It's easy to say that this week's vote on America's Got Talent YouTube contestants was not much of a challenge, because the dozen untested performers weren't quite ripe for the rigors of prime time. Some were implausible, others downright silly, but the show is about finding potential as much as polished talent, and that was easy to find in a few.
Capitalizing on its massive wave of Olympic ratings success, who else but fresh-faced Gabby Douglas, would NBC ask to perform hosting duties as a possible screen test for her own acting career? She showed the best of being real over too rehearsed, and basked in the eruption of USA clap-chanting. Not a bad start to set the night off.
Truly metal keyboardist, Cast in Bronze, pop rock band, Reverse Order, and daring dance troupe, Academy of Villains came up first for their vote. The nod came to the dancers, sans scary faces for this moment, and the emotion and gratitude could not be masked. The judges unanimously praised these performers for the practice and polish clearly evident in their "Bohemian Rhapsody" turned urban rap routine. Expect them to become even more familiar to America in these final weeks.
Cutesy duo, Karmin, darlings of YouTube, did performances of their hits, "Brokenhearted" and "Hello" complete with all the stop-action shot-making that modern video technique can deliver. The crowd loved them, but even these YouTube successes left the judges looking cool to their charms.
Dancers Seven in Unison, country singer, Bria Kelly, and illusionist, Rudy Colby were the second trio to stand up under the lights. Like Gabby Douglas, Kelly is a Virginia native, and she easily was deserving of her shot on the stage. Sharon Osbourne commended the talent of the polished younger dancing act, and confessed to being "too hard" on Colby, who himself admitted his dancing puppet presentation was "too theatrical" for the audience deciding his fate. America's vote concurred with the panel, and Bria Kelly was picked for her future dream pursuit. Gushing in gladness simply for "not getting X's," she's got lots of talent, but lots to live up to if she wants to keep a place in the competition.
Magician/illusionist, Magic of Puck, joined his dancing hanky for the vote, along with Eric Buss, creator of those flying foam french fries, and comedienne, Melinda Hill as the third group to find out if America found them redeeming. The judges felt that neither Hill or Buss had a magic moment in their auditions, but did have talent. Howie Mandel suggested that America might seek Hill's YouTube clips as evidence of her talent, but she didn't shine in this moment. Sharon said to Buss that she knew his baby enjoyed his magic contraptions. Despite being not completely unique, Magic of Puck was special enough to win his chance as a semifinalist.
"Honey badger" commentary comedian, Randall, made an appearance before the final vote, tongue-in-cheek teasing he relished being a "voice for animals" just before the final decision of the night. Clint Cavallo and his cockatoo, Kitty, pranced onstage alongside Dance Romeo Cheetah and 16-year-old singer Drew Erwin. Thank goodness for America's sensibilities in sending this cheetah home, as his act was only air guitar, but everything air in the way of talent. That left Cavallo and Erwin vying for the judges ultimate praise. Howard Stern and Sharon Osbourne could not resist the captivating obedience of the bird called from the top story to the studio, so Kitty and Cavallo won their prized passage, without Howie even needing to voice any words! Erwin was just thankful to have had his America's Got Talent chance.
Next week, wildcard picks will be welcomed back, so don't give up on any of your favorites just yet!