William Close. Tom Cotter. Joe Castillo. That's the company our final 12 semifinalists are hoping to join in next week's season finale of America's Got Talent. The competition last week was tougher than I expected it to be (and I still think Todd Oliver got robbed), but it looks like there are some weaker acts going this time. My guess is that it will come down to four or maybe five acts that are worthy of advancing.
Nick Cannon walks onto the stage for the 437th time this season, thankful he only has to do it thrice more before he can return to his regular life of squalor. Nice tux jacket though, Nick. Dapper as always. Let's get started!
Wildcards in Tough Spots
Just like last week, the wildcard acts are kicking off the show, making them harder to stand out, and only Sharon really thinks the All That! guys have it after saving them twice over more deserving acts. They're attempting something no clogging act has ever done before, and I'm wondering if I'll be able to tell what that is. I'm assuming it was dance with some of their shoes on fire? Then they dance in trays of water? To cool off their feet? They're really good, but I found myself much more interested during the first half than during the latter part of the performance.
Sharon likes that they wore denim leather, and she hopes America likes denim leather. Howie thought it was amazing but one dimensional (and he called them "flaming"), and Howard liked that they took his advice and featured some individual dancers with solos. They're very gracious, and I like that about them.
Mariachi singer Sebastien "El Charro de Oro" sang Frank Sinatra last time and had no business advancing over both Ben Blaque and the Bandbaz Brothers (actually uncle and nephew). But here he is, and my expectations are low. He gets bonus points for referring to himself as a "Mexican Superman."
He returns to his Mariachi roots and sings in Spanish, so I have no idea what song he's doing. But it's his typical spectacular voice in a performance I've seen multiple times from him. His adorable politeness aside, can we please not vote him through this time, America?
The Magic of Puck
He made a handkerchief do some silly things in the YouTube round, and he's here because everyone else on that show sucked so bad. The judges told him to go bigger than dancing handkerchiefs, and that's what he's doing. He starts by having Howard autograph a handkerchief, and I see a similar theme. He tells America not to take its collective eyes off that handkerchief, which he ties to a woman's wrist and promptly covers with a red sheet. Uh, how am I supposed to keep my eyes on it, Puck?
He levitates the woman and then has her reappear in a box on another part of the stage, and she's still got the hanky on her wrist. It was bigger, but not necessarily better, and it was just too busy for me and not on par with other magic tricks we've seen this season. The judges were all super nice in a polite way, which means good job but not great job.
Clint Carvalho and his Extreme Parrots
They're really frontloading the show with crap tonight, burying the YouTube acts right after the wildcards. Everyone agrees the bird has to do something more than just fly in from outside, so let's see what Kitty has in store for us. The cockatiel flies in from the balcony, dances a bit, drops a letter in a mailbox and raises the flag, flies through hoops in the audience and, finally, grabs a soda can from Sharon. Wow, a million times better than last time, Clint! And the bird is 30 years old? She looks great!
Howie calls it an amusement park show, and Howard hates the "Here Kitty" call and doesn't think Clint has a million dollar act. What Clint does have is 259 parrots. That's what normal people call "that crazy bird guy."
Jacob was our deadpan comedian who was legitimately nervous in his first performance and won over the crowd. Then he tried to make it more of his "persona," and it didn't sell as well. He needs to play up the REAL awkwardness and not try and be polished, because he's funnier when he's not trying. I really like this guy, but he flat out bombs. Don't really need to discuss it anymore than that.
Maurice and Shanice
We haven't seen father-daughter singing duet Maurice and Shanice in like two months, and I didn't think they deserved to move on in the first place. To their credit, they must've had a lot of time to work on this performance. It's their best so far, but I'm still not a huge fan.
Howard thought the Gospel choir buried them a bit and he wants Maurice to let his daughter shine brighter than him, but he still thinks they deserve a spot in the finals. Sharon agrees, and Howie thinks it's a cruise act and Shanice needs to go solo.
All Wheel Sports
These guys do a lot of everything, and it's always tough to keep track of. They have bike tricks, scooter tricks, hot girls dancing, people flipping and flying on trampolines, it's so much going on at once. Howard says they need one BIG moment that people are talking about afterwards, and if they had one, I missed it. Unless it was that one guy falling off his bike. It's entertaining, if you can keep it all straight.
Sharon thinks they do well in such a confined space and gives props to the AGT crew for making it happen. Howard gives them crap for not having that wow moment, and Howie tells America it looks better in person than it does on television.
The Joe Cocker sound-a-like has mostly wowed, but he came up a little short in the quarterfinals. He seems like he lacks some confidence, and he'll have to get by on voice alone in what has been a tough run for singers. He's singing "Imagine," and it's goose-bump worthy. Best of the night so far.
Howie loves it, but doesn't think it's original enough. Sharon loved the simplicity and thoroughly enjoyed it. Howard gave him a standing O and called it the most moving performance we've had from a singer in a long time. Howard always knows best.
The children living out their parents' dreams are next on stage, and their technique has always been flawless. Kids dancing like adults kind of freaks me out (especially those facial expressions!), but they're certainly the best at what they do. The mid-act costume change was pretty cool too. It would appear America's Got Talent wasted the first hour of our time.
An adorable crying girl overshadowed the judges' comments, and she blabbers how she is so happy and they worked so hard and they did so amazing. Who cares what the judges thought? Then they go back to her again and it's like, we get it, kid. It was only cute once.
The Olate Dogs
Everyone's favorite animal act trots on stage, and what do they have planned for us this time? It might come down to dancing dogs vs. dancing kids! Dogs jumping over flags, jumping rope, spinning in circles, doing a conga line, triple riding a scooter(!), doing backflips and, last but not leash (not a typo!), a three man-dog tumbling line! Wow, can we just send them to the finals now? They did what All Wheel Sports didn't do, capping things off with a trick that will have everyone talking. The judges eat it up every last Kibble.
Light Wire Theater
Wow, I forgot all about these guys! It has always appeared to me that this act is much better suited for a live performance than an on-TV thing, but America has loved them so far. It's Jurassic Park meets Star Wars as raptors battle is out with a giant cat using light sabers. They pull out some Matrix-y moves as well, and maybe it's an in-person thing, but I was not as entertained as I feel like I should've been. It was slower and less reliant on the awesome creations they bring to life. Maybe I'm crazy.
Howie says the night is off the hook and that it felt like a futuristic 3-D movie (they have 3-D movies now, Howie. Tweet that.). Sharon says they'll get a headlining show, win or lose. Howard loves the originality and says the act is simply captivating.
David Garibaldi and his CMYKs
I love this act, with its high energy, dancing, awesome music and amazing finished product, and there's a reason they get the last spot in this show. This time, it's four separate green boards that get painted, flipped around, tied together and dropped from the ceiling to create the Statue of Liberty.
Howard is amazed by the skill and showmanship, but wants David to keep it moving along. Sharon loves the passion and creativity, and thinks it's all paying off. Howie says he's not just an entertainer and artist, but he is a creator. Now, it's up to America.
Based solely on originality, the choices are easy. Olate Dogs, David Garibaldi and Light Wire Theater are without a doubt the most unique. Personally, I liked Tim Hockenberry more than Light Wire, but I don't think that'll happen. So my condolences to Tim and the Untouchables, and the other seven acts don't stand a chance.
What do you think? Is it an obvious slam dunk? Who were your favorites? Who do you think has the best chance to win it all next week?