Everything was set to make the first vote electing five performers to the “America’s Got Talent” finals the most magical experience ever on September 2. The illusionists were on hand to defy fate and warm hearts with their magic touch, with three of their troupe being AGT alumni, but even their expertise didn’t translate well for the judges! Heart had its place over showmanship, and America spoke in the tightest deciding vote so far!
Perhaps because misery loves company, Howie Mandel wore his own sunshades, joining Mel B, who had matching pink spectacles to correspond to her dress. A shadow puppet story set to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” led out the night, and its purity was touching. Heidi Klum had some good- natured kidding with Mel B over a dirty martini, and then serious matters took over.
Nick Cannon announced that the save vote would be between the fourth, fifth, and sixth place contenders, and those were Benton Blount, The CraigLewis Band, and Samantha Johnson. This selection was quite shocking, particularly considering the panel’s praise for each of the artists. One was dubbed a “superstar,” and another was already welcomed to the finals. It would be a long wait to learn who would take the chosen slots. Comedian Taylor Williamson, who famously had a quirky courtship with Heidi, came out to tout the “America’s Got Talent” All-Stars Tour, which he will host. Mel B had no love for the rodent that appeared in a mentalist performance, so it was a good thing that voting results were revealed again.
Motorcyclist daredevils, Metal Mulisha Fitz Army, who were the judges’ wildcard choice to return, magician, Derek Hughes, who did a darling routine of a bedtime story, and Mountain Faith Band were summoned to learn their fate, and it was Hughes who got good news. Howard Stern admonished him to use “your best closer” and bring it to the fullest. Family is always foremost for this dad, so he already has the motivation he needs.
It was time for the puppet act, Ira and mom, Miriam, to sweat it out next, along with mentalist, Oz Pearlman, who played world’s weirdest bartender for his performance, and Arielle Baril, the 12-year-old who has the potential to sing to the whole world over and over. Pearlman seemed genuinely stunned that he was the choice. Tallies must not be his specialty. Mel B urged him to “just do what you do” through the finals.
Nerve-racking doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling of seeing a straitjacketed man blazing on fire, trying to free himself in the slim 20 seconds before disaster. The most heart-warming vote of the night came between comic, Drew Lynch, whose delivery drove to a perfect, and a perfectly hysterical climax of his routine of talking to a bill collector, and Japanese projection animation dancers, Siro-A, who never seemed to do anything to displease the panel. Drew got the moment of his dreams, and graciously spoke of the talents of his co-competitors, displaying such class for such a young performer. Howie told Lynch about a message from a young man who said “he made me laugh,” after not feeling so well. The judge then inducted Drew as “America’s pharmacist,” getting laughter as the best medicine.
Howie had the misfortune of garbage dropping on his head because his handcuff escape training didn’t kick in properly, but the real-time votes were in, and America was ready to know who was saved. Benton Blount was beyond relieved to know that he would take the save for fourth place in the finals. That left Samantha Johnson and The CraigLewis Band battling under the judges’ decision. Heidi and Mel B both gave support to Samantha. Howard said that he could not go back on his welcome the night before to the band of two, so he held firm, as did Howie, who always called them his favorite singers. That made for a split vote, and only the tally of voter numbers could break the stalemate. As credits rolled, The CraigLLewis Band gave their thanks to America. Talk about a tight vote, and there’s more to come next week!