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America’s Got Talent: Kelly Clarkson fills empty chair of Simon Cowell as he recovers from accident

Kelly Clarkson filled the empty seat of Simon Cowell as America’s Got Talent aired its first live show Tuesday from Universal Studios Hollywood.

The 60-year-old judge and show creator broke his back in an e-bike accident Saturday, and is set to undergo intensive physical therapy before he can return.

‘As some of you might know, Simon Cowell had an accident over the weekend, and he can’t be here tonight,’ show host Terry Crews, 52, declared, saying the cast sent him ‘lots of AGT love.’

Filling in: Kelly Clarkson stepped in to replace Simon Cowell as a judge on Tuesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent on NBC

Kelly, 38, showed up to serve as AGT’s fourth judge in Simon’s stead, trading places with the man that once judged her when she won the first season of American Idol.

She encountered a very different kind of set, in which the show’s judges sat in an empty studio, surrounded by hundreds of TV screens bearing the faces of watching viewers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Terry asked her what it was like to fill Simon’s shoes, and Kelly admitted she felt ‘good about it.’

‘I have waited years for this!’ she cracked, grinning. ‘I love Simon, but I’m gettin’ real used to this chair, buddy. I’m just sayin’—take your time… I could use another job.’

Huge fan: 'I have waited years for this!' Kelly cracked, grinning. 'I love Simon, but I'm gettin' real used to this chair, buddy. I'm just sayin'—take your time… I could use another job'

Huge fan: ‘I have waited years for this!’ Kelly cracked, grinning. ‘I love Simon, but I’m gettin’ real used to this chair, buddy. I’m just sayin’—take your time… I could use another job’

The season 15 live show found 11 acts vying for what Terry called ‘the biggest prize in TV’ with its $1 million grand prize and a show in Las Vegas.

He promised the show would be ‘like nothing you’ve ever seen in 15 years of AGT,’ with acts performing onstage, in the Universal Studios lots, and from cities around the world.

Only five acts would make it through after the viewer votes, to be revealed on Wednesday.

Remote audience: Show host Terry Crews stood in front of a video board of watching viewers amid  the coronavirus pandemic

Remote audience: Show host Terry Crews stood in front of a video board of watching viewers amid  the coronavirus pandemic

But right away, one special act stood out, keeping those who viewed it glued to their seats.

Father-daughter daredevils Bello Nock, 51, and Annaliese Nock, 21, sought to push the limits for the AGT live show, and concocted an enormous ‘wheel of death’ with no net below it.

The Sarasota, Florida, natives had both been on the show before, but this routine worried them.

Death wheel: Father-daughter daredevils Bello Nock, 51, and Annaliese Nock, 21, sought to push the limits for the AGT live show, and concocted an enormous 'wheel of death' with no net below it

Death wheel: Father-daughter daredevils Bello Nock, 51, and Annaliese Nock, 21, sought to push the limits for the AGT live show, and concocted an enormous ‘wheel of death’ with no net below it

‘I am nervous because it’s my daughter,’ Bello said during rehearsal. ‘It’s my beautiful daughter. Whatever I do affects her. One wrong move could be devastating.’

When Bello developed a serious back spasm that left him unable to work, he asked Annaliese to continue, aware that she had ‘less than 24 hours to come up with a new routine.’

Bad back: When Bello developed a serious back spasm that left him unable to work, he asked Annaliese to continue

Bad back: When Bello developed a serious back spasm that left him unable to work, he asked Annaliese to continue

His daughter went on with the show, enlisting her brother Petey to serve as a ‘counterbalance’ on the ‘wheel of death’ despite the fact that he stepped into the role cold.

The giant machine rotated circular wheels at either end, and as Annaliese jumped within one wheel, she pushed it forward each time.

The judges flinched as they watched her repeatedly launch her body inside the wheel, then climb outside the wheel and ride it on top as the machine kept rotating around.

On fire: The judges flinched as they watched her repeatedly launch her body inside the wheel, then climb outside the wheel and ride it on top as the machine kept rotating around

On fire: The judges flinched as they watched her repeatedly launch her body inside the wheel, then climb outside the wheel and ride it on top as the machine kept rotating around

At one point, Annaliese jumped rope atop her spinning wheel, and caught her leg inside the rope, making judge Heidi Klum, 47, scream.

Then Annaliese blindfolded herself and the wheel was lit on fire as she rode it around again.

After the act ended, judge Sofia Vergara, 48, told Annaliese that she had been terrified for her the whole time.

Totally terrified: After the act ended, judge Sofia Vergara, 48, told Annaliese that she had been terrified for her the whole time

Totally terrified: After the act ended, judge Sofia Vergara, 48, told Annaliese that she had been terrified for her the whole time

Loud scream: Heidi Klum screamed when Annaliese caught her foot while jumping rope on the 'wheel of death'

Loud scream: Heidi Klum screamed when Annaliese caught her foot while jumping rope on the ‘wheel of death’

‘I cannot watch my son Manolo grab a knife and cut an onion when he’s cooking. I have to leave the kitchen, literally,’ she revealed. ‘I don’t know how Bello can be there watching this.’

‘I agree with Sofia,’ judge Howie Mandel, 64, chimed in. ‘We should call Child Protective Services. You’re not supposed to put your daughter on something called the Wheel Of Death.’

In another remarkable moment, comedian Michael Yo, 45, shared his distinctly unfunny story of surviving a severe case of coronavirus, which put him in the hospital.

Good one: 'We should call Child Protective Services. You're not supposed to put your daughter on something called the Wheel Of Death,' quipped Howie Mandel

Good one: ‘We should call Child Protective Services. You’re not supposed to put your daughter on something called the Wheel Of Death,’ quipped Howie Mandel

Life changer: In another remarkable moment, comedian Michael Yo, 45, shared his distinctly unfunny story of surviving a severe case of coronavirus, which put him in the hospital

Life changer: In another remarkable moment, comedian Michael Yo, 45, shared his distinctly unfunny story of surviving a severe case of coronavirus, which put him in the hospital

‘My life did change after AGT, but not in the way I thought it was gonna change,’ Michael affirmed, saying he found himself ‘on the kitchen floor, gasping for air,’ as his wife called 911.

‘She’s screaming, my son’s crying,’ he recalled. ‘They roll me in the ICU. The doctor says, ”You got COVID.” I say, ”I’m gonna make it, right?” She goes, ”We’re gonna try our best.”

Surviving COVID doubled Michael’s resolve to help people come together through comedy, and the judges applauded his set, which humorously dealt with his love for his wife and child.

‘You delivered,’ Howie said, pointing out how close tragedy and comedy could sometimes be.

Brought it: Michael was praised by the judges for his funny routine

Brought it: Michael was praised by the judges for his funny routine

Sofia loved one act so much, she volunteered to help launch it even if it didn’t win AGT.

Double Dragon, aka twins Andrea and Irene Ramos, 31, from San Francisco, sang a mash-up of English and Spanish pop hits on a Wild West set at Universal.

‘I love you,’ Heidi told them, after watching a video about their life at home with one of the women’s boyfriend. ‘Double the fun, double the energy, double the talent. Can I be your triplet?’

Double trouble: Double Dragon, aka twins Andrea and Irene Ramos, 31, from San Francisco, sang a mash-up of English and Spanish pop hits on a Wild West set at Universal

Double trouble: Double Dragon, aka twins Andrea and Irene Ramos, 31, from San Francisco, sang a mash-up of English and Spanish pop hits on a Wild West set at Universal

Sofia said she was the only one who could be their triplet, adding, ‘I think if you don’t win this competition, we can do something. You deserve a reality show, at least.’

The show’s first entry was The Pork Chop Revue, from Myakka City, Florida, which found pigs spinning on stools, jumping hurdles and walking up ladders on a Western set.

Howie wasn’t a fan, comparing it to ‘a very lethargic dog act.’

He jumped out of his chair for Feng E., a 13-year-old ukulele player who beamed in from Taiwan playing Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water and The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army.

First up: The show's first entry was The Pork Chop Revue, from Myakka City, Florida, which found pigs spinning on stools, jumping hurdles and walking up ladders on a Western set

First up: The show’s first entry was The Pork Chop Revue, from Myakka City, Florida, which found pigs spinning on stools, jumping hurdles and walking up ladders on a Western set

Animal act: The act featured large pigs performing and Kelly enjoyed it

Animal act: The act featured large pigs performing and Kelly enjoyed it

Howie called the young man ‘the Hendrix of Taiwan,’ and predicted he would go through.

Shaquira McGrath, a 26-year-old singer from Kennesaw, Georgia, got a standing ovation from Heidi and Sofia for her cover of Rascal Flatts’ What Hurts The Most.

‘You are amazing,’ Heidi informed her. ‘Your voice is larger than life, and it filled every nook and cranny of this room.’

Taiwan performance: Feng E., a 13-year-old ukulele player, beamed in from Taiwan playing Deep Purple's Smoke On The Water and The White Stripes' Seven Nation Army

Taiwan performance: Feng E., a 13-year-old ukulele player, beamed in from Taiwan playing Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water and The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army

Standing ovation: Shaquira McGrath, a 26-year-old singer from Kennesaw, Georgia, got a standing ovation from Heidi and Sofia for her cover of Rascal Flatts' What Hurts The Most

Standing ovation: Shaquira McGrath, a 26-year-old singer from Kennesaw, Georgia, got a standing ovation from Heidi and Sofia for her cover of Rascal Flatts’ What Hurts The Most

Tween salsa dancers Simon and Maria, from New Jersey, giggled as they got a private tour of the Universal Studios backlot, then unveiled a fast-paced routine on its ‘Mel’s Diner’ set.

‘Your talent is only overshadowed by your cuteness,’ Heidi told the duo, who’d danced to Pitbull’s Bad Man. ‘Your feet are dancing, your face is dancing—you guys sparkle.’

Frenchie Baby, a 25-year-old contortionist and dancer from the San Francisco Bay area, had reunited with estranged family members after AGT helped him make contact again.

Salsa dancers: Tween salsa dancers Simon and Maria, from New Jersey, giggled as they got a private tour of the Universal Studios backlot, then unveiled a fast-paced routine on its 'Mel's Diner' set

Salsa dancers: Tween salsa dancers Simon and Maria, from New Jersey, giggled as they got a private tour of the Universal Studios backlot, then unveiled a fast-paced routine on its ‘Mel’s Diner’ set

Family reunion: Frenchie Baby, a 25-year-old contortionist and dancer from the San Francisco Bay area, had reunited with estranged family members after AGT helped him make contact again

Family reunion: Frenchie Baby, a 25-year-old contortionist and dancer from the San Francisco Bay area, had reunited with estranged family members after AGT helped him make contact again

Terry described Frenchie’s twisted act and apocalyptic set as ‘virtual reality on steroids,’ while Heidi proclaimed his work ‘hard to watch, but you just can’t look away.’

Roberta Battaglia, a 10-year-old singer from Toronto, belted Lauren Daigle’s You Say and scored a standing ovation from the three female judges, with Sofia crying, ‘I want her to win!’

‘You are incredible,’ Kelly echoed. ‘I cannot believe your age. Even if you were 27 and sounding like that—your tone is so beautiful.’

Young star: Roberta Battaglia, a 10-year-old singer from Toronto, belted Lauren Daigle's You Say and scored a standing ovation from the three female judges, with Sofia crying, 'I want her to win!'

Young star: Roberta Battaglia, a 10-year-old singer from Toronto, belted Lauren Daigle’s You Say and scored a standing ovation from the three female judges, with Sofia crying, ‘I want her to win!’

Brett Loudermilk, a 31-year-old street performer from North Carolina, once again enlisted the judges to make his act stand out.

He had Heidi pick out and sign a playing card, then asked Sofia to shoot a crossbow at the deck he held in his mouth.

After she did so, he pretended to choke and ran toward her, grabbing an arrow from her cache and sticking it down his throat to retrieve Heidi’s card.

Magic man: Brett Loudermilk, a 31-year-old street performer from North Carolina, once again enlisted the judges to make his act stand out

Magic man: Brett Loudermilk, a 31-year-old street performer from North Carolina, once again enlisted the judges to make his act stand out

Helping out: Sofia helped Brett with his magic act and shot a crossbow at him

Helping out: Sofia helped Brett with his magic act and shot a crossbow at him

‘I don’t understand how that happened,’ Kelly said. ‘I am so in awe right now.’

The episode’s last act was Archie Williams, a 59-year-old singer from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who had been jailed for 36 years for a crime he did not commit.

His rendition of Stevie Wonder’s 1976 hit Love’s In Need Of Love Today moved the judges, with Sofia calling it ‘spectacular,’ and emphasizing, ‘You deserve this more than anyone.’

America’s Got Talent will return Wednesday on NBC with the results of viewer voting. 

In awe: Kelly said she was in awe with the magic act

In awe: Kelly said she was in awe with the magic act

Last up: The episode's last act was Archie Williams, a 59-year-old singer from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who had been jailed for 36 years for a crime he did not commit

Last up: The episode’s last act was Archie Williams, a 59-year-old singer from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who had been jailed for 36 years for a crime he did not commit

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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