‘AGT’ Recap: Simon Cowell Cries Over Nightbirde Tribute & Gives The First Golden Buzzer Of Season 18
America's Got Talent season 18 is starting out on a wild note with Trex Flips. Sofia Vergara already wants to stay no when a man dressed up in a T-rex costume takes the stage. However, he's a delightful surprise doing backflips in his costume. Sofia is proven wrong.
"This is the best dancing dinosaur we have ever had on AGT," Simon Cowell declares. Howie Mandel calls Trex Flips the "ultimate surprise." Trex Flips gets a "yes" from all 4 judges.
Philip Bowen wows with his high-energy violin performance and gets a standing ovation from the judges. "You are so talented. You have so much charisma," Simon says. Sofia believes this is a moment that can truly change Philip's life. All the judges approve of Philip's act.
Heavy metal band Steel Panther transports us back to their '80s with their performance. The crowd goes wild for them. Heidi Klum says she "absolutely loved" the performance. Sofia actually knows Steel Panther after her husband, Joe Manganiello, hired them for his 40th birthday party. "Everything about that audition was just brilliant," Simon says.
Acrobatic trio Three G have traveled all the way from Ukraine to compete on AGT. During the balancing act, the top girl goes crashing down to the mat. The girls get back up and try again. They show off their insane strength, but they end up falling again. They keep trying again and don't quite hit perfection.
Despite their hiccups, Howie tells the trio that the "moves you were able to complete were far more dangerous" than what they've seen on the show. Simon says that they saw enough to know that "this act belongs on this stage." They're moving forward!
Magician Trigg Watson stuns the judges with his act, which includes a cameo appearance from TikTok. "I've never seen anything more amazing, more jaw-dropping," Howie begins. "I think you could win this season with that." Sofia echoes what Howie says. "I have never seen anything like it," she tells Trigg.
D'Corey Johnson is just 11 years old, but he's got a mighty voice. He's determined to be on Broadway and in the movies. He dazzles with his performance of Journey's "Open Arms." Simon asks the tween to sing without the backing track, and his vocals are even more powerful. D'Corey begins to cry when Simon gives him a standing ovation.
"I think you have such a distinctive, great voice. I think you're gonna get better and better," Simon tells the 11-year-old. Naturally, D'Corey is moving on in the competition.
Shadow Ace is a shadow artist from the Philippines, and he's looking to "revive a lost art." He captivates the crowd with his great and funny storytelling through shadow art. He even recreates Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" video. "I could watch this all night," Howie says. Simon thinks that Shadow Ace is "exactly what we're looking for" in season 18.
Orlando Leyba is the first comedian of season 18, and he doesn't disappoint. He has the crowd in stitches. "You are just naturally funny," Simon tells Orlando. Howie declares that Orlando is at the "top" of his game right now.
Mzansi Youth Choir is the final act of the night. The youth choir from South Africa performs a touching and powerful rendition of AGT alum Nightbirde's song "It's OK." They get a standing ovation from everyone. Sofia tells the group that their performance was the "perfect AGT audition."
One of the members of the choir reveals that they just want to continue Nightbirde's "legacy" by spreading light and positivity through music. Simon gets visibly emotional and begins to cry. "I know how much this would have meant to her," Simon says about Nightbirde, who died in 2022 after a battle with cancer.
Simon calls the audition the "most amazing tribute" and decides to do something the show has never done before. Simon implements the first-ever audience Golden Buzzer with the other judges and host Terry Crews. Mzansi Youth Choir is the first recipient of the Golden Buzzer of AGT season 18!