“America’s Got Talent” returned Tuesday with another round of auditions full of singers with stories that will have you wiping away tears.
One of these auditions came from Wyn Starks, who said he used to work in hospitality at a hotel before he was laid off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starks sang his original song “Who I Am,” which he said was one of his twin brother’s favorites before he recently died.
“It’s been really hard,” he said. “He was one of my biggest supporters. To be here means everything to me, and I’m doing this for him.”
Starks then launched into a performance that practically reduced Vergara to a puddle of tears. The judge shared that she knows the pain of losing a sibling.
“That was amazing. I am so sorry for your loss,” she said. “I cannot even imagine what it is to lose a twin.”
Cowell remarked that he and his fellow judges get to meet “the most incredible people on this show.”
“You’re brilliant, Wyn, and we all saw for obvious reasons how emotional you were,” he said. “That song, it was extraordinary… I think it was the perfect tribute to your brother.”
Starks earned a “yes” from all three judges.
Ben Waites stuns with ‘True Colors’; kids acapella group gives tribute to member who died at age 15
That wasn’t the only moving singing audition.
Vocal coach Ben Waites also brought Vergara to tears while singing Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.”
“The message of the song I feel is able to speak to people no matter their age, their race, their background,” he said. “It’s able to communicate a message of hope.”
Klum noticed Vergara was “bawling her eyes out” after the song. And Vergara “does not cry,” Cowell added.
“You went into another gear at the end (of the song),” Cowell continued. “This is just a great audition.”
Acapop! KIDS, a children’s acapella group, also gave a powerful performance with their tribute to their group member Nolan, who recently died at age 15.
According to his mother, Nolan had a “great summer day” before he was later found dead. His mother said his death was considered a “sudden unexplained death.”
“He would be thrilled that they would be doing his song,” his mother added.
The group sang Nolan’s song “My Turn” to rave reviews from the judges.
“To sing a song as a tribute to someone you’ve lost is such a difficult thing to do,” Cowell told the kids. “So emotional, So respectful. And it was what I called a moment.”
Both Waites and Acapop! KIDS earned a “yes” from all the judges, sending them through to the next round.
Escape duo’s act explodes (literally)
And in true “AGT” style, the episode featured some gripping novelty acts.
One duo, named Henry and Klauss, performed an escape routine that had the audience and judges gasping in terror. The duo are friends, but call themselves brothers because their work requires them to be deeply connected with each other.
For their act, they each went into two different barrels conjoined at the sides. The barrels were suspended in the air, and the duo had to work together, with only their hands free through a hole in the side of each barrel to unlock their handcuffs using a hair pin.
But that wasn’t all – the pair had 90 seconds before a flame traveled up a rope attached to the barrels, triggering a fiery explosion, with them inside.
The duo appeared to struggle mightily, only freeing one shaky hand before the flame triggered the explosion. The theater let out a collective gasp. But where were the brothers?
All of a sudden, two stage hands, one holding a camera and another holding a boom, took off their face masks revealing themselves as the duo.
“That was spectacular,” said Vergara. “That was such a nerve-racking thing. We were all going crazy.”
Klum said she loved “the danger part of it,” and Cowell commended their showmanship, which he said is “really, really important.”
They earned a “yes” from all judges, sending them to the next round.
Another off-beat act came from Alex Rivers, who danced while playing contemporary music on his violin.
He had auditioned the previous day, but Cowell wanted to see more, telling him to come back with a new song prepared.
Rivers did, and jokingly compared to Cowell’s request to “like one of those toxic relationships where they string you along.”
For his second song, Rivers rocked out to “New Rules” by Dua Lipa on the violin.
“I adore you,” said Vergara. “I know you’re nervous, but you came with strength. You were happy to be here, and that song was so much better. (Simon) was right.”
“Would you still call our relationship toxic?” Cowell joked.
Rivers earned a “yes” from all three judges.
Sofía Vergara assists in messy whip act with Adam Winrich
Tuesday’s episode included an act that required a judge’s participation.
Vergara was brought onto the stage by a Adam Winrich who showed off his whip-cracking abilities. He cracked whips on both sides of the judge, had her swing around a roll of toilet paper as he whipped each individual sheet of a toilet paper roll that was shot out of a toilet paper cannon.
The act earned mixed reviews, but ultimately earned the contestant enough votes to move on to the next round.