One act that had to withdraw from the competition after testing positive for COVID-19 gets a second chance at their dreams as a Wild Card.
It’s the “America’s Got Talent” semi-finals, two weeks that will determine the acts competing in the grand finale!
There were two Wild Card acts brought back to compete alongside ten of the acts that advanced through the quarter-finals. Of those 11 acts, only five will advance. We were a little surprised to see Dance Town Family back, but the other one was like a victory for all of us against Covid.
Thomas Day had to withdraw from the competition because he and his mom tested positive, costing him his shot at the quarter-finals. The judges then stepped up to offer him a second chance when he tested clear again, making this kind of his quarter-finals performance.
As we move toward the finals, it becomes more and more apparent just how many singers there are, as that’s just so much easier to judge and seems to have the widest audience that appreciates it. Tonight there were six singing acts, which could mean we could advance only singers.
But we don’t see that happening, as they were collectively not the shining lights on the evening. With a poet, drummer, aerialist, diabolo brothers and dancers, there was still plenty of variety -- and a few of these acts really stepped it up, much to Howie Mandel’s delight.
Tonight, only five of eleven acts will advance to the next round. Fair warning, since I'm safe at home, I'm probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, and Sofia Vergara. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe.
And just for fun, I'm gonna rank them from worst to first to see how my favorites do and whether or not you get it right (i.e. agree with me).
(diabolo performers) Well … that could have gone better. The guys had two major drops that they did not cover up very well, and it was two of their more intricate stunts. The acrobatics was rudimentary and kind of silly and the ring of fire tumble was just a waste. How do you know at least throw a diabolo through it? We get they were trying to up the ante with this performance, and there were some new and impressive stunts, but two drops was just too many at this stage.
(aerialist) The fire didn’t really add much to the danger, but we get that Alan was trying to mix up the visuals. The chains didn’t look as dangerous overall as the silks, but knowing he could explore both (so far) in a full act is kind of exciting. He did do some interesting and cool things with them, but this didn’t elevate the danger or thrills for us.
(singers) Still one of the most enjoyable acts on the season, the ladies nevertheless had a couple of terrible pitch moments that dropped our smiles. But they are so watchable just as performers and a pair that we would absolutely tune in to a sitcom adventure of them chasing their American dream. They’re naturally funny and charming. Unfortunately, the vocals let them down this week.
(singer) There’s no denying that Shaquira has an amazing voice, and we totally dug this arrangement of the song, but it started to get a little repetitive about halfway through and we found ourselves tuning out. It’s about engaging and connecting in a compelling way, and we’re not sure Shaquira delivered in that regard. And with so many singers in the competition, it’s those other factors that make the difference.
(singer) Thomas could create more of a connection lyrically to what he’s singing, but his range and control was nothing short of incredible. This was a command performance from someone who really had something to prove, having lost his quarter-finals opportunity. Billie Eilish is challenging to take on as a male singer, but it looked absolutely effortless for Thomas.
(singer) The whole first verse of this performance was very, very rough and Archie never really recovered from it. We’re not sure if it was the song or his emotions as he took to the stage, but this took a little too long to slide into his vocal pocket and it never had a single moment that really felt strong and confident and enough to blow every away. But then he got a standing ovation from the judges, so maybe it resonated differently live.
(dancers) salsa, swing, jazz, swing, lindy hop, b-boy, acrobatics -- this is an act that was absolutely determined to make the most of their second chance. This performance was so much stronger than the last time we saw them, it wasn’t even on the same scale. This was an incredible showcase. Even the wild energy and semi-circle dance-off format helped keep the energy and excitement up. The background dancers were tighter, everything was better.
(singer) Roberta clearly hasn’t quite mastered what to do with her arms or body while performing, but the strength, maturity and control of her voice kind of makes us not care. After all, she’s only 11 years old. Stage presence will come with time, but that voice is very now. She sings with such grace and so little effort, it’s remarkable every time.
(singers) The guys showed a different side of themselves and we weren’t at first sure it was going to work. As soon as those harmonies kicked in and they pushed it to the next level at the chorus, we knew it was working perfectly. It’s amazing this act almost wasn’t here -- brought back last week after another act stepped away -- because they are packaged and ready for the big show already.
(poet) This wasn’t as strong as previous entries, but it was nevertheless very powerful. Brandon is not just a poet, but he is a stage performer of the highest caliber and that’s why this works. Jumping through different stages in his life, it clicked when he embodied the teenage rage that abandoned children know all too well. While not as strong as his earlier performances, he still blows us away every time and proves that this lesser-known artform can thrive on “the world’s biggest stage.”
(drummer) That’s what we wanted to see from Malik, an expansion of drum kits and the free range to show us what he can do with any object to create his art. Yeah, he missed the trashcan drumstick toss, but this was a nonstop ride of fun and infectious energy and we were here for it. Is it a little too out there for America? Perhaps, but it’s certainly art.
Archie Williams missed out on our Top 5, but we feel pretty confident that America is going to pass him through anyway. His was one of the most incredible stories already, and now we find out he had a daughter he never knew about while in prison.
We suspect Dance Town Family won’t make America’s cut, but we do feel good about Brandon Leake, Roberta Battaglia, Malik DOPE and Broken Roots. Could four out of our Top 5 actually advance? Would you give us that?
Honestly, we feel totally certain that it is down to our Top 6 acts, so it’s just going to be a matter of which one falls just short ahead of the finals in two weeks time.
We’ll find out what you did as “America’s Got Talent” continues Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.