‘America’s Got Talent’ Season 17: Simon Cowell Compares ‘Superstar’ Act to Carrie Underwood

by Tia Bailey

The first round of this season’s “America’s Got Talent” live shows has come and gone. Judge Simon Cowell gave a huge compliment to one performer in particular.

This year’s live shows are a little different than past seasons of the show. There were too many acts they couldn’t send home, so they decided to change up the system.

““We had a ton of great people this year. So trying to get that number down to 36 would’ve been really difficult. In some ways we’ve made it easier by putting more people through. In other ways, we’ve made it harder because only two people per night are going to go through to the final. But I think that’s more exciting,” Cowell said to PEOPLE.

The first live show happened last night, and it didn’t make the judges’ jobs any easier. The acts were on-point and gave great performances.

One act received a huge compliment from Cowell. Avery Dixon, a saxophonist who was Terry Crews’ golden buzzer during auditions, gave a stellar performance of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.”

Dixon revealed during his audition that he was bullied, and learned saxophone to cope.

“I’m gonna predict something,” Cowell told him. “I said this about Carrie Underwood years and years and years ago on another show, which is — you’re gonna be a superstar. I promise you Avery, everything you’ve dreamed of, I actually believe is gonna happen.”

Simon Cowell Impressed by “America’s Got Talent” Live Show Performances

Fans took to Twitter to agree with Cowell. One fan tweeted: “Watched AGT and as a former saxophone player Avery Dixon better win. That kid was amazing to watch, absolutely beautiful performance. I legitimately cried.”

Another fan pointed out that even though they don’t usually listen to jazz, they would go out of their way to see him. They wrote: “I would actually go see Avery Dixon live even though jazz is pretty low on my list of musical genres. That performance was insanely good. #AGT”.

Another stated that the people who bullied him no longer matter: “Avery Dixon deserved that Golden Buzzer. Those bullies are now going to watch him succeed. #AGT”.

There were many other acts that stepped out during this set of the live shows as well. The NFL Players Choir gave a fun performance of Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” Cowell told the group, “I felt amazing after that.”

One act that Cowell has now warmed up to is Oleksandr Yenivatov. The contortionist finally twisted his way into Cowell’s heart, because he gave him a standing ovation.

It is safe to say the first week of live shows was a success. The live shows premiere every week on Tuesday at 8 p.m. on NBC.