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Why America's Got Talent's Brown Brothers Couldn't Do Their First Song Choice For Their Latest Performance

The qualifiers round of America’s Got Talent Season 17 kept going strong in the second week, which brought back golden buzzer winners Madison Taylor Baez (who amazed in her audition with “Amazing Grace”) and Chapel Hart (who opened up with a message for fans following their latest original song). The other nine acts had plenty going for them without the buzzer, however, and the Brown Brothers had a performance unlike any other on the night. Following the qualifiers episode, they revealed why they chose “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman for their song… and why they couldn’t go with their first choice.

Between Gabriel Brown’s vocals and impressions of everybody from Simon Cowell to Gollum to Blake Shelton, Nate Brown’s instruments, and the new technological twist, they have a lot going for them. When they spoke to CinemaBlend and other outlets following their latest performance, I noted that “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman seems like the perfect song for America’s Got Talent, and Gabriel Brown responded:

We thought it'd be good. Also for a Vegas show, that's a very showy flashy movie. We really wanted to build an act that just worked for Vegas.

The brothers – who are both Navy veterans – impressed the judges in their audition with just a keyboard for Nate Brown, set of cards, and medley of songs for Gabriel Brown's impressions. They upped the ante for the qualifiers, with more instruments, one song for multiple characters, and some tech magic to go with “A Million Dreams.”

As it turns out, however, they didn’t always plan on embracing The Greatest Showman for taking their shot at making the finale and winning the $1 million prize and Las Vegas stage show. Nate Brown explained: 

We were originally going to do a song from Dear Evan Hansen, which is a play that we love a lot. We're both autistic and so a lot of the music and the story of that [is relatable]. But unfortunately, we did a song from that show at the end of our audition, so when we talked to our producer about it, he was like, 'Well, let's find another song.' And so after a bunch of talking, we eventually landed on 'A Million Dreams' which is also a great song and has a great message.

In their first performance, the brothers tackled Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” in the voice of Kermit the Frog, Nickelback’s “Photograph” as Donald Duck, Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” as SpongeBob Squarepants, Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved” as Simon Cowell (which had the real Simon Cowell in stitches), and Dear Evan Hansen’s “You Will Be Found” as – fittingly – Ben Platt, which both brothers sang together. “You Will Be Found” was a great way to end the audition, but also meant that they couldn’t use a Dear Evan Hansen song for the qualifiers. 

The brothers didn’t let losing Dear Evan Hansen stop them, and they found a connection to the Greatest Showman song as well, as Gabriel Brown explained:

I feel like we relate to that as well. We've had a life full of challenges, as most people do. But we have kept the dream alive. We're here today, I think, in part because of that. We wanted to sing a song that was meaningful to us but that also fit the show and fit Vegas.

The Brown Brothers have kept the dream alive, but will their America’s Got Talent journey continue? Nine of the eleven acts from the second night of qualifiers will be cut in the results episode on August 17, with only two moving forward to join country singer Drake Milligan (who explained why he didn’t quit after the auditions) and golden buzzer winner Avery Dixon in the finale. 

Performers like stand-up comic Lace Larrabee (who had a message for critics) and comic singer Ben Lapidus (who commented on his “absurd” performance) were cut; will the Brown Brothers be next? Take a look at how they pulled out all the stops to go full Greatest Showman instead of Dear Evan Hansen:

Tune in to NBC on Wednesday, August 17 at 8 p.m. ET to see who moves on and whose AGT journey is over with the results episode, and keep watching on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET for the performers who still have to deliver in the qualifiers. If you’ve missed any episodes so far, you can catch up streaming with a Peacock subscription.

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.