(CNN)“AGT” is a solid two hours of enjoyment during a time when the world is worried about, well, practically everything.

Tuesday’s episode, the Season 14 Quarterfinals, proved that viewers still love discovering major talent on the show, and continue to root for “America’s Got Talent” overall.

(Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough were back to judge 12 acts, of which only seven will move on to the semifinals.

Cowell still has that mean streak, giving Nick & Lindsay’s knife throwing act a big, loud X, saying, “In the history of ‘America’s Got Talent,’ that was the worst live performance I’ve ever seen.”

(The “AGT” audience lives for this stuff.)

Singer Charlotte Summers, 13, was blasted by Cowell as well, when he told her she made a “terrible, terrible song choice,” causing her to cry.

He went on to call contortionist Marina Mazepa “boring” and told her he “hated the music” she played.

Cowell also told golden buzzer-winning dance group Light Balance Kids that they “didn’t have a wow factor.” “This isn’t going to make me very popular,” he said.

“People think its tough for the contestants up there,” Cowell said on Tuesday’s show. “There have been times over the years were I’m thinking, ‘This is tough for us, because we have made some terrible decisions.’ Certainly tonight… as to who we selected.”

Cowell’s nice side was on display as well during the show. He loved stand-up comedian Ryan Niemiller, who joked right away about his physical challenges. (He was born with a congenital birth defect in both arms.)

“You are born to do this,” Cowell said. “Everything worked. It was just one of those great, great performance. I really believe you are going to be in the semifinals.”

The show has been a ratings winner for NBC this summer.

“AGT” is even fun for the people who work there. In June, Mandel told CNN that being a judge on the competition show doesn’t even feel like work.

“It’s amazing to me that that’s even a job, I’m thrilled to be there,” he says. “There are people that save up their whole lives to go out to Hollywood and maybe go to a taping and see a show like that. That’s my job. Right. And I still, nobody’s more aware of that than I am.”


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