The search for the greatest act in the world kicked off on Monday as America’s Got Talent: The Champions officially premiered and will air every week for the next month.
With a shortened season, the format has been tweaked with one act advancing on the Golden Buzzer from the judges and one voted in by the “Superfans” in the audience.
And it was Susan Boyle who earned the first golden buzzer of the all-star spin-off. Boyle returned to the stage for the first time since 2009, when she was a contestant on Britain’s Got Talent.
Boyle performed her rendition of The Rolling Stones’ 1971 hit “Wild Horses” and earned a standing ovation from the audience and judges.
“I can’t think of any other contestant who has defined this show better than you,” judge Simon Cowell said after her performance.
But it was Mel B who had the best praise of all.
“I just want to say what an absolute honor and pleasure it is to be sitting here and listening to you. Your angelic voice and I want to be the woman who gives you something you deserve,” she said. She then pushed her golden buzzer, sending the 57-year-old through to the finals.
With Boyle straight through to the finals, only one spot remained and nine acts were vying for that coveted place.
The other acts who performed included sword swallower Alexandr Magala, dance crew Justice Crew, stand-up comedian Vicki Barbolak, mentalist duo The Clairvoyants, contortionist Sofie Dossi, dog act Sara and Hero, acrobat Uzeyer Novruzov, and singer Bianca Ryan.
Season 12’s Preacher Lawson returned to the stage and delivered a hilarious routine that earned a standing ovation as well as the biggest cheers from the audience on the night.
After all ten acts performed, host Terry Crews returned with the results. He announced Bianca Ryan, Sofie Dossi, and Preacher Lawson had all made the top three in the vote. Sofie was in third place, leaving Bianca and Preacher as the top two. It was finally revealed that Preacher Lawson was the second and final act to advance to the finals.
It was not all bad news for the acts who were eliminated as the judges will pick two wildcard acts to join the top 10 in the finals.
America’s Got Talent: The Champions airs every Monday on NBC in the US and streams on Netflix in the UK.