'America's Got Talent': Simon Cowell's Absence Strongly Felt During Third Night of Live Quarterfinals
The third night of America's Got Talent live quarterfinals saw another 11 hopefuls give it their all for the votes of America and praise of the judges. However, Simon Cowell's absence was felt more than ever.
After Cowell injured his back earlier this month, Kelly Clarkson stepped in to serve as a guest judge during the first night of the live quarterfinals. Then Kenan Thompson held things down during the second episode. This time around, the panel was just Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Sofia Vergara.
"To be honest, we realize Simon is irreplaceable, but who doesn't want to partake of the most gorgeous man sandwich in history?" joked Mandel, who was seated between his fellow judges.
"All kidding aside, Simon, I know he watches the show, we love you, our hearts are with you, buddy," Mandel added. "Come back really fast."
Cowell was also missed when his Golden Buzzer recipients, the W.A.F.F.L.E. Crew dance group, wowed the judges and the virtual audience with a truly incredible performance.
"This is why we miss Simon, he was absolutely right. You are Golden Buzzer worthy, at the top of your game," Mandel said of the New York–based dance crew. "Simon had it right."
When they first performed during the audition rounds, Cowell said they'd delivered his "favorite audition so far" and that their performance was something he'd "never, ever forget."
For their part, the W.A.F.F.L.E Crew had a lot of love for Cowell as well on Tuesday, and wished him well after his accident.
"We want to thank Simon for everything he's done for us so far," dancer Joel Kozik shared. "We want to tell him to get well soon, [have] a speedy recovery."
"And read the manual before getting on a scooter, please!" Kozik added with a laugh, poking fun at Cowell's mishap.
The AGT judge was, according to his rep, testing his new electric bike at his home when he suffered an accident and broke his back. He successfully underwent surgery and began his recovery, and was reportedly spotted walking days later.
ET's Kevin Frazier spoke with the trio of AGT judges following Tuesday's show, and Mandel reiterated how much they all support their injured co-star, and how much they hope he'll return as soon as he's up to it.
"That man is like a superhero, you know? His back has been broken in four separate places, he's had a six-hour surgery where they put a rod in his back. I know that he's up and walking and he's working miracles," Mandel shared. "But first and foremost, he's gotta get healthy."
The comic and long-time judge went on to say that "even though tonight was a great night, there is a void without the voice of Simon Cowell."
Vergara shared similar sentiments, explaining she liked the dynamic between herself, Mandel and Klum, but added, "Even though I miss Simon."
For more on Cowell's recovery and how the show has handled him being gone, check out the video below.
America's Got Talent airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
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