The America’s Got Talent judges proclaimed that they had never rose to their feet in ovation so many times as they did in this week’s last semifinals performances, and the pressure and high emotion turned to passion for Howard Stern and Howie Mandel. The bookend boys on the judges’ panel consummated a kiss last night that had been subdued for years. Which six talents were called to the finals by America’s vote, and will Howard call Howie for coffee?
Howard Stern insisted that there was a definite reason for the sparkle in Howie Mandel’s attire, and in his eyes as the time for the tally of votes for the final six to make the finals came near. It’s not often you hear the man fearing contamination from all sources say “darling” to anyone, much less his verbal sparring partner on the panel, but admiration turned something special after the performance of Leon Etienne and Romy Low, Howard’s wildcard selection. The usual moments of battle became sweet rapture, but which talents would be kissed by the good fortune of America’s vote? At the outset, host Nick Cannon said that this vote was the largest in Season 8 so far, and the margins between votes. the tightest. The numbers made all the difference again. Fall Out Boy took the stage before the tense times under the lights, singing their current release, “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark,” before the first votes released the hopefuls from tension. American Military Spouses Choir, Branden James, and Timber Brown were the first to face the verdict. It was not the best night for any of these acts, with the panel praising the ladies in Lavender singing “Angel,” but asserting that now “pleasant” performances were not enough to stand. Branden James had gone bold with his choice of a classic Heart hit, and even he was sweating. Climber Timber Brown got tangled at times in his own ropes, so that the danger element of his slippery dunks underwater may have been underappreciated. Branden James was granted the grace of America’s vote, and voiced that “someone up there is looking after me” after the announcement.
There was not much doubt when Chicago Boyz came up the Kristef Brothers that the news would be good. Both of these acts fronted brave performances following injuries, and both dazzled with athleticism and creativity. Chicago Boyz did double dutch and more with quadruple bodies balancing on shoulders, and the Kristef boys brought strength and comedic flair, even donning a bedazzled neck brace in Kris’s case! Good news comes in twos, as both acts get voted forward, and salute one another in pointing salutes! Expect big things from these boys in the finals.
Time for some levity arrives again, as Howard and Howie explain their odd chemistry, and dish on the ladies and their lingerie, as “lovely old chaps” before the next performers come forth. Luminary performers from Season 6, ILuminate, performed from their “Artists of Light” show, before the lights dimmed for the next vote. It was one of the toughest votes of the night to see which country boy could survive between Marty Brown and Jimmy Rose. Both gave deeply emotional and exceptional performances, Brown with “Bless the Broken Road,” and Rose with “If Tomorrow Never Comes.” There’s no shortage of goodwill for either singer, and Jimmy Rose accepted his place giving a nod to Brown, and with Mel B giving him full permission to smile, which he did. Rose may just now be on the rise of a great career.
Howard Stern’s pick of Leon Etienne and Romy Low, comedian, John Wing, and virtual mime creator, Kenichi Ebina were the next trio to face the tension of the tally. All three acts gave strong performances, with the magical pair ramping up the action and the variety of their illusions with multiple boxes and multiple beauties; John Wing invited America into his marriage, and the welcome was real, and Ebina once more got nothing but ovation for his sports-themed one man spectacle. Ebina took the vote, but all these contenders instantly have stepped up to the big stage now. Etienne and Low are already slated to appear on Jimmy Fallon’s show.
The judges had the terrible task of picking between two tremendous, youthful acts who both deserved to be in the finals, D’Angelo and Amanda who danced to “Smooth Criminal” in splashy flair, and 11-year-old wonder, Anna Christine, who sang a haunting rendition of “Wild Horses” as though it was written for her. Mel B and Howard Stern chose Anna, and Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel chose D’Angelo and Amanda, so the tally would break the tie. America’s vote went with D’Angelo and Amanda, and D’Angelo couldn’t quite get out what he wanted to say the Mel B as the credits rolled, so the comments will have to wait until the next two weeks.
The America’s Got Talent finals begin next Tuesday on NBC.