AGT Fifth Judge: Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash Widower Pays Emotional Tribute to Late Wife

Plus, for the first time in the history of the show, an act scores a unanimous Golden Buzzer from all four judges and host Terry Crews at the same time — see who caused Simon to break the rules!

On the spot, Simon Cowell paused the show, brought Terry Crews down to the judges’ dais and made “America’s Got Talent” history with something that’s never been done before.

It came on a night of truly wild and varied talent, including a mother who shot arrows at her daughter and a comedian who spoke muffled through a mask — kind of hard to sell the funny when no one can understand a word you’re saying.

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There was a bevy of pole dancers, a guy with a slinky and flying trumpets. So, you know, a typical night on “America’s Got Talent.” But there was also the more typical fare, like singing and dancing (though no magic or dogs tonight).

One young lady got very creative, writing an original song from the nasty comments she’s gotten on her YouTube page, which is a great way to take the power away from trolls. In another heartbreaking moment, a widower sang in tribute to his late wife.

She was among those killed when Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crashed on January 26, 2020. It was a very raw and emotional performance he couldn’t even make it all the way through, but a powerful moment nonetheless.

Fair warning, since I’m safe at home, I’m probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara, and Simon Cowell. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe.

And just for fun, I’m gonna rank them from worst to first to see how my favorites do and then we can track them throughout the season to see how they fare.

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Slinky Josh

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(Slinky artist) Slinky slinking down the stairs, off the stage and back to the ‘80s, please.

Results: Y, Y, Y, ?

Chief

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(comedian) How is it that Chief never got the memo from the judges that they couldn’t understand him with that ridiculous mask on? If he wasn’t going to mic it for sound, then the whole concept failed. Now, the material we did hear wasn’t that strong, either, but that he lost his chance due to technical problems and his refusal to lose the mask for a shot at a million dollars — well, that’s just as ridiculous as this whole audition.

Results: X, X, X, X

Judith Baizan & Roy Stone

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(dancers) The schtick of this, which we’ve seen before, is that Judith is 96 years old. Her younger (in his 60s) partner then proceeded to lift and throw her around. It was just okay for what it was. We don’t see it going much further.

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

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The Stunner

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(breakdancer) Coming out in a not-quite-Spider-Man costume, The Stunner failed to do that, though he did get a buzz out of Simon. It was traditional breakdancing, but it wasn’t all that exciting, considering the caliber and heights breakdancing has achieved over the decades. This was old-school and just okay.

Results: N, Y, Y, N

Alex Ostrovskiy

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(performance art) This was a very strange trumpet performance with the instruments flying around as he tooled around on a Segway. Unfortunately, he lost the audience when he tried to play two trumpets at once and it did not go well. The whole thing was absurd and surreal, but as soon as he was playing bad music, it proved that he just tried to take on too much. It was all very kitschy, but not enough to blow us away even before the double-horn disaster.

Results: Y, X, X, Y

Joel Claudio

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(baton twirler) We’ve all seen baton twirling in marching bands, but this really is taking that skillset to the next level. There were some neat things throughout the routine — we really dug it when he was spinning it on his forearm with no hands — and it kept getting more and more interesting as he added batons, and even worked in a costume change. That said, by the third baton it was just a juggling act. While we were impressed enough to say he deserves a second chance, he’d really need to bring something we didn’t just see and blow us away to move beyond that.

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

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Darrell Thorne

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(performance art) This was a unique twist on a drag show performance with Darrell performing both the male and female parts of a duet. We did love his use of mirrors to make it look like he was fully each part (the mirror bisecting his face). Simon, however, must not be a fan of drag as he buzzed him as soon as he learned he wasn’t singing. It’s about the pageantry, the over-the-top theatrics, the performance, baby! We thought it was a lot of fun. Now, if he comes back next round and just does it again, we’ll be right there with Simon.

Results: Y, Y, Y, X

Femme Fatale

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(dancers) Stepping into the world of popping and locking, usually dominated by men, made this trio stand out, but among the best in that field, they weren’t quite there in the short package we saw. They didn’t hit with enough precision or hardness for us to really buy into it. Nevertheless, the judges (who are not dancers) were suitably impressed.

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

Guapacharros

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(singers/dancers) If Heidi hadn’t felt that they were going to be in sync, we might not have noticed how right away that just wasn’t true, and it never got that way. Like their singing, the dancing was just okay and incredibly inconsistent. In fact, the whole thing was inconsistent entertainment, even as it turned into some weird Hispanic Chippendales-esque performance. They were all ripped, though, which worked for the ladies. But the actual routine was just okay at best.

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

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MJ

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(hula-hooper) We only got a few seconds of this, but it looked like MJ was putting a whole lot of unique and fun twists on a typical hoop routine. We’d have loved to have seen more, as she showed real strength, control and artistry. But maybe next round? The feedback makes us confident she got a yes.

Results: Yes, probably

Matt Mauser

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(singer) Matt’s wife was one of the people who died in the helicopter crash that killed Koby Bryant. After sharing his story, it was impossible not to feel his connection to “Against All Odds.” In the context of the story, it was a powerful moment; one he couldn’t even finish fully. His wasn’t the biggest voice and he was clearly in his nerves, hand in pocket and a little fidgety up there. But the thing is, he has an instrument. With practice and maybe some training and maybe not quite something that hits his heart so hard, he could have an even bigger vocal moment. That he got through it as far as he did was a testament to how much it means to him, with his kids right there … and his message to them was absolutely beautiful.

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

Cam Bertrand

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(comedian) It took a bit for the audience to slide into Cam’s rhythm, but his material about teenagers buying wine (they don’t!) was strong, and he carried it off with a lot of enthusiasm and energy. He’s not the best we’ve seen, but the raw materials are there and we can see him getting stronger and stronger with some confidence. Hopefully, he’s got more material from his unique baby-face perspective to keep it fresh and true to him.

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

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Donovan

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(opera singer) Well, he’s got great control in the contralto range — reaching for soprano at times — which is most unusual. We were hoping we’d get to see a full range down into his lower registers as well, but he stayed high. When he slipped into aria and vocal exercises, it was even more impressive than the singing, which at times sounded like a man affecting a woman’s voice. It’s an incredible skill because he’s a man, and impressive on its own vocally, but if he really wants to stand out, he needs to give us more (range, please).

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

Gigi Deluxe & Devon

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(danger act) Right away, we were very impressed with the triple-layered balloons in the first round of firing. That was enough right there to say how good the mother was as a shot, but they didn’t stop there. Honestly, the second act didn’t quite live up to the first, but that daughter has nerves of steel and definitely loves her mother. If they can up the danger on this — and there’s plenty of room to do that — it could get very exciting.

Results: N, Y, Y, Y

Victory Brinker

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(opera singer) Maybe we’re just feeling crabby, but this wasn’t the be-all/end-all type of vocal we were expecting coming into it. She was off pitch in a few places and lacked that full-throat volume and power we were expecting. She also sounded very young. And so, while there is definitely something to work with there, it was definitely a diamond in the very rough situation for us. Still, her personality was adorable, as were her nerves, and she clearly connected with the live audience and the judges more than she did through the TV to make “AGT” history. And we’re not talking about the bird that flew up to sit near her on a speaker after she performed lke she’s some kind of Disney Princess.

Results: [unanimous Golden Buzzer]

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Vertical Show

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(pole dancers) Was “AGT” afraid this would look too risque to show us the full routine? What we saw took pole to a new level, with the ladies making visual creations on the pole. We didn’t get the result, based on the feedback, it’s probably a bunch of yeses.

Results: Yes, probably

Chapkidz

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(dancers) The next generation of the Chapkis Dance Family (who previously made it to the “AGT” live shows), these kids are hoping to take it even further. Right now, they have incredible potential, though we want them to raise the complexity of their moves and formations. With 30 members, it’s incredible they are as tight as they are. Those opening pictures alone were mesmerizing, but it got less exciting as they moved into some of the more ordinary moves. Take advantage of their size to surprise us (and yes, we are officially sick of tumbling runs).

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

Madilyn Bailey

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(singer) Talk about making lemonade out of steaming piles of internet crap, Madilyn crafted an original song entirely from hate comments she’s received on her YouTube videos and it was both heartbreaking (people can be just awful) and empowering. That she used their words against them to prove them wrong with her artistry and creativity is just incredible. That she then put it on TV to blast it in their faces is incredible (they know who they are). Toxicity online is such a problem in our society and this has to be the most creative way to handle it we’ve ever seen. It’s interesting it didn’t really connect with Heidi, who deals with the same thing, but at least she gave in to the consensus.

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

Breez Carver

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(dancer) Breez gave us a slow build to where we weren’t sure how many tools she had in her arsenal, but she really is a phenomenal dancer with a massive payload. There were some great stunts throughout, but it never lost its musicality. The message of the song came through in the choreography and in her performance of it. That’s true dance. By the midway point, she had us feeling it right along with her. Her lines were incredible (we love the way her sleeves enhanced them) and her strength and control. There was no wavering for this 13 year old, which is a huge testament to her skill, discipline and talent — especially after emotion welled up just before she hit her mark.

Results: Y, Y, Y, Y

“America’s Got Talent” auditions continue next Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.


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