America’s Got Talent: Thomas Day makes most of second chance as wildcard after surviving COVID-19


Teen heartthrob Thomas Day got a second shot on Tuesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent after being brought back as a wildcard for the semifinals.

The 17-year-old high school junior from Brentwood, Tennessee, had been diagnosed with coronavirus while rehearsing for AGT’s quarterfinals, though he had kept it a secret.

Instead, the nationally ranked football player had explained his absence from the program as being due to necessary sports commitments.

Wildcard entry: Teen heartthrob Thomas Day got a second shot on Tuesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent after being brought back as a wildcard for the semifinals

‘I couldn’t make it because of football, but I am still pursuing music,’ he said on a post to the video-sharing site Cameo. ‘That’s the truth, and I wish there was something more to it.’

Behind the scenes, Thomas explained Tuesday, he was in real despair.

‘I’ve watched the show, I’ve seen all the people go through, and I know: My dream’s over,’ he recalled. ‘I’m just waiting for the flight to go back home.’

Thomas had spoken during his audition for AGT of struggling to pursue music when he had a career in football ahead of him, as the 11th-ranked young kicker in the United States.

Teen talent: The 17-year-old high school junior from Brentwood, Tennessee, had been diagnosed with coronavirus while rehearsing for AGT's quarterfinals, but kept it a secret

Teen talent: The 17-year-old high school junior from Brentwood, Tennessee, had been diagnosed with coronavirus while rehearsing for AGT’s quarterfinals, but kept it a secret

Sports commitments: The nationally ranked football player had explained his absence from the program as being due to necessary sports commitments but was diagnosed with COVID-19

Sports commitments: The nationally ranked football player had explained his absence from the program as being due to necessary sports commitments but was diagnosed with COVID-19

With his future uncertain, he was thrilled to get a call from AGT producers at the end of his quarantine, telling him he was going to be brought back to the show.

‘It’s just—what?’ remembered his mother, who was also diagnosed with COVID-19 while staying with him in Hollywood. ‘This isn’t the end! This is the beginning.’

Thomas had wowed the judges during auditions with a cover of Finneas’ Break My Heart Again, and said the diagnosis reminded him that nothing in life was promised.

Also diagnosed: 'It's just—what?' remembered the singer's mother, who was also diagnosed with COVID-19 while staying with him in Hollywood. 'This isn't the end! This is the beginning'

Also diagnosed: ‘It’s just—what?’ remembered the singer’s mother, who was also diagnosed with COVID-19 while staying with him in Hollywood. ‘This isn’t the end! This is the beginning’

‘Now that I have this AGT dream in my hands, I’m not going to let it slip out,’ he affirmed.

Thomas was one of two wildcard acts that were chosen by judges to return to AGT’s semifinals, joining nine others that had been voted through by America.

All of them were competing for a $1 million prize and a shot at headlining their own Las Vegas show, with the winner to be chosen on AGT’s finale in two weeks. 

Semifinals performance: Thomas was one of two wildcard acts that were chosen by judges to return to AGT's semifinals, joining nine others that had been voted through by America

Semifinals performance: Thomas was one of two wildcard acts that were chosen by judges to return to AGT’s semifinals, joining nine others that had been voted through by America

Howie Mandel, 64, cautioned the 11 contestants that they needed to bring their best game if they were going to make it through.

‘You gotta go big or go home,’ he announced at the beginning of the two-hour episode. ‘It’s gotta be bigger and more spectacular than it ever was.’

Thomas met those expectations with a cover of Billie Eilish’s When The Party’s Over that earned him a standing ovation.

Go big: 'You gotta go big or go home,' Howie Mandel announced at the beginning of the two-hour episode. 'It's gotta be bigger and more spectacular than it ever was'

Go big: ‘You gotta go big or go home,’ Howie Mandel announced at the beginning of the two-hour episode. ‘It’s gotta be bigger and more spectacular than it ever was’

‘You’re a young man who’s gone through a very tough journey, and as tough as that journey was …well worth it,’ Howie said. ‘Tonight, you just shone.’

Thomas’ absence from the quarterfinals had allowed AGT to bring back Chicago-based musical duo Broken Roots, which on Tuesday impressed the judges with Blake Shelton’s God’s Country.

‘Broken Roots, I think you’re doing it right, I really do,’ Howie said, noting that they checked every box with their ‘All-American’ song choices and predicting they’d make the finals.

Musical duo: Broken Roots impressed the judges with Blake Shelton's God's Country

Musical duo: Broken Roots impressed the judges with Blake Shelton’s God’s Country

The other returning wildcard was Dance Town Family, a 49-person dance troupe from Fort Lauderdale, Florida that performed a lively swing routine on a rooftop.

‘I am so happy we brought you guys back, because you are so good!’ raved Heidi Klum, 47, who noted that she had taken dance lessons three times a week in her younger days.

She was also a fan of Double Dragon, aka Peruvian twin singers Andrea and Irene Ramos, 31, who belted Lizzo’s Juice and J. Balvin and Willy William’s Mi Gente, in English and Spanish.

Fun routine: The other returning wildcard was Dance Town Family, a 49-person dance troupe from Fort Lauderdale, Florida that performed a lively swing routine on a rooftop

Fun routine: The other returning wildcard was Dance Town Family, a 49-person dance troupe from Fort Lauderdale, Florida that performed a lively swing routine on a rooftop

Dance fan: 'I am so happy we brought you guys back, because you are so good!' raved Heidi Klum, 47, who noted that she had taken dance lessons three times a week in her younger days

Dance fan: ‘I am so happy we brought you guys back, because you are so good!’ raved Heidi Klum, 47, who noted that she had taken dance lessons three times a week in her younger days

Dynamic duo: Double Dragon, aka Peruvian twin singers Andrea and Irene Ramos, 31, belted Lizzo's Juice and J. Balvin and Willy William's Mi Gente, in English and Spanish

Dynamic duo: Double Dragon, aka Peruvian twin singers Andrea and Irene Ramos, 31, belted Lizzo’s Juice and J. Balvin and Willy William’s Mi Gente, in English and Spanish

Loved it: Sofia Vergara gushed about Double Dragon and loved their bilingual performance

Loved it: Sofia Vergara gushed about Double Dragon and loved their bilingual performance

‘You have the confidence of ”real divas”,’ Heidi told them. ‘I look at you, and I see Jennifer Lopez and Shakira at the Super Bowl.’

Howie praised their personalities, but said, ‘You’re not the best singers. You’re not the best dancers,’ earning boos for his comments.

The Spyros Bros., diabolo-slinging siblings from New York City, mesmerized the judging panel with an athletic routine that included acrobatics, sparklers and fire circles.

Diabolo slingers: The Spyros Bros., diabolo-slinging siblings from New York City, mesmerized the judging panel with an athletic routine that included acrobatics, sparklers and fire circles

Diabolo slingers: The Spyros Bros., diabolo-slinging siblings from New York City, mesmerized the judging panel with an athletic routine that included acrobatics, sparklers and fire circles

In a pre-taped video, the contestants’ father spoke movingly about their talent, noting that diabolo helped one son find himself after grappling with language delays and bullying.

Missteps were made during their act, but the judges applauded their conviction and heart.

Brazilian acrobat Alan Silva then dazzled the judges with his high-flying routine, which saw him spinning around an outdoor set while dangling from chains on fire.

Danger act: Brazilian acrobat Alan Silva then dazzled the judges with his high-flying routine, which saw him spinning around an outdoor set while dangling from chains on fire

Danger act: Brazilian acrobat Alan Silva then dazzled the judges with his high-flying routine, which saw him spinning around an outdoor set while dangling from chains on fire

‘He’s gonna give me a headache,’ said judge Sofia Vergara, 48, telling Alan, ‘I don’t think I can take it watching you again! Next time I’m just gonna cover my eyes. It’s too much!’

Shaquira McGrath, a 26-year-old singer from Kennesaw, Georgia, earned another standing ovation for her version of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain, which had Heidi calling her ‘an all-around talent.’

Brandon Leake, 27, from Stockton, California, recited a series of letters about a father’s absence from his son’s life and the son’s ability to move through anger to forgiveness.

Standing ovation: Shaquira McGrath, a 26-year-old singer from Kennesaw, Georgia, earned another standing ovation for her version of Fleetwood Mac's The Chain

Standing ovation: Shaquira McGrath, a 26-year-old singer from Kennesaw, Georgia, earned another standing ovation for her version of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain

The poet, whom betting sites call the odds-on favorite to win AGT, really stunned Howie.

‘This is so much more than a performance,’ the comedian said. ‘These words teach. They’re real. They’re human. I have nothing else to say.’

Drummer Malik DOPE, 27, from Washington D.C., turned in an exciting set that saw him playing a range of different drums while riding a hoverboard and lighting his sticks on fire.

Spoken word: Brandon Leake, 27, from Stockton, California, recited a series of letters about a father's absence from his son's life and the son's ability to move through anger to forgiveness

Spoken word: Brandon Leake, 27, from Stockton, California, recited a series of letters about a father’s absence from his son’s life and the son’s ability to move through anger to forgiveness

‘You are a Vegas show,’ Howie told him. ‘I would love to go to a Malik DOPE Vegas show.’ 

Archie Williams, 59, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, called being on AGT ‘the beginning of a real life’ after being serving 36 years on a wrongful rape/murder conviction.

He dedicated his cover of Westlife’s Flying Without Wings to his daughter, whom he’d met after his release from prison, and who listened to his AGT debut over a phone in his pocket.

Drumming routine: Drummer Malik DOPE, 27, from Washington D.C., turned in an exciting set that saw him playing a range of different drums while riding a hoverboard and lighting his sticks on fire.

Drumming routine: Drummer Malik DOPE, 27, from Washington D.C., turned in an exciting set that saw him playing a range of different drums while riding a hoverboard and lighting his sticks on fire.

Wrongfully convicted: Archie Williams, 59, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, called being on AGT 'the beginning of a real life' after being serving 36 years on a wrongful rape/murder conviction

Wrongfully convicted: Archie Williams, 59, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, called being on AGT ‘the beginning of a real life’ after being serving 36 years on a wrongful rape/murder conviction

The judges were very moved by Archie’s performance, with Heidi telling him, ‘I go into my own little world when you sing.’

The last contestant was Roberta Battaglia, an 11-year-old singer from Toronto who impressed with her strength and maturity on a cover of Pink’s What About Us.

‘What am I gonna say?’ asked Sofia, who had given Roberta her Golden Buzzer during auditions. ‘It’s spectacular. It’s perfection. Don’t change anything!’

America’s Got Talent will airs its results show Wednesday on NBC.

Last up: The last contestant was Roberta Battaglia, an 11-year-old singer from Toronto who impressed with her strength and maturity on a cover of Pink's What About Us

Last up: The last contestant was Roberta Battaglia, an 11-year-old singer from Toronto who impressed with her strength and maturity on a cover of Pink’s What About Us

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