During Monday’s episode, Cowell, who serves as executive producer, stole the opportunity from Howie Mandel, who was granted the coveted button for that specific taping as each judge is given one chance to send an act to the final round.
After it was clear that Mandel, 64, was not interested in bestowing the Golden Buzzer to Star Wars-inspired dance act Boogie Storm (frankly, neither were Heidi Klum nor Alesha Dixon), Cowell reached over to push the buzzer in an unplanned moment.
He previously gave Boogie Storm his Golden Buzzer in 2016 on season 10 of Britain’s Got Talent, during which the dance troupe finished in third place.
Cowell, who was the only judge to give the group a standing ovation, even told Mandel: “If it were me, I would give them the Golden Buzzer. I would.” Later, Cowell explained to host Terry Crews, “You know why I did it? Because I believe the dark side is the good side. And these guys are one of the most original acts we’ve ever had. They have to be in the final, they have to be.”
However, Klum did not agree. “You guys are all fine dancers and stuff, and it’s like a real fun gimmick. But how long can that last? My favorite part was actually looking at Simon being like a kid in a candy store,” the model said.
With Boogie Storm heading straight to the finals, there were only three spots left for contestants to move on to the semi-finals.
Singer Marcelito Pomoy, who won Philippine’s Got Talent in 2011, and magician Marc Spelmann and X, who appeared twice on Britain’s Got Talent, were chosen by superfans. Comedian Ryan Niemiller, who came in third place last season on AGT, was selected by the judges to move forward in the competition.
America’s Got Talent: The Champions airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on NBC.