After falling off an electric bike and breaking his back, Simon Cowell will not be appearing on at least the first two live “AGT” shows this week, set to begin Aug. 11. 

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What’s going on

  • The “AGT” judge broke his back on Saturday, while testing his new electric bike in the courtyard of his Malibu, California home, TVLine reported. 
  • Cowell underwent a five-hour surgery and is currently recovering at home, according to TVLine. The 60-year-old TV personality had several fusions and a metal rod put into his back, according to People magazine. 
  • “Some good advice... If you buy an electric trail bike, read the manual before you ride it for the first time,” Cowell tweeted on Sunday. “I have broken part of my back. Thank you to everyone for your kind messages.”

“And a massive thank you to all the nurses and doctors,” Cowell continued. “Some of the nicest people I have ever met. Stay safe everyone.” 


  • Like all major TV productions, “AGT” shut down in March when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit.  
  • “AGT” finished out the auditions round remotely, with contestants and judges taping from their homes. 
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  • “AGT” resumed filming on set in late June. Filming the “Judge Cuts” round on an outdoor movie set in Los Angeles, the show was one of the first “big-budget non-scripted formats to resume filming following the COVID-19 production shutdown,” according to Deadline.
  • In the streamlined “Judge Cuts” episode that aired on July 28, the judges cut the show’s competition in half — Utah singer Kenadi Dodds was one of 44 acts going through to the live shows

Live shows

  • Tuesday night’s show will feature 11 of the 44 remaining acts, with five advancing on Wednesday based on viewer votes, according to USAToday
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  • According to a press release given to the Deseret News, the 11 acts on Tuesday’s show are: Archie Williams, Bello & Annaliese Nock, Divas & Drummers of Compton, Double Dragon, Feng E, FrenchieBabyy, Michael Yo, Pork Chop Revue, Golden Buzzer Roberta Battaglia, Shaquira McGrath, and Simon and Maria.
  • For the live shows, “AGT” has moved from its regular Dolby Theatre venue to Universal Studios Hollywood, where acts will perform on a soundstage, in a theme park, and at the backlot, USAToday reported. 
  • Strict safety protocols are in place, according to “AGT” judge Howie Mandel, who said the set is “the safest place in the world, but it feels otherworldly.”
  • “It’s what I imagine the show would be like if we did it on the moon,” he continued, according to USAToday.
  • Some acts, like Feng E, are being taped in other countries because of travel issues amid the pandemic. Feng E will play the ukulele on a stage in Taiwan, according to USAToday
  • The live shows will feature a virtual audience, similar to what the NBA has put in place amid its return to the court. 

Moving forward

  • Over four weeks, 20 acts will advance based on viewer votes, and two judges’ wild-card picks will round out the 22 acts advancing to the show’s semifinals, USAToday reported. 
  • The winner will be revealed on Sept. 23.