‘AGT’ Returns to Dolby Theatre To Begin Live Rounds

AGT Season 16 crew
‘AGT: Season 16’ returned to the Dolby Theatre for the first time in two years. (Photo property of NBC)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

America’s Got Talent (AGT) is back from its Olympics hiatus, and for the first time since 2019, it is broadcasting the Live Rounds from the Dolby Theatre.

I am thrilled that half of the acts were guests on The Jake’s Take with Jacob Elyachar Podcast. So, I am very invested in several of the performers. Which acts delivered impressive performances? Who received an “X” from the AGT judges (Simon Cowell, Sofia Vergara, Howie Mandel, and Heidi Klum)? Read on to find out! 

(Also, the grade reviews are back!)

After Terry Crews made his entrance and reminded the audience of the grand prize, it was time to get down to business. The Canine Stars were the first act to face America’s votes, and they are the only animal act of the season. I thought the “judges” monologue was hilarious, but the routine was iffy and did not impress me. C

10-year-old Peter Rosalita was the second performer to step onto the AGT stage. He revealed that Celine Dion herself praised his audition. Tonight, Peter sang “I Have Nothing.” As Peter performed, he reminded me of when I watched Australia’s Got Talent winner Jack Vidgen to become an international overnight sensation sing the same tune. There were some breath control issues, but otherwise, it was okay. C+/B-  

Beyond Belief Dance Company was next to take the AGT challenge. The Mesquite, Texas natives were accompanied by their choreographer Justin Johnson who is known by his alter-ego drag superstar Alyssa Edwards. I felt like I was watching a dance recital, not a $1 million Vegas act. I wished I had a buzzer. D+ 

Singer Madilyn Bailey took the world by storm by singing original content and turning her hated comments into super-catchy songs. She covered one of my all-time favorite songs: David Guetta + Sia’s “Titanium.” It was a significant risk not singing an original tune, but I was thoroughly impressed by her cover. B+

Comedian Kabir Singh was the first Jake’s Take podcast guest to take the Dolby Theatre stage tonight. After walking out to “Call Me Maybe,” he revealed that his mom learned how to text and contained Indian accents. I loved his set from start to finish! I loved the Deal or No Deal zing as well. B+/A- 

After magician Dustin Tavella auditioned for AGT, he became the first frontrunner. I had high hopes for his performance tonight. Since the taping, the family adopted Xander’s older brother, Silas. As Howie joined Dustin on stage, he revealed using a deck of playing cards and a book. There is something magical about him, and I pray that he is one of the last acts standing. 

Another one of my guests, 1aChord, made their Dolby Theatre debuts! I have been waiting for this amazing trio to sing and they did not disappoint. I was so in awe of their gospel twist to R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” that they gave me goosebumps. A

Jake’s Take friend Gina Brillon made her Dolby Theatre debut. After she made her entrance to Lizzo’s “Good as Hell,” the Bronx native spoke about her hometown and knowing people who have Rosie Perez’s accent. I loved her material from start to finish! B+

I was pleasantly surprised to see Gangstagrass in this line-up. They were lost in the shuffle because of the massive music acts that are on this season. I hoped that they delivered tonight. The band began A cappella, and then the hip-hop beats came in. Gangstagrass put a smile on my face. I was impressed with their musicianship and was pleasantly surprised with their performance. 

I am going to be bluntly honest…why the heck did Sethward get a spot? Two of the best acts of the season, magician Patrick Kun and singer Storm Large, are fighting for a place in the Wild Card competition, and HE HAS A PLACE IN THE COMPETITION? This was just a hot mess! 

As Sethward left the stage, one of my favorites – escape artist Matt Johnson took the stage. He transported the audience to Death’s Door. He was being chained and padlocked to door number 13. He had to use a single lock pick to make his escape before the chainsaw got to his skull. I was so nervous for Matt but grateful he survived. A+  

Sofia Vergara’s Golden Buzzer, Jimmie Herrod, closed out the night with “Pure Imagination” and I was in awe. Jimmie gave me the chills once again! What a way to end the show. A++

Tomorrow night, 7 acts will advance, and fan-favorite champions Darci Lynne and Brandon Leake take the stage.


  1. caburr1982 says




    1 Gina Brillon

    2 Madilyn Bailey

    3 Dustin Tavella

    4 Jimmie Herrod

    5 1aChord

    6 Matt Johnson


    7 Gangstagrass

    8 Canine Stars

    9 Beyond Belief Dance Company

    10 Kabir Singh


    11 Sethward

    12 Peter Rosalita


    Top Five: Gina Brillon / Madilyn Bailey / Dustin Tavella / Jimmie Herrod / 1aChord

    Sonic Save Winner: Matt Johnson

    Judges Choice Winner: Gangstagrass

    Judges Choice Loser: Canine Stars

    Bottom Four: Beyond Belief Dance Company / Kabir Singh / Sethward (Unfortunately) / Peter Rosalita


    Top Five: Gina Brillon / Madilyn Bailey / Dustin Tavella / Jimmie Herrod / Matt Johnson (Would be Nice)

    Sonic Save Winner: 1aChord

    Judges Choice Winner: Gangstagrass

    Judges Choice Loser: Canine Stars

    Bottom Four: Beyond Belief Dance Company / Kabir Singh / Sethward (Unfortunately) / Peter Rosalita

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar