How America's Got Talent's Heidi Klum Feels About Golden Buzzer Winner Léa Kyle's Second Performance And Simon Cowell's 'Grumpy' Response

americas got talent season 16 heidi klum lea kyle golden buzzer nbc
(Image credit: NBC)

The final round of America's Got Talent's Season 16 quarterfinals came to an end with the latest episode, and the good news for judge Heidi Klum was that her golden buzzer pick was advanced to the semifinals after audience votes were tallied. The bad news was that Simon Cowell took issue with Klum's quick-change magician Léa Kyle, insofar as he believes her audition was better than her quarterfinals performance. Following Kyle's second act of America's Got Talent, Klum opened up with her thoughts on her golden buzzer pick's moves as well as Cowell's "grumpy" response.

Heidi Klum spoke with CinemaBlend and other outlets on a virtual red carpet immediately following the live episode on Tuesday night, and she enthusiastically shared her opinion on how Léa Kyle did with her quarterfinals performance:

I mean, obviously, she's my golden buzzer, which means I'm her mommy. So I'm always going to vote and speak positively about my own child, right? [laughs] But besides that, I think that she's fantastic. I love a girl that can do it all. I mean, she sews all of this stuff herself. She doesn't have like, I don't know how many helpers to do all these different things for her. She's literally sitting there. She's designing all the stuff. She's thinking about how to do the act and everything. And I admire that about her, you know? Does everything always go perfectly perfect? No, obviously, it doesn't. The boot didn't want to change as quick as she wanted to. But then it did. I don't know, there's so much going on. And she's pretty and she's moving the hat down, boom, there's a different outfit. She's going bam, bam, then something else... To me, this is Vegas. I love the flashy colors. It's vibrant, the music is good. She's cute and fun. To me, I think this is a fun act to watch. And to watch in Vegas.

As Heidi Klum acknowledged, Léa Kyle did run into a slight snag in her performance early on, when her first attempt to kick off a boot and transition to another didn't work. Kyle nailed it on the second attempt, however, and didn't miss a beat, to the point that it almost seemed like it was a planned part of the act. She also incorporated fire and fog and a lot of movement into her performance, so there really was the kind of spectacle that wouldn't seem out of place on a stage in Las Vegas.

Plus, I've watched both of her AGT performances more than once, and I still don't know how she pulls it off, let alone sews it all herself and nails all the timing to the music! Heidi Klum elaborated on why she chose Kyle as her individual golden buzzer of Season 16, and stands by that decision:

I think also there aren't a lot of quick-change artists around. So it's not something that people get to see all the time. So I do think that she has something special. And also, when we were doing this casting tour, and there were so many people coming. I've been here for, I don't know, seven years, eight years, I've seen so many people, and most of the time I fall in love with singers, and I always push for a singer, or I have done, and I really made an effort to kind of pick someone else. I wanted to, because it's a variety show. So I was very happy when I saw her at the audition. And you know, I fell in love with her.

Three of the original five golden buzzers of Season 16 did go to either a singer or a musical group, so Heidi Klum definitely has a point about how singers tend to do very well with judges and voters alike. In fact, when the judges made history this season by coming together for an unprecedented sixth golden buzzer as a group, it was in honor of another singer who honestly could go on to win it all. Simon Cowell's golden buzzer, Nightbirde, sadly had to withdraw from competition for health reasons.

It was Simon Cowell of the judges who was the most critical when it comes to Léa Kyle's quarterfinals performance, although he still said that she's a "real star." He just expected her to be better. It was certainly not the first time since the auditions stage that Cowell and Heidi Klum had very different opinions regarding some unconventional performers. Klum commented on Cowell's comments that he thought Kyle's audition was better than her second performance:

I think she upped her game. Sometimes I feel like they just like to be grumpy. I feel like when everything is just so positive, and we're all having a good time, I think he likes to just put his dagger in for a second. I think he can't help himself, you know, when everything is too... I mean, sometimes I sit there and I'm like clapping and I'm cheering people on and I literally jolt out of my chair because I can't believe he just buzzed. This happened, for example, when Sofia was on the stage with Terry and it was the guy doing all this creepy things, with these people that supposedly died in this hotel. He buzzes the guy! I mean, we're in the live shows. He is doing a fantastic job. I thought it is creepy as hell. Everyone is quiet. And is like loving this. Everyone is like, you know, sitting on the edge of their seat. And then he buzzes. Sometimes, I feel like, [laughs] I'm like, 'Are you watching something else than we all do?'

Heidi Klum referenced Klek Entos as another act who didn't exactly delight Simon Cowell on the final night of quarterfinals, and Klek Entos is of course the magician who knows how to spin a scary story as well as deliver some tricks that are hard to explain. He even recruited Terry Crews and Sofia Vergara to participate on stage, but he didn't get much more than a minute in before Cowell buzzed him. I for one didn't actually disagree with Cowell about Klek Entos taking a long time to get to the climax of his act, but the buzzer did come pretty early. And hey, at least Léa Kyle didn't get a buzzer in the middle of her act!

In case you missed Léa Kyle's quarterfinals performance that delighted Heidi Klum and disappointed Simon Cowell (or just want a rewatch to see if you can figure out how she does it), take a look:

As for Léa Kyle herself, the quick-change magician had to face her highest stakes of AGT Season 16 to date with her fate lying in the hands of the voters, rather than Heidi Klum advancing her straight to the next round. Kyle shared how she felt going into her performance knowing that she had received that golden buzzer from Klum:

I was very nervous, because when you have the golden buzzer... It is difficult. I want to do better, better, better than my audition. So it's a lot of pressure. Because Heidi trusts me, you know, so I would like [her] proud of me. So it's complicated with the pressure, but it's good.

Heidi Klum was clearly extremely proud of Léa Kyle after her second performance, and Kyle will have a third to try and prove to Simon Cowell that she didn't peak with her audition act. For what it was worth, the audience did boo Cowell when he made his critique, so it's possible that viewers and voters will remain on Kyle's side even if she doesn't always get unanimous approval from the judges, like what Victory Brinker and, more recently, World Taekwondo Demonstration Team received.

See who stays and who goes in the next round of America's Got Talent Season 16 when the semifinals begin on Tuesday, August 31 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. The competition is down to the best of the best at this point, so all of the remaining performers will have to go above and beyond if they want to stay in the running for the $1 million prize and Las Vegas stage show.

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 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).