Even though Susan Boyle came to fame for her run in “Britain's Got Talent,” the spirited Scottish singer soon became beloved in America and across the globe with her story of rising from common village life to world superstardom nearly a decade ago. It's no wonder that “America's Got Talent” celebrated her stage return with unparalleled enthusiasm last week for the opening of “The Champions,” and Mel B’s golden buzzer put her straight through to the finals.

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Mel B told comedian Preacher Lawson that she wished she had a golden buzzer for him, too. His straight-on routine of the playful perils of dating white women got several belly laughs from the judge, and Howie Mandel still called Preacher a “superstar.” Neither his insight nor his delivery has missed a beat since his Season 12 stint in the competition.

The super fan voters from the 50 states must have heard something they liked, too. Preacher Lawson took their tally to become the second finalist.

Cristina Ramos had a surprise in store on America's Got Talent: The Champions Week 2,[image source: AGT-YouTube]
Cristina Ramos had a surprise in store on America's Got Talent: The Champions Week 2,[image source: AGT-YouTube]

On January 14’s Week 2 of “The Champions,” the slate was chock-full of AGT favorites, but that didn't stop a surprise Spanish singer from slaying the night.

Setting out to dazzle

Tween ventriloquist wonder, Darci Lynne, set the bar high for the night, singing a medley of the Tina Turner classics, “Nutbush City Limits” and “Proud Mary” with her puppet pal, Oscar. There wasn't much time for flirting with Mel B this go around, but Darci proved why she is welcomed to throw her voice anywhere in the world that she chooses.

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Simon Cowell said he was “blown away” by the first act of the night.

Simon also knew all about Ashleigh and Pudsey, who swept “Britain's Got Talent” in 2012, virtually achieving iconic status with the public and in the media. Sadly, Pudsey passed away from cancer, and his younger mate, Sully, instantly became Ashleigh's protector and the heir apparent to the dog trick dynasty.

This performance was Sully’s first on a stage with the reach of “America's Got Talent,” and he indeed showed that he was a champion performer.

Through endless twirls and maneuvers, even “paw stands” and counting, Sully seemed exuberantly happy, and the judges noticed, too. Welcome to America, young Sully—arms, laps, and claps are waiting for you.

Not everyone fares so well

Heidi Klum's preferred AGT comic, Taylor Williamson, made his return for “The Champions,” but some of his jokes didn’t come off as high-caliber as he would hope, even though he still made Heidi Klum twirl her hair, and she was happy to have him share selfies featuring her to the crowd.

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Mel B and Simon thought that nerves got to him, but Howie still cheered for Taylor.

Season 11’s mesmerizing artist of juggling, dance, balance, and illumination, Victor Kee, created more dazzling artistry that conveyed literally capturing galaxies, but Simon seemed underwhelmed, saying “you've got more in you.”

Ukrainian group, Light Balance, also grooved to a rock 'n roll beat in their musical tribute.

The jump rope act who conquered “Holland’s Got Talent,” even being from Belgium back in 2012, DDF Crew, brought old-school energy and fun to their performance that greatly pleased Mel B and Heidi but never measured up for Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell.

Danger and a new diva

Heidi Klum saved her golden buzzer for the kind of act she loves best and still remembers.

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The couple from AGT Season 11, Deadly Games, meld romantic tension with dodging death-defying throws of blades of all descriptions. As if that's not frightening enough, try having a powered arrow aimed at a target the size of the handkerchief, all from the screen of Heidi Klum's smartphone. The feat was so frightening that Simon Cowell and the entire panel were pleading “No!” before the final second. No one loves her spine-tingled more than the supermodel, and she said “I'm gonna give you this,” pressing her golden buzzer and bringing the daredevil man and wife to the finals.

English schoolgirl, Courtney Hadwin, who was dubbed last season’s “America's Got Talent” winner by Howie Mandel early on, has grown by leaps and bounds in creativity, stagecraft, and confidence. When Howie mentioned that he didn't recognize her song, “Pretty Little Thing,” Courtney coyly said, “It’s an original.” During her performance, she got up close and personal with the judges, giving each one a rocking high-five. Talent will take this dancer, singer, and budding songwriter far, but she still has growing to do.

It was another singer who stole the night, Cristina Ramos, who won the title of “Spain’s Got Talent,” never dreaming she would travel the expense of sea to America. She struggled to think in English before she spoke, but she had no trouble belting out a truly operatic, and still rocking version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” in her black boots and lace, she sang with a vengeance and style that had never come to the stage in this form. Four ovations followed, with Mel B proclaiming her as “brilliant” and Simon Cowell calling the performance “spectacular.” The audience gave an approving roar.

There could be no better representative of “America's Got Talent” success than the irreverent and unique Piff the Magic Dragon and his precious pooch, Mr. Piffles, who was the center of the entire closing routine of the night. After putting some tasty meat on Heidi Klum’s ring, the sweet puppy ate it whole, then produced an egg, with the costume jewel inside. Chewing a celery stalk while Piff took his praise from the panel, the magician now has his own theater at the Flamingo in Las Vegas and doesn't have to worry about a home for himself or his dog at night.

When the time came to name the potential finalists, Courtney Hadwin’s name was called first, followed by Cristina Ramos, and Darci Lynne. The voters from the 50 states chose some seasoning with a song, selecting Cristina Ramos for the finals alongside Deadly Games.

It was a night for something different on this “America's Got Talent” night of champions, and more surprises are sure to come.

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