“America’s Got Talent: The Champions” is back, and this time, judge Howie Mandel finally got to put his Golden Buzzer rights to use.
During last week’s episode, Mandel was supposed to have exclusive use of the buzzer, which gives a judge the power to automatically send an act to the finals. Before he could hit it, however, fellow judge Simon Cowell swooped in to steal it for “Star Wars”-inspired dance act Boogie Storm.
So on Monday’s episode, the Golden Buzzer power was back in Mandel’s hands, and this time the former “Deal or No Deal” host used it on a group of performers he decided deserved a second chance.
V. Unbeatable, a dance crew from Mumbai, India, returned to the show after finishing in fourth place on Season 14 of “AGT” last year, where guest judge Dwyane Wade gave them their first Golden Buzzer.
“Our time on ‘America’s Got Talent’ was like a dream come true, because we come from so much struggle,” said one member of the team, adding that most of the people in the dance crew come from Mumbai’s slums.
He continued that a second chance at the “AGT” title is an “opportunity to make a better life for ourselves and for our families.”
After Simon Cowell swooped in to use the Golden Buzzer during last week’s episode, Howie Mandel got another chance to send an act to the finals of “America’s Got Talent: The Champions.” (Photo: Frazer Harrison, Getty Images)
And V. Unbeatable lived up to their name.
Dancing to an up-tempo, contemporary tune, the dancers held nothing back, flinging members into the air and performing several flips. In one stunt, a smaller dancer was catapulted through a moving rectangular structure, and landed in time with the music.
All four judges were blown away.
“I can see on your faces just how much this all means to all of you,” said judge Alesha Dixon. “Thank you so much for bringing such a beautiful, positive energy to ‘AGT: Champions.’ That was absolutely outstanding.”
Judge Heidi Klum noted the act had “so much adrenaline,” while Cowell called it “one of the best acts we’ve seen in ‘Champions’ this year.”
“We needed you tonight, trust me,” he added.
Mandel, however, seemed most impressed.
“I love you, and I love what you do, and I love what it means to you,” he said. “When you didn’t win ‘AGT,’ the disappointment you had, we felt like a knife going into our hearts.
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“But disappointment only lasts a moment,” he continued, rising out of his chair and walking toward the Golden Buzzer at the center of the judges’ table. “This is a moment. This is the moment you have been waiting for. Just sit there and think about this moment.”
Mandel then sat on the Golden Buzzer, triggering the confetti cannons and securing the the group’s place in the finals.
While V. Unbeatable brought the energy, another act brought the terror, especially for Klum.
The silent, spooky illusionist Miki Dark, who finished as a semifinalist on Season 10 of “Holland’s Got Talent,” returned for a trick that gave Halloween costume queen Klum a fright.
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Appearing behind the judges’ table, the performer, clad in a dark robe and black-and-white face paint, brought Klum onto the stage and then pointed to host Terry Crews to stand behind her.
Communicating only through hand gestures, the silent Dark instructed Crews to hold a basket of red papers over Klum. He then took out a photo of Cowell’s face, ripped off the picture’s eye, put it in a small red envelope and kissed it with his black lipstick. (Yes, you read that correctly – and it only gets weirder from here.)
Dark then dropped the envelope into the basket and hung a black square onto Klum. On the count of three, Crews dropped the red papers in front of the judge while Dark hurled a knife at her chest.
Klum let out a loud, high scream as the knife struck the sturdy square, attaching to a single piece of red.
Dark then removed the piece to reveal it as the envelope containing the ripped-off piece of Cowell’s eye.
The trick left Klum shaken, literally.
“I can’t stop shaking,” she said back in her judging seat. “Thank you so much for not killing me.”
“I loved everything about it from start to finish,” added Dixon. “You created the best atmosphere. It wasn’t too scary.”
“What?” Klum interrupted.
“Well, for you it was scary,” Dixon replied.
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Unfortunately for Dark, his thrilling stunt didn’t earn him a spot in the semifinals, and he was eliminated, along with magician Ben Hart, multimedia dance crew Freckled Sky, beat-boxing harmonica player Moses Concas, singer Michael Grimm and dance crew Quick Style.
Advancing to the next round are dance partners Duo Destiny, 12-year-old violinist Tyler Butler Figueroa and 11-year-old dog trainer Alexa Lauenburger.
“AGT” returns Monday (NBC, 8 EST/PST).
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