[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for America’s Got Talent Season 17 Episode 8.]
America’s Got Talent Season 17 returned with a new group of memorable auditions this week. And if anything sticks in viewers’ minds from this episode, it’ll be the performers who are unapologetically themselves. There was a self-described “sideshow freak” sword-swallower who Howie Mandel called the “Beetlejuice of side shows,” a singer who lives her life as a fairy, and more.
The high-stake stunts were in large supply in Episode 8, which also marked the return of Sethward. In his third appearance on the show, the comedian disguised himself as a big, red apple and delivered some cringeworthy standup comedy.
When he got four rejections from Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofía Vergara, and Simon Cowell, he crawled out of the apple’s mouth dressed as a worm, revealing his identity to the cheering crowd. The rest was pure chaos.
Here, we break down some of the stand out auditions of the night (that weren’t long-running bits), all of whom got four yeses from the judges.
Freckled Zelda is a self-described “music fairy” from the “Freckled Forest.” Zelda had been auditioning for AGT for seven years and finally got her shot. She performed “Colors of the Wind” with the help of her sweet potato flute, and while the judges judged her appearance at first, Zelda’s singing voice impressed them and the entire crowd. The standing ovation brought Zelda to tears.
Duo Mico is comprised of aerialists Maxime and Caroline. Caroline appeared as an assistant for her husband in Season 12. This time around, her husband was backstage helping work the apparatus while she and Maxime performed. And what a performance it was!
Duo Mico promised a unique new way to perform aerial art, and they delivered. Holding onto their cables with just one hand, the pair soared through the air, flipping around each other with grace and ease. Their act ended on a suspenseful high, with Caroline letting go of her cables completely and falling into Maxime’s arm on purpose (although it definitely didn’t look that way at first).
The acrobatic group is comprised of members from Colombia and Cuba. They’ve all lived in Aruba for the last 20 years and said they have the best show on the island. Now, they want to bring their act to a bigger stage. But their audition almost didn’t happen: Their performance equipment got lost during their air travel. The gear arrived less than one hour before their audition was to take place. And with that, the show went on. The acrobatic number had people yelling and cheering in response to every trick, the climax coming when one of the performers jumped through a flaming hoop blindfolded.
A content warning about gun violence was issued on screen before this 18-year-old singer’s audition played. Before beginning her song, Ava shared that she and her brother were two of the students in the Oxford High School shooting on November 30. They were both unharmed in the tragic event. Swiss said music has been a form of therapy, and her performance received a standing ovation.
The last singer of the night, the Los Angeles-based musician performed a stripped down version of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen.” She said music was her “legacy,” as she was taught how to play instruments by her father, who was taught by his own father. Dawson’s voice was unlike any voice we’ve heard all season, with her high-pitched and comforting sound resonating throughout the entire theater.
Mandel said she has a “star quality.” Vergara said she could listen to her voice all day long. Klum called her voice “beautiful” and “gorgeous.” and Cowell said he was “going to remember this audition,” praising her ability to make one of the world’s most well-known pop songs her own.
America’s Got Talent, Tuesdays, 8/7c, NBC