America’s Got Talent is about to head into the season 17 live shows – but Simon Cowell and the gang are keeping things fresh with two massive twists.

Last night, we saw the judges’ deliberations as they attempted to whittle down the whopping 138 acts they gave a yes at auditions to just 36 for the live shows.

It clearly proved too big a task as the judges introduced the first game-changer.

America's Got Talent judges Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell watch one of the auditions in awe
America’s Got Talent judges Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell. Screenshot from official America’s Got Talent YouTube video

Twist No.1

Rather than 36 acts, the judges chose to send 55 of the impressive acts they’d seen through to the live shows.

Simon, who judges the show alongside Howie Mandel, Sofia Vergara and Heidi Klum, reckons it’s “going to be tough” to find a winner, adding that he “absolutely cannot believe the talent this year”.

When they sit down to choose which acts to send through – minus Sofia who sent her detailed notes over – the only acts confirmed for the qualifiers – which kick off on August 9 – were the golden buzzers.

Host Terry Crews pressed the golden buzzer for saxophonist Avery Dixon, Howie chose singer Madison Baez, Simon opted for singer Sara James, Sofia chose dance group Mayyas and Heidi picked singer Lily Meola.

The first twist of the series came when all of the judges and Terry collectively pressed the golden buzzer for country girl group Chapel Hart, who they felt were simply too good to miss out on getting one.

Going against the grain, the judges chose 54 acts altogether to go through to the live shows.

Twist No.2

After deciding to send 55 acts through, the judges found themselves unable to pick the final one.

A second twist came when they decided to choose four wild cards and leave the decision in the hands of viewers.

Fans of the show are now faced with choosing between singers Ben Waites and Debbii Dawson, danger act Auzzy Blood and comedian Jordan Conley, with one being welcomed back to perform again.

People can vote through social media and via the official AGT website until Friday, August 5 at 7am ET.

What does the winner get?

One of those lucky 55 acts will be crowned the winner of America’s Got Talent later this year – but what will they get?

The winning act will walk away with an incredible cash prize of $1 million.

Winners also get the opportunity to stage a headline residency in Las Vegas and of course get plenty of career-boosting publicity off the back of the show.



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