Next week will be the finals, so this was the last of the Top 12 semi-finalists on ‘America’s Got Talent’ Tuesday night. It was so packed with talent there wasn’t a bad performance unlike last week’s hideous semi-finals. Thankfully no one was buzzed off and Piers actually remained relatively quiet on his buzzer. Believe it or not for the first time this season Howie actually buzzed a spectacular performance midway. Yes, it was intentional and not accidentally like before from the germaphobic judge. The most surprising part in these last semi-finals was the variety acts. Oftentimes they cannot live up to the judge’s scrutiny this far into the competition. Instead, they truly delivered some mesmerizing performances.
The Under Whelming Acts
Haspop – Quite honestly I never thought I would categorize his performance as under whelming and mediocre, but it truly was. He’s been one of my favorite acts all along, but his strange performance art with the big video behind him would be fine on Ovation TV (an eclectic arts & entertainment cable channel), but not on a mainstream television network. Piers actually buzzed him, which he’d never done before. Haspop could not live up to his magnificent quarterfinal performance.
Debra Romer – She has gotten better and better with each performance. However, her emotion and vulnerability were as strong as ever, it was the song choice that the judges felt was her weakest link.
Nathaniel Kenyon – No doubt his nerves are still getting the best of him. He has certainly improved, but Nathaniel has a long way to go with his stage presence. The other singers from last week are far superior. Nathaniel has his work cut out for him even if he miraculously makes it into the finals. By the way, he is a really good-looking kid.
Murray Sawchuck – How many times have we seen disappearing acts on ‘America’s Got Talent’? Too many and earlier in the show Tuesday night there was another magician who did a spectacular one already. Murray presentation was rushed and wrought with nervous energy throughout. In his pre-performance video he said the finals did not have room for two magicians. Yes, you are right and it won’t be you, along with your arrogance.
The Very Good Acts
Alice Tan Ridley – It was great hearing from her after all this time. She took on the powerhouse vocalist Whitney Houston’s song “I Have Nothing.” Her emotional delivery was superb. Alice was the first act to open the show and she managed that very well.
Maestro Alexander Bui – Here is the act Howie Mandel actually buzzed in the middle of his performance. It was completely unnecessary to do that. I agree with Piers calling Howie a “cultural ignoramus”, because he is. The Maestro performed two extremely difficult and challenging pieces. It was the classical music from “Flight of the Bumblebee” and the boogie woogie sounds of early rock and roll played simultaneously.
Studio One Young Beast Society – These are brilliant dancers who are energetic, fun, exciting and contemporary, but they are not that outstanding or unique. The judges were all over them with constant praise left and right. I certainly wasn’t buying it.
The Heart-Stopping Acts
Michael Lipari and Ashleigh Dejon – Thankfully they did not scare us with another death-defying stunt like last week. This time they performed a beautiful and romantic aerial routine like they were up in the clouds. The fog used gave it the cloud effect along with the blue background for the sky. Afterwards, Howie said he sees many aerial acts in Veags, but they usually wear a safety harness. Neither of them had one on, which made their act even more dangerous, yet exciting.
Michael Grasso – All I could say was “Oh My God” at the end of this stunning magical act. Talk about switching places and you didn’t see that coming. Be sure to check out Michael Grasso’s semi-final performance on YouTube or watch a re-broadcast of AGT when it comes this weekend or next week. That’s all I have to say about it.
Jeremy VanSchoonhoven – Talk about overcoming insurmountable odds. In the pre-performance video Jeremy took a very bad fall on his waterfall-like prop onto the floor during a crucial rehearsal. He ended up with many cuts and bruises and was sent to the hospital. I was truly nervous for him during his act Tuesday night. There was a part when his mountain bike slipped in between some park benches that he fell out of, but thankfully was not hurt.
For the grand finale he led his bike up top this waterfall, cliff-like prop where he had to endure several steep drops. When it came to the last one everyone was holding their breath, because that is where he had his severe accident. Jeremy VanSchoonhoven nailed his performance all the way. The audience went wild and the judges gave him a standing ovation. I remember praying for him to make it through, especially the last part.
Jackie Evancho – Throughout the night she was the only singing act who got the judges and audience on their feet. Just like she wowed the country with her debut performance on the YouTube quarterfinals Jackie did it once again. It’s a lot of pressure for anyone at this point in the competition. However, ten-year old Jackie Evancho acts like this is another recital. She is so cool, calm and collected compared to some other novice singers who performed before her.
Fighting Gravity – They performed last and were the perfect act to close the show. Each and every time I am amazed and dazzled by their theatrics. I remembered Howie said in the first episode of the season he wanted to see a unique act win ‘America’s Got Talent.’ Fighting Gravity is well on their way. Here they had to follow-up to the enormous talents of Jackie Evancho who is loved by millions. Their semi-final routine was the best so far from them. I’m amazed how they are able to do this. It’s like they are human puppets or something. What is refreshing about Fighting Gravity is how they are a home-grown act versus the other ones who are so polished and have enormous professional experience.
Four of the acts seem to be shoo-ins, so it’ll be interesting to find out who the fifth act is in the finals and on the upcoming tour in October. Nick announced some of the cities who are holding auditions in October for ‘America’s Got Talent.’ Jason Derulo and Le Reve, an aquatic spectacle from the Wynn in Las Vegas, will be the performing guest stars on the upcoming results show.
America’s Got Talent, NBC
Jennifer Still, “‘America’s Got Talent Semi-Final 2 Recap”, Digital Spy
Christine Nyholm, “Jason Derulo and Le Reve perform on America’s Got Talent” Examiner