(NBC) – Live shows begin tonight for “America’s Got Talent” the first dozen qualifiers from the auditions will be performing for viewers’ votes.

Leave it to a former NFL player to describe the atmosphere for tonight’s start to the live shows for “AGT.”

“The auditions are almost like, what is it, preseason. It’s like a preseason game,” said Terry Crews, host of “America’s Got Talent.” “The live shows are like Sunday at 1 [p.m.] and this is for all the marbles.”

Those marbles rolled out in front of a virtual audience last season but a vaccinated, in-person audience fills the Dolby Theater this time around.

 “I cannot wait to get back in that Dolby with people! Actual, live people,” added Crews.

And viewers at home start weighing in tonight on who stays and who goes in the competition.

“It’s just like my time in the NFL, anything can happen,” explained Crews. “The ball can bounce this way, bounce that way. You don’t know.”

The show’s already been thrown one curveball golden buzzer singer Jane Marczewski nicknamed “Nightbirde” announced her withdrawal from the competition last week to focus on her cancer battle.

“We pray and hope that she gets better and we would love to see her again,” stated Crews.

The acts America will see over the next six weeks.

“It’s going to be epic, truly epic,” Crews declared.

Will vie for the show’s million-dollar prize.

Tonight’s the first of three weeks of quarterfinals then, two weeks of semi-finals, followed by the finale in mid-September.

About “America’s Got Talent”

“Americas Got Talent,” judges include Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Sofia Vergara. Terry Crews is the show’s host.

Undiscovered talent of all ages — singers, dancers, magicians, comics, musicians, ventriloquists and more — appear before celebrity judges who decide which contestants move on in the competition each week. With the guidance of the show’s host, the audience learns the backstories of these amazing people as they strive to make it to the finale, where one talented performer wins a life-changing $1 million prize.

“America’s Got Talent” was created by Simon Cowell and is co-produced by Fremantle and Syco Entertainment. Simon Cowell, Sam Donnelly, Jason Raff, Trish Kinane and Richard Wallace are the executive producers.