AGT's Gabrielle Union & Julianne Hough Reflect on Which Acts Have Inspired Them This Season

The season finale of America’s Got Talent is here!

As judges Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough wrap up their inaugural seasons on the NBC competition series, the ladies reflect on season 14 before one contestant is crowned champion.

“What I’ve learned about being a part of this show is the fact that talent is ageless, genderless and it’s for everyone,” says Hough, 31, adding that the show is “so inclusive and allows people to be fully expressed.”

Hough, who rose to fame on Dancing with the Stars as a winner and judge, continues, “I’m very grateful.”

Union, 46, and Hough replaced longtime AGT judges Mel B and Heidi Klum this season. Host Terry Crews took over for Tyra Banks.

Calling this past season “so incredible,” Hough gives a special shout-out to the child contestants.

“There’s a lot of amazing young kids that are not just talented, but they have this mission and message behind what they are trying to say with their talent,” she says.

Meanwhile, Union describes her first-time as an AGT judge as “emotional.”

“It’s emotional for me to watch people come so close to their dreams coming true and being so close. Seeing their faces contort and anguish in pain, I don’t like it. I don’t find that entertaining,” she says.

Union, who welcomed daughter Kaavia in November 2018, is especially inspired by her Golden Buzzer choice, singer Kodi Lee, who is blind and was diagnosed with autism.

“Hopefully, it’s going to be a little easier for parents with special needs children to get the resources that they need,” the L.A.’s Finest actress says of Kodi being an example to others. “All of them can get the chance for their dreams to come true and for them to reach their fullest potential.”

As for the two-part finale, Hough explains what is “going to separate people” in the last round of the competition.

“There’s one thing if you come out and you have a great voice or you do a great trick. But if you have a purpose and reason behind what you are doing, that is ultimate success with fulfillment,” she says. “If you don’t, it’s not sustainable.”

America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.

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AGT: This 12-Year-Old's Epic Cover of "Never Enough" Is a Greatest Showman Fan's Dream

Luke Islam continues to deliver Broadway-level greatness during his America’s Got Talent performances, all while wowing the judges. For the show’s semifinals on Tuesday night, the 12-year-old sang a powerful cover of “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman and brought the audience to their feet in a standing ovation.

Islam made a name for himself from the get-go, earning Julianne Hough’s coveted golden buzzer after his mesmerizing audition. His devotion to Broadway tunes served him well, as his cover of “You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen left viewers in an emotional puddle and his latest tribute brought Hough to tears. “I feel like a proud mama right now!” she said after Islam’s performance. Aw! Watch his cover in full above — it really is the greatest show.

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‘AGT’: Kodi Lee brings judges to tears in quarterfinals

After becoming the first artist to earn a Golden Buzzer earlier this season, Kodi Lee returned to the America’s Got Talent stage for the first of the live shows of season 14, and blew everyone away yet again with another flawless, emotional performance.

The blind, autistic 22-year-old singer and pianist was introduced to the audience through a powerful pre-taped package that followed his adoring mom, Tina Lee, as she explained how she first found out her son was blind when he was only three months old, and soon after doctors delivered another diagnosis.

“They said, we think he may have autism. And I didn’t know what to do,” Tina shared in the package, adding that they came to a breakthrough when she discovered that Kodi loved music. “That’s what happened. It was the hope. It was something of his own that gave him joy. And I was like, ‘Now I know how to help you, as your mom.'”

“With all of the hardships that he’s had, he taught me that anything is possible,” Tina added, close to crying. “Kodi finally gets to show the whole world who he is.”

Before he began his performance, Kodi sat at his piano while his mom kneeled beside him, giving him a pep-talk and psyching him up for his big number. After giving him a loving smile, Tina walked off into the wings and Kodi began to play.

For his first performance since getting the Golden Buzzer, Kodi chose to perform the iconic Simon and Garfunkel tune “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” and he delivered a soulful, virtuosic rendition of the song that brought tears to everyone’s eyes.

As host Terry Crews stood with Kodi’s mom by the side of the stage, he clearly tried to choke back tears as he watched the moving, impassioned performance and the judges were equally affected by the gorgeous number.

His stunning performance was met with an overwhelming standing ovation from everyone, including all four judges.

Gabrielle Union — who was the one to award Kodi the Golden Buzzer over 10 weeks ago — was the first to address Kodi and was overcome with emotion.

“Who you are and what you stand for and what you continued to do makes the world such a better and so much more of a beautiful place,” Gabrielle said as she fought back tears of her own. “We have to stop putting limits on our children. We have to keep believing in each other. Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey.”

Simon Cowell was equally effusive with his praise telling Kodi, “You continually amaze me.”

Simon also extended a special thank you to the legendary Paul Simon, the writer of the classic song Kodi covered, who “never really gives permission to anyone to sing this song because it’s very precious to him.”

“But he gave clearance within 30 minutes because he saw you’re audition,” Simon added, before expressing that Kodi is “genuinely one of the most extraordinary people and talents we’ve had the great fortune to have on any show we’ve ever made.”

Finally, Kodi got a chance to address his millions of fans and the excited 22-year-old musician said, “Thank you for all of your support and I love you all!”

Kodi and Tina spoke with ET’s Keltie Knight after the show, and the proud mom said that the support and love from the judges and the audience is more special than she could ever explain.

“He has been working his butt off to get here and he’s worked so hard,” Tina shared. “This is what he’s always wanted to do. He’s wanted to perform in front of thousands of people and this is in front of millions of people!”

As for what goal Kodi has set his sights on next, the young singer said he’s hoping to get the chance to one day perform at the GRAMMYs.

Meanwhile, fans can vote for Kodi now and America will see if the talented performer will be moving on to the semi-finals during the America’s Got Talent results show, which kicks off on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

Check out the video below to see ET’s exclusive sit-down with Kodi when he got the Golden Buzzer earlier this season.

4 PHOTOS'America's Got Talent' season 14 judgesSee Gallery'America's Got Talent' season 14 judgesAMERICA’S GOT TALENT — “Auditions” — Pictured: (l-r) Howie Mandel, Terry Crews, Gabrielle Union, Simon Cowell, Julianne Hough — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)AMERICA’S GOT TALENT — “Auditions 2” Episode 1402 — Pictured: (l-r) Howie Mandel, Gabrielle Union, Julianne Hough, Simon Cowell — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)AMERICA’S GOT TALENT — Season: 14 –Pictured: (l-r) Howie Mandel, Gabrielle Union, Simon Cowell, Julianne Hough, and Terry Crews — (Photo by: Art Streiber/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)AMERICA’S GOT TALENT — “Auditions 1” Episode 1401 — Pictured: Howie Mandel, Gabrielle Union, Julianne Hough, Simon Cowell — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)Up Next

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AGT: There Wasn't a Dry Eye in the House After Kodi Lee's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" Cover

If there were any doubts that Kodi Lee has a gift, we’re pretty sure that they’ve been soundly squashed after the 22-year-old’s latest performance on America’s Got Talent. During the first night of season 14’s quarterfinals on Tuesday, the singer returned to his faithful piano and proceeded to belt out a jaw-droppingly powerful rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Much like his golden buzzer-winning audition, Lee’s performance showcased his immense vocal talent, proving once again that he more than has the range.

At the end of his set, the audience was chanting his name and all four judges gave the singer a standing ovation, with Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough being visibly moved to tears. Simon Cowell revealed that Paul Simon himself gave Lee the green light to perform the song after seeing his audition.

“I want to thank Paul Simon, who never really gives permission for anyone to sing [“Bridge Over Troubled Water”] because it’s very precious to him, and he gave [Lee] clearance within 30 minutes,” Cowell said. “You are genuinely one of most extraordinary people and talents we’ve had the great fortune to have on any show we’ve ever made.”

Talk about ending a performance on a high note! Watch Lee’s moving performance above, and then see the most emotional auditions that have taken place on AGT this year, so far!

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BGT The Champions launch date ‘confirmed’ following huge winners leak

Britain's Got Talent's Champions launch date appears to have finally confirmed – and fans will be pleased to hear is in just a couple of weeks time.

The hit ITV show, which is hoping to be as successful as America's Got Talent: The Champions, has already been prerecorded and won't contain any live shows.

A source has said that it will finally kick off at the end of August.

They told the Daily Star Online : "ITV have BGT: The Champions penciled in to kick off on Saturday August 31.

"Last minutes changes are always possible – especially with prerecorded shows like this one but everyone is working for that date."

They added that the final schedule would be locked in by programmers in a few days time.

This comes after the Mirror revealed that Bosses were left fuming after the winners of the pre-filmed series was leaked.

While Mirror Online have opted not to expose the ultimate champ, they didn't seem bothered about hiding their identity as they were seen showing off their victory to fans on Tuesday after wrapping filming for the show.

The winner was shortly followed by the second place act who was also stopping for selfies and making their presence known.

Clearly unfazed about facing Simon Cowell's wrath, the winner gave away the world's biggest spoiler as they cheered and brandished a trophy for all to see.

A TV source exclusively told Mirror Online: "Producers are fuming about the result being given away – the show doesn't even have an air date yet.

"Posing with the trophy and cheering as they left filming clutching it really gave the game away especially as everyone knows the paps are outside."

So far, confirmed acts include 2009 stars Stavros Flatley and 2011 singer Jai McDowell.

Susan Boyle was also tipped to be joining the competition, but later ruled herself out.

*Britain's Got Talent: The Champions begins airing on August 31

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AGT: Brad Paisley Was So Moved by This Bullied Teen's Performance, He Slammed the Golden Buzzer

Sophie Pecora returned to the America’s Got Talent stage Tuesday night and blew the entire audience away with yet another raw, poignant song choice. The 15-year-old singer-songwriter flew through the talent competition’s audition round by singing about the bullying she endured in seventh grade, and she went a similarly emotional route for her second performance. Sophie chose her “most personal” song yet, an original titled “Misfits,” which focused on bullying, social media, and how writing music saved her “when the world was crumbling around [her].”

Simon Cowell, clearly impacted by Sophie’s lyrics, responded to her performance by offering some heartfelt feedback. “I say this as a father: bullying is always going to happen, but if you don’t care or even think about them, it means you win. You continue talking about them, they win,” Cowell said. “You’re so young, and I think people will listen to you so cleverly, there has to be a more positive slant where we go forward from this point on, and I don’t want you talk about these people ever again because they’re not worth talking about.” Ain’t that the truth!

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