“America’s Got Talent” welcomes new talent & host Tyra Banks

New host Tyra Banks (far right) joins the “AGT” judges for Season 12! (Photo & Graphic property of NBC)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

America’s Got Talent (AGT) is back, and the NBC talent competition has a new host: Ms. Tyra Banks.

The America’s Next Top Model creator and host will help veteran judges Howie Mandel, Mel B, fellow supermodel and longtime friend Heidi Klum, and series creator Simon Cowell on their quest to find the next up-and-coming acts in America.  No matter if you are a 40-year-old opera singer, a 6-year-old comedian, an 80-year-old ventriloquist, or a high school dance troupe, AGT is the perfect show to demonstrate your talent.

The Season 12 premiere marked the first night of the Judges’ Auditions. Each of the acts was handpicked by the producers to show off their skills to the Judges. If they receive three or four Xs from Simon, Heidi, Mel B, and Howie, the acts are immediately ordered to leave the stage.  If they receive three or four “Yeses,” the acts will be advanced to the Judges’ Cuts round. But, if the act blows either the judges or Tyra Banks away, they could be awarded the Golden Buzzer.  The Golden Buzzer is an act’s ticket to the Live Shows, where they could join the ranks of Bianca Ryan, Terry Fator, Mat Franco, Paul Zerdin, and Grace VanderWaal in the AGT Winners’ Circle, where they could win $1,000,000 and the chance to headline a show in Las Vegas.

Who were the first acts to set the bar this season? Did anyone earn the Golden Buzzer? How did Tyra Banks do as host? Read on to find out!

As Simon introduced new host and a huge fan of the show Tyra Banks and both Mel B and Heidi pressed the Golden Buzzer, Jokgu was the first act to take the stage. I have seen a lot of animal acts throughout my time watching America’s Got Talent, but I have never seen a chicken play a musical instrument. Jokgu stole the hearts of the nation when it played “America the Beautiful” on a keyboard. The talented chicken blew away the judges and Tyra Banks, who laughed from stage right. As Howie held his hand over his heart, he joined Heidi and Simon in giving the talented poultry a standing ovation. Howie wondered if they were going to put together a chicken band—perfect for Simon’s label.  Simon stated that the performance was historic and received the first four “Yeses” of Season 12!

I loved Tyra interacting with the contestants outside of the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. 26-year-old stand-up comedian Preacher Lawson nearly collapsed after meeting the new host.  Preacher has been plugging away for eight years to get to the Judges. However, Mel B wanted more and Preacher talked about his spiritual grandmother driving. His fast-paced routine made me laugh so hard, and both Howie and Mel B gave him a standing ovation. Howie praised his timing and Mel B called him: “Brilliant.” Heidi added that she loved his timing and Simon called him: “unbelievably talented.”  Preacher received the second set of four “Yeses” of the night.

21-year-old Yoli Mayor grew up singing in her parent’s auto garage while she fought her weight issues. During her minute with Tyra, she encouraged Yoli that beauty comes in all sizes.  Simon immediately stopped the music and wanted her to sing “Make It Rain” like a great recording artist. Just before she sang, Tyra Banks helped her with a mini makeover. Once Tyra left the stage, Yoli delivered a spectacular cover of the Ed Sheeran tune that received a standing ovation from all four judges. Simon called her a “solid, gold star” and stated that she was fantastic. Heidi adored her and predicted that Yoli would go far in the competition. She also received “four Yeses” from the judges and got a huge hug from the new host!

As Heidi complemented Simon on his new hairstyle, we were treated to a montage of rejected acts that featured Tyra Banks’ skills as consoling the rejected contestants. Brother-sister salsa duo Junior and Emily hoped to make their father proud with their audition. Junior overcame his rough past to help fulfill the dreams that he shared with his sister and both of them credit dance for saving their lives. Their choreography blew me away, and their machine gun like movements made my jaw drop. If Mary Murphy was on the show, I believe that she would press the Golden Buzzer and declare both of them passengers on the Hot Tamale Train! They received the latest standing ovation of the night. Heidi loved the routine, while Howie stated that this was the first time that they brought the art form to life on the stage. Simon concluded that both of them would help make this show special.  All four judges said: “Yes” to send the siblings to the next round.

While Howie told Junior and Emily how proud he was of their performance backstage, 33-year-old magician Will Tsai hoped that AGT would be the major turning point in his life. Will also mentioned that he created his routine exclusively for this show. His routine started out with the reveal that he loved flowers because it symbolized life. As Will advised the audience “not to blink,” he placed four coins on each side of his bench with four white cards immediately on top of them. He magically transported the far left coin to the bottom right corner of the desk. One-by-one, each of the remaining coins found themselves transported to the bottom right-hand corner and with the snap of his fingers, the coins went back to their original spaces.  Finally, he transformed the coins into the rose petals he removed at the beginning of his act. He received the elusive four-judge standing ovation as the audience roared with delight. Both Simon and Howie stated that it was “the best close-up magic that they have ever seen” on this show.  Will received four “gigantic YESES” from the judges. I thought they would give him a Golden Buzzer.

“President Trump” also known as the Singing Trump made an appearance on the stage to a chorus of boos and one “X” courtesy of Mel B. He wanted to make AGT great again, and the impersonator stated that he was on a mission of love. “The President” did his best Bruno Mars impression as he performed “Uptown Funk” and “24K Gold.” The crowd who turned on him at the beginning of his audition was now at his side. While Mel B stated “No,” both Simon and Howie praised the Singing Trump’s originality. Heidi, Howie, and Simon gave him a spot in the Judges’ Cuts round.

12-year-old dancer and America’s Got Talent fan Merrick Hanna hoped that he did not receive a buzzer from Simon or the judges. He credited his grandmother, who takes four dance classes a week, to his style. I thought that Merrick had strong movements for his age and I think that he could be mentored by some of my friends including Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance, and Mark Ballas. Merrick received a standing ovation from both Howie and Simon, who called Merrick—one of the dance acts that he has ever seen. Simon also vowed to show Merrick’s performance to his record label and gave Merrick his first Yes.  Heidi also added that Merrick was going to inspire her kids to get off the iPad and start dancing and gave him another “Yes.” Howie and Mel B also gave him “Yeses” and added that they could not wait to see what he does next.

Puddles the Clown shocked the audience with his cover of Sia’s “Chandelier.” The sad clown reminded me of an impeccable old-school Broadway performer. He surprisingly stole the show and received a standing ovation from Simon, Mel B, and Howie. The sad clown cried from receiving the positive feedback. Mel B stated that she loved it, and Simon added that he loved Puddles’ originality. He received a second standing ovation from the crowd as the judges gave him: “Four Yeses!”

It was near the end of the evening and 12-year-old Oklahoma City native Darci Lynne hoped that she and her puppet, a rabbit named Petunia, would make everyone laugh and not receive an “X.” Ventriloquism helped Darcy come out of her shell and stated that she would not be able to walk across the AGT stage if she did not have Petunia by her side.  While her routine reminded me of Terry Fator, I was impressed that she sang “Summertime” in two different voices. The judges gave her a standing ovation and Simon stated that he will remember her act in “a week, in a month, and a year.” Darci Lynne melted Mel B’s heart that she received the first Golden Buzzer of Season 12!

Next week, the Season 12 Auditions continue!



  1. Tyra Banks needs to go!!!! I hated her on the season premiere of America’s Got Talent !!!! She’s boring and she looked like she really didn’t want to be there. There’s been a big mistake picking her. We need someone who’s gonna hype the contestants up & make conversation with the contestants like Nick did. Please pick a new host A.G.T. I love your show, but Tyra is messing it up.

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