Kodi Lee is back.
The reigning champ and fan-favorite returned to “America’s Got Talent” during Wednesday’s live results show to perform Finneas’ “Break My Heart Again.”
Lee, an inspirational blind singer with autism, received a standing ovation from Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofía Vergara and guest judge Kelly Clarkson. (She filled in for Simon Cowell, who broke several parts of his back during an electric bike accident.)
And now Lee is ready to pass on the torch to the next “AGT” champion.
Five acts moved one step closer to claiming the grand prize by advancing to the semifinals Wednesday through America’s votes.
Here’s what happened as the fate of the contestants is no longer in the judges’ hands. It’s up to America.
The fans’ picks
The three acts that received the most votes automatically advanced.
Archie Williams, a singer who spent 37 years in prison after being wrongly convicted, was the first act to move forward. A speechless Williams said he felt “wonderful.”
“Continue to tell stories. That’s your thing,” Clarkson said when asked what Williams could do to win. “That’s your whole purpose. You have such a powerful testimony. I’m sorry you even have it. “
Shaquira McGrath joined him in the safe zone soon after. “It feels so good to know that America has faith in my talent,” the singer said.
Singer Roberta Battaglia, Vergara’s Golden Buzzer, also advanced. “I cannot believe it. I was so nervous and now I realize I did the right thing,” Vergara exclaimed as the 10-year-old burst into tears.
Brett Loudermilk (sword swallower), Feng E (ukulelist) and Double Dragon (singing duo) finished in the middle of the pack and were on the brink of elimination.
The three acts went head-to-head in a live voting round for the “Dunkin’ Save,” where fans had the opportunity to rescue only one performer. Whoever received the most votes in a 30-minute flash round would move on.
“Their dreams are in your hands,” host Terry Crews said.
In the end, viewers saved Loudermilk. “I want to say a lot of things I can’t say on camera right now,” he quipped.
But the results weren’t over just yet. The judges had the chance to save either Feng E or Double Dragon.
“This is very hard because I truly love both acts,” Klum said before voting for Double Dragon. Vergara, who has a “soft spot for Latino girls,” also picked Double Dragon.
Clarkson opted for Feng E, but Mandel went with his gut and selected Double Dragon.
The five acts with the fewest votes – Bello & Annaliese Nock (daredevil duo); Michael Yo (comedian); Frenchie Babyy (contortionist); Pork Chop Revue (pig act); and Simon & Maria (salsa duo) – were eliminated.
Feng E was also sent packing.
“America’s Got Talent” will return Aug. 17 for the second quarterfinal round (NBC, 8 EDT/PDT), where 11 other acts will try to blow America away to advance to the semifinals.
Next week’s performers include the Spyros Brothers (variety act); Kelvin Dukes (singer); Alexis Brownley (dog act); BAD Salsa (salsa duo); Daneliya Tuleshova (singer); Bonavega (singer); Kameron Ross (singer); The Shape (dance group); Vincent Marcus (impressionist); Jonathan Goodwin (daredevil); and Voices of Our City Choir, Crew’s Golden Buzzer winner.
It’s not clear if Cowell will return next week. However, Mandel is betting that his colleague will be back sooner than you think.
“The latest I’ve heard is that after a six hour operation, and some fused discs, and the rod put in his back, yesterday, he was up on his feet, already, he’s already mobile!” Mandel told E Online Wednesday. “So, as I’ve been saying to a few other people, I wouldn’t count out seeing Simon again before this season’s end.”
Simon Cowell’s crash: How safe are e-bikes? A user’s guide to electric bicycles