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The America's Got Talent semifinals kicked off Tuesday night. While the night ended with an incredible, show-stopping performance from contestant Jimmie Herrod, whom judge Howie Mandel called "the best singer in this competition," earlier in the night, another singer found herself on the opposite end of Howie's praise.
YouTuber Madilyn Bailey, who has more than 8.5 million subscribers on her YT channel, originally impressed the judges during her audition, when she sang a song made up of hate comments. Despite disappointing the judges with a cover of Sia's "Titanium" during the quarterfinals, Madilyn narrowly escaped elimination when Howie and Simon Cowell, along with America's live "Instant Save" votes, sent her on to the next round.
On Tuesday, the 28-year-old YouTuber went back to what worked the first time and sang another original song, this time dedicated to her late grandmother. However, Howie just wasn't quite feeling it.
As Howie attempted to form his thoughts, the judge awkwardly stated, "OK, Madison, listen. You're very good, that was kind of touching. I'm going to be totally honest, you're a very lucky girl that I think, lady, woman, person … that America is voting and not for me. I didn't think that was anything. I thought you were in the same lane as Tory." Boos from the audience began to take over as Howie finished his thought, saying, "I think you're a good singer. I responded to you. I'm incredibly disappointed. I responded to you in your audition, when you sang those mean tweets. I thought that was quirky, funny, inventive. And now, I don't think this was anything, to be honest with you."
Viewers on Twitter, who loved Madilyn's performance, did not appreciate Howie's harsh criticism. In fact, one person described his insult as "absolutely inexcusable."
Howie Mandel referring to Madilyn Bailey as a woman then girl, then going back and forth & trying to cover it up WHILE trying to formulate an insult in his bald head…absolutely inexcusable. #AGT #AGTsemifinals #howiemandel #madilyn #madilynbailey @AGT
— Vincent Tran (@thevincenttrann) September 1, 2021
.@howiemandel #AGT Howie, I’ve loved you for years!! But, I must say that I think your comments tonight to Madilyn Bailey were quite unnecessary and way off the mark. It even sounded a bit rude. You could have phrased it better.
— Debbie Gutierrez (@56chica) September 1, 2021
— EntertainmentFan (@Ent_Fan1) September 1, 2021
Meanwhile, Simon, who is normally the mean one, agreed with the viewers.
"Am I allowed to say 'ass' on American TV," asked Simon. After receiving confirmation, Simon added, "OK, good, because Howie, you're talking out of it."
Simon then told the singer, "Madilyn, good for you, because that's exactly what you want people to do in a semifinal – be true to who you are. You are someone who writes their own material and, you know what, you took the criticism so well and so graciously through this competition and realized the opportunity it's given you. And now, on the biggest show on American TV, on a live show in the semifinals, you got the chance to sing your own song, which was beautiful with that beautiful package. I'm so proud of you. I have so much respect for you. Do not listen to a single word Howie Mandel said."
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