AGT: Sofia Vergara shows off ventriloquism skills as Howie Mandel uses Simon Cowell puppet


Sofia Vergara showed off her ventriloquism skills and a wooden pal she called ‘Mr. Grumpy’ on Wednesday’s quarterfinal results episode of America’s Got Talent.

It was the first time she’d unveiled the dummy for AGT, though he’d appeared as a plot point for her character Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on the show Modern Family, which ended in April.

‘Hi Sofia!’, Mr. Grumpy ‘told’ the Colombia actress, 48, as she sat with pro ventriloquist Darci Lynne, 15. ‘I haven’t seen you in a long time! You look beautiful. You look younger every day.’

Ventriloquism skills: Sofia Vergara showed off her ventriloquism skills and a wooden pal she called ‘Mr. Grumpy’ on Wednesday’s quarterfinal results episode of America’s Got Talent

The elderly character looked exactly as he had on Modern Family with a red polo buttoned up to the neck, a shock of wild gray hair and an angry disposition.

Darci, who’d won AGT season 12, politely watched Sofia move her lips to make him speak.

‘How long have you been doing this?’ the teenager asked her, as Sofia replied that it had been ’11 years—can’t you tell?’

TV star Ed O’Neill, 74, who played Sofia’s husband on Modern Family, may have prompted her AGT turn with Mr. Grumpy, as he’d mentioned her ventriloquism skills earlier this season.

Injured puppet: Howie Mandel joined in on the fun holding a Simon Cowell puppet with sunglasses, a white T-shirt and a sling around his arm, a sly nod to the judge's recent e-bike accident

Injured puppet: Howie Mandel joined in on the fun holding a Simon Cowell puppet with sunglasses, a white T-shirt and a sling around his arm, a sly nod to the judge’s recent e-bike accident

Together again: 'Hi Sofia!', Mr. Grumpy 'told' the Colombia actress, 48, as she sat with pro ventriloquist Darci Lynne, 15. 'I haven't seen you in a long time! You look beautiful. You look younger every day;

Together again: ‘Hi Sofia!’, Mr. Grumpy ‘told’ the Colombia actress, 48, as she sat with pro ventriloquist Darci Lynne, 15. ‘I haven’t seen you in a long time! You look beautiful. You look younger every day;

Past champion: Darci, who'd won AGT season 12, politely watched Sofia move her lips to make him speak

Past champion: Darci, who’d won AGT season 12, politely watched Sofia move her lips to make him speak

He remembered her work with the dummy as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on their hit show, where her character claimed her beauty pageant talent was ventriloquism.

On AGT, Darci introduced her elderly puppet Edna to Mr. Grumpy, claiming they would get along well, but Sofia’s dummy just insulted Edna, calling her ‘old.’

When Edna asked that AGT judge Simon Cowell, 60, help her with Mr. Grumpy, judge Howie Mandel, 64, showed up instead to accommodate her.

Puppet segment: When Edna asked that AGT judge Simon Cowell, 60, help her with Mr. Grumpy, judge Howie Mandel, 64, showed up instead to accommodate her

Puppet segment: When Edna asked that AGT judge Simon Cowell, 60, help her with Mr. Grumpy, judge Howie Mandel, 64, showed up instead to accommodate her

On his lap, he carried a puppet dressed to look exactly like Simon, with sunglasses, a white T-shirt and a sling around his arm, a sly nod to the judge’s recent e-bike accident.

‘Hello, darlings!’ Howie-as-Simon said, in a bad British accent. ‘Sofia, I don’t like Edna, I love Edna!’

‘Howie, you’re moving your lips!’ Sofia cried, to which Howie responded, ‘What’s great about the way that I do ventriloquism is that you cannot see the puppet’s lips move at all!’

Lip movement: 'Howie, you're moving your lips!' Sofia cried, to which Howie responded, 'What's great about the way that I do ventriloquism is that you cannot see the puppet's lips move at all!'

Lip movement: ‘Howie, you’re moving your lips!’ Sofia cried, to which Howie responded, ‘What’s great about the way that I do ventriloquism is that you cannot see the puppet’s lips move at all!’

Sofia shooed him offstage, telling him she took this seriously and wanted to work with Darci.

As ‘Simon’ left, Edna looked after him longingly, and sang a few bars of Carole King’s (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.

‘Bravo!’ Sofia said, in Mr. Grumpy’s voice, and Edna pointed out that her lips were moving.

Singing voice: As 'Simon' left, Edna looked after him longingly, and sang a few bars of Carole King's (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman

Singing voice: As ‘Simon’ left, Edna looked after him longingly, and sang a few bars of Carole King’s (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman

‘It was me talking, right, it was Sofia talking!’ Sofia protested. ‘But he can sing too!’

Mr. Grumpy then launched into a cover of Lionel Richie’s Hello.

‘That… that…11 years, you said?’ Edna asked.

Good question: Edna asked if it had been 11 years since Sofia did ventriloquism

Good question: Edna asked if it had been 11 years since Sofia did ventriloquism

The one-hour show was the end of AGT’s season 15 quarterfinals, and viewers learned which five acts of the 11 that performed Tuesday would be going to the semifinals.

The first contestant through was Kenadi Dodds, 15, a high school student from North Logan, Utah, who had played piano and sung an original song.

She earned a standing ovation from the judges, with Howie—who’d earned boos on Tuesday after saying her song ‘didn’t do it for me personally’—smiling as he stood.

The host: Terry Crews hosted the one-hour results episode on NBC

The host: Terry Crews hosted the one-hour results episode on NBC

Talented teenager: The first contestant through was Kenadi Dodds, 15, a high school student from North Logan, Utah, who had played piano and sung an original song

Talented teenager: The first contestant through was Kenadi Dodds, 15, a high school student from North Logan, Utah, who had played piano and sung an original song

‘I knew America would see that sparkle in you, and that you have that special something,’ judge Heidi Klum, 47, told the crying teenager. ‘And Howie was wrong, and you were right.’

The next act through was Broken Roots, a Chicago-based musical duo that also failed to win Howie over the night before with a cover of U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.

Joey Kar and Austin Edwards collapsed to the stage and wept after going through, with Joey saying, ‘There’s God, there’s fate, there’s love, there’s America! We love you!’

Knew it: 'I knew America would see that sparkle in you, and that you have that special something,' judge Heidi Klum, 47, told the crying teenager. 'And Howie was wrong, and you were right'

Knew it: ‘I knew America would see that sparkle in you, and that you have that special something,’ judge Heidi Klum, 47, told the crying teenager. ‘And Howie was wrong, and you were right’

U2 cover: The next act through was Broken Roots, a Chicago-based musical duo that also failed to win Howie over the night before with a cover of U2's I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

U2 cover: The next act through was Broken Roots, a Chicago-based musical duo that also failed to win Howie over the night before with a cover of U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

Sofia, who called the pair ‘all-American men’ on Tuesday, said she was excited for them, remembering that AGT initially cut them after the auditions, then brought them back.

The third contestant through was poet Brandon Leake, 27, from Stockton, California, who’d recited a piece about the challenges of living as a Black man in America.

Howie, who’d given Brandon his Golden Buzzer in the audition rounds, told him, ‘I’ve never been more moved in my life on this show from any other act. We need you on this show. We need you in this world. And we need you in the semifinals.’

Powerful poet: The third contestant through was poet Brandon Leake, 27, from Stockton, California, who'd recited a piece about the challenges of living as a Black man in America

Powerful poet: The third contestant through was poet Brandon Leake, 27, from Stockton, California, who’d recited a piece about the challenges of living as a Black man in America

The comic told Brandon he’d re-watched his performance ‘a hundred times’ and had just two words for him, which he wanted to share ‘with everything that is me’: ‘You matter.’

The fourth contestant through was Celina Graves, 30, a singer from San Diego, who’d previously wowed with her chill-inducing vocals on London Grammar’s Strong.

As the winner of the show’s Dunkin’ Save, voted on by viewers during the show, she had a fan in Heidi, who said she’d fallen in love with her talent immediately.

Saved singer: The fourth contestant through was Celina Graves, 30, a singer from San Diego, who'd previously wowed with her chill-inducing vocals on London Grammar's Strong

Saved singer: The fourth contestant through was Celina Graves, 30, a singer from San Diego, who’d previously wowed with her chill-inducing vocals on London Grammar’s Strong

The judges then voted on the fifth act, with Sofia and Howie picking The Bello Sisters, a trio of Italian acrobats aged 13, 19, and 22, over Resound, a musical trio from Richmond, Virginia.

Other acts not going through included comic Alex Hooper, 34; dancer Noah Epps, 12; Romania’s Lightwave Theatre Company; C.A. Wildcats cheerleaders of Texas; and California’s Divas and Drummers of Compton.

During an interlude, Duo Transcend, who’d placed second on AGT: The Champions 2 last May, did an acrobatic routine as country singer Cam crooned ‘Till There’s Nothing Left.

America’s Got Talent will return next week with the first of its live semifinal episodes.

Fifth act: The judges then voted on the fifth act, with Sofia and Howie picking The Bello Sisters, a trio of Italian acrobats aged 13, 19, and 22, over Resound, a musical trio from Richmond, Virginia

Fifth act: The judges then voted on the fifth act, with Sofia and Howie picking The Bello Sisters, a trio of Italian acrobats aged 13, 19, and 22, over Resound, a musical trio from Richmond, Virginia

Transcendental duo: During an interlude, Duo Transcend, who'd placed second on AGT: The Champions 2 last May, did an acrobatic routine as country singer Cam crooned 'Till There's Nothing Left

Transcendental duo: During an interlude, Duo Transcend, who’d placed second on AGT: The Champions 2 last May, did an acrobatic routine as country singer Cam crooned ‘Till There’s Nothing Left

Country star: Cam performed Till There's Nothing Left from her upcoming third studio album The Otherside due out in October

Country star: Cam performed Till There’s Nothing Left from her upcoming third studio album The Otherside due out in October

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