‘America’s Got Talent’ Judges Just Dropped a Bombshell Ahead of the Live Shows

This article contains spoilers from season 17 of America’s Got Talent.

Listen up, America’s Got Talent fans. As the season 17 live shows are about to kick off, judges Simon Cowell, Sofía Vergara, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel are now throwing us for the ultimate loop.

On last night’s episode, it was confirmed that 138 acts (yes, you did read this correctly) gained a “yes” from the judges. But the real work officially started, because Simon, Sofía, Heidi and Howie then needed to pare down the number to just 36 before the live shows, including the six acts that received a golden buzzer — Avery Dixon, Lily Meola, Mayyas, Sara James, Chapel Hart and Madison Taylor Baez.

Tough job, right? Simon thought so too, because he “absolutely cannot believe the talent this year.” This is where the big twist comes in. Instead of the judges having to choose the acts themselves, the group made a controversial decision to not just send 36 acts to the live show, but give 55 acts a chance at the title.

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As the group (without Sofía, as she wasn’t in this part of the episode) gathered at Simon’s house to deliberate, they eventually narrowed the group down to 54 acts to go to the live round. But when they couldn’t choose who would win the final spot, Simon suggested throwing yet another plot twist and asking for the audience’s help.

So what will the viewers need to do? The judges already selected four acts to be wildcards for the last place in the live shows — Ben Waites, Debbii Dawson, Jordan Conley and Auzzy Blood. Now, fans have until Friday, August 5 at 7 a.m. ET to choose (either on the show’s app or official page) which act will head to the live shows next week.

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Surprised? We sure are. But as the show is known for having fans vote for their favorite acts, it’s nice to see the opportunity show up earlier than we thought. Now go make your move, because you’ll want to know who America chose before the live shows start on August 9.

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