Spoilers ahead for the August 30 episode of America's Got Talent.
The stakes are as high as they've ever been on America's Got Talent Season 18 as the live qualifiers round continues. So far, 22 performers have returned to the stage to try and recreate their success from their auditions, but only four have been advanced to the final so far. At this point, only Adrian Stoica and Hurricane, Lavender Darcangelo, Ahren Belisle, and Murmuration are guaranteed another shot at the $1 million prize and Las Vegas stage show. The latest qualifiers episode also eliminated a golden buzzer act for the first time in Season 18, with Chioma & the Atlanta Drum Academy not moving on, and that could be meaningful for the rest of the season!
There were seven golden buzzers hit during the auditions of AGT Season 18, with one for each of the judges and Terry Crews as well as a group buzzer and audience buzzer. So far, Lavender Darcangelo, Murmuration, and Chioma & the Atlanta Drum Academy returned to try and continue their AGT journeys, and there was every reason to be optimistic. After all, America's Got Talent golden buzzer winners often become AGT champions! Chioma & the Atlanta Drum Academy became the first not to advance to the final, and while that's sad for the young people who dazzled on the stage in Season 18, it could make the rest of the competition more interesting.
I love a good golden buzzer, but any qualifiers episode with more than one such contender feels a little less exciting because it feels like the people who got the gold confetti are bound to move on no matter what. I went into both of the most recent episodes expecting that Murmuration and Chioma would be advanced to the next round just because they got that extra boost after their auditions that made them more memorable than most competitors.
So, while I certainly feel bad for the young performers who were sent home after the audience vote in the August 30 episode, I think Season 18 just got more exciting. I always say that AGT is anybody's game, but now I really feel it more than ever this season. Plus, even as somebody who enjoyed both of Chioma & the Atlanta Drum Academy's performances, I can't disagree with Ahren Belisle being advanced alongside Murmuration. While Murmuration were Howie Mandel's buzzer picks of the season, Belisle was funny from the moment that he began his set to when he didn't let the "Viagra" slip with Sofia Vergara shake him. I can be happy for Belisle and sad for Chioma at the same time!
Do I still think that the odds are in favor of a golden buzzer act turning out to be the champion of Season 18? Honestly, yes I do. When I ranked every golden buzzer performer of Season 18, Chioma & the Atlanta Drum Academy weren't at the top of the list. I still think that Chibi Unity could win the whole competition this fall, but – truly – it's anybody's game at this point! And here's hoping that Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell's predictions for Chioma & Co. come true, as Klum said that they belonged on a tour like Taylor Swift's or Beyoncé's, while Cowell said they should perform at the Super Bowl.
Keep tuning in to NBC on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET for the latest in America's Got Talent Season 18. According to NBC (via Gold Derby), the next eleven competitors are comedian Barry Brewer Jr., sword swallower/aerialist Herwan Legaillard, tap dancer Justin Jackson, musicians MOS, dance group Phil Wright & Parent Jam, violinist Philip Bowen, singer Summer Rios, magician Trigg Watson, acrobatic group Warrior Squad, and golden buzzer winners Mzansi Youth Choir and Putri Ariani. Also, check out our 2023 TV schedule for what's on the way to the small screen this fall despite the WGA writers strike and SAG-AFTRA actors strike.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).