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How America's Got Talent Ventriloquist Jack Williams' Chances Of Winning May Be Affected By Another Competitor, According To Howie Mandel

Howie Mandel on America's Got Talent Season 17
(Image credit: NBC)

America’s Got Talent is narrowing down the remaining competitors to find the Top 10 who will have their shot at $1 million and a Las Vegas stage show. The qualifiers round has included two ventriloquists, with Celia Munoz dazzling last week with her Grease tribute. Jack Williams was up this week with his puppets and earned a lot of applause, but judge Howie Mandel weighed in on why a different competitor might have affected his chances at winning the whole thing.

Jack Williams actually mentioned Celia Munoz and her elimination in his video package before he took the stage for his live performance. Howie Mandel complimented the ventriloquist on his work and said that it’s hard to believe that he’s actually new to performing on stage vs. on social media. That said, he wasn’t blown away by Williams after watching Munoz last week. 

Mandel spoke with CinemaBlend and other outlets following the latest qualifiers episode, and when I asked if he thought Williams’ chances were affected by Munoz performing just seven days before, the judge shared:

She was so good and just got voted out by the skin of her teeth. I don't think that he rose to what she did. She got cut! And he's here on the stage doing something as far as material-wise, not as good. Not as original. You know, I have seen remote control puppetry before. We've had it on the show, we actually had a winner do something like that, where the puppet was my face mask. So what I'm saying is, the voices were not as intelligibly different from the puppets to him.

Celia Munoz performed her qualifiers act on a competitive night, and ultimately golden buzzer winner Sara James and magician Nicolas Ribs were the two to move on. The judges were more critical on the night of August 30 when Jack Williams brought his puppets back for a bigger and bolder show, but for Mandel, seeing him after watching Munoz last week didn’t make him think any better of Williams’ odds of winning. The judge continued:

That’s what I was doing. That was in my head. I was sitting there last week thinking, 'Oh, my God, this young lady could be in the finals. And if she got into the finals, there is a possibility she could win.' Compared to that, that's not what I saw here.

Of course, Jack Williams still did a great job and earned plenty of compliments, and it’s worth noting that he and Celia Munoz do different kinds of ventriloquism, so it’s a bit of comparing apples to oranges. While Williams brought out a second puppet to go along with his first, Munoz doesn’t use puppets at all. He’s more similar to past AGT contestants Terry Fator, Paul Zerdin, and Darci Lynne Farmer when it comes to using puppets, and those three all won their respective seasons of the show. So, America’s Got Talent fans tend to show up for traditional ventriloquists.

In case you missed Jack Williams returning to the stage for his shot at reaching the grand final, take a look:

Viewers had until 7 a.m. ET on Wednesday, August 31 to cast their votes for the latest batch of performers, including Jack Williams. The results will be revealed in the episode starting just over twelve hours later, with America’s Got Talent narrowing the eleven down to two at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. 

It’s hard to guess who delivered enough to move on, although Metaphysic’s odds seem good after deepfaking the judges and teasing what’s ahead if they make the finale. Golden buzzer winner Lily Meola (who earned the honor from Heidi Klum) returned as well with an emotional performance that could be enough to advance her, but as Madison Taylor Baez’s elimination proved – after I’d ranked her in the middle of the pack of those likely to win – a golden buzzer isn’t a guarantee at this stage in the game. 

Only a couple of weeks of America’s Got Talent Season 17 are left, but primetime will be packed with options as the fall TV season begins. For what to watch, be sure to check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.