kick off their quarterfinals act with a number set to "Bad Guy" that adds wonderful layers to their performance.
The act kicks things up again when they switch over to "Sucker" by the Jonas Brothers, and the graphics explode in a geyser of awesomeness.
"This felt tame," Simon says, adding that the number lacks the "wow factor" of their previous performances.
Howie then praises the song choice - and the dance team - and slams Simon for not liking Billie Eilish, to which the acerbic British judge rolls his eyes and sticks out his tongue!
I understand we should all be talking about Light Balance Kids -- they're great, that's all that needs to be said -- but can we focus on Simon's apparent hatred for Billie Eilish for a minute? What is going on here? This is madness. This needs to be addressed. We need an inquiry. How can one man be so wrong so many times?
Joseph Allen Is Chasing His Dream In L.A.
Joseph was brought to tears in his pre-taped package while reflecting on how "blessed" he feels to be in the live shows after getting the Golden Buzzer from Howie Mandel.
The aspiring artist brings his heart and soul to his performance, and brilliantly mixes rap and R&B in his beautiful number - part of which he dedicates to his mom, who's also in the audience.
Howie, Gabrielle and Julianne share sweet sentiments, but Simon is a bit harsher, telling Joseph that he fells nothing from his song choice, once again earning some boos from the audience.
To his credit, Joseph says that, since the next round isn't guaranteed, he wanted to do something special just for his mom. So, even if he doesn't move on, at least he pulled off a beautiful tribute.
V.Unbeatable Live Up to Their Name
Question: What do you get when you bring together 29 teenage acrobats who are the best in the world at what they do?
Answer: Tonight's performance from V.Unbeatable.
This mind-blowing dance crew from Mumbai, India, earned the Golden Buzzer during the Judge Cuts Round, and tonight they're upping their game even higher. Literally! The kids are jumping, flying and being thrown higher than ever before, and it's an showstopping number that is, truly, unbelievable.
"You made every second of those two minutes count," Simon tells the crew, eliciting a giant cheer from the performers.
Julianne tells them they are the best performers of the night, while Howie takes it a step further calling it the "best performance I have ever witnessed" in his 10 years with the show.
Ryan Niemiller Brings the Funny
In an amazing pre-taped package, Ryan explains how he's never let his disability define him, and when it comes to AGT, he doesn't want a sympathy vote. He wants people to vote for him because he's the funniest comic they've ever watched.
And truly, he's bringing it. His set includes a lot of jokes about his disability, but it's so much more than that. He's bold, he's brash and he's super smart. He's one of the few AGT stand-ups who's actually consistently hilarious.
Even though his act seems super short tonight, he gets a whole lot of praise from the judges, starting with Howie who says he "needs to be in the finals."
Julianne, meanwhile, says he was "born to be on the stage," which Simon -- in an uncharacteristically positive attitude -- agrees with.
Will Ryan's brand of stand-up resonate with fans? I certainly hope to get to watch him deliver another set during the semifinals.
The Sentimentalists Return As Wild Cards
After getting eliminated during the Judge Cuts round, the mentalist duo The Sentimentalists were chosen to be this week's Wild Card act, and they are proving the power of their magic yet again.
The act begins by having Steffi Kay blindfold herself, as Julianne traces a letter on Mysterion's hand, which Steffi correctly guesses from the stage.
She also proves she can "touch tongues" with Howie, by having him come on stage and choose a random item from a table full of food. She correctly guesses that he chose a cannoli.
This sort of mysticism continues for some time. It's undeniably impressive -- until she has to guess what flavor Julianne is tasting. No matter how hard she tries she can't quite pin it down.
Ultimately, the whole act culminates with the big reveal that the duo correctly guessed every choice the judges would make before they ever even made them.
Julianne says this act just doesn't "feel rehearsed," and Simon keeps his harsh streak up by saying the whole act was "a mess." This time, he's not wrong.
Robert Finley Sings an Original Tune About 'AGT'
"I guess it took going blind at the age of 65 for me to really see," Robert says in his pre-taped package, before explaining that his song tonight is an original tune written about his time on AGT this season.
Seriously, Robert's voice is amazing. He sounds like a soul singer who would have been an A-lister if he'd made it big in the '60s.
Backed by a trio of singers - including his own daughter - he blows the roof off the theater with his beautiful tune.
Gabrielle and Julianne shower the tune with praise, and when Howie questions whether or not the song was the right choice for the quarterfinals, Julianne all-but-screams at him that he's wrong.
Simon first comments on the fact that the judges' panel is very divided tonight, but this time he sides with "the girls" and says Robert's performance was "bloody fantastic."
Finally, Simon is right about something this evening. Robert is fantastic, and if there's any justice in the world, he'll be making it into the semifinals tomorrow.
Marina Mazepa Wows and Scares
Marina says, in her pre-taped package, that she wants to "let out the creature" inside of her and do something totally different.
Right from the start, it's clear Marina is amping up the production value. Appearing on a set that resembles a giant metal scorpion, the beautiful, nightmarish contortionist dancer performs a number set to Billie Eilish's "Bury a Friend" and brings a frightening form of performance art to the AGT stage.
Cowell only waits until halfway through to buzz Marina - for reasons that are beyond my comprehension - but she earns a standing ovation from the other three judges.
Before Simon can even talk, the audience is already booing him, and the booing gets louder when he says he hated the music.
Howie, this time around, couldn't disagree more, calling her performance his "dream" - which reveals something super weird about his mentality.
Julianne and Gabrielle are, as usual, on the same (correct) page and have endless praise for the weirdness and brilliance of her performance.
Swedish Musician Chris Kläfford Should Already Be a Household Name
Chris is amazing, and he's proving it again tonight.
With an original single about spending time with his beloved great-grandmother in the final days of her life, the Swedish singer wows the audience with an emotional performance that builds to an amazing climax.
However, Simon once again draws the ire of the audience when he says he doesn't feel an emotional connection to the song, but admits that he loves his voice.
"You had the audience in the palm of your hand," Gabrielle says, adding that Chris is a "special talent."
Julianne sides with Gabrielle while Howie echoes Simon's comments, and we have a clearly divided judges' panel tonight. Hopefully Chris makes it through during tomorrow's results show.
Nick & Lindsay Are Bizarrely Captivating
"When it comes to danger, we're pulling out all the stops," Nick says during the pre-taped package, while Lindsey explains that means "more fire" and "tons" of knives.
This time around, instead of singing opera, Nick dons a leather jacket and belts out the Johnny Cash classic "Ring of Fire" as he stands against a wall while Lindsay lays on her back with a blindfold and throws knives - which are on fire - at him with her feet.
Let me repeat that: she throws flaming knives at him with her feet, holding them between her toes! Almost all of the shots miss and almost catch him on fire.
The act transitions into Lindsay just smashing bottles on Nick's head as he continues to sing, and Simon finally buzzes them.
"In the history of America's Got Talent, that was the worst live performance I've ever seen," Simon says.
Julianne feels that the act ended up being so bad that it came back around to good, but it's clear that Howie and Gabrielle don't exactly agree.
Simon is clearly not afraid to pull punches tonight.
In her pre-taped package, 13-year-old Charlotte Summers says she's "going to fight like a fighter," and she certainly comes out swinging with an amazing cover of the iconic Shirley Bassey tune "Diamonds Are Forever," famously written for the James Bond film of the same name.
After singing Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me" during the Judge Cuts round, it's clear Charlotte has an affinity for classic, anthemic songs from the '60s and '70s.
After belting out the incredible rendition, Summers adorable breaks character and sweetly thanks the audience for their applause.
Julianne comments that the song didn't allow her personality to shine as brightly as it should have, but compliments her undeniable talent.
However, Simon goes a step further by calling it a "terrible, terrible song choice" and the criticism brings the young girls to tears and elicits a chorus of boos from the audience.
Despite the critique, Simon says she still deserves votes because of what she was able to bring to the song, and because of her incredible voice.
Live From Hollywood!
Everybody excited for Night 2 of the quarterfinals? We've got contortionist Marina Mazepa, stand-up comedian Ryan Niemiller, the wildly popular Indian acrobatic dance crew V.Unbeatable, and nine other acts who will be duking it out for seven available spots!
Tonight is shaping up to be a really fun show!
The seven acts moving on to the semifinals from the second night of the quarterfinals will be announced during a special episode of AGT Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
Last week, fans were treated to the first week of the Quarterfinals, where a comedian, some singers, a trio of acrobats and a black light artist snagged enough votes to move forward, and tonight we'll see who has what it takes to join them.