“America’s Got Talent” is speeding right through the process of getting to the finals, and tonight’s August 25 chosen dozen performers were the last group to have a chance of moving to the semifinals, with only seven moving forward. Three weeks have flown in a flash, and with this season offering more voting options than ever, America’s choices are wide open. Who brought their absolute best A-game, and who lost a step going for the Vegas strip? It was a very different and diverse night
Chapkis Dance Family stepped out of the gate to start off the night, and it’s hard to ignore any group of their size. They went from medieval to modern, but after a while, their routine just became loud. The final impression isn’t anything that leaves one willing to see two more hours. Howard Stern said that they had become “chaotic spiders and zombies” instead of bees. Mel B disagreed, raving that they were ”right on point,” and brilliant. Howie Mandel marveled at their synchronicity, which is something that the four judges have never achieved, and Heidi Klum appreciated that it is “so hard” to dance at their level. Metal Mulisha Fitz Army brought their X games for motorcycles outdoors to New Jersey, and never missed a beat, or a stunt, stepping, standing, somersaulting, and flipping every which way on their machines, while still jumping ramps. They were a wow act, for anyone who can get past being terrified. “Well done for surviving” was Mel B’s assessment. Howie Mandel gave them an ovation, saying that they had triumphed over their machines, and were truly death-defying. Howard Stern dubbed them “real athletes” without the special effects seen in movies, and Heidi Klum credited the performers for “bringing the X games to AGT.” Lovable Daditude! did all they could to step up their game, but their old-style cruiser and performance lacked their audition energy. All four judges gave them an X, and that was a first. There’s little hope that America will run to the rescue. Howie Mandel at least made a playful joke that their performance showed how hard it was to get a parking space in NYC.
Alicia Michilli sure took heed of her last performance guidance from the panel. Gone were her nerves, and in their place was the perfect mix of torch song anger and attitude! The server looked utterly stunning, and sang straight from her soul on “I Put a Spell on You,” and she may not have summoned the full Annie Lennox on the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins classic, but she did her own number on it, and the crowd ate it up. Heidi gave her an ovation, Mel B went from being worried to telling her that she “owned it,” Howie Mandel called her that she “put a spell on America,” and Howard Stern told her “you were cool.” The singer told host, Nick Cannon, that the experience was like coming out of her body. Whatever the tally comes to, “America’s Got Talent” will change her life. Comic, Gary Vider, stuck to his same, slow delivery pace, and everyone played right along. His jokes were perfect, spanning romance to ordering sandwiches, and everyone loved them, except for Heidi Klum, who wants everything “bam, bam, bam” and that became a joke in itself. Howie reiterated that “everything worked,” Howard Stern said “you killed it,” and the audience seemed to agree. Mountain Faith Band deliberately hits a family-friendly, Mayberry kind of note, turning contemporary tunes into bluegrass barnburners. They did it this time with “Shut up and Dance,” and Howie Mandel said that they made him feel like he was at the jamboree. Even though the vocals were off, according to Mel B, she could not turn away from their likability. Howard Stern reminded the group to keep things contemporary, and Heidi Klum loved their arrangement.
Mentalist, Oz Pearlman, outdid even himself with his gumball estimations, gathering them from the judges, then having Howard agreed to change numbers with Mel B, because each one had three different. He then showed his Instagram post predicting exactly the judges numbers, and then, asked Nick Cannon to go into the canister and fish out a receipt, which just happened to have the combined number of originals all stated by the judges. It was pretty phenomenal, and another honeymoon sendoff. Selected of God choir seemed to rise from a cloud for their inspirational rendition of Shontelle’s “Impossible.” The performance was vibrating and pulsated through the auditorium, and all the panel found them inspiring. Mel B cautioned about their soloists, but loved their ensemble singing. Howard admonished about keeping their selections current and contemporary. This kind of uplifting doesn’t happen every day. Heidi’s favorite, The Professional Regurgitator, had even the supermodel nervous, asking tomorrow her “small” half-million dollar ring for his performance. He swallowed the ring, a lock, a key, and a billiard ball, just to help out. He attached the ring to the lock inside of his tummy, bringing them up , dry and intact. Heidi unlocked the key, and retrieved her ring. Beyond her ovation, Heidi could not stop screaming for joy, praising the artist as “the most unique act ever.” Mel B declared that she felt “violated,” but couldn’t keep her eyes from watching. Howard Stern called him a superstar, and Howie Mandel said he was the best of the night, making bulimia entertaining, which would prompt a swift apology.
Benjamin Yonattan has lost even more vision now then he had through his auditions. His Google glass no longer give him enough assistance to matter, so tonight, the 14-year-old with just a pinhole of sight danced, swirled, and moved everyone to the core of their souls, and to ovation. “You’re talent speaks for itself,” remarked Heidi Klum, while Mel B was ecstatic, calling this “your best performance so far.” Howie Mandel reminded the young man that “this is bigger than you– it’s life.” Ever a portrait of the grace he exudes, Benjamin said, “I’m so glad God brought me here.” This prodigy is not done with his journey just yet. Daniella Mass was a vision in her blue lace, reflecting the deeper beauty of her blue eyes as she sang “Bring Him Home” from “Les Miserables.” Her voice is penetrating, and the emotion is there, but Howard Stern critiqued that it was “too Broadway.” If Broadway is a career, then it’s not a bad place to be. Mel B praised that Mass possesses “the perfect theatrical voice,” and Howie called her “mesmerizing,” just after issuing a genuine apology about naming anything about bulimia as entertaining. “I’m not perfect,” he said, seeking sincere pardon. It was a classy move to make the correction in the moment. Freelusion Dance went from trio to twosome after an effort with a harness couldn’t work, and with the help of big time animation, they pulled off their tale of literally lost love– in a volcano. It was a dramatic finish to the night, and to the quarterfinals. Animation makes all things possible, as far as images, but it also can feel hollow, leaving a void in the soul. A few moments of Benjamin Yonattan putting his heart in every step speaks more than any animated screen. The panel was all praise for the routine, so they have momentum going in to the vote.
Next week is the start of the semifinals– stay tuned.
Predictions for the semifinals from this week: Alicia Michilli, Benjamin Yonattan, Oz Pearlman, Gary Vider, Selected of God Choir, Professional Regurgitator, and Mountain Faith Band.