Following a group of lackluster performances that earned harsh reviews (particularly from Cowell) during the second quarterfinal round Tuesday, host Terry Crews asked the British judge, "You were really at each other last night. What was in the water, man?"
Cowell fired back and pointed a finger at the contestants: "What was in their water?"
"I mean, seriously, there were some amazing performances," he said on Wednesday's results show with a matter-of-fact shrug, "And there were some dreadful performances."
Good thing it's up to America to decide who moves on to the semifinals. Only seven will advance, while five acts' million-dollar dream will end right now.
Speaking of million-dollar dreams, Season 14 winner Kodi Lee returned to perform a breathtaking duet with H.E.R. of her hit single "Hold On." H.E.R said she felt "so moved" and "blessed to be performing with him." Lee called the opportunity "amazing."
Here's what happened during the "America's Got Talent" live results show:
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The fans' picks
The five acts that received the most votes automatically advanced.
Northwell Nurse Choir, Howie Mandel's Golden Buzzer, was the first act to move forward following their emotional rendition of "You Will Be Found" from "Dear Evan Hansen." After the group advanced, Mandel said, "You are heroes and this a hero's welcome to the semifinals.
Singer Victory Brinker, the show's first-ever group Golden Buzzer, and self-taught aerialist Aidan Bryant both advanced in a dramatic reveal that made viewers believe only one was moving forward. "I just love when young people chase their dream," Heidi Klum said after a collective sigh of relief.
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Mentalist Peter Antoniou was also safe: "Thank you America for trusting me."
Comedian Josh Blue joined them in the safe zone soon after, following his "sensational" act about living with cerebral palsy. "You guys are trying to give me a heart attack," the comedian said.
All jokes aside, Cowell said Blue has a "chance of winning this whole thing." He added, "You along with some others are making this a great, great competition this year."
Korean Soul (vocal group), T.3 (vocal trio) and Tory Vagasy (singer) finished in the middle of the pack and were on the brink of elimination.
The three acts went head-to-head in a live-voting round for the "Dunkin' Save," where fans had the opportunity to rescue only one performer. Whoever received the most votes in a 30-minute flash round would move on.
In the end, viewers saved Vagasy. "Thank you to everyone who has supported me and showed me kindness," said the aspiring Broadway singer, who covered her face in disbelief.
— America’s Got Talent (@AGT) August 19, 2021
But the results weren't over just yet. The judges had the chance to save either Korean Soul or T.3.
"I do have a soft spot for one group more than the other," Klum said before casting a vote for T.3. Vergara also picked T.3, calling their sound "fresher and newer." Cowell picked Korean Soul despite calling their performance "boring." Mandel agreed on giving Korean Soul another chance, triggering a tie.
The act with the most overnight viewer votes would advance: Korean Soul.
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The four acts with the fewest votes – Shuffolution (dance group); Positive Impact Movement (acrobats); Johnny Showcase (singer); and Dokteuk Crew (dance group) – were eliminated.
T.3 was also sent packing.
"America's Got Talent" will return on Tuesday for the third quarterfinal round (NBC, 8 EDT/PDT), where 12 other acts will try to blow America away to advance to the semifinals.
Next week’s performers include ANICA (singer); Brooke Simpson (singer); ChapKidz (dance group); Keith Apicary (dancer); Klek Entos (magician); Michael Winslow (voicetramentalist); Rialcris (acrobats); The Curtis Family C-Notes (band); UniCircle Flow (unicycle group); and Golden Buzzer winners Léa Kyle (quick change artist) and World Taekwondo Demonstration Team (martial arts group).
The third round of quarterfinals will also include one wildcard contestant decided by viewers on the first-ever Peacock special "AGT: America’s Wildcard" last week.
The wildcard will be one of these five acts: Singers Dylan Zangwill, Storm Large, Matt Mauser; comedian Mike Goodwin; or magician Patrick Kun.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'AGT' results show: Is Victory Brinker moving on to semifinals?