Faithful fans of America's Got Talent were rewarded with true treats on stage this week, especially considering the overall sluggish selection of acts chosen from YouTube auditions. The performers were left breathless, and the performances were breathtaking, encapsulating everything that makes this particular showcase of talent the best on TV. The acts went big, bold, and memorable, but who did the voting public recall fondly as they dialed and clicked?
The first trio to stand for their tense verdict was Sebastien and El Charro de Oro, who dared to channel Sinatra, the Bandbaz Brothers, who balanced on blades for their very lives, and crossbow master, Ben Blaque, who closed the night of performances by making himself his own blindfolded target. All of the judges essentially endorsed the evening as "your night" for every act, but America voted with the 10-year-old mariachi marvel, Sebastien, who gave thanks looking above, and said that, like Jackie Evancho, he might "be a small package," but he still had lots of big talent to show America in the weeks to come. Howie Mandel looked pleased as punch, commending that this young man was "an entertainer" beyond a singer, and reveling in his first gloat-fest of the night!
The cast of Broadway's "Bring It On" cheered up the crowd with their cheerleading song, but even on Broadway, it seemed little live singing was part of the number, but the positive message was most fitting for the occasion. Next up came Horse, who reached the height of showing off his hardball anatomy, Jake Wesley Rogers, who didn't hide behind his piano for his glorious Lady Gaga moment, and Andrew De Leon, who certainly knew he had to grab his time in the spotlight for all it was worth and prove the operatic prodigy he is through every note he sang. There were no tears this time behind the blue lenses for Andrew, as he graciously accepted America's saving grace to take him to the semifinals. Howie Mandel teased his second successful pick was like the child of "Marilyn Manson and Adam Lambert," but he is truly unique beyond the playful comparison, much preferring Bocelli himself, and his star is still shooting.
In short order, Todd Oliver and his Boston terrier, Irving, joined acrobatic balance artist, Cristin Sandu, and escape artist, Spencer Horsman onstage. Sandu came frightfully close to making himself a burnt offering, and Horsman submerged himself in wet cement above his head for painful seconds before his escape, but those big stunts could not measure up to a precious pooch pontificating about the state of political affairs once a pup takes the White House. Oliver was humbly grateful, and saved America from Howard Stern's threat that he might vomit on live TV if Howie had another pick to go through. Thanks be to Irving for sparing fans that America's Got Talent highlight loop!
Emerging from their usual haunts of retakes and lip-synching in video land, Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City proved they had real voices for America, singing their hit "Good Times" and giving good placement for both their new releases. Sharon Osbourne had another sentimental and near surgically painful choice, as two of her favorites, cloggers, All That, and dancer, Lindsey Norton stood alongside illusionists Jarrett and Raja, Howie's selection, for the final vote of the evening. Shockingly, America's lowest vote went to the illusionist pair, sending them packing, and shocking even Howard Stern, who declared they were "robbed." That left Lindsey and the high steppers standing for the judges' final word. The two acts were separated by less than half of a single percent in the vote. Howie Mandel chose Lindsey, saying he was still on an Olympic high, and happy to vote for the fine athlete. Howard Stern, never a dance fan, gave his nod to All That. Sharon said her painful pick was genuinely like Sophie's Choice, and proclaimed her love for Lindsey before picking her handsome young dancing men for the final semifinalists.
Stay tuned for the truly tough cuts, as the semifinals begin next week!