America's Got Talent is coming down to the wire for its Season 7 hopefuls, and the final windup before America's final vote for the million dollar winner is provoking pressure none of them has ever felt. But opportunity and exposure like this creates careers for performers, so this is no time to crack. And this week, the second group of semifinalists created truly magical moments on stage! Sharon Osbourne declared, "Everybody's a winner," and she's right, but who's most committed to creating a show business destiny?
Cloggers, All That, came out all decked in leather in honor of their savior, Sharon Osbourne. Their flaming feet of fire turned to a splash dance onstage, the crowd cheering their high-energy. Sharon lavished love on their choice of leather, imploring voters to let them be seen in even less. Howard Stern praised how they took direction, starting with solo dancers who became trios, and then the full group, but Howie Mandel moaned that the guys were still "one-dimensional" even under the smell of smoke. Golden cowboy Sebastien "El Charro de Oro" filled the New Jersey Performing Arts Center with his soaring voice in the crescendo of his Mexican Opera piece, "Granada," adding drama and dancing señoritas in red, not to mention a full orchestra to his commanding presence at 10! Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne lauded Sebastien with praise and affection, and Howard Stern confessed that the young mariachi master was "making me a fan," in spite of a few vocal glitches, admitting he took the stage like a "Mexican superhero." The man known as the Magic of Puck is really an area native, and Howard Stern commended how he "fulfilled the request" to bring bigger illusion to the stage, as a Stern signed hanky was tied, hung, and swung from above around the wrist of a beautiful assistant, who vanished before everyone's eyes. Sharon Osbourne called the performance "flawless," and Howie Mandel said he did more than raise the bar, he "raised the woman." But this illusion would seem smaller by the end of the evening. Clint Carvalho still put his super intelligent cockatoo, Kitten, through paces, but a lot more, this time, calling on her to literally go through hoops in the audience, mail a letter, and sip Sharon Osbourne's drink; not bad for a girl of 30. Animal lover, Mrs. O was pleased, but Howard and Howie both felt Clint and Kitty or cut out more for amusement park attractions instead of headlining draws.
Jacob Williams seemed to be hitting his stride and finding his comfort zone in his performances to put him in contention thus far, but the awkward charm couldn't compensate for the lack of sharpness in his comedy this time, however endearing his character. Howard Stern called the night a "stumble" for Jacob, but Howie said he still saw a place for "you" as Jacob on a sitcom. Daughter and dad duo, Shanice and Maurice Hayes, wanted to make another indelible moment with their Mariah Carey duet, but however much Dad said he wanted to give his daughter the spotlight, he never stopped singing long enough himself to let it happen! Shanice did sparkle, but the choir overrode some moments that could have created ovations, so their moment was missed, and the panel concurred. Shanice is nonetheless a star on the rise. All Wheel Sports opened their daring routine with bungee cord spins, and a bicycle mishap made for what Howard Stern called "the most exciting" thing to watch, even beyond their stunts in the dark. Sharon called them "very entertaining," applauding their skills, and Howie Mandel said he hoped all they did played to affect on the small screen. Tim Hockenberry has been a full-on favorite of the panel and pleased audiences ever since his first performance at the San Francisco auditions. His inspiring story of overcoming addiction only adds to the genuine nature of his performance, and his stripped-down accompaniment to John Lennon's "Imagine" with a single cello was simple perfection. Howard Stern gave Tim his own standing ovation, as Sharon praised the simplicity and Tim for "being true" in his America's Got Talent performance under pressure. Howie Mandel said Hockenberry was a fine performer, who would even earn his dollars in CD sales, but that singers may be swallowed up this season in the finals by more spectacular acts.
Tween dance troupe, the Untouchables gave "hope for America" according to Howard Stern, and have reason for high hopes in the finals. The Olate Dogs did beyond their best in a wow of a bow-wow routine with heart that held everyone captive. Sharon Osbourne called them "angels," and Howard Stern said it would be criminal not to have these pups and their talented trainers in the finals, and the Twitter feed to Howie Mandel agreed they took the night. Lightwire Theatre added a hatchling to their dueling pterodactyls drama, and their originality swept the audience and the judges away, Howie Mandel commending the artists as "creators of art and spectacle" more than performers. Speaking of creators, David Garibaldi and his CMYKs stormed the stage with their powerful street painter mix of magic and mayhem, paying tribute to Lady Liberty, and leaving the panel in awe, and the audience cheering them on—music, art, and monster stage presence make them hard to imagine out of the finals.
Results night reveals all on Thursday!
Picks for the finals: Tim Hockenberry, Olate Dogs, David Garibaldi and His CMYKs, Lightwire Theatre despite hope for Sebastien "El Charro de Oro"