Published: 06:23 BST, 15 August 2018 | Updated: 13:11 BST, 15 August 2018
The 58-year-old judge was so stunned by 14-year-old singer Courtney Hadwin in the first live quarterfinals on Tuesday that he warned her to ignore everyone — even him.
'Normally, I give people advice on what to do next. This is my advice — don't listen to a single word I say,' insisted Simon, who made his name discovering and then shaping superstar acts.
Golden girl: Courtney Hadwin impressed yet again during a live quarterfinals performance on Tuesday on America's Got Talent on NBC
'Do everything exactly what you did tonight. Because that's what made this so incredible.'
All four judges went wild with praise for the English teen — especially Howie Mandel, 62, who had used his Golden Buzzer on her in earlier rounds.
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Howie insisted that she was 'the biggest surprise of the season, the biggest talent of the season' and called her 'Janis Joplin reincarnated.'
Rather than tease his fellow judge, Simon — showing off the beginnings of a mustache — walked over to hug Howie at the end of Courtney's performance of James Brown's Papa's Got A Brand New Bag.
Sage advice: Simon Cowell advised Courtney to ignore everyone, including himself
Teen talent: The 14-year-old English teen belted out James Brown's Papa's Got A Brand New Bag
'We should be starting a record label together,' he joked of Howie's pick, adding: 'It was outstanding!'
Howie, 62, raised his hands in the air as if in victory, saying: 'I am so glowing, you are so amazing that Simon came over and gave me a hug.'
He then let out a wild scream after insisting: 'There aren't even words — I just wanna scream and tell people to vote.'
Golden pick: Howie Mandel picked Courtney as his Golden Buzzer pick earlier during season 13
Heidi Klum, 45, started the praise, telling the youngster: 'I have not been this excited about a new artist in a very, very long time.
'You definitely are in a category of your own. I love the way you dance, I love the way you sound… you're a very, very special young lady.'
Mel B, 43, meanwhile, pointed out how Courtney had insisted in a pre-show interview that kids at school 'don't get my music,' telling her she sounds like a boy and dances 'weird.'
Own category: Heidi Klum told Courtney that she was in a category of her own
'But we get you and you are incredible,' Mel insisted defiantly.
'Screw them — I want tickets to your show tonight. And the next night, and the next night, and the next night. You're amazing.'
Host Tyra Banks — making a big impression of her own in a stunning, figure-hugging golden yellow dress — hugged Courtney who told her she was 'speechless' at all the raise.
High praise: Mel B told Courtney that she wants tickets to her show
The host: Tyra Banks looked stunning in a figure-hugging golden yellow dress
Earlier, Simon was reminded that even when he does offer suggestions they are not always welcome.
He had praised Mel's Golden Buzzer pick Amanda Mena, 14, as having 'the real potential to be a star,' but suggested she needed to be in a group.
'Stop! Stop you right there,' Mel snapped sternly, insisting: 'She's a solo artist and she will always be one.'
Young singer: Amanda Mena, 14, unleashed her powerful voice while singing a bilingual version of What About Us
Sensing tension between the judges, Tyra, 44, told the former Spice Girl: 'Mel you were in a group and you're amazing, so I don't think it's a bad thing.'
Mel lightened up, joking: 'Because I couldn't sing that good, I needed four other girls with me.'
The British pop star may have been testy because Simon earlier put her down as she was trying to say some emotional words of support for Amanda, who said she felt like 'an outsider' after moving to America from the Dominican Republic at age four.
Incredible talent: Mel called Amanda an 'incredible talent' and empathized with her feeling like an outsider
After calling her 'an incredible talent,' Mel said: 'She actually reminds me a little bit of me.'
'No, but she can sing,' Simon cut in, adding seconds later that 'she has a good voice' when Mel tried to clarify her remarks.
The exchange seemed to still be on her mind after the teen's performance, with Mel emotional as she stressed: 'I just want to clarify, when I say you remind me of me, I mean as in the story. That you didn't fit in, everyone told you to go back to your country, you look different, you didn't speak the same language.
The judges: Howie, Mel, Heidi and Simon critiqued the acts but voters will decide which seven of the 12 will advance to the semis
'But you know what? You overcame all of those odds and you are here on this stage. And I am so proud of you. And that's what I mean when I say you remind me of me.'
Mel then smiled: 'I came here 15 years ago nobody could understand a bloody word I said.'
'We still don't,' Heidi joked.
Stylish duo: Mel and Heidi both looked stylish for the live two-hour show
Simon sensed that Mel might not be the only one disagreeing with his opinions after he was the sole judge to criticize We Three, the two brothers and a sister from McMinnville, Oregon, who perform together in a band.
'You want me to be honest with you? I don't think this worked tonight,' he said of the band who Mel called 'very hot' and said she 'loved everything about.'
'To me, you looked like the support band with an OK song,' Simon added to huge boos from the audience.
Family band: We Three performed an original song titled So They Say
Support band: Simon panned their performance and said they sounded like a 'support band'
Tyra then asked the band how they would 'make all of America not listen to what he's saying' and Simon joked: 'Well, they never do.'
'So he's not, clearly, the King of Music,' Mel sniffed of the moniker Tyra had just given Simon.
The other judges seemed as shocked as anyone by Simon's criticism with Howie having earlier predicted: 'I would guess that we four all enjoyed We Three.'
Simon was not the only target for Mel's harsh words — she also managed a dig at her ex-husband Stephen Belafonte.
Scary Spice had been so terrified by the latest death-defying act by Lord Nil — this time with his fiancee Mya risking death, too, by being suspended over rattlesnakes while he tried to escape a water tank to free her — she buzzed him, saying: 'I just don't get it — why would you do that to your wife?'
Daredevil act: Lord Nil had to escape from chains while underwater to rescue his fiancee Mya from snakes
But when Howie asked her if she would want to do it to her ex, Mel snapped: 'Yes of course I would! But still…'
She continued to boos: 'It's just too dramatic, too much. I didn't like it — love each other and just go and live on an island.'
When Lord Nil later said he 'respected her point of view,' Mel again advised: 'You're husband and wife — just love each other and be happy.'
Too much: Mel thought the daredevil routine was 'too dramatic'
'In another life, I will try to sing,' the escape artist smiled.
When Mel buzzed, Howie snapped: 'You should be ashamed of yourself, Mel. I'm ashamed of you.'
He later quipped of the act: 'It was special, it was terrifying, and it was dangerous — that's an STD, our first viral moment.'
But Heidi seemed to agree with Mel, buzzing during the comments, and telling the act: 'You have to be alive to spend that million dollars, OK?'
Simon then joked that they needed something 'more deadly, more dangerous next time,' smiling: 'I'm going to suggest we put Mel and Heidi in the tank.'
Bright idea: Simon suggested that Lord Nil put Mel and Heidi in his death-defying routine after they both buzzed him
The British entertainment mogul, meanwhile, let on to a secret in his sex life when comedienne Vicki Barbolak asked if he'd 'ever been with a trailer park girl before' — and the judge smiled: 'Yeah.'
'You have?!' Mel asked with clear shock, with the performer smiling: 'And you remember it because it's different — it's trailer nasty.'
'I think you just came up with your own sitcom, Trailer Nasty,' Howie told her, then joking of Roseanna Barr's firing as he added: 'I've gotta tell ya, there is room right now for a woman like you in a sitcom. There's an opening!'
Sex life: Vicki Barbolak asked Simon if he ever had sex with a 'trailer park girl'
Raunch routine: The comedienne got laughs with her Trailer Nasty routine that Howie joked could be her own sitcom
Simon, meanwhile, told her: 'I'm gonna have some very weird dreams tonight. I just love you, and I think America's gonna love you. I think you're just genuinely naturally funny.
After calling her 'a strong, independent, funny-as-heck woman,' Mel admitted she liked it when she was naughtier,' adding: 'I like it naughty.'
All four judges stood in ovation to Angel City Chorale's rousing version of This Is Me from The Greatest Showman.
Choir group: Angel City Chorale performed This Is Me from The Greatest Showman
Heavenly performance: Simon said the performance by Angel City Chorale was like being in heaven
Simon said their performance was heavenly.
Mel then got boos when she called the choreograph 'cheesy' — repeatedly insisting 'like cheesy!' — having also insisted: 'You made me feel good. You made the whole room smile.'
Simon was yet again unimpressed with Human Fountains and their bizarre act of spitting out water to music, insisting: 'It's the most stupid act we've ever had on the finals of AGT.'
Bizarre act: Human Fountains yet again failed to impress Simon
This time their act also included them spitting out a hotdog, mustard, and ketchup with one of the guys then eating it, with Tyra admitting 'it stinks so bad' as she went to congratulate them, calling them 'soggy, nasty, stinky, yet quite amazing.'
'You must really love each other to share that much,' Mel added. 'You are original and you will be remembered.'
Heidi, meanwhile, remarked: 'It's kind of disgusting … but I kind of like it.'
Water works: Human Fountains got mixed reviews from the judges
Diabolo juggler Mochi's performance with high-speed computer graphics behind him also had a powerful effect on Simon who called it 'like a rollercoaster' and said: 'I almost wanted to throw up because there was so much going on — and I mean that as a compliment.
'What you did was actually fantastic, it was a show.'
Howie was even more enthusiastic, telling the Japanese performer: 'It's precision, it's perfect — you need to be in the finals.'
Powerful effect: Mochi impressed the judges and audience with his juggling combined with high-speed computer graphics
Visual feast: Howie insisted that Mochi deserved to be in the finals
Howie, meanwhile, got boos when he told Junior New System, the dance group from the slums of Manila, Philippines, that he was bored with the part of their act before they came out in high heels.
'Heel yes!' Heidi joked. 'The fact that you guys are dancing in heels makes you stand out from all the other dance groups. I love watching you guys, love it.'
Simon added: 'I feel for me this is probably going to be the most talked about act so far and you deserve it for all the right reasons.'
Dance group: Junior New System from Manila bored Howie with the first part of their routine
Heel yes: The dancers later performed in high heels
Card magician Shin Lim wowed the judges with tricks that saw him spelling out 'I heart America's Got Talent' and 'Vote for Shin Lim' on the cards that he then made vanish, with Howie repeating his claim that he is 'by leaps and bounds the best close-up magic I've ever seen.'
'As a germaphobe, I mean this in the best way — it is so clean,' he joked. 'You are wow. If you are not in the final then America doesn't know what they're doing.'
After calling him 'like Harry Potter without the glasses,' Simon said he wanted him to 'move away from the cards' and bring 'more of a performance' in the next round.
Magic man: Shin Lim performed his magic act routine during the live show
Close-up: Howie insisted that Shin was the best close-up magician that he's ever seen
'I'm really excited to show what I have next, I think Simon you're really going to like it,' Shin promised. 'It has to do with cards, but If I go through I promise you will like this next one.'
Flau'jae, the 14-year-old rapper from Savannah, Georgia, whose dad was murdered before she was even born, wowed again with another organ song, Letdown.
'Rarely in life do I see artists with what I call steel in their eyes — you've got that steel, which is a compliment because you're a winner,' Simon told her. 'I thought that was outstanding.'
Teen rapper: Flau'jae, 14, got the whole crowd to put their hands up in the air
Howie added: 'You inspire young people to be as good as you, as smart as you, and your message is always loud and clear. I think you're a star, I think people need to vote for you.'
Mel, however, warned her off the 'easy stuff' and said: 'I love the flow that you have — give me more of that! You are unique when you do that — I want more of that, sister.'
High school students PAC Dance Team went in hoping to impress Howie, who buzzed them last time — but ended up losing Mel, too, who warned that 'there's still something not clicking.'
Dance team: PAC Dance Team left Howie and Mel unimpressed
'I still feel like it's something that my 10-year-old would do at school,' she said to boos. 'Which is fine, but this is America's Got Talent.'
Howie had not changed his mind, either, telling them: 'This is like a million things we've seen before. I'll be honest — I don't get it. I don't.'
Simon, however, told the group from Walden Grove High School in Sahuarita, Arizona: 'I've always been a fan of you guys. There's an optimism, and it's fun. It's not perfect but that's what makes it great.'
Only seven of the 12 acts that performed will get to go through after voting by viewers.
America's Got Talent will return on Wednesday on NBC with the results.
Viewer voting: The high school dancers and the other acts will learn the results of viewer voting on America's Got Talent on Wednesday on NBC
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