America’s Got Talent returned for its 14th season on Tuesday, introducing viewers to a handful of truly inspiring acts from around the globe — and, you know, a fully grown man in a very revealing leotard who answered only to “Monkey.” (Shocker: Monkey was the first person buzzed off stage by all four judges.)
Speaking of the judges, Tuesday’s episode gave viewers a real sense of what newbies Julianne Hough and Gabrielle Union will bring to the table this season. In addition to offering solid criticism and playfully bantering with mainstays Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell, both newcomers seem to wear their hearts on their sleeves, unafraid of showing emotion when the mood calls for it.
This first round of auditions premiere had no shortage of colorful characters, from Gingzilla, an Australian glamazon (think “Jessica Rabbit meets Chuck Norris”) with a golden set of pipes, to the aforementioned Monkey, who uttered arguably the most disturbing sentence in AGT history: “You could probably even braid my back.” We also met Human Fuse, who ushered everyone outside to watch him get shot out of a cannon, as well as Patrizio Ratto, the show’s first-ever classical musician slash pop-and-lock dancer.
The fun continued with Greg Morton, a 60-year-old Star Wars fan who nailed countless impressions from Darth Vader to the the lightsabers; Jackie Fabulous, a 47-year-old stand-up comic from the Bronx; and Eric Chien, a mind-blowing (and quick-changing?) magician.
And what would AGT be without a few inspirational performances? In the premiere alone, we got to witness the talents of V. Unbeatable, a high-flying dance troupe from the slums of Mumbai, and Sophie Pecora, a young musician who overcomes the pain of bullying through writing and singing original songs. Watch Pecora below:
Of course, the biggest moment of the premiere was saved for the end, when Union used the season’s first Golden Buzzer on 22-year-old Kodi Lee. Blind and autistic, this musical prodigy had the judges in tears with his powerful performance of “A Song For You.” Watch Lee in action below:
OK, time to discuss: Which of tonight’s auditions wowed you? Do you agree that Hough and Union fit in perfectly on the judges’ panel? And did the right act score the coveted Golden Buzzer? Grade the premiere below, then drop a comment with all of your thoughts.