"America's Got Talent" expanded to two nights on Wednesday, so we could get the results of Tuesday night's amazing roster of talented performers.
But it's not enough to whittle twelve contestants down to seven, so producers invited last season's winner to return to the stage that made her. Darci Lynne wowed us throughout her 2017 "AGT" run, as a teenager with impeccable ventriloquist skills, sharp writing and a fantastic singing voice.
What's great about a show like this existing is that an act like Darci doesn't fit into dancing or singing competitions. She is pure variety, like many of last night's performers. Squaring off for those coveted spots with dancers and singers are such diverse acts as a stand-up comedian, a diabolo performer, a full choir, a magician and an escape artist. Where else can these talents ply their trade for a national audience?
Who do I think I am? you ask. Well, I spent nearly a decade of my life sweating and bleeding to the music as a dancer. From a young boy learning a shuffle-ball-change to performing with the St. Louis Ballet Company, I experienced the ups and downs of one of the most difficult physically demanding sports on the planet. During this time, I was also a member of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, as well as a gymnast, writer and cartoonist. I had a lot more energy in my younger years. And I've spent the last sixteen years analyzing and critiquing reality competition shows for various media publications. I've got this.
Last season's winner dropped by to prove why she won the show. It's still mind-blowing that this teenager can sing full voice with her mouth locked. She is one of the most impressive ventriloquists ever seen in the format, much less this show.
On top of that, her material is very sharp and funny, as she had her bunny Penelope sing and lament about their whirlwind touring schedule since that big win a year ago. Darci is the kind of winner and ambassador a show like "AGT" wants, as she's the kind of act you can't find anywhere else.
She also puts the pressure on everyone else by showing them just how damned good and polished she is at what she does. You have to be clean and near-perfect if you want to win this show.
Angel City Chorale, Junior New System and Mochi found themselves in the awkward middle positions in the initial voting, meaning one of them was going to go home. But it wasn't automatically the one with the least votes, as these positions triggered a second insta-vote. America voted during the show to save one, with the judges saving another.
That vote was lopsided and obvious from the beginning, so there was no surprise later in the show when Angel City Chorale moved on. That left the fate of the high-heel dance crew and diabolo artist in the hands of the judges.
Except the judges caved and it went to the act with the most votes from home, which proved huge for Junior New System. These guys come from humble backgrounds, so this opportunity means the world to them, but they really need to step it up moving forward, as I didn't want them to advance.
Tyra pulled Flau'jae, The Pac Dance Team and We Three forward together to kick off the results in heartbreaking fashion, as only one would be advancing. It was bad news for all of the teenagers as We Three moved forward, but there's no denying the power of their songwriting and potential.
I had Flau'jae advancing alongside them, so it's bittersweet to see her go. Hopefully someone continues to help her raise her star. The next choice felt more obvious as Vicki Barbolak squared off against Human Fountains, so of course it was Vicki Barbolak who will bring her unique brand of barbed self deprecation to the semifinals.
Next up was the pairing of Amanda Mena and Courtney Hadwin, which had to send Amanda's heart into the pit of her stomach. She's talented, but Courtney is a force of nature. Courtney Hadwin simply has to be a part of the semifinals, and she is. But Tyra and the producers were just being cruel, as Amanda Mena is in, too (though I didn't advance her in my picks).
Finally, it came down to Lord Nil and Shin Lim, which was another case of two of my favorite acts. Danger versus card tricks, and in the end card tricks emerged victorious as Shin Lim moves on to dazzle us once again. We agreed on five of the seven acts, America, which is pretty good. But let's make it seven for seven next week, huh?
"America's Got Talent" airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.