Who Will Win America's Got Talent? New Favorite After Simon Presses Golden Buzzer
America's Got Talent judge Simon Cowell waited until just the second episode of season 18 to press his Golden Buzzer, and the act is the new favorite to win this year's show.
Pianist and singer Putri Ariani has dislodged last week's season 18 premiere wonders Mzansi Youth Choir at the top of the betting following a sublime display on Tuesday night.
Elsewhere, head balancing duo Ramadhani Brothers also impressed the judges - Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and Sofia Vergara - as did singing sensations Sainted Trap Choir.
As with previous seasons, the AGT wannabes need at least three yes votes from the four judges to advance, but they can be buzzed off the competition.
But if one of the judges, or host Terry Crews, hits the Golden Buzzer, the act will automatically progress to the live shows.
Mzansi Youth Choir were the recipients last week, after Cowell decided to give the audience their first-ever Golden Buzzer in the show's history.
With these hypothetical odds provided by industry sports betting experts, we've looked into which remaining America's Got Talent contestants could have what it takes to be the show's season 18 winner and land the $1 million prize.
Ariani Impresses AGT Judge Cowell
Ariani had the audience on their feet after her audition, and Cowell then took to stage to meet her and her father before asking her to sing another song.
The 17-year-old star - who is blind - performed Sir Elton John's "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word" for her second tune, and it prompted both the audience and judges to give her a standing ovation.
Cowell praised the wannabe's "amazing, distinctive voice" and told her she has a "glow" about her.
He then stood up and pressed his Golden Buzzer, and gold confetti rained down on Ariani, who jumped for joy.
Following her impressive audition, the star is now +250 favorite to win this year's America's Got Talent, with 28.6% implied probability, narrowly ahead of Mzansi Youth Choir.
The choir is out to +350 second favorites to triumph, from +300 last week, after they received the Audience Golden Buzzer in Episode 1.
Ramadhani Brothers Close To Perfection
While Ariani was undoubtedly the star of Episode 2, the Ramadhani Brothers were not too far behind.
The duo from Tanzania performed a series of stunts while one was balanced upside down on the other's head - much to the judges' enjoyment.
Cowell admitted it "was about as close to perfection" as an AGT audition could be, while Klum confessed she was sweating from her armpits "so badly" because of their jaw-dropping stunts.
The Ramadhani Brothers are now +400 third favorites to win this year's AGT, ahead of aspiring Broadway singer D'Corey Johnson, who is out to +450, from +400 last week.
Sainted Trap Choir is +500 for AGT victory after the 26-person choir performed numerous "trap" tunes.
Mandel was impressed, suggesting they should perform at Coachella, while Cowell admitted he "loved everything" about their performance and said there were "about 4,000 yeses" to put them through.
Garcia Goes Through
Dancer Lambros Garcia got emotional as the judges rose to their feet following his audition.
The youngster admitted he gets bullied at school, but Cowell vowed to sort that out for him and told the wannabe he was going through to the next round with "four and a half thousand yeses."
He is now +700 to win America's Got Talent, just behind last week's acts, magician Trigg Watson (+600) and heavy metal band Steel Panther (+650).
Another emotional audition in Episode 2 saw country singer Mitch Rossell perform.
Rossell tragically lost his father, grandfather and grandmother-in-law to a collision with a drunk driver when he was just 10 years old.
He performed his original song "Son" about his father's death, and Cowell praised him for a "great" and "sincere" audition."
Rossell is +750 for AGT victory, ahead of stand-up comedian Orlando Leyba (+800) and violinist Philip Bowen (+850), who both progressed in Episode 1.
Erianna Impresses Vergara
TikTok sensation Zoe Erianna, who is just six years old, also impressed the judges, particularly her favorite panelist Vergara.
She sang a version of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," and Vergara told the youngster afterward: "You’re one of my favorite contestants ever."
Cowell praised the "fearless" wannabe, who is +900 to win the season, ahead of Japanese dance group Avantgardey (+1000).
They received another four yeses from the judges, with Cowell describing their act as "genius" and Mandel saying: "I've never seen anything like this before."
Shadow artist Shadow Ace is out to +1100 in the betting, from +1000 last week, but he is ahead of comedian and magician Mandy Muden (+1200).
Muden performed a "mindreading" act, which included some naughty parts, and it went down well with Mandel.
He told her: "You are the epitome of somebody who deserves their own show."
Ukrainian acrobatic trio Three G are +1400 for AGT victory after a few mistakes in their Episode 1 audition, while fellow first episode auditionee Trex Flips is the same price.
Ray Wold is currently bottom of the AGT market at +1600 after receiving three yeses, but one no from Mandel.
The fire performer enlisted his 85-year-old mother to be his assistant, and for part of his act, his mom stood in the middle of a fire-covered wall, and he launched fire daggers at it.
But that was too much for Mandel, who pressed his red buzzer, and he later told Wold: "You just shouldn’t throw knives at your mother."
Fortunately for Wold, the other three judges liked the act, which was enough to send him through.
Next week will see a host of other acts audition for the judges in the hope of progressing to the next round or being on the receiving end of a coveted Golden Buzzer.
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