The second week of “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” kicked off Monday night and saw some of the greatest acts from all the “Got Talent” competitions across the globe compete for the chance at being the best of the best.
Unlike the main “America’s Got Talent” competition, “Champions” works a little differently — especially in regards to the Golden Buzzer. While it still puts the chosen act through to the semi-finals, the honour of slamming the button is bestowed up one specific judge each week.
This week, it was Howie Mandel’s turn to choose which act deserved his Golden Buzzer — but Simon Cowell had no real interest in letting Mandel make that decision for himself.
Early on in the episode, a dance crew called Boogie Storm — made up of a group of dancers decked out like “Star Wars” stormtroopers — hit the stage and busted out some super fun routines set to The Offspring’s “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” and “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj.
Before the number even kicked off, Cowell leaned over to fellow judge Heidi Klum and admitted, “This is one of my favourite acts ever.”
However, after the number was done it seemed that Cowell was the only one who was really blown away by the performance. For Mandel, Klum and judge Alesha Dixon, the act was impressive, but not particularly special.
But for Cowell, the act was Golden Buzzer worthy. In fact, Boogie Storm already earned Cowell’s Golden Buzzer when they performed on “Britain’s Got Talent” back in 2016. And Cowell encouraged Mandel to choose them again.
“I can’t! It’s my choice. No,” Mandel said, pressing back against Cowell’s pressure. “I’m sorry guys.”
However, while Mandel, Klum and Dixon were momentarily distracted, Cowell reached over and slammed the Golden Buzzer, effectively stealing it from Mandel and sending his favourite act to the semi-finals.
The move annoyed Mandel protested, but apparently, it was a valid move by Cowell and Mandel will just have to choose some other week.
“You know why I did it? Because I believe the Dark Side is the good side,” Cowell said, laughing.
The move ended up being even more frustrating for Mandel when, later in the evening, magician Marc Spelmann surprised the judges with a surprise appearance from two-time “AGT” champion Shin Lim — who is Mandel’s all-time favourite contestant.
The comic pointedly points out that Spelmann would have likely earned his Golden Buzzer if Cowell hadn’t stolen it away. However, Spelmann ended up getting voted through to the next round of the competition and will get another chance to wow the judges later this season.
“America’s Got Talent: The Champions” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
More from ET: