"AGT" winner Shin Lim paired magic with Lindsey Stirling's music for a wildly unexpected routine, while Howie Mandel proved himself the worst driving teacher for "AGT" winner Darci Lynne.
Simon Cowell was "frustrated" as we headed into the final quarterfinals results show on “America’s Got Talent.” 7 of 12 acts were set to advance, but he would have been happier with far fewer.
Before Terry Crews could even reveal the acts in sixth, seventh and eighth place who would face America’s Insta-Save vote, Simon took a moment to basically chastise all the acts. It’s true that many of them did not step it up from their audition performances, but the number of good acts wasn’t quite as bad as he said.
Since it’s a results show, there was plenty of padding to be had and that included yet another return for ventriloquist and former winner Darci Lynne -- though she did not ventriloquism this time. In fact, she mostly reacted to Howie Mandel’s idiocy in a very hit-or-miss piece.
We’d say much the same for the unlikely pairing of “AGT” winner and magician, Shin Lim, who was paired with violinist extraordinaire Lindsey Stirling for a surprising musical, magical extravaganza … until it wasn’t so exciting anymore.
Darci Lynne Learns to Drive
We enjoy Darci’s fun personality in general, but the SImon puppet in this piece was not working at all. Just having Darci reacting to Howie’s god-awful driving on a closed course would have been plenty fun. Since Simon’s lines were clearly recorded at another time, it just didn’t fit the energy of the piece at all. And the Sofia cameo … let’s just say, comedy is hard.
Shin Lim (f/ Lindsey Stirling)
This was a surprisingly effective pairing, with Shin performing some very cool tricks as Lindsey danced and played around him. The majority of this had us scratching our heads and loving it, as we always do with Shin, but it definitely lost momentum toward the end when it was just Shin pulling cards out of air and throwing them over and over and over until it was over. Magicians usually build to a final mind-blowing trick, so it was disappointing that we didn’t get that here.
As always the show starts off by throwing a real bone to the eighth-place finisher in America’s votes by giving them a second shot. Of course, it could also screw over the sixth-place finisher, as sixth, seventh and eighth have to face another vote from America (and then the judges) to see which two acts advance, and who gets the boot.
“Out of 12 acts, three were better than their first audition,” Simon chastised the acts before the first reveal of the night. “This show is shown in about 200 countries around the world. When you come on this stage, you’ve gotta bring your A-game … so I was frustrated; not for myself but for the acts.”
The acts that fell right in the middle of the pack included Michael Winslow (we had him 11th of 12), Storm Large (our 7th pick), and UniCircle Flow (our 2nd pick). So clearly we were all watching a very different show.
If we had to guess, we’d say that UniCircle was punished more for their spills by America than us or the judges, while nostalgia played a huge role in Michael Winslow’s success with viewers. We can’t help but wonder if “Police Academy” is seeing an uptick in streams.
We also can’t help but wonder what this erratic result means for the rest of the night. If Keith Apicray advances, we’re going to protest this show -- until next Tuesday!
With the fifth, sixth and seventh acts sequestered backstage, it was time to find the first act to advance automatically to the next round. Terry brought up Rialcris and Klek Entos, which for us was a no-brainer, Klek’s routine was slow and a little sloppy, not really living up to his potential, while the brothers were incredible.
But after we’d just seen, we didn’t know what to believe. Maybe we’re close enough to Halloween that America rewarded Klek’s spooky vibe? Nah, there was no stopping Rialcris after that show-stopping performance Tuesday night.
Next up was a face-off between Keith Apicary and Léa Kyle. Despite what we saw as a slight step down from her incredible audition performance, this one looked just as obvious as the last one. Even Keith knew where it was going, bowing down to her talent on-stage. And he was right, with Léa Kyle easily and deservedly sliding into the semifinals.
ChapKidz and The Curtis Family C-Notes were the next pairing, and as soon as the Curtis kids saw who they were going up against, you could see the disappointment all over their faces. While they’re a fun act, they just weren’t strong enough Tuesday. ChapKidz were the obvious favorite here.
Finally, Terry brought down the final three acts, even though two of them would be advancing. It’s always awkward because after announcing the first act to go through, he has to force the other two to hang around and wait some more.
Nevertheless, World Taekwondo Demonstration Team, Brooke Simpson and Anica were the last three acts standing. We had all three in our Top 7 acts, but also had a feeling that America wouldn’t throw enough support behind Anica to keep her around? Is that what happened? We can’t imagine either of the other two acts getting cut at this point.
The first result of the three sent Brooke Simpson through, which was about the most “duh” moment of the night. She was on her own level of incredible Tuesday night, easily eclipsing every other act.
But that left Anica against Terry’s Golden Buzzer and a clear favorite with the judges. Cutting them here would be a massive upset, and we just didn’t see it happening. And it didn’t as World Taekwondo Demonstration Team easily rounded out the Top 5 from America’s vote.
Even though our Top 5 results didn’t match exactly with America’s, we’re still happy that all five of America’s picks were among our Top 7 predictions of acts to advance. And the other two acts we thought would advance were sitting in the lounge sweating out the live results … so, not too bad.
That said, early results showed Michael Winslow with a slight lead over UniCircle Flow, and both of those acts leaving poor Storm Large in the dust. Considering how incredible both Storm and Anica are, we couldn’t fathom America wanting to leave them both behind, but that could well be exactly what happened.
With incredible humility, when we checked back in on the trio of acts just before getting the actual results, Michael was actually pointing toward UniCycle Flow (and this while voting was still going on), encouraging fans to vote for them. What a sweet gesture, and a testament to his character.
Since it’s as much about who you are and how you present yourself as a person on this show as it is about the talent (well, they’re not totally equal, but you get our point), it’s not a huge surprise that Michael Winslow held onto his lead and secured America’s vote.
That’s the first upset of our Top 7 predictions, but we can’t be entirely mad about it. He’s a sentimental favorite and it’s still impressive what he does after all these years. He just needs to push into more unexpected sounds and tighten up the whole routine to really blow us away.
That left Storm Large and UniCircle Flow to face the judges. It’s worth noting that the judges didn’t quite pick Storm in this round, sending her to a Wild Card vote. On top of that, they weren’t as impressed with her mellow song choice after she’d rocked our socks off in previous rounds.
The bottom line is that “AGT” is a variety show that thrives on the unexpected, and that’s just what the ladies from Japan bring us. No, it wasn’t perfect, but we’d already forgiven that imperfection by the end of the performance, the rest was so mesmerizing and beautiful.
Sofia noted that Storm didn’t bring what was expected Tuesday night, sending her vote to UniCircle. Heidi felt that Storm’s comment about having a dream she never knew she was allowed to have really resonated, so she made it a tie by voting for her.
Simon focused on originality, which clearly meant UniCircle, tossing it to Howie who made it three-to-one in favore of the unexpected and UniCircle Flow became the final act to advance into the semifinals.
Of our Top 7 picks, only the middle-aged rocker women were eliminated in Anica and Storm. We suspected one would go, but not both. But we also were harder on Michael Winslow, who clearly has a lot of sentimental support among the show’s fanbase.
“America’s Got Talent” moves into the semifinals with the first 11 acts next Tuesday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.