While many acts blew their chances with their first live performances, a select few stepped up to the challenge and really blew everyone away!
It was an off night for "America's Got Talent" with some of the season's best acts dropping the ball and some of the season's most questionable acts absolutely blowing their chance.
If you're into cringeworthy live television fails, have we got a great show for you! If you're into watching your favorites fumble and disappoint you and themselves, are you in luck! If you enjoy watching children cry, well you're just mean. But it still happens.
That's not to say the night was a total wash, though, as there was some truly transcendent performances. We learned that age means nothing when it comes to talent. We learned that disabilities and hardships are nothing when it comes to talent.
We learned that if you can dream it, you can become it. It's why this show has remained popular for so long. For moments like we got tonight when you see someone absolutely nail their opportunity at greatness. If only more of the acts had been able to enjoy a moment like that.
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 seventeen years analyzing and critiquing reality competition shows for various media publications. I've got this.
(danger act) There was always a sort of charm to the hectic chaos of this routine, but the knife-throwing was atrocious this time, and Nick's Johnny Cash was even worse than his opera singing. The staging was very cool, but the act itself is a huge mess that isn't improving no matter how much they might be practicing. This was just downright awful.
(mentalists) There was some messiness to this act, and it also started to feel repetitive from previous appearances. The mishap from lemon to orange was problematic; especially as orange was on the napkin at the end. And then Howie didn't help things by stuffing his face and throwing off the rhythm of the performance. All in all, it was underwhelming and indicative of why they were initially cut in the previous round. It's just not quite there.
(contortionist) There was something missing in this routine, lacking in the craziness and unpredictability of her earlier appearances. As a classically trained dancer, we love that she choreographs her contortion stunts, but it might be more effective incorporated into actual dance. She could create a routine like she's a broken ballet dancer or something. This fight sequence lacked any punch and nothing here felt fresh or exciting. She's still very cool, but this wasn't her best showcase.
(singer) "Diamonds Are Forever" is a very dated choice for a 13 year old, and it created a strange disconnect between Charlotte and the audience. On top of that, James Bond theme songs are classic and iconic, but they're not always all that exciting. Where she has blown us away with the maturity and nuance of her voice in previous rounds, this was not memorable enough. Whoever put her in that song really let her down. It was heartbreaking watching her cry as the judges critiques came in, but they weren't wrong.
Light Balance Kids
(dancers) Always creative and fun, we would have liked to see more clever usage of the electronics as when the skeletons collided and collapsed. The possibilities are boundless with the technology and there are so many times when they're just not using it to its full potential. Still, they are enjoyable to watch and you can't help but be on the edge of your seat waiting for one of those special moments, and we did get a few.
(dancers) Aside from the tossed hoop, the stunts were the weakest part of this routine for a change. That said, we found ourselves mesmerized by the dance troupe that serves as both cover and distraction for the stunt setups happening (usually) behind them. There was some really polished performance work happening in this tightly-knit group and they really are the nuts and bolts that keep the whole machine moving. After the last round, though, where they really did look unbeatable, they absolutely did not step it up in complexity, danger or cool factor, which is a huge disappointment.
(singer) Joseph's flow wasn't as strong this time around, but he wrote and delivered a killer hook and chorus on his original song "Mama." It's an uplifting song about the euphoria of making it and being on the cusp of achieving his dreams. Joseph is another rare talent uncovered this season, but this song lacked the polish of his earlier effort; perhaps because it's a newer piece.
(singer) Even though it wasn't possible to understand everything he sang and the song was a little muddled in the early parts, Chris has a stunningly gorgeous voice; one of the best to ever grace a reality competition show stage. He is a beautifully rare talent and someone who deserves to transcend the trappings of reality TV and have a recording career in the music industry. We cannot emphasize enough how special this guy is!
Ndlovu Youth Choir
(choir) Man, they really loved those streamers. We loved the South African punch they put on U2's "Beautiful Day." It created a really cool sound behind the familiar lyrics and tune of the hit track, and it showcased the diversity of this choir while staying true to their roots. Through their journey on the show, they're building a catalog of performances that shows what they're capable of and it's already looking and sounding like one hell of a great show!
(violinist) Tyler did the right thing by incorporating more than just playing the vocal track on violin. The plucking section was inspired, as was his really digging into the groove of some of the guitar licks. That's how you step up from your previous audition. He added more complexity and really proved that he's got quite a gift on that instrument, which is not easy to play. Plus, he has such a great stage presence and passion about what he does, making his performances electric.
(comedian) Some of his bits were miss more than hit, but Ryan once again proved himself a polished comedian and a great storyteller. He would absolutely command a longer set that he could build from start to finish as you could see the connections starting to form between the pieces he was telling here. This wasn't the funniest he's been, but it was funny and he's very good at what he does.
(singer) Wow, what an incredibly poignant song about Robert's journey through "AGT" and what it has done for him in his life. It had clever wordplay around his blindness and how it hasn't stopped him from pursuing his dreams. This was a pure moment of joy from start to finish both in songwriting and execution. Even better, it was the best Robert has been yet.
We're definitely feeling solid that you will agree with our Top 9 choices, but Top 7 is a little iffy. People dug Light Balance and might put the Kids through, even though they weren't their strongest tonight.
As for Charlotte, we really think she blew it with a terrible song choice, and after going first, she'll probably be forgotten. But we've been wrong (occasionally) before.
That said, if we are wrong, we're going to be absolutely crushed as our Top 7 picks are all great acts and seem to be really great people to boot, even if some of them underperformed to their own standards tonight.
"America's Got Talent" airs Tuesdays and Wedesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.