America’s Got Talent 2017 Semifinal 1 Recap, Live Blog and Videos

AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- "Live Show 4" -- Pictured: Chase Goehring -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

America’s Got Talent LIVE Semifinals part 1 air tonight. At least 10 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.

Performing tonight: Darci Lynne, Billy & Emily England, Preacher Lawson, Yoli Mayor, Eric Jones, Evie Clair,  Johnny Manuel, Chase Goehring, Danell Daymon and Greater Works, Mike Yung  and Sarah and Hero.

Tomorrow, only FIVE acts advance to the final. Click over to for ALL your voting details.

Yoli Mayor – Singer – Yoli recalls how Simon made her sing another song during her audition before he enthusiastically passed her on to the next round. Unfortunately, he was disappointed in her Quarterfinal performance. So, she’s going to strip it back tonight, hoping to impress Simon once again. She sings “So You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur. She seems really nervous. Her breathing is off. This is not an assured performance. Considering they dumped her in the first slot, there’s probably not much hope she’ll advance. “What a beautiful performance…you are back” says Simon “You just laid your heart on your sleeve.” Hm. “Well done…well bloody done!” says Mel. “You just nailed that performance.” Heidi says, “You brought a little tear to my eye.”  Simon snsrks, “That’s a first.  Howie exclaims, “Holy Moly Yoli.”  *face palm*. He hopes America votes for her.

Eric Jones – Magician – He’s the only remaining magician in the show. BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY FRICKIN’ SINGERS. It’ll be difficult for him to advance to the finals.  That’s even despite his video package, in which he cries about his son, who will be in the audience tonight for the first time. The bit revolves around his “lucky two dollar bill” which he changes into coins. The judges are sitting with him up on stage. He calls Heidi “Mel” by mistake. He blames it on “the alcohol.” Good save.  Seating the judges on stage is definitely an advantage for Eric. It brings even more intimacy to his close-up magic. The tricks he does with coins are simple, but pretty nifty. Again, I really like Eric’s laid back style. It was “Wow wow wow!” says Howie. He begs America to vote. Mel is sure he has superpowers! “You are truly, truly a superhero,” she says. Heidi loves his friendly delivery, and calls his act mindblowing. Simon felt that he stepped up his delivery this time. “I think you’re ready for the final. 

Danell Daymon and Greater Works – Gospel Choir – When Danell was a kid, he found out the man he thought was his father actually wasn’t. One night, after he joined the Navy, he almost jumped off his ship. But you know what happens here. GOD SAVED HIM. Directing the choir gave him a sense of purpose.  Ohhhh. The Asteroid Song gets the gospel choir treatment. Hooray? Actually, the bombast of “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” lends itself well to the gospel treatment. As always, the song doesn’t come alive until the big voiced singer barrels on to the stage and ad libs all over the gospel coda. She needs to have ALL THE SOLOS.  Standing ovation from the crowd and the judges. Danell breaks down in tears after it’s over. “You guys are so amazing,” says Heidi.” Simon says, “You just get me every single time…I think you’re the life and soul of this show” Howie appreciates that “it’s all about emotion.” Howie wants to adopt Darnell. “JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL,” shouts Mel.

Preacher Lawson – Comedian – In his video package Preacher does a bit about how he’s now constantly. Yada yada. Tonight’s routine revolves around dating difficulties and what an ugly kid he was. He tells a pretty tasteless joke about an ex-girlfriend and her big forehead keeping him from wanting to procreate because…ugly kids. The punchline is that he’s talking about Tyra. THUD. He moves on to making fun of his big lips. These jokes are trite.  But the judges seem to love him. Simon thinks he should have his own sitcom. “You are going to get everything you ever dreamed of,” says Howie. He asks America to vote. “You kill it every single time,” says Mel. “Brilliant.”  Heidi really liked it this week, because it wasn’t so rushed. That’s true. He definitely calmed down this time.

Johnny Manuel – Singer – Johnny recaps his short and unsuccessful chance at the big time when he was 14.  Nobody would allow him to be himself, he insists, which made the experience miserable. So, he really wants to show the world who he is. He’ll be singing an original song. Oh. Big risk. The song has a big chorus and fits the big voiced style the judges love. The song itself is ok? But not memorable enough to eclipse a big classic he could have chosen. Howie calls him a great technical singer. He’s thinking he might have made a mistake singing an original. Mel kind of agrees. She thinks he might have peaked too soon. Heidi admires his courage. She thinks the song is a hit. She thought parts of it were yelly, though. He’s sunk. Simon says, “You have my respect showing America who you are.” Buh Bye Johnny.

Billy & Emily England – Daredevil Rollerskaters – In their video package, the siblings play up the danger in their act. One time, Emily smashed her head, breaking her skull in many places. A bone was removed and it took 7 months to recover. Yikes. Emily’s head is so close to the floor as Billy swings her, her hair grazes the ground. It kinda bugs me that she’s in more danger than he is? She’s the passive actor as he tosses her to and fro. Still, they put on a compelling act. Good lord. The act ends with him literally tossing her off stage. I have mixed feelings about that. There’s a violent overtone here that I’m not digging. Heidi thinks they could win. “You’re nuts, you tricked us,” says Howie. Mel is speechless. “Acts like you keep us on the edge of our seat. You’re warriors, you’re superheroes.” Simon calls it stunning, brave and terrifying. Before we cut to commercial, we see an instant replay of the judges reacting to the sister toss.

Evie Clair – Teen Singer –  Her story–her dad is in the last stages of colon cancer. He’s so sick, he couldn’t be in the audience to watch her perform.   She sings “Yours” by Ella Henderson, sitting at the piano while strings play in the background. It’s a very pretty rendition.  Her voice goes oh so quiet in the third verse. Evie is just this side of underdone.  At 13, she isn’t quite able to harness the emotions she’s obviously feeling into a compelling performance.   “You are gutsy,” says Simon. “You’re voice is beautiful,” he says. “You’re dad is going to be so proud of you. Evie begins crying. “You made it very intimate, very personal,” says Heidi. Mel notes that she’s going through so much and commends her on her courage and her confidence.

The Clairvoyants from last season will appear on tomorrow’s results show.

Sara and Hero – Dog Act – In her video package, Sara shares the story of how she came to adopt Loki, one of the three dogs she trains. Loki. Flea bitten and in bad shape, she brought him back to health. Hero makes his entrance charging across the judges table. Simon loves it. There’s a beach theme tonight, with a volleyball net, skateboard and frisbee. These tricks are not spectacular. I’m sorry. Standing ovation for that, though. Hero and Loki fight over a frisbee, charming Simon totally. “I love them, you’re a star, amazing,” he says. Howie shares that Sara put the act together in 5 days. Heidi calls the act, “Beyond cute.”

Chase Goehring –  Singer/Songwriter- Chase shares how his grandfather taught him how to see the world. Tonight’s original song is titled “What is Love.” It was inspired by a friend of his who was going through many bad relationships. Simon gave Chase a pep talk before his last performance and now “he’s definitely my favorite judge.” The song is an acoustic ballad, with very little rapping. Heidi is going to be disappointed. Ha. It’s just Chase and his acoustic guitar. The song tells a classic story of unrequited love. For the first time it doesn’t feel like Chase is merely channeling Sheeran. Simon gushes, “I think you are such a special person…songwriter. You’ve got the strength and courage to show people who you are. I love you.” Mel B respects his “original vibe.”  Heidi is sure the girls at home will love him. She was OK with rapping vs singing ratio tonight. Howie says, “If Ed Sheeran and Logic had a child, that would be you,” Chase is flattered. “That’s a huge compliment.”

Darci Lynne – Kid Ventriloquist – In her video package Darci explains that she’s been using her wild imagination to make puppets ever since she was little. She introduces us to a few of her characters. Tonight, she’ll be introducing Edna Doorknocker, a sassy old lady. Sample quip:  “I haven’t been this uncomfortable since I was stuck in the elevator with the singing Trump!” Edna has the hots for Simon, dedicating a performance of “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” to him. The crowd is on their feet before the act ends. Darci saunters over to the judges table so Edna can serenade Simon close up. He’s obviously delighted. Aside from the puppeting, Darci can actually sing. “I’ve got a crush on you,” Simon tells Edna. He calls Darci brilliant and declares, “You’re heading to the bigtime.” Mel gushes over her golden buzzer pick and begins inexplicably speaking Armenian again. “You’re bringing ventriloquism to the next level,” says Heidi. Howie is sure she can win.

Mike Yung – Subway Singer – Mike reminisces about his mother. He wishes she was around to see his success. She was a singer too–won six weeks in a row at the Apollo. She gave up her dreams to raise kids.  He sings a heartfelt and very emotional performance of Solomon Burke’s “Don’t Give Up On Me.” It’s his best performance to date. With only an electric guitar accompanying him, it allows his muscular voice to shine. Simon loved his raw, authentic performance. “I really like you,” he says. “You are a very special man,” says Heidi. Mel didn’t get it, until tonight. “This was your best best performance forever!” Howie calls it “an amazing closing.” Howie says, “I’m woke…you got to vote.” Enough with the bad puns. Simon thanks the production team, calling tonight’s show one of the best.

About mj santilli 34995 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!