America’s Got Talent Quarterfinals begin tonight, LIVE from the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. Twelve contestants will perform in front of judges Howie Mandel, Gabrielle Union, Julianne Hough and Simon Cowell for YOUR votes. Terry Crews hosts. Join us as we live blog all the performances.
The winning act receives 1 million dollars and will headline their very own Vegas show. Only SEVEN acts will advance to the Semifinals. FIVE acts will be eliminated by the end of tomorrow’s Results show.
VOTE for your favorite act via NBC. com, XFinity X1 Voice command, or the AGT Phone app!
GForce – Teen Girl group – These Canadian tween girls dream about being the next big girl group. The action begins in a space age manicure shop. Hm. There’s rapping. Again, this is very pageanty Kidz Bop. But I guess the kiddos will like it? They’re performing an original song that’s all about GIRL POWER y’all. “We’re going to do our own thing!” They shout. The performance also includes peppy choreography. Howie compliments their energy. “I’m filled with girl power, which is weird for a middle aged bald guy.” Gabrielle is proud, “You rocked it.” Julianne loves their individuality. Simon calls them fearless, although he did not like the song. He warns them to bring a better song if they make it. Gabrielle reminds him that HE told them they needed to be in control. Their prospects are likely dim. How many 12 year old girls are actually watching AGT?
Greg Morton – Comedian/impressionist – In his video package, Greg talks about going to the movies as a kid and mimicking the voices. “I got pretty good at it!” It’s been a tough road for poor Greg, he shares. AGT could be the big break he has been waiting for. He kicks off his performance with some Lion King, followed by a bunch more familiar voices. Greg is a one man nostalgia machine–recreating voices from famous movies of various eras. I can’t help but smile at this! Oh gosh. He’s even nailing Marlon Brando in the Godfather. He yells at Simon to “Show me the money.” Heh. And finishes with Schwarzenegger’s iconic “I’ll be back.” Gabrielle says he brings everyone back to their childhoods. Julianne is on the edge of her seat. “You are activating our imagination…a true artist.” Simon worried whether Greg could own the stage–he can, Simon declares, adding, “I hope the audience shows you the money with their votes.”
Carmen Carter – Diva Belter – Carmen’s video package features her elderly parents sharing stories about how the singer loved to entertain folks, even as a child. They are so proud of her! She performs a creative cover of “Believer” by Imagine Dragons. Performing a contemporary song at this point is risky and smart. She’s playing the leather clad Tina Turner type singer well. She’s actually got swag to go along with those strong vocals. This song is really easy to bomb, so props to her. She’s effortless tonight, hitting crazy notes flawlessly. For the first time, I am actually impressed. Oh. Howie isn’t standing. Simon was sold on the song choice halfway through. “You made us all believers,” says Gabrielle. “Unforgettable.” Julianne loved the risk, “You put your Carmen twist on it.” Howie criticizes the song choice. He’s wrong, of course.
Emerald Belles – Teen “high kick” dance team – In their video package, we see these Texas gals receive an American Idol like homecoming. The mayor–or whoever–mocks Howie for dissing the group (he compared them unfavorably to the Rockettes). Ha. They do their thing-dancing with extreme precision. The high kicks never stop. The girls end the routine dropping into painful looking splits. “You guys killed it!” Gabrielle gushes. Howie is finally impressed, remarking on how the production elevated their performance, “You blew the roof off…spectacular.” Julianne thinks they stepped it up. “You’re better together.” Simon says they define what AGT is all about–hard work and ambition. He demands an apology from Howie, who stands up and bows.
Sophie Peccora – Young singer/Youtube star – Simon is running back to his seat as Terry introduces Sophie. Quit smoking Simon, and you won’t be late! Sophie even sings an original song–complete with flashing lyrics–in her video package. What never gets mentioned is that the 15 year old has a Youtube channel with a kabillion or so followers. On stage, she sings a heartfelt ditty about feeling good in your own skin. She’s like a modern teen beat poet, dropping angsty, relatable bits to fellow teens. No wonder she’s popular. Fun fact: She was Brad Paisley’s Golden Buzzer. Julianne got teary during her video package. “You speak truth,” she says. Howie calls her the most “important thing on this stage so far.” Gabrielle calls her poignant and important. “You are such a rock star,” she says. Simon loves her simplicity, “an immaculate performance…I’m slightly in awe of you.”
Messoudi Brothers – Hand Balancers – Uh oh. While they were rehearsing for the live shows, they had an accident. One of the brothers holds a cane. Yikes. The brothers begin stripping right away. They know what the audience wants. OFF COME THE T SHIRTS. They’re upping the ante with a blindfold. Although, I don’t quite get the point? Still, they once again prove their superhuman strength, forming different and seemingly impossible configurations. The brother that’s hurt looks to be screaming in pain. Gabrielle calls them “sexy…good job guys.” Julianne feels anxiety watching them. She loves the danger and risk factor. Simon wants something even more dangerous. “a tank full of piranhas.” Yeah, Simon. That would be dumb.
Voices of Service – Military Singing group – This group of singers are all veterans/active military members who sing for their fellow military members. In their video package, they visit a military cemetary, waxing poetic about the flag and patriotism. They sing “Fire” by Gavin DeGraw, with a gospel choir backing them up–the military chorus. I don’t like the production. The quartet’s beautiful harmonies and powerful solos are more than enough. I miss the simplicity of their earlier performances. Howie salutes them for their service and talent. Simon calls them inspirational. “I think the public are going to vote you into the later round.” Gabrielle calls their voices a blessing for folks who are facing trauma. Julianne says, riffing off a line in the song, “We are one tribe.”
Ansley Burns – Young Soul Singer – WILDCARD – When she was cut, Ansley cried her eyes out. Now she’s back as a wildcard. Will Simon make her sing twice for a THIRD time? Hm. Her first outings featured soul songs. Now she’s chirping along to the classic country tune “Swinging.” She’s 12 years old and performs like she hopes to win a sash in a kid beauty pageant. And she has pitch problems! In a few years she might be ready, but not now. Simon said the internet hated him after he cut her. He admits that he didn’t like the song, but thinks she has a great voice and personality. He calls her a “little fighter.” Julianne says, “never stop believing in yourself.” Howie is thrilled that she’s back, “you make the world smile.”
Alex Dowis – Blacklight Painter – After communism fell in the Czech republic, Alex learned street art. The blacklight component was, for Alex, a logical next step. Tonight, he’s painting the history of the world, starting with the Big Bang and dinosaurs. And monkeys! Obvs not a creationist. The routine ends with a modern person connecting to the world through technology and a final quote from Stephen Hawking. Simon says it felt too much like being in a science museum. He didn’t feel it emotionally. Gabrielle disagrees. “It was mankind, it was beautiful,” she says. “If Banksy and Darwin had a child, it would be you, says Howie. Julianne calls his depiction of the history of time “magical.” These blacklight acts don’t translate well on TV, unfortunately.
Luke Islam – Young Singer – This 12 year old performer is Julianne Hough’s Golden Buzzer. After his audition, Waitress the Musical creator Sara Bareilles tweeted him congratulations. He sticks to Broadway performing “You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen. He has a very pleasing tone. His vocals are still a little raw at 12 years of age, but he has tons of potential. There is something about his earnest delivery that is appealing. Julianne is so proud. “That voice is undeniable,” she says. Simon compliments his confidence and poise. “You’ve done yourself really proud,” he says. Howie predicts that he’ll be starring on a Broadway stage.
Bir Khalsa – Danger Act – After the judge cuts, one of the members left the trio (!!!). Now there is a new guy, who is narrating the video package. The har har is that he’s the newbie who could mess up and smash a head instead of a watermelon. This time, the group works with fire. Salt in the eyes and a blindfold looks painful. Thankfully, the new guy is relegated to handing things off. The routine starts off with a chainsaw and a giant cucumber, which the giant guy holds in his mouth. The cutting commences, all the way down to his teeth. Yikes. Next, the blindfolded guy hacks an ice block set on the giant’s chest. The routine ends with the ole mallet and watermelon. Nobody dies! Simon calls it “fantastically crazy…dangerous.” Howie says, “This is everything I love in this show.” Gabrielle says “You knocked it out of the park.” Gabrielle says, “You crushed it.”
Kodi Lee – Singer/pianist – In his video package, mom talks about learning that Kodi was blind at 3 months. Not soon after, he was diagnosed as autistic. Music was the thing that made him really happy and gave mom hope for his future. Kodi is Gabrielle’s Golden Buzzer. His audition has had almost half a million views online. His mom situates Kodi at the piano before he performs “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Oh boy. This performance really pulls at the heartstrings. He doesn’t have a great voice–he’s a better piano player. But his delivery is moving nonetheless. No chance Kodi won’t advance to the next round. He could win the whole thing. Gabrielle says, “You changed the world…we have to stop putting limits on our children.” Simon says, “You continually amaze me. We are nothing without people like you.” Paul Simon gave special permission for Kodi to sing the song. However, it’s not true that the song is hardly sung on singing shows as Simon claims.