America’s Got Talent LIVE SHOWS begin tonight on NBC. Twelve performers will take the stage live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood as judging is turned over to fans. Featuring creator and executive producer Simon Cowell, Mel B, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel on the judges panel, and host, Tyra Banks.
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Tyra is super colorful on stage tonight. We’ll see how she handles a fast-paced live situation. I still miss Nick Cannon. Simon says the acts are facing the best night of their lives, or the worst night of their lives. Typical Simon.
Christian Guardino – Singer – Howie’s golden buzzer. I almost forgot about this guy. He was blind until an operation saved his sight. The young singer feels like he’s finally stepping out into the light, and he doesn’t want to hold back. Oh right–he performs R&B, which was very unexpected. Tonight, he sings “Make it Rain” by Ed Sheeran. Christian’s got potential, although his phrasing needs to mature. He’s got a nice tone, but great soul singing is more than the ability to sing loud riffs. Howie is “bursting with emotion!” He calls Christian “magic” and says “you’ll never feel left out again.” Mel was impressed the way he hit the big notes. Heidi and the other judges noted how nervous he was backstage. Apparently he was shaking. “I think you are going to get through tonight,” says Simon. He suggests that he take more risks next time. Simon’s got a point. That performance was paint by numbers blues singing. Simon would love if he played piano next time. Christian admits that he doesn’t play.
Ayrton and Paige – Kid Ballroom Dancers – The kiddos are performing a tribute to Footloose. The cute pre-package features the young duo running off to dance in a barn. These kids, I have to admit, are absolutely adorable. And they really step it up this time. The boy, Ayrton tumbles all over the stage while Paige pirouettes her heart out. A very engaging pair. Lots of energy. Mel B compares them to “lightning bolts.” Heidi calls them “an explosion of talent.” Simon felt what they did tonight was a step up from before. He felt Ayrton stole a bit of the limelight. “You put a huge smile on people’s faces,” says Howie.
Mel B looks like a completely different person in her short do and space age outfit. The result of divorcing an asshole, perhaps.
In The Stairwell – Military a capella group – They’re from the US Air Force Academy. In their package, we see them at school fitting in rehearsal time. A few of the members have graduated. They owe 5 years of military service after they leave school. The group sings “Some Nights” by .fun. UGH they’re turning this song into a literal military anthem. I really don’t think that’s what Jack Antonoff had in mind originally. Having said that, musically, they are more impressive this week. The acts so far are bringing EXTRA to the live shows. They get a big standing ovation. Howie thinks they stepped it up one more time (he called them boring before). Mel B wants to remind them all she’s single. “Your harmonies are so yummy.” She loves their “awkward” choreography. Heidi says they stand for freedom, brotherhood, talent and HOTNESS. “This was such a step up,” says Simon. “I really hope the public picks up the phone and puts you through.
The Singing Trump – Impersonator – I’ll just say this impersonator’s timing is unfortunate. I mean, as I write, #ImpeachTrump is the #1 trend on twitter. Not the week to be up for votes. But maybe, at this point, there is no good timing. Fake 45 performs “Shut up and Dance,” “U Can’t Touch This,” and Zzzzz. Pretty sure he’s going home tomorrow. Mel criticized the timing in the first half, but said he got her with Hammertime. “What the hell was THAT,” says Simon, as he’s wont to do. Heidi says she likes THIS Trump. And then Howie snarks, “There’s good and bad on both sides.” A joke that went over like a lead balloon. Then, the unfortunate performer makes an excruciatingly awkward attempt at a heartfelt plea to bring the country together. Second hand embarrassment all the way around.
Angelica Hale – Kid Singer – She had a kidney transplant at 4 years old, was in a coma and nearly died. In the hospital she serenaded the nurses and doctors. The nine year old sings “Clarity” by Zedd. There’s something weirdly mature about her. It’s a bit unsettling. She hits a whistle note, cleanly. Her intonation is impressive. Also, I appreciate that she’s singing a fairly contemporary song this time around. Mel loves her song choice. “You did it so much justice.” “You hit those high notes….you show them who’s boss,” says Heidi. Simon calls Angelica “A special girl.” He felt she was a little nervous to start, but finished incredibly. Angelica said she felt “overwhelmed” and was scared to begin with.
Bello Nock – Comedic Daredevil – He’s a Wild Card. Simon says after watching his act back, Simon wanted to give him another chance. He’s the guy with the David Lynch hair who was shot out of a cannon over a helicopter. How does he top that? He’ll perform “The Wheel of Death.” Yeah…the thing he does is dangerous. He performs stunts on a giant metal contraption that swings round and round. It’s like an amusement park ride with no door or seat belts. He ups the ante by walking along the top of the cylinders. A couple of times, it looked like he slipped, but I think it was part of the act. “You just freaked me out,” says Heidi. “I’m loving it…you’re crazy.” Simon, who didn’t like him the first time, calls it “honestly incredible.” Mel thought it was a bit repetitive, but by the end she was enthralled.
Just Jerk – Dance Crew – This all male dance crew somes from Korea. They are a super-proficient crew: precise and well rehearsed. It’s more of what they did before though. In order to stay competitive, they need to change it up, as many of the acts before them did. Mel B is SUPER IMPRESSED. “On Point! My heart is jumping out of my chest.” Heidi didn’t experience as many wow moments this time. (I agree with her). Simon thinks they’ll go through, but they need to bring something we’ve never seen before. He’s right. Howie instructs America to vote.
Puddles Pity Party – Sad Clown Singer – In his video package, Puddles watches his sad clown self as a child. His balloon floats away and Puddles sheds a tear. This time, he performs “Royals” by Lorde. He brings that special Puddles magic. If you like that sort of thing. I don’t, particularly. What is it that puts me off? I hate clowns? I find his act twee and precious, I guess. Dang. Simon just buzzed him. That was cold. Puddles walks off stage and Tara has to retrieve him. He’s very sad. “I couldn’t get in your world tonight,” says Simon. Howie doesn’t agree. “I love you,” he says. Mel thinks he killed it. Heidi has mixed feelings. She wants a happy clown. Puddles only manages to makes a few weird, sad noises before the segment ends. Simon threw him thoroughly under the bus. He’s probably toast.
Preacher Lawson – Comedian – Preacher has struggled in Los Angeles for years–he was homeless at one point. He does a bit on Oprah, Guinness World Record, cellphones. He’s as manic as ever. Slow down dude. Howie wants Preacher to go all the way to the finals, “You are a star.” Mel B loves his energy, “You are so funny.” Heidi loves his face and voice and star quality. Simon thinks he could be a TV star.
Yoli Mayor – Singer – She grew up in her father’s mechanics shop in Little Havana. She sings “Human” by Rag N Bone man. Interesting song choice. It’s a tough one. It stretches both her lower and upper register, but the young singer brings grit to her performance. I believed that. For Mel, she felt something was missing tonight. The song was probably a bit obscure. Heidi disagrees, “You have one of the best voices on America’s Got Talent.” Simon felt the song was overproduced. He hopes America gives her another chance. She was better last time, but tonight was still solid.
Billy and Emily England – Roller Skating Daredevils – The siblings come from a family of daredevils. Their father died from cancer years ago. Her mom didn’t handle it very well. The brother and sister leaned on each other. Last time, Billy swung Emily around as she latched onto his beard. Can they top that? They’re doing their usual shtick tonight. They add a rising platform to the bit, which I suppose makes it more dangerous. But there’s nothing here as compelling as the beard trick. Heidi says watching them never gets old. Howie mentions that Emily has been injured in the past–she had her hip replaced at one point. “I would vote for you,” he says. Mel calls them “superheroes.” She’s sure their dad is watching over them. “This was perfection,” says Simon.
Darci Lynne – Kid Ventriloquist – Her entire town in Oklahoma celebrated her as she received the key to the city. She introduces a new puppet. He’s a shy, nervous mouse called Oscar. He’s in love with Mel B. When Darci notes that he’s a mouse and Mel’s a human, Oscar says, But Heidi was married to a Seal! Oscar the mouse proceeds to belt out a passionate “Who’s Loving You.” The girl’s got some pipes. This kid is definitely going to the finals. “Most people can’t even sing with their mouths open!” says Heidi. “You’re out of this world,” says Mel. Darci was Mel’s Golden Buzzer. “You young lady…get ready for the big time,” says Simon.
Tomorrow: Only SEVEN acts advance. AGT winner Grace Vanderwaal performs. Be here at 8 pm. We’ll be live blogging again.