America’s Got Talent 2016 – Semi Finals #1 – Live Blog and Videos

AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- "Live Semi-Finals 1" Episode: 1118 -- Pictured: Tape Face -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

Tonight, America’s Got Talent 2016 Semi Final round begins with more LIVE SHOWS. Eleven acts will compete for YOUR VOTES and the favor of the panel of judges, Simon Cowell, Mel B., Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel. The show airs LIVE from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

VOTE online beginning NOW at Only FIVE acts will survive to advance to the finals. Tonight’s list of acts and performance order with voting phone numbers are also at that link!

Sal Valentinetti – Singer – Sal was totally freaked out when he found himself vying for the Dunkin Save. He’s going to prove to America that he DOES deserve to be here! Last time, he “standardized” One Direction’s pop hit “Story of my Life” and it wasn’t great. Ugggh. The video package–Sal and his cousin guido-ing it up for the yucks.  Boo to Italian American stereotypes. THIS week, Sal plays it way safe, covering Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life.” This is fine. But vocal style is imitative. I mean, the “Family Guy” dude is way better than this. Still, it’s smart to go old school. Performing first though–that could hurt his chances. “Your tenacity has paid off,” says Mel. “It’s a great way to open up the show.” She wanted more big notes, though. She felt he was maybe holding back. Hm. Heidi’s golden buzzer–this is how she likes him best. She loves his “heart of gold.” Simon says, “You’re here to win…I like people who are here to win.” Simon begs America to vote for Sal. A vote of confidence from Simon should help.

Blake Vogt – Magician – He’s the farm dude with a million allergies. He’s currently planning his wedding. He’s been dating fiance Nikki for 7 years. The video package features the couple at the beach. I guess Blake isn’t allergic to sand and salt. Nikki is in the audience tonight! Blake works with cards and slight of hand. His tricks are so slick. But this week, he tries something bigger. He stands on a scissor lift and makes his body disappear. Not really. He turns into spider man. But wait! After a burst of pyro Blake suddenly appears in the balcony with his fiance. Heidi doesn’t think bigger is always better. She prefers the close up magic. Besides, she kinda knows how he did it. (I think he may have had a body double on the lift?) Simon disagrees. He’s impressed. “I think this performance may have just changed your life.” Howie agrees with Simon. “I loved it.” Mel B. liked it too.

Edgar – Singing Group – Scott Borchetta tweeted today that the trio would be covering Rascal Flatts “God Bless the Broken Road.” The video package is about how the family came together. The husband overdosed and “faith brought him through.” It’s an emotional clip. Lots of tears. It’s a perfect segue into the redemption story of “Broken Road.” The harmonies are gorgeous, but the mom’s raspy vocals are a little off point this week. That was shaky. Daughter and dad should stick to backgrounds, to be honest. Simon thanks the group for their honesty. He calls them one of the most improved acts. Hm. I think they were better last time. Once again, Simon begs America to vote. Is this how it’s going to go for all the singing acts? Mel B says, “This is your night. You really stepped it up.” Howie is so thrilled to be part of their journey.

Lori Mae Hernandez – 13 year old Comedian – She was also a Dunkin Save and tala about how devastated she was to be in danger. In her video package, Lori TRAINS LIKE AN OLYMPIAN. Which means Olympic jokes tonight. Cause the joke is she’s got the same name as the gymnast, sort of. “There’s more than one Lori Hernandez in the world! But if you don’t believe me, go to a quinceanera.” Heh. She tosses in a Miley Cyrus joke. AND an American Idol joke. Her last joke was the best: “I just outgrew Barbies like Mariah did Nick.” She ALWAYS throws in a zinger. Pretty awesome. I hope she makes the finals. Howie thinks she needs to work a little harder on her material. Heidi likes her mature flow, and her jokes. Simon thinks it’s her best so far. “Edgy and fearless,” he says. “We just all got SERVED!” says Mel B. She thought there were some soft spots, but the end was killer.

Musicality – High School choir – Oh boy. This video package is really pulling the heart strings. A group of struggling under-privileged kids trying to overcome adversity blah blah blah. It’s an inspiring story, but I’m not convinced they belong in this competition. They sing “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga. The lead singers are mostly weak. They are a nice high school glee club with a TV ready story. Eh. Mel B loves them, but for her “it just felt like a well-rehearsed school performance.” Uhm. Yeah. Since day one, actually. Heidi feels a connection with the group. They make her want to snuggle up in Simon’s chest hair and take a nap. Uh. Simon says they make him feel good. “I’d feel even better if you were here in two weeks time.” Is he kidding? NOPE NOPE NOPE.

Deadly Games – Husband and Wife Danger Act – Yeah. Women in danger act. Bleh. Oh. Whips. The dude is wielding two whips. I guess he’s taming her! Errr. Now, it’s time to throw some knives. She’s behind a sheet of paper as he aims. The power bow is next. He pops a balloon right next to her head. They end with a kiss. I thought that was pretty boring, but the judges love it. Mel and Heidi give standing ovations. Heidi wants to be a fly on their bedroom wall. “Scary and hot.” She begs America to vote for them. Simon thinks the production is getting better. He likes that both are front and center in the act. Howie is really turned on by the wife. He would have given a standing o but… Eep. “You came here to slay,” says Mel. It’s her fav performance of the night.

Tape Face – Mime Comedy – In his video package, the comic does an “Ask Tape Face” bit on the street. He answers all the questions in FUNNY MIME.  For his live act Tapey grabs a volunteer from the audience and hands him balloons from a bag. He sticks one between his legs. Har. He sets himself up the same way. Then–they have a western style shootout with stapler guns. SO WEIRD. What is this? He ends the bit with a stream of confetti. It makes no sense, but that’s the act’s charm. Simon thinks Tapey has the ability to do something stupid and still be interesting. He says “Like Mel B.” She tosses a cup of water at him, but hits an audience member instead. Oops. She chases Simon into the audience. And there isn’t much of a critique going on here. Tapey shoves the confetti streams in his pants. Chaos! The end.

Henry Winkler is in the audience to pimp his reality show. It’s on next, Better Late than Never.

Jon Dorenbos – NFL player/Magician – He’s coming back to that moment where Football and Magic meet. In other words–he’s getting ready to retire from the NFL and he needs a new career! Actually this guy is good. No doubt, he’ll end up in Las Vegas if he wants that. All the judges are involved in “Throw or Snap.” You know, Jon is a snapper. That means throwing a ball between the legs. Each of them snap or throw a ball at a map of the United States. Each state has a number. Heidi wants to snap! And she hits Wyoming. They all hit a state…except Simon. Howie opens a treasure chest. The money in the chest…has states on the back. And they all match the states the judges hit on the map. And…a map inside a journal has a photo of the map with each of the judges faces on the states they hit. Wow. Howie calls it “amazing.” He’s also amazed by how good Heidi is with balls between her legs. Har. “It purely is magical,” says Mel. “It was your best touchdown yet,” says Heidi. “This is the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen on one of these shows,” says Simon.

Grace Vanderwaal – 12 year old Singer/Songwriter – Tonight’s original song is about allowing herself “to shine.” I think Grace is a better lyricist than tunesmith. Melody-wise, her songs sound too similar.  She might want to put away the ukulele and maybe strum a guitar. Can she play piano? There’s a sameness about all of her performances. But then…she’s only 12! She’s so relieved when she finishes! I’m still against trusting a young artist in front of a television camera. Mel B. calls her a “superstar.” Heidi predicts she’ll be one of the last two standing. “I think you sing for a new generation,” says Simon. He begs America to vote for her. He predicts the best final ever, because of her. “The world knows you could win this,” says Howie. I hope her family is keeping her grounded. At least Howie didn’t tell her, as he did last time, that she’ll be a bigger star than Taylor Swift.

Malevo – Hot Latin Dance Troupe – They’ve all left their kids back in Argentina. Sads. Drumming is first! Then a dude enters the stage with the twirling whips. Next, some sexy step dancing. They should whip off their vests. Just saying. But no, they step in water, surrounded by pyro. And the one guy drumming ends with his fist in the air. It’s quite dramatic. “I LOVED IT,” says Heidi. “Hot as always.” Mel B is all hot and bothered. “OFF THE CHAIN!!!!” Simon loves their willingness to win. He asks America to vote. So does Howie.

Laura Bretan – 14 year old Opera Singer – Laura cries about losing her grandfather in January. “He wanted to see me following my dream.” She is performing one of his favorite songs. Whatever it is, she delivers her best and most precise performance so far. Also, Laura has the ability to sing with emotion, particularly for a 14 year old. I think she’s better than the singing child robot, Jackie Evancho. The judges give Laura a standing ovation. The crowd is going crazy. Simon thinks it was her best vocal performance. “You’ve come back with an explosive performance.” He predicts she’ll be in the finals. “You hit all the right notes,” says Heidi. Mel B is impressed with her vocal ability. “You literally tear this roof off. Howie wants to tell America to VOTE. “This was an OMG night,” he says.

About mj santilli 33195 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!