America’s Got Talent Season 17 started off with a bang (of the drums). From a powerhouse opening audition from a Chicago drumline to a girls pop group created by JoJo Siwa and an unforgettable musical moment to close out the episode, the NBC reality competition series delivered quite the energetic premiere.
The Tuesday, May 31 AGT premiere marked the return of judges Simon Cowell, Sofía Vergara, Howie Mandel, and Heidi Klum and host Terry Crews. And one of the performances started out with four no’s from the panel, but the cheesy song became an ear worm for the audience, eventually making three of the judges (all but Vergara) change their votes to a yes.
Here, we break down the best auditions of the night, all of which got four yeses from the judges — no changes required.
The Pack Drumline
Hailing from Chicago, The Pack Drumline was the first performance of the night and they did not disappoint. Their energy was infectious as the performers entertained the crowd with their music and dancing. The group started as an enrichment program for at-risk youth, and they stayed together as they grew. Their performance set the tone for the entire night.
The pop group performed their original song, “Candy Hearts.” The group was formed by children’s entertainment icon Siwa and her mother, Jessalynn Siwa, who were cheering in support from backstage. The girls showed off their singing, rapping, and dancing skills and had every kid in the audience on their feet.
The magician incorporated mystifying card tricks and rapping into his act, including an original song inspired by hip-hop musicals. His performance and heartwarming story about the support from his family gave him a resounding four yeses from the judges.
The British singer impressed with his rendition of “Better Days” by Dermot Kennedy. The judges FaceTimed his mother (who was just waking up in the U.K.) so she could watch as he was moved forward in the competition with the judges’ votes.
Inspired by watching ventriloquists on AGT, the opera singer was captivated by the artform and taught herself everything she needed to know, becoming an expert in two years. But rather than use puppets, she used her vocal talents in tandem with a radio while doing everyday household tasks, like flossing, brushing her teeth, and taking a phone call (yes, she was both voices). She wowed the judges with her originality and easily made it to the next round.
Yo-yo acts aren’t always a hit on AGT, but Takada changed that. Combining excellent dancing into his act, the Japanese artist impressed the judges like no other yo-yo act has before. Instead of yeses and no’s, the judges gave him yo’s and no’s. Thankfully, he got four big yo’s.
The final performance of the night, the 21-year-old musician brought the entire audience to their feet and moved many to tears. After struggling with bullying in school, Dixon found the saxophone and discovered his talent. All four of the judges sang his praises, with Cowell saying it was like watching a singer perform.
“It’s in your blood. This is your destiny,” Cowell told him before giving him his first yes. But there was no need to vote. Crews, moved by the performance, sent Dixon directly to the live shows, marking the first golden buzzer moment of Season 17.
America’s Got Talent, Tuesdays, 8/7c, NBC