This is where it starts getting serious, people! Over 100,000 acts are down to just ten and on Tuesday night, it was time for each of them to fight it out for a spot in the Final Four.
The evening was full of jaw-dropping moments, a few risky surprises – and even an ‘X’ or two from Piers Morgan.
Here’s how it all went down:
SILHOUETTES (Performance Shadow Artists – Denver, CO) Discarding the drapes or parachutes that they used in their last performance, they went back to the style of staying behind the screen and creating shapes that were overlaid with photos – a stunning presentation. When they were done, the crowd cheered and cheered – in fact, you could barely hear Sharon’s comments because the crowd would not let up. Sharon did eek out, “That was exquisite.” Howie, “Definitely the first finals act I’ve seen.” Piers, “You guys come along, you tell a story, and tell us a story that makes people proud to be American.”
POPLYFE (Pop Band – Oakland, CA) Always pulling something new out of their musical bag of tricks, they performed an explosive Jackson 5 medley that brought down the house. All of the judges were on their feet, too. Piers, “You are a great pop band.” Sharon, “You’ve got it all going on and I know I’m going to see you next week.” Howie, “America, you are idiots if you don’t start voting and put these guys through.”
LANDAU EUGENE MURPHY, JR. (Crooner – Logan, WV) Dusting off another classic from one of Sinatra’s old friends, Dean Martin, Murphy swaggered through “Ain’t Love A Kick In The Head.” Howie gushed, “You’re a great guy with great talent. You deserve this.” Piers, “We were talking before the show. Who would I pay to watch for an hour and a half? It would be Landau Eugene Murphy.” Sharon, “What can I say? Vote, vote, vote.”
TEAM ILUMINATE (Light up Dancers – Los Angeles, CA) Their creativity and choreography have not faltered on their climb to the Top 10. Tonight was no exception. Another WOW performance, which brought the entire house to their feet. I even gave them a standing ovation in my living room. Piers, “I’ve done this show for 6 years. I’ve never seen a more original, dynamic act.” Sharon, “I can’t believe you’re not already famous.” Howie, “You are one of the best acts you can see live.”
MIAMI ALL-STARS (Latin Dance Troupe – Miami, FL) Dressed in athletic attire, the group showed a lot of athletic prowess and precision dance moves, but it failed to impress the judges. Piers buzzed them about two-thirds of the way through their routine. He said, “You became a cheerleading act. You went from being an explosive Latin dance act to a silly cheerleading act.” Sharon added, “You could have been more sophisticated. This was not the right choreography.” Howie, “You took the Miami out of it.”
LYS AGNES (Singer – Denver, CO) Straying from her operatic style, she chose to put her twist on the Aerosmith song, Dream On. Oddly, she sang in a very low register, which is completely opposite from where Steven Tyler warbled when he made the song a hit. Sharon questioned the move, “At the beginning of the song, I thought I was listening to Cher. Why did you sing the song in such a low register?” Howie, “I don’t know if taking such a big risk and giving us a different voice worked.” Piers, “I felt like I was watching someone give us everything they’ve got.”
LANDON SWANK (Magician – Wasilla, AK) The 26 year-old magician was slick, producing a goldfish from his mouth (a trick my friend Mac King does in his afternoon show at Harrah’s on The Strip in Las Vegas). He also shoved his hand through the side of a fish tank. Howie approved, “That was really amazing.” Piers was flummoxed, “I’m not quite sure what I’ve seen.” Sharon was thrilled, “I love your relaxed presentation that you give. It’s so modern.”
ANNA GRACEMAN (Singer/Pianist – Juneau, AK) With her hair clipped and pinned back like she was getting ready for a school photo, she seemed to lose a bit of the edge when her hair was flying around with her soaring notes. She performed without her piano and did a great job with Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.” Piers said that her high range made up for her mistakes in the low range and added, “You have got the most amazing lungs on you.” Sharon, “You did a great job.” Howie, “You’re 11 years-old, you’re brilliant, you’re a star, but this performance was not as good as your last.”
SMAGE BROTHERS RIDING SHOWS (Motorcycle Stunts – Elkhorn, WI – Engines roared as the two brothers hopped from ramp to prop to rail, the whole time threatening the life of their daredevil assistant, Tony Smalls. Twice during their routine, they dinged Smalls – once in the head and another time on his leg. Howie, repeating a line the Smage Bros. used last week, “Wisconsin is now famous for more than beer and cheese. Now they have the Smage Bros.” Piers was unimpressed, “It was a bit disappointing.” Sharon countered, “It was just amazing.”
WEST SPRINGFIELD DANCE TEAM (Horror Dance Team – Springfield, VA) Different makeup, basically the same act. Piers buzzed them. Sharon, “I know when you’re performing what to expect. It’s too predictable.” Howie, “I don’t think you’re living up to to final quality.” Piers, “To surprise us, you could have come out without the makeup. But at this point we all feel like we’ve seen it.” Ironically, Piers was the one that put them through, bumping Daniel Joseph Baker from the competition. Baker, I’m sure, would have put on a much more exciting performance. But I wasn’t judging that night.
Who was your favorite act? Sound off in the comments section below.
Roger Blazic writes about pop culture, television and more. Check out more of his recap and who he predicts will make the Final Four at www.RogerBlazic.com