With everything at stake for the 12 “America’s Got Talent” chosen acts contending for just seven spots open to the semifinals, not much time was wasted in frivolity, except for some game show-esque play between the panel on the August 26 revelation. The first words that came from host, Nick Cannon, after his welcome, was that blind dancer, Benjamin Yonattan, red-haired Colombian beauty, Daniella Mass, and comedian, Gary Vider, who all had tremendous performances the previous night, were in danger and on the bubble, and up for the save vote. Their faces spoke everything, and all three were visibly jittering as live results started, having them all less than five points apart in the 30-percents. These results are about a future, far beyond the competition itself.
Right away, the tough decisions came, as Selected of God Choir from Detroit and Smoky Mountain natives, Mountain Faith Band were summoned under the spotlight. Both these acts are very anointed, and each serves a special life purpose by example, and through their calling in music. Howard had been a little hard on each one, cautioning them to stay contemporary, and feeling that the Detroit ensemble had “started to sound like just another gospel group.” When the tense silence was broken, it was Mountain Faith Band that got the good news of moving forward, and they each started thanking all the right resources! Both these ensembles are so anointed, and will be somewhere, singing for Glory, and following their dream. Both will have mailboxes brimming with opportunities.
Chapkis Family Dance and Alicia Michilli were called next. Michilli really raised the bar, and made her mark with a smoldering, powerful performance of “I Put a Spell on You” that totally captivated. Chapkis Family, unfortunately, was forgettable. Alicia’s serving days are over, it’s safe to say.
Things turned wild with the judges on “Buzzer Buddies,” but it was still fun to hear Howie tell about Mel B’s dirty drawings, and that Howard is a skinflint when it comes to gifts. Resident performers at the Wynn, Las Vegas, “Le Reve—The Dream” offered a performance that looks very much like Freelusion Dance and other animated assisted dance troops, so it’s very easy to see why they employ so many of the same visual trickery. There were so many similarities, it was difficult to decide why one certain act stood out. Good news came in twos for Stevie Starr, the Professional Regurgitator, and mentalist, Oz Pearlman. Both unique performers blew away the audience and the judges, with their faculties, and abdominal flexes, that no one else has,
Freelusion Dance was called up with Metal Mulisha Fitz Army and Daditude! This was another case of not much competition, since the dance company had the good fortune of being the final performers of the night, and leaving the panel with a love story in motion that they wanted to see end in bliss. The daddy dancers lost their every man charm, and while the motorcycle maniacs had real talent , in doesn’t always translate on-screen.
The final decision of the night comes between comedian, Gary Vider, singer Daniella Maas, who mesmerized with her “Bring Him Home,” and the visually challenged dancer, Benjamin Yonattan, who has inspired through his courageous spirit and artistry beyond what the eyes see. Gary won’t have to worry about going back to picking up dog poopies– not sure about his roommate– he was first picked of the group for the semifinals. That left the judges’ decision between Benjamin and Daniella. It was utterly heart wrenching to hear each judge extol how bravely and beautifully this dance prodigy had confronted his challenges, created such artistry, and embraced life so fully, and then, apart from Heidi Klum, offer their vote to the beautiful redhead, who is an amazing talent, still, not facing the same future as Benjamin. The credits rolled as Ms. Mass had a completely startled response. Both of these gifted performers deserve to find big stages ahead.