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In an odd sequence of events, an America’s Got Talent Season 17 audience member, Madison Taylor Baez, became Howie Mandel’s golden buzzer winner in episode 2. Reports from another audience member at the NBC show taping indicate that the 11-year-old girl was not planted. How did Madison Taylor end up on stage without waiting in line to audition for AGT Season 17 reality TV competition?

‘AGT’ Season 17 Episode 2 Madison Taylor recap

To recap what viewers saw in NBC’s America’s Got Talent Season 17 Episode 2, look at the video below. 

Terry Crews met Madison “Maddie” Taylor Baez earlier that day, before the taping of the auditions. He planted her in the audience to see if the judges would notice her. Then during a commercial break, the crew hosted a sing-off, asking audience members to sing. Maddie’s voice grabbed the judges’ attention when she belted out, “Amazing Grace.”

They asked Maddie to take the stage, and they asked her a few questions. Then the young girl wowed the judges with her performance. She cried as Simon Cowell and Howie spoke to her. Then she opened up about her father’s stage-4 colon cancer. The audience chanted, “Golden Buzzer,” Howie pressed the buzzer, and gold confetti rained down on Maddie.

‘America’s Got Talent’: Who is Madison Taylor Baez?

In America’s Got Talent Season 17 Episode 2 of auditions, Howie Mandel uses his golden buzzer to send singer Madison “Maddie” Taylor Baez straight to the live show. Maddie is an 11-year-old singer and actor. She starred in Netflix’s Selena: The Series as Young Selena Quintanilla. According to her Instagram, she also is starring in a new Showtime series, Let The Right One In. The rising Latinx star sang the National Anthem at various major league sporting events. She also appeared in the Fox game show, Game of Talents in 2021.

Was Madison Taylor Baez really an audience member in ‘America’s Got Talent?’

According to one audience member, Madison Taylor’s performance differed from the other acts they saw at America’s Got Talent Season 17 taping. The audience member felt she was a legitimate audience member who participated in the “sing-off,” which often happens between performances.

“Before she could ‘enter’ the competition and sing on stage, Simon and a producer went over to her and her dad to get approval,” the Redditor wrote. “It took a long amount of time, like 20 minutes between her in the audience and her on stage performance. I also saw right after the golden buzzer what seemed to be a producer going over paperwork with both her and her dad in the lobby of the theater.” 

'America's Got Talent' contestant Madison Baez at the 13th annual Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk
Madison Taylor Baez | Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Skechers

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When other fans disagreed with the audience member, the Redditor persisted in explaining what happened at the taping of AGT. They do not believe that Madison Taylor Beaz was an audience plant for America’s Got Talent Season 17 Episode 2 auditions.

“I’d genuinely be surprised if it was [a planted performer], especially because of the whole approval ordeal that we had to sit through and the paperwork in the lobby,” the fan continued. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not uncommon to see aspiring actors/singers/social media people at the show. Plus, according to the crew/cast I’ve talked to on the show the judges don’t know the acts coming on stage next. All they’re given is their name, age, and some questions to ask the act, I believe. The judges are given a paper before each act with this info. (Though this wasn’t the case for Maddie).”

Although Terry Crews explained that he secretly put Maddie in the audience, it sounds like they were as surprised and shocked as the judges.