'America's Got Talent': Brooke Simpson Closes Out 2nd Semifinals With Powerful Ed Sheeran Cover!
By Zach Seemayer
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America's Got Talent returned on Tuesday for the second semifinals night of season 16! ET is following along throughout the two-hour episode to break down all the best, biggest and most surprising moments from the night!
Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Sofia Vergara and Heidi Klum will be judging and voting on the cream of the crop contestants who made it past the challenging quarterfinals as the remaining hopefuls give it their all in hopes of keeping their AGT dreams alive.
During last week's live results show, the judges selected five acts to move on to the finals -- including aerialist Aidan Bryant, the World Taekwondo Demonstration Team, magician Dustin Tavella, stand-up comic Gina Brillon and Broadway singer Jimmie Herrod. Tonight, the last 11 semifinals will do their best to make the cut in tomorrow's results show.
Tonight, 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 gave it their best shot during the second semifinals round of America's Got Talent.
Brooke Simpson's Belts Out Ed Sheeran Hit to Close Out the Semifinals
Brooke Simpson says in her pre-taped package that she wants to become the first indigenous mainstream pop star.
Tonight, it truly feels like she's taken a big step forward toward that goal with a powerful performance of Ed Sheeran's "Bad Habits" that is just awe-inspiring.
Brooke closes the number out by hitting a next-level high note and earns a standing ovation from everyone, including all four judges.
Simon says the performance, especially the second half was "spectacular," and tells Brooke, "I think you are an amazing singer, an amazing person and you really, really deserve to be here next week, genuinely."
"It's like you were born to do this. You're a pro," Sofia marvels. "And every time you show up here, to me you look more beautiful every time."
"You shine so bright, it's almost blinding," Heidi adds. "This was a stellar, stellar performance!"
Viewers will have all night to vote, and tomorrow we'll find out which of tonight's hopefuls make it to the finals, and which end up going home.
Josh Blue Brings Heart to His Comedy
Josh Blue famously uses his disability to find the humor in life, and tonight he has an amazing bit about paralympians that only he could ever get away with delivering.
His experience and crowd control, paired with his emotional pre-taped package about being a father to two loving kids, is just charming and endlessly lovable.
"Josh, you're so funny. Every time you come here, you make us look at each other and laugh," Sofia says. "You're brilliant and you're so inspirational because, you know, whatever your condition, it has not stopped you from living your best life."
"You're just funny and that's what it's all about," Simon says. "I think we're going to be seeing you next week and you've got a shot at winning this."
Rialcris Adds Fire, Still Gets Buzzed
Rialcris are a trio of hand-balancing acrobats form Columbia who have Sofia in their corner each time they hit the stage -- and tonight is no exception.
The group comes out with an act set to fire and heavy rock, and featured all three members performing handstand tricks and complex balancing routines on each other's shoulders and outstretched arms.
For some reason, Simon decides to buzz them half-way through, and it looks like Sofia is going to punch him. Howie is baffled as well.
The guys finish up the act and Sofia is the first to share her feedback.
"First of all, I don't care what Simon says he knows a lot about music but what does he know about balancing?" she quips. "I thought it was creative, very exciting, I thought it was dangerous and very contemporary. And not because they're Colombian but they look super good up there. And I thought it was amazing."
As for Simon, the judges explains why he buzzed, sharing, "Everything was great. I just think we've seen the same act every time."
"I don't see an improvement and I think it got boring after 30 seconds," he adds.
Howie and Heidi disagree, and share their praise for the effort and tenacity the guys exhibit on stage.
Chapkidz Up the Ante
Chapkidz might be young, but they aren't kidding around when it comes to going all the way to the finals.
This megatalented dance crew is putting it all on the line tonight for their semifinals routine, as they are doing everything they can to get viewers on their side and voting.
To hammer the point home, the routine ends with a few of the members ripping off their jackets to reveal the letters of the word "FINALS" spelled out across their shirts.
"Being honest, I think this has been the best performance of the night so far," Simon marvels.
"I can't wait to see you guys in the finals because I want to see you guys dance again," Sofia shares.
Victory Brinker Is On the Brink of Victory
This 9-year-old opera diva delivers consistently flawless performances and tonight her voice is even more powerful and mind-blowing than ever.
The performance is paired with some breathtaking production elements and her soaring vocals bring the judges to their feet.
"That song is like climbing the tallest mountain in the world and you conquered it, Victory. Good for you!" Simon says. "You know what I love about you? Not only are you talented, you're fearless. And that's what we need in the finals."
"You are a star in the making, we're so proud we found you!" Heidi shares.
Howie adds, "I watch you and it doesn't make sense to me! I watch you, this adorable little girl, and that sound coming out? You have a good chance of winning the $1 million."
Peter Antoniou's Act Has Big Hits and a Few Misses
Peter Antoniou is a psychic illusionist and tonight's act is as complicated and convoluted as they come.
He has thousands of random photos, and had the judges pick some and then guesses what's on them (basically, this is a VERY minimalistic summary).
At one point, in the grande finale moment, he manages to get Terry to psychically imagine what is on Simon's photo, and it proves to be correct. Terry is clearly baffled by how it's possible.
However, something goes wrong with Sofia and Peter full-on misses with his guess of what is on her photo, and the weight of that misstep hangs on the whole act.
"The thing with psychic powers is it's never 100 percent," Peter says, explaining how it went wrong. "One of the scary things is I can't guarantee I can get everything right every time. "
Northwell Nurse Choir Brings the Tears
If you didn't think the Northwell Nurse Choir was going to make you cry, you probably weren't counting on a pre-taped package featuring their friends and family sending the video messages about how much they've changed their lives and are heroes.
This group made of front-line medical workers have been hailed as singing heroes, and it's absolutely true. Every performance has been inspiring, hopeful, beautiful and life-affirming in a way that hits hard.
Their number tonight proves exactly how much they deserved the Golden Buzzer back in the audition round. Belting out a cover of "Don't Give Up On Me" by Andy Grammer, the group wins a standing ovation from all the judges and everybody in the theater.
Howie, fighting back tears, says he's "beyond proud" of the choir, and marvels at the touching power of the performance.
"You really spoil us," Heidi shares. "You help all of us with our health and now you give us this gift of an amazing performance."
"You just make me feel so good and your songs define you," Simon shares. "You know, we nearly didn't make the show this year because it was really tricky and if we hadn't made the show, we wouldn't have found you. And, my god, the world needs you right now."
Kabir Singh Pokes Fun at Love
Kabir Singh is one of three stand-up comics to make it to the semifinals and he's got a fun, loveable energy that is naturally magnetic.
Poking fun at his relationships, the world of dating, being an Indian in America and the challenges of modern life.
His nervousness is readily apparent, unfortunately, and Simon seems to just find him boring, as he ends up buzzing Kabir in the middle of his set!
"It wasn't going great," Simon says, explaining why. "I thought by giving you a buzz, I think it made the act better weirdly."
"As somebody who does comedy every day, a red buzzer or a boo is a great pat on the back to just go for it," Howie share. "Comedy is hard and there's a lot of pressure tonight. You're always likable. I think that it didn't go as well as you probably would have loved it to go, but that doesn't mean there aren't millions of people at home that are laughing and they'll be the ones that have to vote."
Quick Change Artist Lea Kyle Brings Magic and Fashion
Lea Kyle is, unquestionably, the best quick change artist working today.
Her love for fashion and magic is clear in every moment of her act and it's breath-taking every time she hits the stage.
This week, she elevates her act above anything she's done thus far, and the climax involves in an explosion of red rose petals that transform her outfit into a flowing red gown.
Lea's magic, and her stage presence, is next-level. Howie calls her act a "show-stopper" and says he'd go to a show just of her pulling off an act like that.
Simon had nothing but love for the act, sharing, "That performance just defined what this show is all about. It was genuinely a million-dollar performance. This is an act I genuinely believe will be a huge hit in Vegas. This is what the Luxor needs, what we need, what the final needs. Congratulations."
UniCircle Flow Gets Physical
This group of unicyclists took a bit of a tumble during their quarterfinals act, but it just proved to the judges how great they really are at overcoming challenges.
Tonight, they are determined to show the judges what they are capable of -- and it's truly something.
Employing a purple and silver color scheme and quasi-disco vibe, this troupe of unicycle dancers is more talented at synchronized unicycle dancing than most groups are at just regular dancing.
Sofia praises the group's choice to change their outfits to show off the unicycles, and Simon celebrates their decision to update to a more modern song.
All in all, the judges love it. Now it'll be up to America to give them another chance in the finals
1aChord Brings Inspiration and Joy
This trio of talented singers have only known each other for seven months, and their chemistry as a musical group is undeniable.
"Our lives completely changed in our college cafeteria if all three of us had not been together at the same time on that day at the same time, none of this would have happened," the singers share in a pre-taped package. "We were brought together for a purpose and our lives were better for it."
The group hit the stage for a rendition of "Every Breath You Take" by The Police, but add a fun, energetic gospel element, joined by a backup choir and a lot of production value.
The performance gets a huge round of applause from the audience, and a standing ovation from Sofia and Heidi.
"I love the song choice, I loved that you had some choreography, I loved all the production," Howie marvels. "You stepped it up."
"This was amazing!" Heidi yells. "You blew the roof off the building... you did a better job [with that song] than Sting did."
"The vocals were insanely good," Simon says, "I think you guys have just laid down a marker for what we're looking for in the final."
We're Getting Close Now!
After a long season, hundreds of hopefuls, countless jaw-dropping performances, were right on the precipice of the finals!
Tonight's second semifinals will bring on the last 11 hopefuls vying for five remaining spots in the grand finale -- meaning for six contestants, tonight is their final performance of the season.
We're in for some really incredible live acts tonight, from a child opera diva to a group of handsome acrobats to a truly talented comedian, there's a lot of talent that's set to his the stage tonight.
Here we go!
Check out the video below to hear more from the judges about this season's live quarterfinals rounds!