How America's Got Talent's Most Successful Season 16 Comedians So Far Made Their Comedy Relatable To Voters

americas got talent season 16 kabir singh gina brillon nbc
(Image credit: NBC)

America's Got Talent is in the quarterfinals stage of Season 16, which marks the point in AGT when the fates of the contestants lie in the hands of voters rather than just the panel of judges, so the stakes were higher than ever when two comedians took the stage for the first night of quarterfinals. They both managed to win over enough voters to advance to the next round of competition with highly unique acts, so how did Gina Brillon and Kabir Singh make their sets relatable while also remaining highly individual? I spoke with both comedians after their quarterfinals performances, and they shared their insight.

Gina Brillon came to America's Got Talent with some comedy sets that involved talking about her childhood in the Bronx, her Puerto Rican heritage, and her family. When the time came to perform to try and win votes from viewers at home as opposed to votes from the four judges like when she got four yeses in the auditions stage, the pressure was on, but the results speak for themselves, as Brillon was advanced out of the quarterfinals. Shortly after performing her quarterfinals set, Brillon shared how she approached holding on to the individualism that worked so well in her audition while also delivering something that would be relatable and connect with viewers from home:

I think that that's something that I've always kind of been concentrated on. You know, when I started out in comedy, I did a lot of like Latino rooms, I did a lot of the B rooms. And when I moved on to mainstream rooms, I had to concentrate and make my focus on being able to relate to people that weren't from the Bronx, weren't Latinos, and had a different story than I did. And so I kind of took to talking about just some things in life that we all go through, you know. Dating and breakups and life in general, because those are such connecting topics, but also I have my specific point of view that's based on the life I've led so far. So I think having that kind of wealth of experience in performing will really help me to make what I'm saying on that stage relatable to people in the audience everywhere.

For his part, Kabir Singh earned a standing ovation during his America's Got Talent audition, and his quarterfinals performance was a hit with the in-person audience as he drew on his Indian heritage while telling jokes about his mom's texting and "racist Siri." The voters from home didn't send him straight through out of the quarterfinals like some others, however, and his advance came courtesy of the online public vote over singer Madilyn Bailey and Beyond Belief Dance Company, with Beyond Belief ultimately being eliminated despite their Clueless dance number. Singh also shared his process of choosing jokes to relate to voters en masse while holding on to his individualism, saying:

You know, I just think at the end of the day that I just have to do my act the way I've been doing it for twelve years, kind of like nit-picking the best jokes that I have. I can't overthink it. Because it's really difficult to just kind of like be like, 'Let's see what 20 million people would think of it.' You can't get all 20 million people on your side. [laughs] You just have to go out there, do your best, and do the jokes that you know have done well in the past and executed properly and see what happens. I already feel like a winner being on the stage again. Second time. I mean, this is amazing. So anything after this is a complete absolute free roll. And you know, I trust America, that they'll make the right choice.

America did ultimately choose to advance him, but it was a closer call than perhaps he might have liked. Still, thanks to Gina Brillon and Kabir Singh both advancing out of the first batch of quarterfinals performances, they stand as the most successful Season 16 comedians to date thanks to their unique takes on comedy that have clearly appealed to a broad audience. After the first quarterfinals eliminations, it's clear that performers need to up the ante if they want to stay in the running.

There are still more comedy acts in the running for the top prize of $1 million and a Las Vegas show, however, so be sure to keep checking out new episodes of America's Got Talent on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC for the latest acts, and don't miss the results episodes on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. For more viewing options now and in the coming weeks, be sure to check out our 2021 fall 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. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).