42-year-old instrumentalist William Close of Los Angeles dominated on what was clearly the most competitive show of Season 7 Tuesday night.
The man who makes a career out of building and playing his own instruments brought his earth harp back onto the stage and proved why he deserved to sail straight through Vegas week and into the first round of the live shows. But the judges indicated after his performance just how far he can take his talents . . .
“We’re done. I think you won this whole contest,” Howie Mandel said. “You are an amazing engineer. This is phenomenal.”
Howard Stern added: “Give him the million dollars . . . because this is almost unbeatable.”
With the exception of Close, it is nearly impossible to determine which other acts will also advance to the Semi-Finals this week. But there are certainly at least three acts that did not live up to the live stage:
All That! (clog-dancing group): These South Carolina cloggers caught the judges’ attention in their first audition for being an all-male group. But after what looked like a somewhat dull performance on Tuesday (compared to the other acts later on), Howie and Howard suggested that their chances don’t look that great, despite their level of talent.
Ulysses (singer): He was the only act from the night to receive the buzzer – and he received it from all three judges! Howie loved him in the past, but thought that he “tried to Vegas it up” when he should have kept it simple. He’s gone!
Eric & Olivia (singing/guitar): This music couple (NOT ROMANTIC COUPLE) performed an interesting cover of Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite”. But interesting does not put it in the bag, as Howard did not feel like they did enough to make the cut on Wednesday.
These other eight acts are in contention:
Olate Dogs (canine entertainment): Sit? Come? Paw? . . . Try stand, back flips, long jumps, up the ladder and down the slide. These dogs once again flattered dog lovers all across America (including Sharon Osbourne, of course). It’s just like Howie said: “What a way to end the night.”
Eric Dittelman (mind reader): What do you think after watching this act? You don’t have to say it out loud. He already knows. He may just simply read minds, but he also simply received a standing ovation from all three judges after his performance, which spun from the game show Deal or No Deal. Howie, the former host of that show, called him “one of my favorite acts”, someone who “get(s) better, and better, and better.”
David “The Bullet” Smith (human cannonball): He flung as high as 70 feet in the air. He flew as fast as 60 miles/hour. Most importantly, he is not part of the 85% of people, according to Howard, who are killed while performing as a human cannonball. Howard said it right: “It’s entertaining as hell.”
Joe Castillo (sand artist): His father’s dying wish was for him to become an artist. So he went to the store one day, bought a bag of sand, and found a way to tell stories. After his performance, Howie commented that talent is one thing, while sending a message is another, and it becomes compelling to watch “when you can combine a message with your talent.”
Sebastien “El Charro de Oro” (singer): He says that you have to be in love in order to sing about love . . . and he’s right. Howard Stern admitted that the 10-year-old vocalist can even make him a fan of the Mariachi musical style. Let’s face it – he can steal anybody’s heart with his adorability, his youth, and, above all, his voice.
Unity In Motion (dance group): These girls began crafting their talent at the age of 2 years old and have lived, breathed, and slept dance ever since. Whether or not their dedication will pay off with enough votes into the Semi-Finals is still unknown. But it did not go unrecognized by Howard Stern, who referred to them as “the best dance act” this year and their fusion of dance, gymnastics, and contortionism as “a combination of everything we’re looking for.”
Lindsey Norton (solo dancer): When an act like this comes on stage, the judges always question whether a lone dancer can sustain a 90-second presentation. This high school not only answered ‘Yes’ to that question, but also showed that she can be pretty stiff competition, specifically for Turf, if she makes it to the next round. Look out!
Horse (King of the Nut Shots): All he serves for is getting kicked and whacked in the nuts! Is he seriously a potential Semi-Finals candidate? Well . . . after the gut-wrenching laughs, round of applause, and loud chants of his name from the audience, you would suppose that anyone can instantly become a huge fan of this act.
BY CHRIS MANNINGS
Which act blew you away? Let us know in the comments section below!