It was just weeks ago that “America's Got Talent” and all the judges on TV’s most original talent competition were clucking about Jokgu the chicken, and her perfectly-pecked rendition of “America the Beautiful.” Last night, Heidi Klum couldn't have expressed the enthusiasm shared any better, saying how she has been doing nothing but “talking about this chicken” for weeks, to everyone from her children to people on the street.

For certain, the pressure was on for this prodigy of poultry in the second round of Judge Cuts. Her handlers were sure that their performance surprise of a piano duel between Jokgu and her sister, a gorgeous gray hen, would put their girl in the live shows.

The stage was set, the lights were glaring, and both hens were set before individual pianos primed for pecking. Nothing happened. Apart from one or two agonizingly coaxed pecks, no tones ever echoed, and Simon Cowell was first to give his red X to the red hen, followed by three more. Guest judge, Dj Khaled, was clearly confused after hearing all the praise for the prior performance. Fortunately, many other musical artists proved that the night belonged to them, and so did the “America's Got Talent” stage.

A guitar and a song

Shortly following the despairing departure of the chickens, singer-songwriter Chase Goehring took the stage, and couldn't have been more prepared for his moment. His original audition song, a powerful, questioning anthem posed to women who allow hurt as part of expected behavior in relationships, stunned the panel in its depth and sudden switch to rap rhyme at the midpoint.

This time, Chase had another original song, “A Cappella,” that served as a declaration of his artistic independence, and completely wowed the judges. Mel B said she already felt as though she were at Chase’s private concert. Heidi had to have an explanation of the song’s “ginger” reference but joined in the raves. Goehring’s lyrical depth combined with being so rapid-fire in rhyme won over DJ Khaled from the start, and as he began to talk about the young man becoming a star, he hit his golden buzzer, and the transforming moment took over.

More to come

Just because the golden buzzer came earlier than most, nothing hindered the heaps of singing talent to grace “America's Got Talent.” Evie Clair returned for this audition sadly bearing more hard news for her father. His colon cancer has not been responding to his chemotherapy, and his medical team has advised him to prepare and enjoy the time left.

Evie Clair clearly was embracing her dad with every note of Macy Gray's “I Try.” She did more than try through her emotion, and the panel felt it. Howie Mandel said he heard “an angel singing to her daddy.” Perfect notes could never matter as much as the power of that moment.

Puddles Pity Party has been an enigma ever since his first audition, caring his suitcase on stage with his moniker, and his mournful expression yielding to his powerful voice in song. Puddles chose Eric Carmen's “All by Myself” in this round, winning ovation and applause from the panel and the entire audience.

Howie Mandel told the sad clown that he was “worth a fight” for one of the six remaining slots. Mel B remarked, “You’re the clown that sings his a** off.” When DJ Khaled commented that his talent should make him happy, Simon interjected it was the somber mood in Puddles that made Simon toss his loathing of clowns.

Yoli Mayor had a life-altering transformation in her first “America's Got Talent” audition, with Simon Cowell insisting that the singer should look and sound her age before performing the second song.

Tyra Banks came out to strip her rhinestone necklace, earrings, and shoes, and it set the young lady free to be herself. She came out this time to “show who I am” in her words, and that she did. She belted out of a glorious version of Rihanna’s “Love On The Brain” that was unforgettable. She savored the moment of five standing ovations from the panel, along with the whole of the audience at Radio City Music Hall. She has confirmation now that singing is her calling, and everyone sees her beauty.

The remaining six performers moving on are:

  • Mirror Image
  • Junior and Emily
  • Mentalist, Colin Cloud
  • Evie Clair
  • Yoli Mayor
  • Puddles Pity Party