‘AGT: Season 18’ Premieres

The on-air team of host Terry Crews and judges Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell returned for 'AGT: Season 18.' (Photos and graphics property of NBC)

The on-air team of host Terry Crews and judges Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell returned for AGT: Season 18. (Photos and graphics property of NBC)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

It is the most wonderful time of the year! America’s Got Talent (AGT) kicked off its eighteenth season on NBC! Thousands of fans packed into the Pasadena Civic Center auditorium to see if hundreds of acts could impress judges Simon Cowell, Sofia Vergara, Howie Mandel, and Heidi Klum. If the acts were successful and received three or four Yeses, they were one step closer to the show’s iconic prize of $1 million and headlining America’s Got Talent: Super Stars Live show at the Luxor Las Vegas. 

Which acts impressed the judges? Did any act receive a Golden Buzzer? The Golden Buzzer can take any act directly to AGT live shows. Read on to find out! 

Fans packed the Pasadena Civic Center for the first AGT: Season 18 auditions. After Terry and the judges made their entrances, Trex Flips kicked off the auditions. I was impressed with the gymnastic stunts. He received the season’s first standing ovation, and Sofia was grateful that she did not press her buzzer. Simon declared him “the best dancing dinosaur they ever had on AGT.” He received the first 7,000 Yeses of Season 18. 

Violinist Philip Bowen received a pep talk from Terry before he stepped onto the stage. The Detroit resident is a project manager, and he credited Itzhak Perlman and Sesame Street for starting his passion for the violin. His parents were also in the audience, and his mom, a Simon superfan. I loved how he played the violin and gave me the season’s first chills. Simon, Sofia, and Howie gave Philip a standing ovation. The Got Talent creator loved his charisma, while Sofia predicted that this performance could change his life. Philip received the first set of four Yeses of Season 18! 

Rock band Steel Panther received a hero’s welcome when they walked across the AGT stage. Before they performed, the band gave Heidi and Sofia backstage passes for life and declared to Simon that they wanted to win the season. The band rocked out to “Eyes of A Panther,” plus I was very impressed with the performance. They had Howie and Sofia rocking out in their seats, and I loved the guitar solos. The band received a four-judge standing ovation. Howie loved their music, and Simon called their audition “Brilliant.” Steel Panther received four Yeses! 

After some dud auditions that contained several buzzers, Ukrainian hand balancers Three G stepped onto the AGT stage. Sadly, it was storming in my neighborhood, and I could not see most of the act. I came back to two of the members dropping themselves. While they rebounded, I still would have buzzed them due to the multiple technical errors. However, the judges encouraged them and believed what they saw was worthy of the NBC talent competition. They gave them four undeserved “Yeses.” 

33-year-old Los Angeles magician Trigg Watson decided to combine his love of technology and magic and was inspired by AGT magicians to pursue this dream. He used a giant iPhone screen, and I was amazed at how he could incorporate Terry and the judges’ social media videos into his act. Trigg made objects such as Howie and Heidi’s glasses, Terry’s shirty, and even playing cards from the massive tablet. Trigg received a standing ovation, and Howie predicted that he could win the season. I also agree with Howie; he has the potential to win Season 18! 

Kozo traveled from Japan to audition for AGT. The caregiver first appeared in his tuxedo, which he tore off to reveal a white unitard and pretended to be a human helicopter pad. Sadly, he received the first three Xs of the season, and only Howie championed him. 

11-year-old D’Corey Johnson wanted to audition for AGT, so he could one day join the Broadway casts of Hamilton and Wicked. D’Corey has a strong voice for his age as he sang “Open Arms.” He reminded me of Season Nine finalist Quintavious Johnson when he auditioned for the show. When he was finished, Simon asked him to perform the chorus A cappella, which showcased his crystal clear voice. The Got Talent creator gave D’Corey a standing ovation, while Sofia predicted that Broadway would be in his future. D’Corey received four Yeses from the judges. 

Shadow Ace traveled from the Philippines to audition for AGT. He hoped to revive the lost art of shadow puppets. Growing up, he became fascinated by the art form as his family had no electricity and began making shadow puppets to entertain himself and his family. Shadow Ace got to work after revealing that he was a Beyonce superfan and wanted to follow in Season 17 champions Mayyas’ footsteps of working with the “Formation” performer. Shadow Ace made me laugh with his choices, such as implementing a stripper poll, a catfight to “Wrecking Ball,” and the “Gangnam Style” horse. The performance thoroughly entertained me. He received a standing ovation from all four judges!

Comedian Orlando Leyba hoped that AGT would jumpstart his career. The 45-year-old Miami native’s set focused on Yellowstone and its impact on his life, including meeting wildlife such as bison and seeing Old Faithful. His jokes made me laugh and smile, plus I loved his storytelling. Simon called him “naturally funny,” while Howie compared him to fine wine as Orlando revealed that he has been working in standup for 13 years. The comedian was heading back to Miami with four “Yeses.” 

South African youth choir Mzansi Youth Choir had the opportunity to close out the first round of AGT: Season 18 auditions. Tonight, they covered the late Nightbirde’s “It’s Ok.” This choir gave me goosebumps, and they beautifully interpreted the tune and took it to another level of excellence. Sofia called it the “perfect AGT audition,” and they made Simon emotional. The audience started chanting: “Golden Buzzer,” and for the first time in show history, the AGT audience voted unanimously, and all five members of the AGT on-air team gave them a Golden Buzzer on behalf of the audience. 

 Don’t forget to check out my favorite AGT Auditions of All-Time

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar