‘AGT’ Recap: First Round Of Judge Cuts Lead To Heartbreaking Eliminations

'America's Got Talent' returned for judge cuts, and this edition of judge cuts is unlike anything we've seen in 'AGT' history. Despite great performances, not every act got to move on to the live shows.

Sofia Vergara
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Image Credit: NBC

During judge cuts in seasons past, the acts would come face-to-face with the judges once again to perform. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the AGT season 15 judge cuts are looking very different. Simon Cowell, Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel reunite for the next round of the show (while properly social distanced) and face the acts on a huge screen.

The judges put 100 acts through initially, and now they have to make some tough cuts. After sending select contestants through, the judges will watch 10 acts perform one more time and send 5 to the live shows. The acts sent to the live shows right away are Celina, Malik DOPE, Alan Silva, Brett Loudermilk, and Archie Williams.

Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell during the season 15 judge cuts. (NBC)

The first of the 10 acts to perform is salsa dance duo Simon and Maria. These two adorable dancers bring so much energy in their performance, even if they’re doing it from home. Simon raves that Simon and Maria had a much “better routine” the second time around.” Their energy and their music really made me happy.” Sofia called the duo “perfect.”

Next up is hula hooper Craig Reid, who submitted his audition online. He rocks out with his hula hoop to Lady Gaga’s “Stupid Love.” It’s fun but nothing crazy. Magician Max Major performs his next act at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Even though he’s not literally right in front of the judges, he still puts on one hell of an act. Simon is absolutely stunned by the end of the performance and high-fives him through the screen. He says Max’s act was “one of the astonishing things I’ve ever seen.” Howie believes Max totally deserves to go forward.

Singer Shaquira McGrath performs a gorgeous slowed-down rendition of Avicii’s “Wake Me Up.” Heidi raves that the performance was “amazing.” Sofia adds, “Your voice was breathtaking.” Comedian Ty Barnett does a stand-up act in front of his garage. While Heidi found him “very likable” and “funny,” Sofia says she laughed more during the first audition. Simon agrees but likes Ty, so he wants to fight for him.

Shaquira McGrath
Shaquira McGrath performs during the judge cuts. (NBC)

Harmonica duo act Brothers Gage really bring it with their next performance. They perform (with their harmonicas, of course) LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” out in the middle of nowhere. It’s a really fun vibe, and the brothers are clearly very talented. They’re just 15 and 17 years old. They have so much potential. The judges like the performance, but it’s not like they were blown away.

Singer Nolan Neal stuns with a performance of “You’ve Got The Love.” He puts his own spin on the song, which Simon notices. There’s no doubt that this guy has some serious talent. Magician Ryan Tricks brings in Alesha Dixon for help with his act. He wows the judges yet again. “That was truly amazing,” Howie tells him. Simon loves the mysteriousness of Ryan Tricks and says his “showmanship was superb.”

The Ninja Twins take their craziness to a whole new level with their next performance. They take on Justin Bieber’s “Yummy” and certainly make their performance memorable. Sofia calls the performance “super entertaining.” Simon admits that he liked it! “It was so bonkers, so crazy, I actually liked that,” he says.

Jonathan Goodwin
Jonathan Goodwin blows the judges away with his performance. (NBC)

The final act of the night is danger act Jonathan Goodwin. He confesses that this is “the most dangerous and scariest thing I’ve ever performed.” The only he’s going to be concentrating on is surviving. He sets up loaded crossbows that will be fired at him while he’s blindfolded. He manages to survive, and he has the judges on the edge of their seats. Simon goes as far as to say that this was one of the “craziest” acts ever on AGT.

After the 10 acts perform, only 5 can move on. The acts heading to the live shows are: Simon and Maria, Jonathan Goodwin, Shaquira McGrath, Max Major, and Nolan Neal!

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