The final group of semifinalists on this season’s America’s Got Talent was so rich in talent, it seemed like an endless entertainment dessert platter being served Tuesday night. The anticipation and the auditions brought their own tensions to the acts and their audience of millions. The night was like no other in the show’s history!
Alice Tan Ridley took the stage in elegant electric blue and bedazzled in jewels to deliver the night’s first performance, taking on the epic, I Have Nothing. Taking on a song like that takes more than a great voice, it takes a performer who knows who she is, and you hear the story of this glorious subway singer in every passionate note and gesture. She brings character to her songs that is indelible and palpable. The little girl who won $5 at a talent show has, at 57, fully arrived into her own, and she will never live the same again. She is a wonder of this season!
Haspop offered a Popeye-esque story line to his endless flexibility and imagination for his routine, which I and judge Howie Mandel found creative, but didn’t come off so well for Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne. Maestro Alexander Bui was sizzling across the ivories with his “Boogie Bumblebee”, but Howie couldn’t find enough wow to win him over again. He’s not the one voting, anyway, and willingly took the title of “cultural ignoramus” of the night, bestowed by Piers! Michael Lipari and Ashleigh Dejon were heavenly in their aerial dance amidst the clouds to verses of Bleeding Love. I was literally trembling as their routine ended. Grace can be as powerful to see as shocking spectacle! Michael Grasso told the story of his three kidney transplants in his profile, so clearly this master illusionist knows the miraculous beyond the magic, and his amazing act around a spinning cage and ending in a rose for judge Sharon was mesmerizing. Debra Romer offered a rendition of Adele’s Make You Feel My Love, flowing with feeling, and pureness of heart. This young lady who fled from foster care to make her way said she already was living a dream because people pay her to play now, and they will for a long time to come.
Studio One Young Beast Society brought big attitude to match their gymnastic power and military precision in Tuesday’s dance routine, and judge Piers praised the young troupe for always becoming “better, faster, more innovative” every time. Howie had another knit-pick over their name! Jeremy Von Schoonhoven had his worst fall in six years rehearsing for his terrifying trial bike test to his talent, and the cuts, bruises, sutures that resulted caused a miss on an opening minor jump, but he scaled a man-made mountain to go higher than ever before, and descended flawlessly, still in his saddle! He was a vision of courage, and I don’t see the votes denying him! Nathaniel Kenyon managed to bring his heartthrob smile and Teen People looks, but his vocals were not up to his previous par, so he’ll have to rely on his army of texters to bring in the vote. Murray paid homage to his family’s railway worker heritage with a grand illusion that moved from a Monopoly game piece train to making a full-size engine car vanish. Piers and Howie didn’t find his introduction enticing, but it’s always the stories behind any artist that draw me in, so we’ll see what American thinks.
Jackie Evancho said she had never “heard a roar” like she had in her previous live audition, and that it made her feel like she had “won a Grammy”. There is sure to be slews a Grammy’s and more roaring ovations for the amazing, unaffected 10-year-old wonder girl, who topped her own stupendous performances with Time to Say Goodbye, looking breathtaking in blue, and winning such an ovation that none of the judges could even voice their comments! Sharon reminded her of the blessing of her voice. Piers said many stars were made this season, but that Jackie was the superstar, and no one across the globe could say otherwise. Every vision of her is beauty, every note from her this is bestowed from heaven.
Fighting Gravity closed the evening, and the Virginia fraternity brothers added color to their colossal coordination abilities for another dazzling display under the black light! Piers scolded that they nearly cashed in their golden ticket by tossing a glowing yellow ball too near his head, but he still called the crowd favorites “fresh, original, and just fantastic” and the votes will likely agree.
The final five for the finals have the vote Wednesday night, and there is sure to be surprise in the air!
America’s Got Talent telecast, August 31, 2010 NBC-TV.