[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for America’s Got Talent Season 17 Episode 2.]
The second episode of America’s Got Talent Season 17 delivered some unexpected body horror. From a group of dancing zombies that quickly got the axe to a brave man who twisted hooks into his nose and out of his mouth, there was no shortage of unsettling sights.
Outside of the haunted house vibes (the second of which, by the way, made it through to the next round), there were memorable music performances including original songs, captivating dance numbers, and an audience plant with one hell of a singing voice. And while the guy who sang about parmesan cheese in the season premiere got lots of love, comedy singers didn’t receive as much adoration in Episode 2.
Last week, host Terry Crews used the Golden Buzzer to send saxophone player Avery Dixon. But did anyone else get sent straight to the live shows? Here, we break down the best auditions from the episode in order of appearance, all of whom got four yeses from judges Simon Cowell, Sofía Vergara, Howie Mandel, and Heidi Klum.
Milligan grew up as an Elvis impersonator and eventually started pursuing his own music. The 23-year-old country singer and his band performed an original country song and got a standing ovation from all of the judges and the audience.
Mandel predicted the song will shoot Milligan and his band into country music stardom, and Klum predicted the band will make it to the finale.
The Japanese stand-up comedian crushed with jokes that flipped stereotypes about immigrants onto the Americans that make them. Following her set, Tanaka revealed her mother died during the COVID-19 pandemic, but was always the biggest supporter of her comedy career. She made herself and her mother proud with her successful and witty audition.
The 11-year-old calls herself the biggest fan of AGT there is. She was placed in the crowd as a pretend audience member, the ruse being staged to make the judges think an incredible singer just happened to volunteer for the “auditions” they hold during filming breaks — and it worked. The judges let her audition, not knowing that’s what she was there to do, and she impressed with an a cappella rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
Cowell loved it so much, he encouraged Maddie to sing the next verse. The crowd reaction brought her to tears, and she said she would use the $1 million to help fund cancer research. Her father, she shared, has had Stage 4 colon cancer for the last nine years. The crowd urged the judges to use the Golden Buzzer, and Mandel delivered, sending Maddie straight to the live shows.
Two dance groups — an all-female group called the Fabulous Sisters and an all-male group called Kyushu Danji — were once rivals. But now, they’ve joined forces to create Fusion Japan for America’s Got Talent, and what their collaboration created was incredible. The dancers stormed the stage with a captivating performance infusing contemporary and street dance styles with acrobatics.
Crews called it “one of the best things I’ve ever seen in my life.” Klum said it was one of the show’s best dance auditions ever. Vergara couldn’t stop gushing over the acrobatics. And Cowell said they need to create a Japan’s Got Talent series to see more performers like them.
Performing for the first time since healing from a performance injury, Viviana Rossi delivered an astounding aerialist production. She started by submerging herself in a bathtub before being lifted into the air to perform her gravity-defying routine.
The judges and audience were equal parts amazed and terrified when, near the end of the performance, Rossi spun through the air like a cyclone suspended only by her neck, garnering thunderous applause. Cowell said they had seen acts like hers before, but her skill surpassed the predecessors.
Jojo and Bri
Through their shared love of Whitney Houston, Jojo (who previously auditioned for AGT Season 15 with singing group Resound) and Bri started singing together and posting their videos online. Their AGT audition marked their first performance in front of a live audience, but their rendition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” made singing look easy.
“That, for me, was the definition of joy and magic,” Cowell described of the uncle-niece duo.
What did you think of the auditions? Let us know in the comments, below, and be sure to tune for more TV Insider recaps of America’s Got Talent Season 17.
America’s Got Talent, Tuesdays, 8/7c, NBC