The first live semifinals results show of America’s Got Talent Season 16 aired Wednesday, and it was not only the most shocking night of the season so far, but one of the most shocking elimination episodes in AGT history.
When host Terry Crews announced the three acts in danger of going home — powerhouse singer (and judge Sofia Vergara’s Golden Buzzer pick) Jimmie Herrod, Police Academy impressionist Michael Winslow and Terry’s Golden Buzzer act, the World Taekwondo Demonstration Team — the studio audience audibly gasped. Simon Cowell, in an incredibly rare moment for him, was rendered speechless, and Sofia exclaimed, “What happened? What happened?”
Not only did Jimmie get the coveted show-closing “pimp spot” on Tuesday’s episode, but he'd received gushing praise from all of the judges that night. Simon called him an “amazing, amazing singer” and described his performance as a “master class.” Heidi Klum quipped, “I know we were all waiting for Kanye’s album to drop, but I'm waiting for your album to drop!” And Howie Mandel even proclaimed, “You're by far the best singer in this competition. What you do is perfection. … You could win this whole thing.” To see Jimmie in danger was downright bizarre.
While viewers were awaiting the result of America’s real-time Instant Save live vote (which briefly showed Jimmie in the lead and World Taekwondo trailing behind), there was yet another shocker — when Terry continued to read the results and summoned marginally talented magician Dustin Tavella (whose pandering family-man schtick has frankly gotten old) and crooning child prodigy Peter Rosalita. When Terry announced that it was Dustin who’d made it through instead of golden boy Peter, even Dustin admitted, “I feel kind of bad,” knowing that this was probably not the result that the judges had wanted.
Thankfully, Jimmie scraped through after the live vote. Sofia was relieved, exclaiming, “I'm going to throw up! I can't believe it! Why did I go through this tonight? You deserve to be here. I don't know what happened to America.” Simon additionally told Jimmie, “You are a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant singer, and the final needs you.”
After that nail-biter, the judges saved the World Taekwondo Demonstration Team (despite the fact that they’d probably received the fewest Instant Save votes), which meant it was time to say goodbye to Michael Winslow. Michael, arguably the most famous and successful contestant to ever compete on AGT, really just needed the national exposure and career boost after taking an extended hiatus from the spotlight, so he seemed at peace with his fate. Even before Terry announced the result, he’d told the panel, “No matter what happens, this has been a fantastic voyage and a journey for me.”
As for the other eliminees, they were wild-card act Beyond Belief Dance Company, Broadway singer Tory Vagasy, boy band Korean Soul, and singer-songwriter Madilyn Bailey, while standup comedian Gina Brillon, teen aerialist Aidan Bryant, and Dustin Tavella advanced. Next week’s second semifinals round of Season 16 is also packed with talent, and this result proved no one is safe, so next week may also be shocking — albeit not on this week’s level. See you then.
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