"I'm gonna send a shout-out to somebody right now. And that person is Garth Brooks," Simon said after this performance. "Garth, if you're watching the show, please write [this contestant] a song for the final if he makes it into the final.
"I just have this feeling about you two having a connection," Cowell continued. "I hope he gets this message because I want to see you in the final with a killer song to make your dreams come true." But first, he has to get there.
It's another brutal round of cuts as just over half of the acts that hit the stage tonight will be sent packing. Only five out of eleven make it to the finals. And we already cut the chaff in the quarterfinals, so who can we possibly lose that won't be heartbreaking?
The answer is pretty much no one. This is the one that's going to hurt. No more shock and dismay that this subpar act is moving on, or that lame performance actually got votes. Now it's going to be shock that this one is actually going home and sadness we won't get to see them perform anymore.
Fair warning, since I'm safe at home, I'm probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe. For this stage, I'm gonna rank them from worst to first to see who emerges as my Top 5 each night.
(dancers) The guys changed it up by starting the routine in their high heels, but it again exposed how limited they are in what they can do in them. And then when they danced without them, they still looked exposed. They have a few b-boys and one great acrobat, but that's about it as weapons. And after he did a series of flips, he literally ran to the back of the group while they were dancing in formation. A good choreographer could cover that up, but these guys are more gimmick than dancers. I did like the back head-flip sequence, though. That said, this isn't a dance competition, and they're likeable, so maybe they can get away with it. The judges gave them a standing ovation.
(screen performance) America stupidly failed to advance this mesmerizing act, so the judges brought them back as their Wild Card pick for this round. Unfortunately, they didn't really bring it nearly as well this time around. Last time, the live performers were incorporated beautifully into stunning visuals, but the time the astronaut just floated around as star animals soared around him due (my guess) to oxygen deprivation. It all just fell kind of flat, and I was ready to buzz them when Simon did. The problem is that this is an incredibly innovative act, and were this the opening to their show, it would be pretty cool. But this is the semi-finals of "AGT," so it needed to be their show-stopping performance. It wasn't.
(singer) She was a little off the mark during the middle of that piece and failed to hit the notes at the end, but I was totally digging her late-'80s music video vibe with the strobe lights behind her. America loves kid singers, so Amanda stands a good chance based on the fact she's only 15-years old, but she's nowhere near as polished as some of the other performers, so it should be time to say goodbye.
(choir) There was something missing in this performance tonight of "Defying Gravity." it's a song designed to touch the heartstrings, and yet it didn't happen. For the first time they just kind of sounded like a children's choir, which is disappointing. But, as I say over and over again, this is a show that loves its kid singers, and here are 70 of them. Is it wise to vote against them?
(singer) On a night filled with kid singers, Makayla definitely came out the strongest. She faltered here and there throughout the performance, missing several of her notes during her biggest moments, and I wasn't in love with her softer, lower register, but she did infuse Jessie J's "Who You Are" with a believable and youthful energy. America can't put all the kid singers, though, but she definitely emerged above the others on the night, so if only one goes through, it might just be Makayla.
Samuel J. Comroe
(comedian) This time around, while his tourette's was part of the routine, it wasn't the point of any of the stories, and that made them more relatable. I loved that he had some audience banter as well. It either showed he was ad-libbing and thinking quick on his feet, or he scripted it ot sound that way. Either way, smart. Samuel has his own unique voice, accent ,cadence and delivery and that's how you stand out in comedy -- aside from good jokes. He's easily one of the better comedians the show has created, and he just seems so likeable when he's on stage.
(dancers) Props to Zurcaroh for cleverly using massive wings to hide some of their setup for the stunts and flips and tricks that they do. And while those little girls and their high-flying acrobatics remain the highlight, a huge shout-out has to go to the dancers up front. They keep things moving between stunts, and their synchornicity is tight. They created some very cool visuals and really complemented the more dramatic moments beautifully. I would have liked to see a litttle more variance in the overall structure of the piece, but I enjoyed the ribbon duo as a new element. If they keep adding and exploring new things, that's how they'll continue to shine so bright.
(singer) Michael gave the most polished solo vocal on a night full of singers, though he did slip the note twice toward the end. There's a soulful, authentic quality to his voice that makes you believe that he believes the emotion of each song he sings. I love that he tacked a Miley Cyrus song, taking "When I Look at You" into a new range and intensity. The lyrics mean something different from a middle-aged family man, and I believed every note of his performance. Simon Cowell was so moved he called out to Garth Brooks to write a song for Michael should he make it to the final. Considering Garth is also a compassionate and giving family man, that would be one epic collaboration. Maybe Garth could even accompany him on guitar.
Us the Duo
(musicians) Another week, another effortless song and performance by the fan-favorite -- and now pregnant -- married couple. There really is something special about this folk duo. They'd make great ambassadors for the show, as they also seem like genuinely decent people on top of their talent. There's a sweetness to their every performance. I'm not sure if they're exciting enough to emerge on top, but a sweet ventriloquist won last year, so anything is possible. Either way, I hope they find the national spotlight stays on them after the show wraps. They deserve their chance.
(trapeze) We had a roller skate stunt act on "AGT' recently, but that was what they did. All of sudden, Duo Transcend added this element to their already-impressive trapeze act, and immediately became variety stunt performers. What other tricks do they know or can they learn. That's how they could build a Vegas show. Admittedly, the other skating act was much more death-defying and impressive, but that was their main thing. An interesting move, so we'll have to see if it pays off.
(magician) That was far and away Shin Lim's most impressive performance to date. His mastery of card tricks is through the roof, and to perform those tricks with the camera right in his face, and both Tyra Banks and Heidi sitting right there, involved from the get-go. His sleigh of hand is ingenious, his stage presence absolutely perfect. Every time, Shin performs not like a contestant, but like a professional coming to show how it's done. I actually got emotional watching him, because it was just that good.
Last week we were on the same page, agreeing on every act that advanced, but I know that's not going to be the case this week at all. You all really love your kid singers and there were a bunch of them tonight. I didn't advance any of them, because they lacked the polish and excitement of some of the other acts.
You, on the other hand, might be swayed by their adorable little faces and sweet stories. We'll see how we disagree Wednesday night, and then we can start fighitng about it.
"America's Got Talent" airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.