‘AGT: Season 17’ Live Shows Begin!

America's Got Talent Season 17 Group A acts
The first set of ‘AGT: Season 17’ qualifying acts performed for America’s votes! (Photos property of NBC)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

America’s Got Talent (AGT): Season 17 is now in the Live Shows stage of the competition.

The judges (Simon Cowell, Sofia Vergara, Howie Mandel, and Heidi Klum) have selected 54 acts, and America has voted one act through as this season’s Wildcard. AGT went live from the Pasadena Civic Center for the first time since the show returned to the West Coast. Tonight, the first set of 11 acts competed for America’s votes. Which performers rose above the rest and impressed the audience? Did any judge buzz an act? 

Read on to find out! 

Before we get started the recap, now that the show is live, I will be giving each act a letter grade!

West Africa acrobatics team Amoukanama kicked off the evening with incredible stunts. There were backflips and somersaults galore. My jaw dropped several times during the performance. They belong in Vegas. A- 

Amazing Veranica and her Incredible Friends are the only animal act this season. With the new rule of only two acts advancing to the finale, I could see them leave AGT tomorrow evening. I was bored with the act, and several mistakes happened during the performance. Honestly, I would have pulled a Piers Morgan and buzzed Veranica. D+ 

Ava Swiss returned to the Pasadena Civic Center stage. Her haunting performance of Lauren Daigle’s “Remember” was one of the highlights of the Season 17 Auditions. She dedicated her performance of P!nk’s “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” to Oxford, Michigan. I love her determination, but there were pitch issues with Ava’s performance. C

After Terry revealed that comedian Jordan Cooley got America’s Wildcard, comedic singer Ben Lapidus took the stage. I was surprised he decided to go Green Day with “Parmesan.” Yes, Sofia and the guys buzzed him, but it was one of the most insane moments in AGT live shows history! B- 

Lace Larrabee is a former beauty pageant queen who found her love of stand-up comedy in the pageant world. Her AGT quarterfinal set focused on her husband, and I think Lace owned the stage with her material. I could see her as a dark horse in this competition. B+ 

Country music singer Drake Milligan and his band were one of the best music moments from the Season 17 auditions. Tonight, Drake and his band performed an original song, “Kiss Goodbye All Night,” and from the moment the fiddle entered the mix, I was transfixed by their showmanship. In all honesty, Drake and his band saved the evening. AGT is just the beginning for Drake and his band, and I hope to see them in the finale! 

In all honesty, Oleksandr Yenivatov got through just because of the Ukraine-Russian war. I would have buzzed the routine from the word “Go,” and I wished that the Nerveless Nocks got his spot. 

The Players Choir comprises NFL alums who all love to sing. Tonight, they performed Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop This Feeling,” and the gentlemen gave me the first set of live show chills of the season. 

Columbia salsa dancers Stefany and Yeeremy had the difficult task of following the Players Choir. The duo performed their routine to “River,” I loved their fancy footwork, but was it Vegas-worthy? It felt like the duo needed to perform this piece on DWTS or World of Dance. B- 

Comedian Don McMillan made me laugh during his AGT audition. He brought out the PowerPoint once again and danced like an engineer. His routine focused on how engineers thought, and I could not stop smiling during his performance. A- 

Terry Crews’ Golden Buzzer, saxophonist Avery Dixon, closed out the night. This time, Avery performed a rousing version of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” I loved his rendition, and the band backing him did a phenomenal job. I hope that Stevie was listening to this performance. A+ 

Tomorrow night, two acts will advance to the Season 17 finals and Season 16 champ Dustin Tavella will provide the entertainment.

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar