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Divisive AGT live performance leaves Simon Cowell speechless

The NBC show kicked off live!

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Ahad Sanwari
Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
August 10, 2022
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America's Got Talent is now ramping up season 17 as the first live shows for the year premiere on 9 August, and it got off to a rather interesting start.

MORE: Sofia Vergara steals the show in two-toned dress for first AGT live show

One of the performers on the night was Ben Lapidus, a singer who was controversially put through to the live shows after a divisive audition.

VIDEO: Sofia Vergara teases AGT in new TV promo

After singing a hard rock song about parmesan cheese, despite getting X'ed by all the judges (and the admiration of Heidi Klum), he was sent through because of the audience's love for the catchy tune.

However, he said in his confessional that he wanted to take a serious tone for his reappearance, and while it started off that way, it quickly took a turn.

MORE: Sofia Vergara absent from heartbreaking AGT judge cuts

After seemingly forgetting his words, he then abandoned his guitar and ripped off his shirt to reveal a leather outfit underneath, going for an even more rock-inspired song about parmesan.

Immediately, he got X'es from all of the judges, although Heidi claimed that someone else had done it for her while she stood up to sing along with him.

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Ben Lapidus' live show left the judges conflicted once again

The audience, once again, erupted into a round of applause and cheers, deafening the judges as they chanted over their critiques.

The panel was clearly not convinced, however, as Howie Mandel said that Ben made him "lactose intolerant" while the audience booed behind him.

MORE: Howie Mandel becomes part of unsettling AGT audition

MORE: How America's Got Talent will see a big change to the live shows this season

Heidi even tried shushing the audience to tell him: "I think you wrote the greatest earworm of all time," while Sofia Vergara added: "Ben, you seem like a super nice guy. I don't understand how you made it here. How?"

Simon Cowell was on the other end of the spectrum, being left shocked and generally exasperated and being deemed "speechless" by host Terry Crews.

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The performance sparked an even greater reaction than his audition

When the host asked Ben to pitch his case to voters, he started talking about "big parma" and how they'd infiltrated the media, and Terry quickly took the mic away, saying: "Okay, no big parma."

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