After ten episodes, America’s Got Talent season 17 auditions have finally come to an end, and the judges’ deliberations have begun. Instead of thirty-six acts going through to the live shows, as was the case in previous years, there will a total of fifty-five acts this year. Included in the fifty-five will be the six Golden Buzzer acts, featuring the group Golden Buzzer, Chapel Heart. The other spots include Terry Crews’ Golden Buzzer saxophonist Avery Dixon, Howie Mandel’s Golden Buzzer singer Madison Baez, and singer Sara James, who won Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer. Later on during the auditions, the Lebanese dance group The Mayya’s touched Sofia Vergara’s heart, and won her Golden Buzzer. Heidi Klum’s went to singer Lily Meola, who opened up to the judges about her mother’s death from cancer.
After the judges came to a decision on fifty-four acts to put through, they decided to let the public decide which act would take the last spot in the live shows. This differs from the way in which wildcard acts have been chosen during the previous seasons. During America’s Got Talent season 16, a special wildcard episode aired exclusively on Peacock, where the five wildcard acts performed to win America’s vote. The five acts that performed included singer and pianist Dylan Zangwill, magician Patrick Kun, comedian Mike Goodwin, and singer Matt Mauser. However, singer Storm Large was the act to win America’s vote, which resulted in her taking the last spot in the season 16 live shows. This year, while the choice will still ultimately be up to voters, there will be no extra performance from each act, to help the at-home audience decide.
The judges were torn between four different acts, from sword swallower Auzzy Blood, comedian Jordan Conley, and America’s Got Talent singers, Ben Waites and Debbii Dawson. Voters will have until Friday morning to decide which act they want to put through. While all four acts gave their all during their auditions, only one will make it through to the “lives.” Below are the acts, ranked in order of least to most likely to win the season 17 wildcard vote.
From the moment he walked onstage, wearing a yellow “minions” hoodie, Jordan was fun and likable. He began his routine with jokes about his military family, saying that he asked his parents to adopt an older child, so that they would not ask him to join the military. Jordan certainly made an impression on the judges, particularly Howie Mandel, who definitely knows comedy inside and out. However, the judges have already put through a number of stand-up comedians to the live shows, including Aiko Tanaka, Don McMillan, Hayden Kristal, and Lace Larrabee. Jordan’s audition was certainly funny, but there was nothing in particular about his act that caused him to stand out from the other comedians. Don McMillan, for instance, made his comic act stand out by doing a PowerPoint presentation for the judges, which they found to be creative and unique. On the other hand, Jordan lacked this sense of originality.
When Debbii walked onstage, Simon noted that she looked extremely confident, but she responded by saying that she was actually very nervous. She proceeded to sing a beautiful rendition of Abba’s “Dancing Queen”, which she made very much her own. While Debbii’s performance had a fair amount of originality, the number of AGT singers that have already made it through to the live shows this year is astronomical, with four of the Golden Buzzer acts being singers. Many other strong vocalists were also sent straight through, including Amanda Mammana, Aubrey Burchell, Ava Swiss, Kristen Cruz and Lee Collinson. While Debbii’s voice was certainly beautiful, the lane for singers this season is already very large and competitive, making Debbii the third most likely act to win the wildcard vote.
The contestant who is the second most likely to win the wildcard vote is none other than Southern gospel singer and vocal coach, Ben Waites. Ben sang a stunning rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors”, which bought Sofia to tears. Ben explained that he chose the song as it symbolized hope, no matter what someone may be going through, and his choice certainly paid off. While he is a very talented vocalist, he also falls into the same category as Debbii, in terms of there already being so many talented singers on the show this year. In particular, this season, the judges have made it very clear that they are looking for acts that they have truly never seen before on the show. The judges even turned away several very talented acts during the auditions, to the shock of the audience. The panel said that they were good, but that they’d seen similar acts before. Ben possesses so much talent, but his act did not necessarily stand out, when compared to some of the other vocalists from this season.
For several different reasons, sword swallower Auzzy Blood has the best shot at winning America’s wildcard vote. The judges told the acts that they were looking for something different this year, and Auzzy understood the assignment well. While America’s Got Talent has seen many sword swallowers in the past, He incorporated several new tricks into his routine, to show the judges things that were new to them. Heidi even pointed this out during the audition, noting that one of the swords Auzzy swallowed was curved, which no other sword swallowers on the show had done. He also showed originality when he gave Howie a role in the act, instructing him to push the sword down his throat, which Howie reluctantly agreed to do. AGT season 17 is about originality, and Auzzy is the only one of the four wildcard acts that truly encompassed that during his audition. The lane for danger acts in the “lives” is also wide open, with only knife throwing act Blade 2 Blade having been put through so far. He is the perfect contestant to fill the fifty-fifth spot in the “lives,” which will begin airing next week.
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