'America's Got Talent': Contortionists, Comedians and Jugglers Shine in Final Night of Season 16 Auditions
By Zach Seemayer
Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
America's Got Talent returned to TV on Tuesday for the eighth and final night of auditions, and the last batch of hopefuls continues to shine bigger and brighter than ever! ET is following along throughout the two-hour episode to break down all the best, biggest and most surprising moments.
Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Sofia Vergara and Heidi Klum are judging and voting on a whole new slate of AGT hopefuls, who are giving it their all for a shot at moving on to the next round of competition, or maybe earning the coveted Golden Buzzer!
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 final night of auditions on this season of America's Got Talent.
So... No Judge Cuts? No Second Chances?
Apparently, there just won't be any judge cuts round... which, it seems, is why there were eight weeks of auditions.
So the judges just get together at Simon's house in Malibu and use the audition footage to whittle the field down to the top 36 acts, who will then go on to the live shows in Hollywood.
This, of course, kind of sucks for anyone who wanted a second chance to impress, because unlike pre-COVID seasons, they just don't have that opportunity.
It almost feels like the Yes Votes don't actually mean as much now, because it just means "you don't get cut YET," which isn't nearly as meaningful as getting a chance to show what you've got.
But, that's the way it goes. Who knows which 36 acts will move on, and which will be cut.
AGT is off next week because of the Olympics, so we'll have to wait two week to find out who made it to the live shows.
Contortionist Wows and Freaks Out the Judges
Contortionist D-Flex, whose real name is Oyindamola Kolawole, brings make-up and costuming to add additional, surreal layers to his routine that leaves the judges shaken and stirred.
The way he moves his body seems almost supernatural, and the make-up and contact lenses he's chosen gives his eyes a haunted, nightmarish look that is truly breathtaking.
After his act, the judges have a hard time finding the words to show their appreciation for what he accomplished.
Sofia calls it "spectacular" and Simon says he "loves people like you, who are passionate about what they do."
"You are a great example of what we look for from a great contestant on a show like this," he adds.
The judges vote yes across the board and make the young contortionist's day. He's brought to tears when he calls his family to share the big news.
His also marks the end of the auditions. So, it'll be interesting to see how the episode ends...
Pizzaman Surprises By Not Being Terrible
When "Pizzaman" comes out, bragging about his pizza-based super powers, it's clear that not all of the judges are sold on him.
He then has Howie come up on stage -- which Howie is, as always, hilariously uncomfortable with -- and then Pizzaman proves he actually has some impressive powers.
Specifically, he's got some talented hands and pulls off what can best be described as acrobatic pizza dough juggle spinning.
The talent is surprising, and Simon goes so far as to call it one of his favorite auditions of the night.
As Howie puts it after the feedback, Pizzaman got "four slices of yes!"
Anica Channels Janis Joplin
Anica is really excited to be on the AGT stage, chasing her dream as a singer while working as a real estate agent in her day-to-day life.
She belts out a cover of Janis Joplin's iconic tune "Piece of My Heart" that shows her raw love for performance.
However, it doesn't amaze ALL of the judges. Howie and Heidi love the number and give her instant yes votes, while Simon says he regretfully wasn't that impressed and votes no.
Sofia says she also wasn't amazed, but loves Anica's vibe and decides to vote yes, to give her another shot.
Mike Goodwin Shines a Light on Fairytales
Mike Goodwin is a standup comic -- as well as an army vet and school counsellor -- and his routine is rooted in showing the innate weirdness of fairy tales.
As a dad, Mike has been teaching his kids' virtual classes but his wife took over the job when he started pointing out how the fables kids learn are full of dark, weird truths.
It's a slow-burn bit that builds up to big laughs, and the judges are receptive to his relatable material.
Together, they vote him through, meaning we'll hopefully get a chance to see more in the near future.
The Acrobat Bros
The Colombian acrobatic trio known as Rialcris -- made up of brothers Alex, Christian and Ricky -- are handsome, they connect with Sofia over their cultural heritage, and they are just incredible.
Their acrobatics feel dangerous, and require incredible strength and determination, and it's just jaw-dropping.
"This was so amazing, But I want to see what my other judges are gonna say, but if they don't say what I want them to say, there's going to be trouble tonight," Sofia says, not quite serious, but not quite joking.
There's no trouble however, as all the judges love the act and they all vote yes to move them on to the next round.
Dylan Does Freddie Justice
The soft-spoken, polite Dylan Zangwill hits the stage with a smile and a story about his passion for music -- which he's been fostering his "whole life" (i.e. 14 years).
He's quiet, unassuming, and absolutely talented. He sits down at the piano and belts out the Queen classic "Somebody to Love," which serves as a showcase for his love of music.
"It was a great audition," Simon says, "And I think there's a lot more to come from you."
"I got connected to the joy," Howie shares. "The happiest place you could be is right there, performing for us."
The judges end up awarding the talented artist with four yes votes.
Pasha Gets Stood Up But Makes It Work
For one dancer, named Pasha, being part of a dance duo is made a lot harder when his partner, his wife, misses her flight and he has to dance alone.
As he sets this up as the premise, the judges are baffled when he comes out with a mannequin that he dances with (and that moves).
Of course, the whole thing is a set-up. It's all part of his act and his whole shtick is he's a one-man act that uses elaborate costuming to deliver an entertaining and wholly unexpected number.
"We love to be surprised, and that's what you just did," Simon says, before they all deliver yes votes. It'll be interesting to see what Pasha can think of for the next round.
Sergio Brings a New Bouncy Twist to Juggling
When it comes to juggling, Sergio Paolo isn't content with just throwing around some balls.
Instead, he's a bounce juggler who incorporates acrobatic skills into a routine that is hard to imagine without seeing it.
The way he throws, bounces, catches and throws the white ping pong-sized balls feels like it defies physics and his flawless audition is full of showmanship.
All the judges heap praise on the act -- and his stage presence in particular -- and they end up voting Sergio on to the next round!
Medhat Mamdouh Surprises Everyone
Medhat Mamdouh plays the recorder. At least, that's how he undersells himself to serve up an impressive surprise.
When he first comes on stage and says his talent is playing the recorder, Simon pokes fun at the choice -- likely implying that recorders are for kids.
Then, Medhat not only plays the recorder like a madman, but also beatboxes at the same time and generally delivering a wild, fun experience that stuns everyone.
Simon admits he was dreading the audition, but ended up loving it, and the other judges agree that his act was certainly unexpected.
The judges all vote yes to reward his unique ingenuity!
Gabriella Stuns With Her Violin Skills
Gabriella Laberge is French Canadian, she's a violinist, and she's an amazing vocalist.
Rarely do you get a violinist on AGT who can also sing, and it's even more rare to hear a voice like hers.
Singing out a soulful and stunning cover of James Blunt's "Goodbye My Lover," it's clearly written on the judges' faces just how much they love her performance.
As she plays the violin between verses, it's so clear how talented she really is, and she feels like the kind of entertainer who could go all the way to the finals with ease.
"The violin was, like, the perfect addition to your beautiful voice," Sofia marvels.
Howie calls her "angelic," and Heidi says she thought "it was beautiful."
"It was very kind of clever and interesting, and it was a good act," Simon says before voting yes. She gets all yes votes across the board and will be moving on to the next round.
Singers Win Big
Coming back from commercial break, we get to see a truncated audition from a singer named Savannah who belts out Olivia Rodrigo's "Drivers License" and it's incredible.
She gets four yes votes and the judges fawn over her.
Then Zac Taylor comes on stage and sings his heart out and wins over the judges, earning another four yes votes.
So why? Why didn't we get to see these singers have the full package breakdown? It's such a strange choice.
A Rabbit Act Starts Things Off
So, we've all seen trained dog acts, and even a trained pig act, but Shai has Bini and Bunny, and he hopes this talented, basketball playing rabbit -- whom he calls "the LeBron James of bunnies" -- can help him win big.
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like this is going to be the spectacle that Shai is hoping for. Either Bini has stage fright or rabbits are just mercurial, but either way it's not what Simon is looking for to say the least.
Admittedly, after several different attempts at different sorts of acts, the rabbit does eventually dunk a tiny basketball.
Simon is still a hard no when it comes time to vote, but Howie's enthusiasm seems to win over Heidi and Sofia, which means Bini will get another chance in the future.
The Last Night of Auditions!
Somehow, this is the eighth week of auditions -- which feels like way more auditions than in past seasons.
I'm baffled at how many acts are going to compete during the Judge Cuts rounds, because it feels like hundreds of hopefuls have gotten voted through.
It seems as if there won't be any Golden Buzzer this time around, so we'll see how it goes.
ET recently spoke with Crews about how this season of America's Got Talent has really brought an entirely new level of energy and excitement after coming back from the pandemic.
"There was a moment when we never knew if we would come back," Crews shared, adding that with the benefit of hindsight, no one -- not the judges or the performers -- took anything for granted this season.
"There was not one ounce of cynicism on the show," Crews explained.