Kodi Lee's joyous return on 'AGT: All-Stars' mesmerizes Simon Cowell: 'In a different league'
With no Golden Buzzer available, the final round of auditions for "America’s Got Talent: All-Stars" were in the hands of the superfans. The panel of voters held all the power when it came to sending one last act to the finals.
Their job was tough, deciphering between past winning acts like poet Brandon Leake (2020) and singer/musician Kodi Lee (2019) and comedian Josh Blue, a finalist in 2021. There was also one surprise for the evening, which Simon Cowell deeply resented: the return of Sethward, a variety act who has appeared on the competition series more than any other contestant.
Here's how the night played out:
Kodi Lee, a Golden Buzzer-worthy performance for Cowell
When the audience laid eyes on the Season 14 winner, they rose to their feet and began chanting his name. Lee, who is blind and on the autism spectrum, told judges Cowell, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel he came to compete "to win again, heck yeah!"
Lee's soulful rendition of "Biblical" by Calum Scott moved the judges. "There’s no other word to describe what you do (other) than amazing," Mandel said.
Klum was also stunned. "My heart doubles in size when I hear you sing," she said.
After Lee exited the stage, Cowell marveled at Lee's talent to his fellow judges. "He’s in a different league (than) everyone else," Cowell said. "I wish I could’ve given him a Golden Buzzer."
Brandon Leake wows with words: 'You are brilliant'
Mandel's Golden Buzzer in Season 15 returned excited to perform for a live audience, as he competed during the pandemic.
Leake delivered his poem, about a lesson learned from an interaction with a person experiencing homelessness, with a passion that impressed all at the judges' table.
"I never in my wildest dreams would’ve thought someone with an act like yours could win 'AGT,' " admitted Cowell, "but you won it because of obviously what you say, but also it's the way you deliver everything. You are brilliant, absolutely brilliant!"
Mandel agreed. "You're doing exactly what it is you want to do and that is moving people."
Comedian Josh Blue is 'the cure' raves Mandel
Blue graced the "AGT" stage once more, armed with self-deprecating jokes that also included cracks about his cerebral palsy. The comedian, who placed third when he competed in Season 16, said "making people laugh is my life."
On Monday he joked about the ease with which one can become a parent.
"I can’t even on-purpose make a birdhouse, (but) I accidentally made two people."
When his children were babies, Blue said he had "people running up to me, like 'Hey, didn’t anybody tell you not to shake a baby?' I’m like, 'Well, I’m just holding him.' "
His routine brought the judges and audience to their feet.
"You get the laughs," Klum said. "And I love you because you have such a sweet nature. What’s not to love about you?"
Mandel, referring to the adage that laughter is the best medicine, told Blue: "You are the cure. You are the medicine. You gave us what we need more than anything else."
Sethward has Cowell calling for 'no more'
But this week's show provided more than just the warm and fuzzies. Enter Sethward. The comedian has appeared on four seasons of "AGT," dressed as a giraffe, walrus and peacock. Monday he appeared in a goat getup, fitting for "All-Stars."
"Who invited you on this show?" a visibly irked Cowell asked.
Things became tenser when Sethward made his way to the judge's table and began munching on a tangerine. "He’s spitting on me," Cowell said.
Boos from the audience didn't deter Sethward from shrieking out a song in "goat language."
"That’s it," Cowell said, rising from his seat. "No more. This is not an act."
Unable to take anymore, Cowell hit Klum and Mandel's buzzers to give the act Xs. And when Klum suggested Sethward could get the superfan vote, Cowell protested. "They’re not gonna vote," he said. "He shouldn’t even be here."
The super-fans vote revealed…
Thankfully for Cowell, the superfans did not place Sethward in their Top 3 acts of the evening. The acts most popular with the panel were Leake, Lee and Blue. The panel voted to send Lee into the finals. Leake placed second and Blue third.
Catch up on any 'AGT: All-Stars' episodes you've missed:
‘I would never guess that’: ‘AGT: All-Stars’ opener's Golden Buzzer act, shocking elimination
'AGT: All-Stars' judge Simon Cowell 'mesmerized' by Victória Bueno, teen ballerina with no arms: Watch
'Is he alive?' The outrageous 'AGT: All-Stars' act that Simon Cowell couldn't bear to watch
'I was stabbed in the back': Haunting magical act horrifies Howie Mandel on 'AGT: All-Stars'
'Best performance I've seen all series': Teacher floors Simon Cowell on 'AGT: All-Stars'
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'AGT: All-Stars': Kodi Lee ‘in a different league,’ says Simon Cowell