Simon Cowell is back.
After breaking his back in an an electric-bike accident in early August and subsequently missing the conclusion of last season, the charismatic British judge made a “triumphant return” to “America’s Got Talent” during the Season 16 premiere Tuesday.
“I have missed you guys. It is so nice to be back,” Cowell said. Heidi Klum added, “The gang is back together.”
Cowell received a (not so) warm welcome from his fellow judges – Klum, Howie Mandel and Sofia Vergara – who harped on Cowell’s outfit choice: His signature black V-neck and… white short shorts?
“What is the deal with the shorts?” said former “Project Runway” host Klum, giving the impression that she would have given his shorts her infamous “Auf Wiedersehen.” “We try really hard, you know Sofia and I. We get all dolled up, pick nice outfits, and you come in shorts?”
Cowell’s excuse? “I was just comfortable.”
‘AGT’ Finale: Poet Brandon Leake wins star-studded finale with Duchess Meghan
Simon Cowell breaks his back falling off electric bicycle, will miss this week’s ‘AGT’ live shows
"America's Got Talent" is back. (L-R) Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Terry Crews, Sofia Vergara, Simon Cowell during the Season 16 premiere. (Photo: NBC, Trae Patton/NBC)
Cowell leaned comfortably into his grouchy reputation in his return. He buzzed several acts with a red X back to back and offered some harsh criticism.
“I feel bad for you, it just wasn’t good enough for me. I’m going to have to say no,” Cowell said to acrobat Brian Pankey. Cowell told the Elektro Botz dancers, “I wasn’t blown away, sorry.”
But Cowell streak was snapped by the Northwell Nurse Choir, a group of 18 nurses from the largest health care system in New York who fought on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Northwell Nurse Choir earned a standing ovation from the judges and returning in-studio audience following a “heartfelt” medley of Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” and Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” which the group called a universal message of “joy and love” during “a really dark, trying time.”
“Back in March (2020), when New York was the epicenter of COVID, we were so scared,” said Christian Montanez, a registered nurse at North Shore University Hospital. “One patient became 10, 100, 1,000. Nobody knew how many people COVID would kill.”
Northwell Nurse Choir earned the Golden Buzzer from Howie Mandel on "America's Got Talent." (Photo: NBC, Tyler Golden/NBC)
Danielle Filippone, a registered nurse at Staten Island University Hospital, said the “hardest part was seeing these patients alone.” She said they “couldn’t have their families with them so we stepped in as their family.”
The Northwell Nurse Choir formed in November 2020 to serve as a “beacon of hope.”
Cowell called their performance “touching.” He added, “We need you. The world needs you… People are going to remember this audition. I’m going to remember this audition.”
Klum said she got “chills.” Mandel called the choir “heroic in every way” and called their act “the most inspiring moment that I’ve had in the last year.”
“What a perfect song,” Mandel said. “You stand by people you don’t know, you watch horror and you watch strength and I thought… I want to stand for you.”
Mandel hit the coveted Golden Buzzer, sending the Northwell Nurse Choir straight to the live shows in Hollywood. (It’s worth noting that Mandel’s Season 15 Golden Buzzer winner, spoken-word poet Brandon Leake, went on to win the entire competition.)
And Cowell thinks they will too. He boldly called the Northwell Nurse Choir are “the ones to beat.”
“AGT” auditions continue next week at 8 EST/PST on NBC.
‘Couldn’t be more proud’: Leni Klum lands first solo cover 20 years after mom Heidi Klum
Source: Read Full Article