The anticipation for “America's got talent faithful was worth it all on Tuesday night, May 30, as Season 12 of the most diverse of TV talent competitions hit the ground clucking. Jokgu, the prodigy of poultry, started the festivities with a slow-to-start but a flawless performance of “America the Beautiful” that brought four votes to move the red hen onward.

The piano playing chicken was just the first of performers who dazzled with originality and authenticity. Tyra Banks proved that a supermodel can be a real as it gets, even when she struggles with her current show’s name, and one little girl who shines at ventriloquism had a night that she and all of America will never forget.

On with the show

When Tyra Banks was tapped to be the host, she commented on how she yearned to be the “cheerleader” for all the hopeful contenders, and she certainly showed her spirit on opening night. Unfortunately, she was not so sharp on announcing the name of the competition. In a hilarious moment, she kept getting caught up in her haute couture history, calling the competition “America's Next Got Talent.” Any fewer has to give the girl a break, though, because she gave her heart all night long.

Mel B said that comic, Preacher Lawson, was a “confident comic,” which she loved, and the only downside to his audition was that it was too short, so Simon Cowell called for more. That led to a wonderful routine about driving with grandma, switching gears from the initial routine on motorcycle dangers.

Top Videos of the Day

Simon Cowell said Preacher was “unbelievably talented,” and Tyra Banks got to make the call giving the good news to his grandma!

Tyra had time to give a boost of confidence to singer, Yoli Mayor, too. The supermodel mentor held her hands and told her how she was going to show America everything great from “curvy girls.” Yoli told the judges how she had been singing since young childhood, but she stumbled starting off with “I Put a Spell on You,” Simon Cowell almost shut her down, but instead, he told her everything wrong about her look and choice of song. He asked her if she had another song, and she answered: “Make It Rain.”

Tyra ran to the rescue on the spot, removing the old-style rhinestone earrings and necklace, and refreshing her look before the second chance. It worked, and Yoli sang from the soul, and everyone heard it. Simon Cowell predicted that “we have found a solid gold star. Howie Mandel reminded Yoli, “you have won” regardless of results, and the consensus was that this singer is going far on “America's Got Talent” journey.

Hits and misses

It came to a split vote for the Man of Mystery, with Simon and Mel B retracting their X’s after seeing the final transgender transformation, but Howie and Heidi couldn't go along. Kazoo Queens kept playing long after the panel said farewell. There were no farewells for brother and sister salsa dancers, Junior and Emily. Raised single-handedly by their father, their passion for dance saved the brother from the streets and hard time in prison. Their twirls and turbo-energy “brought life” to “America's Got Talent” according to Howie Mandel. Simon called the dancers “beyond sensational,” as Heidi Klum added “incredible” as the earned unanimous votes to go through.

Magician, Will, who calls himself the Visualist, transformed plucked rose petals into cards and coins, in various number, and combinations, and then, into petals again.

Howie Mandel gushed that the young artist offered “the best close-up magic I have ever seen,” and the audience roared in approval. Simon was in disbelief that it was his first performance of the routine that he designed especially for the competition. Everyone can expect many more performances from this magical man.

Mel B just could not make herself go along with The Singing Trump, but everyone else on the panel was entertained by his act, so he goes forward. There were no doubts about the finishing artists for the night.

Fantastic final four

Merrick Hanna is a unique young man, and not just because he is an incredible dancer at 12. As he introduced himself, he gave credit to his 80-year-old grandmother, “who takes four classes a week,” for his inspiration. He went on to perform a story portrayal in dance of his friendship with a robot he created, and how solitude and neglect of their bond led to the robot's demise. His movements were so expressive and dramatic that every emotion was conveyed in those minutes.

not only said it was “the best dance performance ever” but also insisted that his label would be contacted about Merrick. Heidi Klum declared that he was “better” than the adult dancers on the AGT stage. Four unanimous votes keep this gifted young guy dancing.

No one was sure what to make of the sad clown with his “Puddles Pity Party” suitcase. He only pantomimed his expressions before he stood at the microphone, and stunned everyone watching with Sia’s “Chandelier” like it has never been song before. His deep tones poured from his heart, and real tears flowed from his eyes. “You have so much talent,” Howie Mandel encouraged. Simon Cowell said “you might have turned me” regarding his fear of clowns.

It's hard to know whether to feel awed or manipulated by escape artist, Damian. He was shackled on all limbs before being contained in a Plexiglas case, and finally his that was clamped to the bottom before a clock began to tick. He had only two minutes until 900 pounds of sand would suffocate him. He freed his hands and was juggling with the clamp around his neck when time expired, and the massive sand load dropped to cover him.

A stage crew came to the rescue as Tyra Banks and his wife looked on with the same terror as everyone else. A revelation came as Damien came forth, removing his cap to show his identity. It's hard to love being scared to death, but his four affirmative votes prove that people do.

Darci Lynne and her puppet, Petunia, carry on the “America's Got Talent” tradition of saving the best for last. The petite girl with the darling smile described her almost stifling shyness in her profile piece. She struggled with looking people in the eye and being in a group. When she was exposed to ventriloquism in church, she felt a connection. She got her first puppet, Petunia, for her 10th birthday.

To say that she took to ventriloquism is a supreme understatement. She walked on stage with disarming charm holding her fluffy bunny friend. She laughed with a disarming “I don't know” for the panel, before letting Petunia give her voice. The rendition of “Summertime” was perfection, and Petunia playfully assured that Darci couldn’t take the spotlight, with a “paw” over her mouth. The moment was precious and golden, and Mel B made it more so with her press of the golden buzzer. Hugs and celebration beneath glittering gold came for Darci and Petunia.

What a premiere!