‘AGT’ Season 13 Live Show #1 Recap

Julia Delbel
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We’ve finally made it to the live show portion of America’s Got Talent and that means things are getting very exciting for both the performers and we viewers! Let’s see what this week’s 12 acts di in hopes of advancing to the next round.


This was a great example of why it’s always so exciting when we reach the AGT live shows: the production value goes waaay up and helps make for some memorable performances. The light show going on during Mochi’s performance made everything seem so much more epic. At one point I was thinking the diabolo itself was getting lost in the shuffle, but that quickly turned around with the sparkler stuff at the end.

Aside from a comment from Mel disliking the music used in the act, the judges were full of nothing but praise, with Howie making the bold claim that Mochi deserved a spot in the finals.

Human Fountains

These guys were the underdogs going into this week, being granted a wildcard spot after being eliminated in Judge Cuts. For this performance, they mixed the faux posh presentation from their first audition with the gross-out tricks from the second (the peak being the hot-dog with the condiments). While Simon buzzed the group and Mel refused to watch past a certain point, the judges all did seem to have a good sense of humor about the whole thing.

Angel City Chorale

Okay, regardless of the differences in how we feel about the various acts, can we all agree “This Is Me” is officially overused and a reality show cliche at this point? (Quite a feat for a song that’s only been out for about eight months.) I mean this wasn’t even the first time an AGT choir performed it for crying out loud!

Beyond that, I did appreciate that the group seemed a bit more “put together” vocally this time, but the whole thing felt pretty generic compared to their past performances. I was glad Howie pointed out that the atmosphere in the auditorium was probably more immersive than for those of us just watching on TV. And the drums were a nice addition to a good performance. But I didn’t feel that same flavor of pure joy that I did during their previous performances.

PAC Dance Team

While a higher production value can add an extra something special to a performance, it can also take away from it, and I think that’s what happened here. The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory set in the background was impressive, but it overpowered the dancers and detracted from the performance as a whole (the Oompa-Loompa dancers being dressed in red made this an even bigger issue). Add that to the fact that there was so much going on with the dancers themselves, and it was hard to know what to focus on at any given time here.

Amanda Mena

Amanda is undoubtedly a great singer, and I think she has the potential to become big someday. But for some reason I can’t help but feel like this isn’t quite her time yet. Now, tonight’s performance was very nice and will probably get her to the semi-finals, but I don’t think there’s anything particularly memorable about Amanda so far. Her voice is beautiful but not particularly unique, and physically she kind of got swallowed up by the stage. I think singing in both Spanish and English was a fun way to show off her abilities, but I wish she’d have moved around the stage at least a little bit; I think it would have helped her show more personality and connect with the audience.

Junior New System

I really thought these guys were doomed to fade into the woodwork this week, but they really showed us all why they deserved their spot in the live shows. They came out with exciting and engaging choreography and put their all into it. They had an amazing, infectious energy about them for the entire performance. I know some people wanted to see them dance in the heels the whole time, but agreed with Mel on the matter; better to start by just showing us how well they could purely dance first and then throw in the fun gimmick to amp up the act later on in the performance.

We Three

I was expecting this group to give us one of the stand-out performances of the night but I found their story more memorable than their performance, which is something I’m really hoping changes if they continue in the competition. I wouldn’t call this performance bad, but it wasn’t really good either. It just got kind of lost in the shuffle tonight.

Lord Nil

This was clearly supposed to be a glued-to-your-seat-in-anticipation kind of performance, but it ended up being pretty boring, and I really should not be saying that for a “danger” act of all things. Other than taking in the set (which I’ll give props to the AGT crew for because it was the best staging of the night) there was really nothing to watch here and while I guess it was supposed to be dramatic it felt pretty muted. I guess what I’m trying to say is the whole thing felt like some sort of survival challenge and not a performance that was interesting to watch from an entertainment standpoint.


I think Flau’jae just might have what it takes to launch a successful rapping career from her time on this show. She has the personality, passion, and talent for it. The thing is I agreed with Mel that she needs to stop doing the “easy” stuff and challenge herself going forward. There were moments in this performance  where she did that but other times it felt like a step down. So overall I guess I’d say it was uneven, but it did make me want to see more of her going forward; I’m very curious to see how she’ll grow from here.

Shin Lim


Shin is a champion card magician, and this performance showed us why. His performance tonight was simply an amazing display of pure skill and showed the dedication he’s given to his craft. He’s doing a very good job at keeping card magic fun to watch and I’m really hoping he ends up a finalist at the end of the season.

Vicki Barbolak

I’m very curious to see how the audience responds to Vicki since her archetype as the “raunchy older comedian” doesn’t usually do well on this show. I’d be happy for her to pull through this week, though, since I think she gave a good performance. I agreed with Mel that the naughtier she gets, the funnier she is, but I understand having to avoid getting too filthy since AGT is generally considered a family show.

Courtney Hadwin

There’s been speculation as to whether or not Courtney would still hold up as a contender after the novelty of being a “surprise” wore off, but I think tonight proved the answer to that question to be a hard “NOPE”. I love that Courtney is able to just get up on that stage and be herself and I’m glad she’s been getting such a great response from the judges and viewers so far. Her energy and vocals are so captivating and I’m still predicting her to win it all at the end of the season.

America’s Got Talent will return tomorrow night at 8/7c for a one-hour results show featuring last season’s winner, Darci Lynne Farmer.

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