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'AGT: The Champions': Simon Cowell steals Howie Mandel's Golden Buzzer, dangerous act stopped

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 2020-01-14 Erin Jensen, USA TODAY
AMERICA'S GOT TALENT: THE CHAMPIONS -- "The Champions One" Episode 202 -- Pictured: Simon Cowell -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images) © 2019 NBCUniversal Media, LLC AMERICA'S GOT TALENT: THE CHAMPIONS -- "The Champions One" Episode 202 -- Pictured: Simon Cowell -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

What Simon says, goes.

On Monday's "America's Got Talent: The Champions" (NBC, Mondays at 8 EST/PST), judge Howie Mandel had the rights to the coveted Golden Buzzer. In "Champions," each judge has his or her own designated time to use the buzzer, which sends an act straight through to the finals.

But fellow judge Simon Cowell couldn't resist when one of his "favorite acts ever," Boogie Storm, hit the stage.  

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Cowell watched with a stretch of white teeth showing as the group of dancers dressed as "Star Wars" stormtroopers took the stage. The group danced to a medley of uptempo beats and received an ovation from Cowell, who encouraged the other judges to get to their feet.

"Wow!" marveled Cowell of the act from Season 10 of "Britain's Got Talent." "They were my Golden Buzzer," he said. "I swear to God, Howie, if it was me, I would give them the Golden Buzzer. I would."

But, Mandel didn't feel moved to release the confetti. "It's my choice," he said, offering his apologies to the dancers.

Taking it upon himself to remedy the situation, Cowell got up from his chair, reached across the judges' table and hit the Golden Buzzer himself.

"Simon, you stole the Golden Buzzer from Howie Mandel!" host Terry Crews exclaimed, seemingly in shock. 

"You know why I did it? Because I believe the dark side is the good side," Cowell said. "These guys are one of the most original acts that we've ever had. They have to be in the final – they have to be."

"You know what we just figured out? Simon Cowell is your father," Mandel joked to the act.

Mandel felt the ache of the loss at different times during the rest of the episode. Following comedian Ryan Niemiller's stand-up, the audience and judge Heidi Klum began chanting "Golden Buzzer." Niemiller, who calls himself the "Cripple Threat of Comedy," , joked about his congenital birth defect. He placed third on "AGT" in 2019.

"He took it," Mandel responded to the audience's chant, pointing a finger at Cowell. "I'm mad at Simon. This is a Golden Buzzer moment."

Mandel also longed for the button after magician Marc Spelmann took the stage. Wearing a mask, the former "Britain's Got Talent" contestant (2018) stunned the judges with a trick where he appeared to predict the choices they would make. He then surprised everyone by swapping places with magician Shin Lim, who has won both "AGT" and "Champions."

"That was amazing!" Mandel gushed. The illusionist left Klum speechless and gave judge Alesha Dixon chills.

"OK, Simon, THIS would've been my Golden Buzzer," Mandel said. "But Simon likes dancing guys from space."

Even without the Golden Buzzer, Niemiller and Spelmann progressed through to the semifinals. 

Singer Marcelito Pomoy, winner of "Pilipinas Got Talent" in 2011, also made it through. He surprised the judges with his wide vocal range while singing both parts of "The Prayer," typically done as a duet.

"Honestly, this is one of the craziest things I've ever heard in my entire life," said Klum. "Your voice, your range, your sound is just so out-of-this-world."

Not every act received a happy ending.

Ben Blaque is one performer who was eliminated, after his act was stopped by the judges' buzzers earlier in the show, when his crossbow roulette appeared to be heading into dangerous territory. The performer competed on "Britain’s Got Talent" in 2016 when the same trick malfunctioned, causing him to retire the stunt. 

When he brought it back Monday, it was plagued with technical difficulties. 

He brought in Dixon, who stood behind numbered levers that would trigger the crossbows to be fired.

"What happens if she pushes the wrong one in the wrong order, do you get shot in the heart?" Cowell inquired.

"Uh, yeah," Blaque responded, adding he believed in Dixon.

After two were fired, Klum said she didn't "have a good feeling about this, guys."

"You should stop it," Mandel said to Klum and Cowell. "You should give him the buzzer." They joined Mandel, who had already hit his, Mandel pressed Dixon's buzzer, and the trick was halted.

"Ben, I believe this was meant not to happen, because … if we hadn't stopped that, I genuinely believe we would've had our first death on this show," said Cowell.

In addition to Blaque, boy group Collabro, singer Puddles Pity Party, mentalist Oz Pearlman, singer Luke Islam and escape artist Spencer Horsman all were all cut from the competition.

And Mandel can take heart. He will be given another opportunity to use his Golden Buzzer, while Cowell is done. 

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