Perry Collaborator, 'AGT' Star Zuri Craig Dead at 44

Zuri Craig -- who's worked with the likes of Tyler Perry, and once wowed on 'America's Got Talent' -- has died.

His family confirmed his passing Sunday, throwing up a tribute post on Zuri's official ZoReMi Entertainment page and writing ... "It is with profound sadness that we announce the transition of our beloved son, brother and friend, Zuri Craig."

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

They continued ... "We thank you in advance for your prayers. Please honor our privacy at this unimaginable time of mourning." They note he died on Friday -- a cause of death has yet to be released, but more info seems to be forthcoming.

Craig might best be known for his time on 'AGT' back in 2015, when he and his singing partner, Jeffrey Lewis, cleaned up that season by impressing the judges and audiences alike.

They first knocked it out of the park by crooning to James Brown's 'This Is a Man's World,' and later got a gold buzzer from Michael Buble after tackling Mary J. Blige's "I'm Goin' Down." They went pretty far, but in the end ... placed 5th overall, despite a helluva run.

Even before that, though, Craig was already rubbing shoulders with some Hollywood heavyweights -- including TP, who noticed him and Lewis from YouTube covers they were doing as early as '09. This landed Craig a job on some of Tyler's 'Madea' plays.

Craig has starred in/worked on a few ... "Madea's Big Happy Family," "Madea Gets a Job" and "A Madea Christmas." He and Lewis even appeared on 'Oprah' in the early 2010s.

He's also worked on podcasts and other shows over the years -- and was even set to produce a live production in Atlanta, 'Soul Food Live,' starting next month ... with ads already being made and the cast already chosen. Zuri was 44.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

RIP

What's The Big Frigin' Difference?!

Don't let these two nearly synchronized images of "America's Got Talent" coach JoJo Siwa throw off your mojo. In order for the golden buzzer to go off, you must quickstep your way to nailing the changes in these two shots.

The pro dancer recently grabbed some Starbucks to-go before heading to the 'AGT' studios, and of course she was rockin' her group, XOMG POP, on a bedazzled tee. So, go ahead and grab your cup of Jo and see if you can capture the differences in these two similar snaps.

**HINT: There are THREE differences in the above JoJo Siwa photos!**

Prince Amukamara Players Choir Down To Get In The Studio ... W/ Justin Timberlake!!!

FROM THE FIELD TO THE STAGE
TMZSports.com

Ex-NFL star Prince Amukamara and the Players Choir are ready to be the newest members of NSYNC -- 'cause the footballer-turned-singer says his guys are ready to collab after the pop star approved their rendition of his song on "America's Got Talent!"

If you missed it, the Players Choir -- a group of 11 former NFL athletes including Amukamara, Isaiah McKenzie, and Bryant McKinnie -- performed Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop The Feeling!" on 'AGT' earlier this week ... and they killed it!

Timberlake was very impressed, sharing the clip of their gig on his Twitter with praising hand emojis ... and, Amukamara says they were hyped about the nod.

"Anytime you do another artist's song, you want to make sure that you make them proud first and foremost," the former Giants cornerback tells us this week.

"Getting that stamp of approval from Justin was huge!"

Does this open doors for a collab with the award-winning singer? If it does, Amukamara tells us the squad is down for it.

"Of course!" Amukamara said, "No one is gonna decline that!"

"It was just even awesome for him to retweet us and show us some love. If that opportunity comes, we're all gonna be jumping up and down for that."

Until then, PC -- who made their debut in 2008 -- will continue to sing on stage with more to come soon.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

"Being on stage was awesome," Amukamara said, "and if we get another opportunity which I'm sure we will and we have been."

"Stuff's coming up so it's awesome."

But, Justin ... what's up with a JT x PC track?

'AGT' Golden Buzzer Chapel Hart Gettin' Love From Country Legends ... We're On Darius Rucker's Album!!!

DREAM COME TRUE
TMZ.com

Chapel Hart has been getting nothing but support from the Country music community after they snagged a golden buzzer on "America's Got Talent" ... and they're already lined up to be on Darius Rucker's next album.

We spoke with bandmates Trea Swindle, Danica Hart, and Devynn Hart and they told us they recorded a song with Darius before their audition aired this week and recently got the good news that it's making it onto his latest album.

They admit they thought they were in the middle of some catfish scenario when Darius first reached out on Twitter ... before learning the DM was the real deal.

For those unaware, Chapel Hart blew the 'AGT' judges away with their original piece, "You Can Have Him Jolene" -- a nod to Dolly Parton's famous song.

They received a golden buzzer even though all 5 had been given out -- a first for the show.

Ever since their big moment, the group's seen support from legends like Loretta Lynn, and even Dolly herself -- who called their performance a "fun new take on my song."

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Their album, "The Girls Are Back in Town," made its way to the top of the Country music charts after their episode and it sounds like a record deal is in the near future.

'AGT' & 'The Voice' Contestant Nolan Neal Dead At 41

UPDATE

7:50 AM PT -- Cops say Neal's roommate called them after discovering his body in a bedroom. Officers say on the desk next to Neal's bed was a guitar pick that "appeared to contain a powder residue" and note that Neal allegedly struggled with substance abuse. Investigators are still waiting on the full results from the singer's autopsy.

Nolan Neal, a contestant on both "America's Got Talent" and "The Voice," has died.

Nolan passed away Monday according to the medical examiner ... Nolan's cousin Dylan Seals tells TMZ he was found dead in his apartment in Nashville.

No official cause of death has been determined, but the singer has talked openly about his struggles with substance abuse. During an interview with WBIR in 2020, he admitted that he was still struggling with addiction while he was competing on "The Voice."

Dylan tells us Nolan lived with him for 4 months prior to the pandemic ... when Nolan was clean, jamming out and making music with him.

Nolan was featured on season 15 of "AGT" ... making it all the way to the quarterfinals where he performed an emotional original piece, "Send Me a Butterfly."

During his audition for the show, he sang a song called "Lost," which he said was the first thing he wrote after getting clean. The performance got a standing ovation from the crowd and all 4 judges.

Nolan also blew everyone away on season 10 of "The Voice," getting picked to be on Adam Levine's team, and making it to the knockout round before he was eliminated.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

A Nolan Neal fan page posted Tuesday morning about his death, saying, "I can't believe you're gone from us" ... the caption ends with "Heaven just got a new music director."

Nolan was 41.

RIP

Originally Published -- 6:47 AM PT

Kristy Sellars 'AGT' Contestant Hopes To Break Pole Dancing Stigma

Kristy Sellars' jaw-dropping pole dance performance wowed the judges on "America's Got Talent" but turns out she's not just putting on a great show ... she's shattering a stigma.

When Kristy informed the judges during her 'AGT' audition her act was pole dancing, Simon Cowell was visibly annoyed and called it "pointless." Kristy turned that around in a big way when she hit the pole and ended up winning Simon over. She received a standing O from all 4 judges.

Kristy tells TMZ ... pole dancing has had a stigma attached to it for eons, so Simon's initial reaction was no shocker. She actually didn't even notice his negative reaction while she was on stage because she was so nervous and in the zone.

LIFE ON THE POLE
TMZ.com

Kristy says pole dancing is actually an amalgam of several different art forms, including dance and gymnastics. She also says it can be super sexy, which is not a bad thing.

Since her audition aired Tuesday, she's been courted by 5 international TV productions, a theme park, a festival and a few private events. Kristy, however, has her sights set on taking her talent to Vegas.

What's The Big Frigin' Difference?!

Don't let these two nearly identical sexy shots of Sofía Vergara get you all bent out of shape! Put down your weapons and take on the hot pursuit of these pics that have been minutely altered.

The Colombian actress and "America's Got Talent" judge was recently photographed as she made her way into the 'AGT' theater ... and we've made a few changes to the OG pic! Sofía said it best herself ... "be fearless, don't complain" and see if you can spot the differences between these two super similar snaps!

**HINT -- There are THREE differences in the above photographs!**

'AGT' Star Nightbirde Dead at 31 ... After Cancer Battle

UPDATE

1:10 PM PT -- A family statement reads, in part, "Those who knew her enjoyed her larger-than-life personality and sense of humor. She had a witty joke for every occasion — even if the joke was on her. Her lasting legacy will be the gift of hope she communicated through music and the strength she found in Jesus."

'America's Got Talent' breakout star Jane 'Nightbirde' Marczewski has died after a battle with cancer ... TMZ has learned.

A source with direct knowledge tells us the phenom singer passed away Saturday after months of receiving treatment for the disease ... which had spread to her lungs, spine and liver.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Nightbirde withdrew from 'AGT' mid-season -- when she announced she'd be focusing on her health full-time. She had previously survived breast cancer after being diagnosed in 2017 ... but it eventually returned, coming back in a metastatic state.

She'd said doctors gave her a slim chance at survival -- just 2% -- and the remainder of her life had been given a small window in 2019 ... just 3-6 months. Incredibly, she beat those odds and was declared cancer-free the following year ... only to have it return in 2021.

All things considered, she lived much longer than health professionals ever thought -- fighting hard for survival, and ultimately ... winning over audiences on 'Got Talent' and beyond.

'AGT' judge Howie Mandel posted a touching note about Nightbirde, saying, "(she) was such a bright inspirational light in all our lives.we must continue to live and learn from her words and lyrics. As much as I feel horribly about her passing I feel lucky to to have met, heard and known her."

Her story captivated America -- during her initial outing, she sang an original song, "It's Okay," which absolutely blew the judges away ... making Cowell emotional and getting a standing ovation from the others, not to mention a rare golden buzzer from SC himself. Obviously, she got a green light to move on -- and made it to the quarterfinals. She may well have even won the whole competition ... if not for having to pull out.

Unfortunately, her 'AGT' run was cut short due to the cancer ... and she's been mostly out of the spotlight since -- doing a few interviews here and there, while also staying positive on social media and sharing her journey.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Sadly, Nightbirde was never officially signed to a label and doesn't have an album out -- but she does have some EP releases and singles under her belt from her early years in the music biz, when she was trying to break out into the mainstream out in Virginia.

She was just 31.

RIP

Originally Published 8:51 AM PT

'AGT' Ex-Finalist Glennis Grace Arrested in Netherlands for Assault

Glennis Grace -- a one-time finalist on "America’s Got Talent" -- was arrested for assault in her home country of the Netherlands ... and we're told her son could be at the center of it all.

Sources with direct knowledge tell TMZ ... Glennis, her 15-year-old son and another man in their party were arrested and booked on suspicion of assault this weekend after some sort of altercation in a supermarket.

While it’s not exactly clear yet what happened, we're told ... Glennis’ kid had some kind of interaction with staff, left, and returned later the same day with his mom and the other guy. Cops say that's when a violent confrontation broke out.

When the dust settled, we’re told several people were injured. Law enforcement sources tell us ... once cops complete their investigation, they’ll pass their findings on to prosecutors to determine if anyone gets charged.

In the meantime, Glennis and co. have been released from custody.

Glennis’ attorney says, "The police investigation is still ongoing and we trust that it will show that Glennis has not committed any criminal offenses. We are now waiting for the investigation to be finished before making further announcements."

Glennis made it to the final round of ‘AGT’s’ 13th season in 2018, and even repped her home country in the 'Eurovision' song competition once upon a time.

Simon Cowell E Gads!!! Crashes Another E-Bike Lands in Hospital with Broken Bones

Simon Cowell did it again ... he crashed his e-bike and landed in the hospital with broken bones.

Sources tell TMZ ... Simon was tooling around on the bike in London last Thursday when he turned a sharp corner ... or at least he tried to turn. The road was wet and the tires went out from under him and he crashed to the ground.

We're told Simon broke his left arm and badly bruised his cheek. He may have also have suffered a concussion.

Simon went to the hospital where he was treated and released the same day, sporting a bright yellow cast.

As we reported, this was not Simon's first crash ... in August, 2020, he got a brand-spankin' new e-bike and literally got on it in his driveway and it lunged forward, crashing and as a result, Simon broke his back in 3 places.

Now, if Simon happens to read this ... wear a helmet, dude!!! He wasn't wearing one in either crash, and but for the grace of God, he could have suffered way more severe injuries.

When you fall off a horse you get back on ... maybe the same should NOT be true with an e-bike.

'AGT' Contestant Skilyr Hicks Dead at 23 ... Cops Suspect Drug OD

UPDATE

6:54 AM PT -- 12/8 -- Chief Deputy Chad Brooks at the Pickens County Sheriff's Office tells us at this time, it's suspected Hicks died of a suspected drug overdose. We're told Hicks was found inside a bathroom on the floor, drugs and paraphernalia were found at the scene. Hicks was pronounced dead at the scene.

Skilyr Hicks -- a one-time contestant on "America's Got Talent" -- has died ... TMZ has learned.

The young singer-songwriter passed away Monday, having been found lifeless in the home of a friend -- this according to her mother, Jodi. She says she doesn't know the actual homeowner. Skilyr's body was discovered in Liberty, South Carolina.

While the exact circumstances of her death -- including a cause -- are still unknown to the family, Jodi tells us her daughter battled with mental health issues, including depression and substance abuse. She also says Skilyr was loved by her family and 4 siblings -- using her music to help people in need. Jodi says, "She will live on through her music."

At just 14 years old, Hicks appeared on season 8 of 'AGT' in 2013, auditioning for Mel B, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Howard Stern ... and impressing them enough to be moved on to the next round.

She performed an original song of her own during her debut, and actually had a good touching backstory that landed her own segment on TV. Skilyr had lost her father a few years prior to the audition and apparently taught herself to play, write and sing.

Hicks scored four yeses from the judges but was eliminated shortly thereafter before the live rounds in NYC. Still, her time on the show was memorable.

The artist ran into some legal trouble in her later years -- getting arrested for underage drinking in 2018, and also spending some time in jail for allegedly roughing up her fam.

She was just 23. RIP

Originally Published -- 12/7 6:41 PM PT

'America's Got Talent' Rocker Jay Jay Phillips Dead at 30 from COVID-19

"America's Got Talent" standout Jay Jay Phillips -- whose big hair gained as much attention as his talent -- has died from complications related to COVID-19.

A family member tells us Jay Jay was battling the disease at home Thanksgiving week. We're told family and friends were continuously checking in with him over the phone, and he took a turn for the worse the day before the holiday.

Jay Jay's family urged him to go to the hospital, but he just told them he needed more sleep ... and that was the last time they heard from him.

We're told Jay Jay's girlfriend and her mom -- who is a nurse -- went to check on him Thanksgiving Day and found him dead. The family member tells us Phillips was not vaccinated, but just before he got sick had started to tell people he planned on getting the shot soon.

Phillips' dad, who he lived with, is currently hospitalized and fighting for his life on a ventilator.

Jay Jay first made an appearance on season 4 of the talent competition, but was eliminated early. He came back during season 12, but was eliminated in the judge cuts just before the quarterfinals.

Phillips was 30.

RIP

'AMERICA'S GOT TALENT: EXTREME' Stuntman Suffers Horrific Injuries In Car Stunt Gone Wrong

Jonathan Goodwin's terrifying car stunt gone wrong left him riddled with injuries over much of his body ... and it sounds excruciating.

According to the police report, obtained by TMZ, the professional daredevil suffered multiple broken bones in both of his legs, plus cuts all over his face and burns.

It sounds like Jonathan got super lucky ... the responding officer says he was able to observe the stuntman after the incident and he was conscious and alert. Police say EMTs determined Jonathan had good vital signs.

Still, the injuries were bad enough that he needed to be airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he underwent surgery.

STUNT GONE HORRIBLY WRONG
TMZ.com

We broke the story ... the incident was captured on video, and the footage shows the moment Jonathan is sandwiched between 2 cars, causing a massive fireball to explode.

Jonathan was supposed to fall under the cars before they smashed together, but the timing wasn't quite right ... and instead, he got crunched.

After the impact, the police report notes Jonathan fell another 40 feet and missed the airbag that was supposed to catch him. So, this was a double whammy.

THE FRANTIC CALL

No wonder the 911 caller said Jonathan was close to death.

'America's Got Talent: Extreme' Car Stunt Gone Wrong ... Captured in Terrifying Video

STUNT GONE HORRIBLY WRONG
TMZ.com

Jonathan Goodwin's horrific car stunt gone wrong was every bit as shocking as it sounded -- which you can now see here in video of the accident that's gut-wrenching to watch.

TMZ has obtained footage of the moment the stunt got underway Thursday during an 'AGT: Extreme' rehearsal, and the moment Goodwin got sandwiched between two cars ... resulting in a massive fireball to explode, and Goodwin being rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

Check out the clip -- you see the professional daredevil hanging mid-air in a straight jacket ... with the two vehicles also suspended on each side of him. When they release the cars -- which then start to swing toward Goodwin -- they unhook his harness as well.

Goodwin was supposed to fall underneath the cars before they collided, but the timing was off ... and he was crushed between them as they came together. After that, he fell to the ground and hit his head -- but this video, fortunately, doesn't show any of that gnarly aftermath.

As we reported ... Goodwin was unresponsive at first, and folks on the set of the production thought he'd been killed. He did eventually come to, however, while being airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he underwent surgery. We know he was taken to a trauma unit, but his condition remains unclear at this point.

THE FRANTIC CALL

NBC confirmed the seriousness of the accident ... and offering their thoughts and prayers to Goodwin's family. The guy is a longtime stuntman and escape artist -- having appeared on the regular version of 'AGT' with death-defying stunts prior to his migration to this spinoff.

'AGT: Extreme' Horrific 911 Call ... Stuntman Close to Death

THE FRANTIC CALL

The horrendous accident on set of "America's Got Talent: Extreme" had crew in a blind panic, and you can hear just how serious it was by listening to the 911 call from the set.

We've obtained the emergency call made by a woman -- an on-site medic -- who describes the stunt gone terribly wrong. She says the stuntman, Jonathan Goodwin, is "agonal and posturing" ... a term used for patients close to death, struggling to breathe and making unnatural movements.

The caller tells dispatch they need rescue and a helicopter STAT. Goodwin missed the airbag on which he was supposed to land, and hit his head on the ground, suffering a neurological injury.

At the time of the 911 call, CPR had not been performed, because Goodwin had a pulse. A show source tells us he was responsive when taken to the hospital, but his current condition is unknown.

The Sun was first to publish the 911 call.

TMZ broke the story, Goodwin was supposed to free himself from a straitjacket and land on an air mattress below before two cars on either side -- hoisted by cables and swinging back and forth -- collided and sandwiched him in between.  The collision caused a massive explosion.

'AGT: Extreme' Stuntman Almost Dies in Horrific Accident

Jonathan Goodwin, a daredevil stuntman on the new "America's Got Talent: Extreme" suffered brutal injuries after a stunt he attempted went horribly wrong, and it was so bad people on the set thought he was dead.

Production sources tell TMZ ... Goodwin was suspended 70 feet in the air in a straitjacket hanging by his feet from a wire. Two cars were suspended on either side of him ... swinging back and forth. The stunt was for Goodwin to free himself from the restraints and then fall on an air mattress, and avoid getting crushed by the cars as they swung in the air.

Something went terribly wrong, and the cars smashed together, sandwiching Goodwin in between them. The impact caused the cars to explode, erupting in a gigantic fireball. Goodwin fell to the ground and hit his head.

Our sources say Goodwin was unresponsive after the crash, and people on the set thought he was dead.

However, Goodwin was responsive when he was airlifted to a hospital and rushed into surgery. We're told he's in a trauma unit and his condition is unclear.

Goodwin is no stranger to the 'AGT' family ... he was on the show in 2020, where he successfully completed another death-defying stunt.

'AGT: Extreme' is hosted by Terry Crews, and features judges Nikki Bella, Travis Pastrana and Simon Cowell.

Story developing ...

Old news is old news!
Be First!

Get TMZ breaking news sent right to your browser!