On “America’s Got Talent: All-Stars,” good simply isn’t enough.
NBC’s super-competition (Mondays at 8 p.m. EST/PST) brings together past champions and fierce competitors for an 8-week battle in which 60 acts from around the world compete to be crowned the best of the best.
Ten hopeful acts performed for judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel on Monday’s premiere, including Season 2 champ, ventriloquist Terry Fator; the second winner of “Canada’s Got Talent,” singer Jeanick Fournier; and aerialist Alan Silva, a “AGT” finalist for Season 15. A panel of “superfans” would vote on the second spot in the final. The remaining eight acts would be dropped.
The two-hour opener featured a bright spot in the form of Light Balance Kids. As the stage lights are turned down, the group of (mostly) young dancers wears lights. Since the group’s debut on “AGT” in 2019, their hometown of Kyiv, Ukraine, has come under fire from Russia.
According to a group member, some of the competitors travelled alone to the competition “Some of our parents, including my father, are still fighting in Ukraine. He is fighting for our country’s independence and liberty.” She recalled waking up at 4 a.m. and being “grabbed by my family and we (ran) to the underground station because there were bombs and rockets everywhere.”
Another dancer stated that the group was thrilled to be back “to show the world that light always wins.”
Light Balance Kids, Season 14 Golden Buzzer winners, got Klum moving with their upbeat choreography to “Move Your Feet.” The audience applauded their performance with a standing ovation.
“This was such a fun party, and it should have been longer!” exclaimed Klum.
Cowell was equally blown away. “That was your best performance ever,” he said. “Really. By a long shot.” Reflecting on the group’s experiences, Cowell stated, “If anything defines an All-Star, it was really that performance.”
“This is such an incredible message,” Mandel agreed. “Where you come from is arguably the darkest place on the planet right now, and you travel across the globe to bring us light. And if there’s anything I can do on behalf of America, on behalf of ‘AGT: All-Stars,’ to bring you even more light than you’ve given us, I’d like to do it.”
And with that, he pressed the Golden Buzzer, showering the dancers with confetti. Mandel then joined them on stage. “You’re incredible!” he exclaimed. “You’re my favourite act of all time! I adore you!”
Mandel’s use of the Golden Buzzer meant that there was only one more spot in the finals for a competing act from Monday’s show. The Bello Sisters, an unbelievably limber trio who danced to a slowed-down rendition of A Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran”; singer Caly Bevier, who belted an original song; and Fator, who wowed the judges with two puppets singing “Rocket Man.”
Cowell stated that if he could, he would have voted Fator through to the finals, and Klum expressed her hope that the fans would do the same. At least in Las Vegas, Fator is a safe bet. After winning the season, he was offered a five-year residency in Las Vegas for $100 million.
The superfans, on the other hand, had their sights set on another act. They chose the acrobatic Bello Sisters, Season 15 finalists, to advance to the finals.