Ken Jeong Joins “America’s Got Talent” For Season 13 Judges’ Cuts

Guest judge Ken Jeong stares down Howie Mandel during filming “America’s Got Talent: Season 13” Judge Cuts. (Photo property of NBC & FremantleMedia North America)

By: Jacob Elyachar,

The America’s Got Talent Season 13 auditions are over! Now, the real game begins. The Judges’ Cuts round separates the contenders from the fakes. It also determines which acts advance to the Season 13 live shows, which are scheduled to take place at the Dolby Theatre.

Each week, a superstar guest will join Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Mel B, and Howie Mandel at the Judges’ table. That person will have the opportunity to press the Golden Buzzer and send an act to directly to the live rounds. Joining them this week is actor and comedian Ken Jeong.  The performer entertained audiences as Community’s Ben Chang and the flamboyant Leslie Chow in The Hangover franchise.  Now, Ken Jeong is ready to find the next superstar.

Which act received the Golden Buzzer from the entertainer? Read on to find out!

After Tyra introduced the judges and Ken Jeong tested the Golden Buzzer, it was time to get down for business. Up first to face the quintet, dance troupe Junior Dance System! Asia’s Got Talent alums hoped to advance to the live shows and improve their loved ones’ lives. Despite their nerves, the dancers delivered a high octane routine to a soundtrack of Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Let’s Get Loud,” Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” and the Black Eyed Peas’ “Pump It.”  The judges gave them a standing ovation.  All of the judges stated that they wanted to see them advance to the Live Shows.

Music duo (and husband and wife) Us the Duo returned to America’s Got Talent. Last time, Howie did not like their original tune, and it took Simon and the ladies to advance them. Carissa revealed that she was pregnant with their first child, so the Judges’ Cut round was a crucial round for them to help kickstart their advance. They performed another original song. I loved their charisma and vocal harmonies. I was impressed that they performed the song’s final bars a cappella, but I have to agree with Howie. They need to perform a cover like “The Prayer” or “Nobody Wants to Be Lonely,” if they make it to the next round.

Magician Kevin Blake took Mel B outside to where a dozen red balloons waited for them. She put her ring into a small box, which he accidentally released into the air. However, the ring turned up into Simon’s “gift.” Meanwhile, multimedia juggler Mochi came back with hopes to grab a Las Vegas show. Mochi delivered an outstanding routine that wowed the crowd, the judges, and Ken Jeong.

11-year-old animal impressionist Lilly Wilker took the America’s Got Talent audience to the jungle. However, Oscar and Pam butchered “The Prayer” and got an “X” from Mel B. Opera singer Daniel Emmet returned to the stage for a chance to perform in front of America. However, I could not connect with him. I believe that Chris Mann, Branden James, Andrew de Leon, and the Forte Tenors would run circles around him!

Orange Country, California-based choir Voices of Hope Children’s Choir returned to the stage. At the auditions, this ensemble delivered an excellent cover of Keala Settle’s “This is Me.” While they had a hard time convincing Howie, it was up to Simon and the ladies to advance them to Judges’ Cuts.  This time around, the choir delivered a beautiful cover of Alessia Cara’s “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana. This performance gave me chills, and they received a standing ovation from all five judges. But they also received Ken Jeong’s Golden Buzzer, and a ticket to the Dolby Theatre live shows.

Belgian mentalist and danger act Aaron Crow returned for his chance to earn a spot in the live shows. Ken Jeong failed to converse with Aaron as Howie reminded the doctor turned actor that the mentalist does not speak.  He used a laser pointer to look for “volunteers,” it pointed on both Ken and Heidi. As the duo was escorted up to the stage, he motioned Heidi to take off her ring.  While the Project Runway host took it off, Aaron brought out a knife and removed a core from a Granny Smith apple. He put Heidi’s ring inside the apple, motioned her to sit down on a chair, and asked Ken to put the apple onto the top of her head.  After menacing the audience with his laser pointer bow and arrow, he successfully shot at the apple and put the arrow through the target. As Aaron revealed the ring was attached to the arrow, he motioned Ken to “propose” to Heidi. In all honesty, after Aaron’s impeccable performance, he should have received Ken Jeong’s Golden Buzzer over the choir!

I love Christina Wells! Her voice puts her in the pantheon of excellent female singers such as friends of the blog and AGT alums, Barbara Padilla, Emily West, and Sharon Irving. She tackled “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman. I got chills when she sang the first few notes. Her velvet tone made me weep, and her stage presence was unbelievable! While Simon and Mel B stated that she was “pitchy” at times, Christina probably had the best vocal of the night.

Rapper “Patches” came back to America’s Got Talent for the opportunity to earn a spot at the Dolby Theatre live shows. He revealed that he wanted to perform on Broadway and credited Lin-Manuel Miranda for inspiring him. His original rap reflected about how his life changed since his audition. Ken Jeong stated that “Patches” burned his song to ‘ashes,’ while Heidi stated that she felt honored that she made it to the song. No matter what happens, “Patches” does have a future in the entertainment industry.

Dance duo Celina and Filiberto returned to the stage to fight for a spot in the Season 13 live shows. This time around, the duo added four backup dancers but they kept their raunchy choreography. In all honesty, it was cute but not worth a spot in the live shows. Ken Jeong called them “loveable,” and even impressed Mel B, who did not like the first audition.

Duo Transcend (Mary Wolfe-Nielsen and Tyce Nielsen) was the last act to face Ken Jeong and the judges before they deliberated. Tyce has terrible eyesight, while Mary has had several injuries.  Watching them in their audience was their 2-year-old son Jaxx. The duo performed their risky routine to a cover of Tears for Fears’ “Shout.” My jaw dropped when flames not only appeared on the bar but also on the stage. This duo’s stunts terrified me, and when they did their final death-defying drop I thought that Mary would die, but thankfully she was okay! Despite their dangerous drop, the death-defying act received a standing ovation from Ken Jeong and all four judges. I am so glad that they walked away from this performance unscathed.

After they deliberated and said “Goodbye” to Ken Jeong, it was time for the judges to give announce who will compete for the show’s $1,000,000 prize.  The acts that advanced to the Live Shows were Us The Duo, Junior New System, Mochi, Duo Transcend, Aaron Crow, and Christina Lewis!

Next week, Olivia Munn joins the Season 13 fun!


Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar