Lebanese dance company Mayyas have secured their place in the America’s Got Talent live shows, after delivering a hypnotic performance in their first audition.
The group of dancers impressed judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Sofia Vergara.
In fact, Modern Family actress Vergara was so stunned she pressed her golden buzzer, giving them a fast track to the live shows. Each judge has one golden buzzer to use in the series.
When explaining their name to the judges, one member said it “is a word in Arabic that means the proud walk of a lioness”.
Vergara asked the group about life in Lebanon right now, to which they replied: “Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle.”
Another dancer said: “Unfortunately, being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”
When asked about their dream, they said that being there “on the biggest stage in the world” is their “only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight”.
Mayyas won season six of Arabs Got Talent in 2019, and participated in Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions in the same year. their Arabs Got Talent win came with a new car and a 200,000 Saudi riyal ($53,333) cash prize.
Ahead of their performance, the group said they were hoping to “hypnotise” the judges in a bid to win the coveted America’s Got Talent prize of $1 million.
Wearing black bedlah-style attire, the group performed to a medley of Arabic melodies.
Their physical dancing performance clearly captivates the judges as throughout the performance viewers can hear them cheer and applaud. At one stage Mandel shouts, “They’re eyes, eyes!” when the dancers arrange themselves to form a pair of blinking eyes.
As they finished, the company received a standing ovation from all four judges and the audience members, with host Terry Crews and Mayyas founder and choreographer Nadim Cherfan cheering in the wings.
“There are no words to explain to you what we were feeling over here,” says Vergara. “It was the most beautiful, creative dancing I have ever seen.”
“You said you were going to hypnotise us, and when we sat here and watched the movement, the perfection and the amount of time that went into that, we were hypnotised by what you did,” added Mandel. Klum thanked the group for giving a “little glimpse of your culture, which is so beautiful.”
“This really, really will make a difference. Full stop,” said Cowell, who described the performance as “arguably, the best dance act we are likely to have ever seen”.
As she hits the golden buzzer, Vergara says she would be “so honored to empower” [the dancers] even more”.
The emotional troupe then rush off stage, after grabbing handfuls of the golden confetti they had been showered in. From the wings, one member said: “This is to represent what Arab women, Lebanese women, can do.
“This has been a life changing experience for us.”
The emotional ending is set to the soundtrack of It’s OK by Nightbirde, a 2021 America’s Got Talent contestant who wowed judges and received Cowell’s golden buzzer. The American singer, born Jane Marczewski, had cancer when she auditioned and ultimately withdrew from the competition due to her deteriorating health. She died in February 2022, aged 31.
Watch Mayyas’ full America’s Got Talent audition here:
Updated: June 24, 2022, 6:44 AM