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America’s Got Talent: Sofia Vergara tearfully tells poet she can ‘feel’ his pain

Sofia Vergara was nearly brought to tears by memories of her brother’s murder as she listened to a spoken-word poet on Tuesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent.

All of the show’s auditions were filmed without an audience, due to the coronavirus pandemic, but even in an empty room, Brandon Leake made an impact.

In a piece he’d written about his infant sister’s death, Brandon, 27, described ‘the cost of love,’ explaining that he often liked to imagine she was still alive.

Getting emotional: Sofia Vergara was nearly brought to tears by memories of her brother’s murder as she listened to a spoken-word poet on Tuesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent

‘Love is the most vulnerable thing one will ever have, and you must learn to hold onto it loosely, so when it leaves, it won’t exit so painfully,’ the Stockton, California, native said.

‘If this pain and these memories are all that I got left of you, I won’t never regret these scars from just trying to hold onto you,’ he added, as Howie Mandel, 64, applauded.

Sofia, 47, tearfully told Brandon that she thought his poem was ‘very beautiful.’

‘My brother passed away the same year that your sister passed away,’ she revealed, referring to her older sibling Rafael, who was murdered in a 1998 kidnapping attempt, when he was 27.

Late brother: The 47-year-old actress recalled her late brother Rafael who was murdered in 1998 in Colombia when he was age 27 during a kidnapping attempt

Late brother: The 47-year-old actress recalled her late brother Rafael who was murdered in 1998 in Colombia when he was age 27 during a kidnapping attempt

Spoken word: Brandon Leake became the first spoken word contestant on AGT

Spoken word: Brandon Leake became the first spoken word contestant on AGT

‘I can feel your pain,’ she said. ‘I know what this is. I know what it is to have somebody taken from you without you knowing.’

Brandon, AGT’s first-ever spoken word artist, was affected by what Sofia said, and shocked when Howie then pressed his Golden Buzzer for him.

‘It’s amazing to me that on season 15, it’s the first time that we’re hearing somebody of spoken word,’ said Howie, who called what Brandon had done ‘just being a human, a capella.’

Felt it: Sofia said that she could feel the poet's pain and knew what it felt like to lose a sibling

Felt it: Sofia said that she could feel the poet’s pain and knew what it felt like to lose a sibling

Emotional performance: In a piece he'd written about his infant sister's death, Brandon, 27, described 'the cost of love,' explaining that he often liked to imagine she was still alive

Emotional performance: In a piece he’d written about his infant sister’s death, Brandon, 27, described ‘the cost of love,’ explaining that he often liked to imagine she was still alive

‘No music, no nothing—just a raw heart beating in front of us,’ the comedian marveled. ‘We feel your pain, we feel your love, and you moved me to do this.’

He pushed the buzzer, unleashing a flood of golden confetti from the studio’s rafters as Brandon spun around in disbelief.

When host Terry Crews, 51, asked Brandon how he was feeling, the young man—who had a new baby and a day job as a college counselor—said he was ‘Ecstatic. Y’all don’t even know.’

Golden buzzer: Howie Mandel also was moved by the performance and struck his Golden Buzzer

Golden buzzer: Howie Mandel also was moved by the performance and struck his Golden Buzzer

‘My daughter was just born, and the only thing that I’ve been thinking about is, ”Man, I don’t want time to slip by being at this 9-to-5 while she’s at home growing”,’ he explained. ‘Like, this is my shot.’

‘Brandon,’ judge Simon Cowell, 60, said, joining him onstage. ‘Can I have an elbow?’

He bumped elbows with Brandon, as did Sofia, and Howie pointed at him in recognition.

Confetti felling: Golden confetti fell onto the stage as Brandon doubled over in excitement

Confetti felling: Golden confetti fell onto the stage as Brandon doubled over in excitement

Live round: Howie took to the stage to congratulate Brandon after advancing him straight to the live rounds

Live round: Howie took to the stage to congratulate Brandon after advancing him straight to the live rounds

‘What an amazing tribute,’ Simon said while judging. ‘There’s something very, very special about you… I just want to compliment you on what you just did, because it was extraordinary.’

The auditions, which were originally held in March, found contestants performing only for the judges, host and crew, making an already challenging gig even more daunting.

As the show opened, the janitorial crew swept an empty stage, and Simon cracked to Sofia, ‘I had a nightmare that I’d be 90 years old doing this show and nobody’d be watching it.’

Very special: 'What an amazing tribute,' Simon Cowell said while judging. 'There's something very, very special about you… I just want to compliment you on what you just did, because it was extraordinary

Very special: ‘What an amazing tribute,’ Simon Cowell said while judging. ‘There’s something very, very special about you… I just want to compliment you on what you just did, because it was extraordinary

‘Here we are,’ he added, tongue-in-cheek. 

Eric Stonestreet, 48, filled in again for Heidi Klum, 47, who had gone home sick amid worries of coronavirus, though she tested negative for it later that month.

Taping at the Pasadena Civic Center followed the usual protocol, though AGT’s final audition show, on July 14, will have some contestants trying out online for safety reasons.

Stepping in: Eric Stonestreet stepped in again for Heidi Klum who was out sick

Stepping in: Eric Stonestreet stepped in again for Heidi Klum who was out sick

With no crowd to cheer for the contestants, the judges’ feelings about each act were even more apparent than usual, and at times, the atmosphere felt tense.

Terry joked that the red buzzers might sound extra-loud without anyone else there, and as he pressed one, Sofia joked, ‘That kills any virus that’s flying around.’

The first act, the Wildcats cheerleading team from Plano, Texas, immediately set an upbeat tone with their routine, which saw them twist, flip, and somersault across the stage.

First up: The Wildcats cheerleading team from Plano, Texas, immediately set an upbeat tone with their routine, which saw them twist, flip, and somersault across the stage

First up: The Wildcats cheerleading team from Plano, Texas, immediately set an upbeat tone with their routine, which saw them twist, flip, and somersault across the stage

‘You are affirmation that cheerleading is not just an appetizer at some sporting event,’ Eric told the contestants, aged 13 to 29. ‘You are a main course.’

Next up was Jacob Velazquez, 12, a musician from Pembroke Pines, Florida, who showed up with a vision board that depicted him getting a standing ovation on AGT, and winning the show.

‘I do these vision boards all the time,’ Simon told Jacob, eyeballing the child’s picture of him pressing a golden buzzer. ‘I think they’re really important.’

Vision board: Jacob Velazquez, 12, a musician from Pembroke Pines, Florida, who showed up with a vision board that depicted him getting a standing ovation on AGT, and winning the show

Vision board: Jacob Velazquez, 12, a musician from Pembroke Pines, Florida, who showed up with a vision board that depicted him getting a standing ovation on AGT, and winning the show

Jacob said he wanted to prove that a disability didn’t prevent one from doing great things, and revealed that he’d grown up with a developmental disorder similar to Asperger Syndrome.

He then sat down to play an original piano composition, and moved Howie so much that he turned to Eric next to him and whispered, ‘He wrote this?’

Moments later, Jacob was sitting down at a set of drums, banging away to Fallout Boy’s Centuries, and flipping the drumsticks around his fingers like a pro.

Multiple talents: The judges gave Jacob a standing ovation after he played piano and drums

Multiple talents: The judges gave Jacob a standing ovation after he played piano and drums

He got his standing O, with Howie calling him a ‘prodigy’ and dubbing him ‘Boy-thoven.’

Shevon Nieto, 37, a former Olympic runner living in Pasadena, California, also wowed with her original song, Through The Good And The Bad.

She dedicated it to her husband, Jamie Nieto, an Olympic high-jumper who’d been paralyzed from the chest down while coaching other Olympic hopefuls.

Sweet voice: Shevon Nieto, 37, a former Olympic runner living in Pasadena, California, also wowed with her original song, Through The Good And The Bad

Sweet voice: Shevon Nieto, 37, a former Olympic runner living in Pasadena, California, also wowed with her original song, Through The Good And The Bad

Shevon quit her sport as soon as it happened, despite the fact that she was preparing for her third Olympics, and dedicated herself to Jamie’s recovery.

Howie called the song ‘wonderful, real, moving,’ while Simon told Shevon it was an ‘honor’ to meet her, adding, ‘The audition was in a different class.’

Shevon and Jamie then announced to Terry afterward that Shevon was pregnant.

Special announcement: The singer and husband Jamie then announced to host Terry Crews afterward that Shevon was pregnant

Special announcement: The singer and husband Jamie then announced to host Terry Crews afterward that Shevon was pregnant

Kenadi Dodds, 15, from Logan, Utah, rocked the stage with her original song, One Way Ticket To Tennessee, about her family’s support of her dream to be a country singer.

Her parents and siblings had all struggled with retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disease that left them blind, and she was the only one who didn’t have it yet.

‘My younger sister wanted to see me on the biggest stage in the world before it’s too late,’ Kenadi said of the nine-year-old bespectacled girl watching from the wings. ‘And her vision’s going.’

Teen talent: Kenadi Dodds, 15, from Logan, Utah, rocked the stage with her original song, One Way Ticket To Tennessee, about her family's support of her dream to be a country singer

Teen talent: Kenadi Dodds, 15, from Logan, Utah, rocked the stage with her original song, One Way Ticket To Tennessee, about her family’s support of her dream to be a country singer

Eric teared up watching Kenadi, and Howie proclaimed that her future was ‘already set in stone,’ giving her a ‘Yee-haw!’ as he led the other judges in giving her four yeses.

Crystal Powell, a 46-year-old comedian from Los Angeles, won the judges over with a hilarious set about the difference between Black and white girlfriends, and the importance of having both.

‘I love you!’ Simon told her. ‘From the minute you came on, you’re just naturally funny.’ 

Creative comic: Crystal Powell, a 46-year-old comedian from Los Angeles, won the judges over with a hilarious set about the difference between Black and white girlfriends, and the importance of having both

Creative comic: Crystal Powell, a 46-year-old comedian from Los Angeles, won the judges over with a hilarious set about the difference between Black and white girlfriends, and the importance of having both

Michael Yo, 45, also impressed with his stand-up set about getting older, and wept as he was sent through, as he’d made a huge change in his life to pursue his new career.

He had once been a journalist at the E! network, where he’d interviewed all the judges.

‘I would go hug you, but there’s a virus going on, so…’ Sofia told Michael after he finished, holding out her arms in a circular hug instead, as the other judges did the same.

Funny guy: Michael Yo, 45, also impressed with his stand-up set about getting older, and wept as he was sent through, as he'd made a huge change in his life to pursue his new career

Funny guy: Michael Yo, 45, also impressed with his stand-up set about getting older, and wept as he was sent through, as he’d made a huge change in his life to pursue his new career

Four hugs: The judges gave Michael a hug from afar due to the coronavirus pandemic

Four hugs: The judges gave Michael a hug from afar due to the coronavirus pandemic

Wesley Williams, ‘The One-Wheel Wonder,’ bounced down stairs, jumped rope and juggled knives on unicycles as Unsecret’s Higher played.

The Miami-area contestant, who had also appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, almost fell off one 20-foot-high cycle, but ‘pulled it together,’ Simon said, admiring his ‘real guts.’

Also going through was Elijah, a nine-year-old cellist from San Diego, a favorite of Simon’s who played an electrified version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s My Favorite Things.

Wheel wonder: Wesley Williams, 'The One-Wheel Wonder,' bounced down stairs, jumped rope and juggled knives on unicycles as Unsecret's Higher played

Wheel wonder: Wesley Williams, ‘The One-Wheel Wonder,’ bounced down stairs, jumped rope and juggled knives on unicycles as Unsecret’s Higher played

Cello player: Also going through was Elijah, a nine-year-old cellist from San Diego, a favorite of Simon's who played an electrified version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's My Favorite Things

Cello player: Also going through was Elijah, a nine-year-old cellist from San Diego, a favorite of Simon’s who played an electrified version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s My Favorite Things

The Brothers Gage, aka siblings Brady, 15, and Alex, 17, from the Topanga area of Los Angeles, went through for their original harmonica song. 

Simon noted that they were ‘ginormously’ likable.

America’s Got Talent returns July 14 on NBC.

Harmonica players: The Brothers Gage, aka siblings Brady, 15, and Alex, 17, from the Topanga area of Los Angeles, went through for their original harmonica song

Harmonica players: The Brothers Gage, aka siblings Brady, 15, and Alex, 17, from the Topanga area of Los Angeles, went through for their original harmonica song

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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