America’s Got Talent Semifinals begin tonight, LIVE from the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. Eleven 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 FIVE acts will advance to the Finals. SIX 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!
For the first time ever, guest judges will take part in the semifinal round. And tonight, it’s Sean Hayes from Will & Grace. He’s a huge fan of the show, or so he says.
Ndlovu Youth Choir – Youth choir hails from South Africa – They have become rock stars where they are from. Even the president wanted to meet them. Tonight, they sing “Higher Love” with an African beat. The solo singers are so good. Really, Ndlovu is the best choir to ever compete on AGT, in my opinion. They are so well put together and professional. Better than the Detroit Youth Choir, who sailed into the semifinals easily. However, Ndlovu had to be saved last time–they are fighting an uphill battle at this point. Gabriele says they delivered a Higher Love to all of us. She calls them inspiring. Julianne says, “You are making waves…what you are doing is global inclusion.” Howie calls them “beautiful” before cracking a joke about Simon’s glasses. Simon declares the performance in a way higher league than anything else they’ve done before. “You really deserve a place in the final.” OK then. I expected Simon to bus them.
Ansley Burns – Singer whom Simon made sing twice–twice – Quarterfinal Wildcard – She’s the only Wildcard to survive the Quarterfinals. In her video package, Ansley runs through how Simon kept asking her to sing twice. This week, she’s going to pick her OWN song (apparently friends and family picked the others. Hm). She loves Carrie Underwood, and sings “Cry Pretty.” Eh. Song picks aren’t going to fix Ansley in the short run. She needs time to develop vocally and emotionally. She’s imitating Carrie, down to the way she moves on stage. Julianne is sure America loves Ansley Burns. “You are a ray of sunshine,” she says. “America wants to root for you.” But maybe the song overpowered her, she says. Sean compares her to Karen Carpenter. UHM NO. Gabrielle loves Ansley. “You are America’s underdog.” Howie thinks the song was too big for her. She needs her own TV show, he says. Simon did not like the staging. But he likes that he’s she’s gutsy and adorable. He asks America to vote based on every performance. Hm. That would mean sending her home…
Messoudi Brothers – Trio of beefy hand balancers – Over under on how fast the brothers rip off their shirts. Heh. C’mon, y’all are waiting for that. Admit it. Last time, Simon asked for more danger. They are going to attempt a trick that previously injured a brother. OH HA HA. They don’t even bother wearing shirts. Smart to cut to the chase. They invite Julianne on stage and make her part of the act. Threesome! Ha. But only for one trick. OK when does this routine become dangerous? I halfway expect Simon to buzz them. I mean ALL OF IT is dangerous–how they balance on top of each other in precarious positions. They end with a crazy configuration on top of a hydraulic that hoists them into the air and back again. “THANK YOU” says Julianne. “THAT WAS FANTASTIC.” She thinks they upped the ante. Simon feels they took his advice. I’m surprised he’s satisfied, actually. Gabrielle loves their smiles. “You wowed us.” Howie calls it fantastic. Sean is “absolutely blown away.” He says, “everything is bigger.” A bit of a double entendre there!
Tyler Butler-Figueroa – Young violinist battled Leukemia – Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer – Tonight, Tyler is performing with fellow cancer survivors. He plays “Break Free” while a bunch of his pals cheer him on in the audience. This week, he throws in a few dance moves. It’s another energetic performance from Tyler. He’s not really topping himself here, but that probably doesn’t matter. The audience chants his name! Simon calls his story “unbelievable” but notes that he’s gutsy and a great showman. “Joy and talent,” Simon says, “I think that’s going to put you in the final. Gabrielle calls him magical and brilliant. Sean is impressed how he moves and plays at the same time. Julianne felt his performance tonight went above and beyond. “You’re greatest trial has become your greatest triumph,” she says.
Greg Morton – Impressionist does a zillion pop culture voices – His video package recreates kids on a school bus bullying him, which is a little unsettling. Cartoons got him through his childhood, Greg explains. He won the kids over by performing for them. So this week, he’ll be doing cartoon impressions. Which is fun. He races through the Hannah Barbera and Warner Brothers Oeuvre. It’s Baby Boomer paradise. THIS is why he’s popular. He brings back childhood memories. He can’t lose, even though he really has never presented a cogent act. Oh. He skips to the 80’s doing Simpsons voices. Then jokes that he can’t do Disney voices “COPYRIGHT.” Heh. He ends with the Nickelodeon era. He imitates a voice that Howie did. Nice touch. Julianne hopes that animators are watching this. “You can do every single voice.” Oops. Simon wasn’t impressed. He calls it “a mess.” Uh. It’s no different than what he’s been doing all along actually–it’s just comics this time. Only five can go through this week. Simon is obviously done with Greg.
Kodi Lee @kodileerocks – Blind/autistic singer/pianist – Gabrielle’s Golden Buzzer – Kodi’s family share stories about growing up with an autistic brother. Kodi didn’t like being touched, or know how to express love. But the piano changed everything. In the clip, Kodi plays in the famed Capitol studios with his family all around. Tonight he delivers a solid performance of Calum Scott’s “You are the Reason.” His intonation is better than last time. I’d say it is his best performance so far. Gabrielle says, ‘You just keep changing the world…you make the world a thousand percent better.” Simon compliments his special talent. “My breath was taken away.” Sean had tears in his eyes. He calls Kodi a gift. Howie calls him “magic.”
Jackie Fabulous @jackiefabulous – Thirty something comedian – Jackie jokes in front of a “jury” how a donut saved her life last week. Remember, she started as a lawyer. Heh. Because she needed the Dunkin’ Save last week, she probably will not advance to the finals. This time, she jokes about being a “fat actress” and how she’s a little bit in denial about it. Hm. She’s dipping into the B/C material this week. Howie is laughing, though. He calls her “fabulous.” He finds her funny, and more importantly, authentic. Gabrielle says she delivers every time she hits the stage. “You are really hot!” Sean calls her likable and hilarious. Julianne loves her big energy and essence. “You are hot stuff.” Unsurprisingly, Simon is dissing her. He liked her video clip better than the act. He’s done with Jackie, as well. Admittedly, however, she has been stronger in the past.
Robert Finley @TheRobertFinley – Blind R&B singer, also a Vietnam vet – His dad believed the blues was “the devils music” which influenced his decision to put set his musical ambitions aside after he returned from Vietnam. Tonight he bring his guitar and digs into some old school blues. He sings “age don’t mean a thing.” Oh man. This song is about convincing a younger woman to give him a chance. OK then. His performances are consistent week to week. But maybe he’s wearing a bit thin? Sean calls him hip and cool and thinks he belongs in a Tarantino movie. Simon calls him cool and classy. He thought the band was too much, though. Hm. I don’t know if I agree. “It’s not quite the moment I need here.” OK for a minute I thought Simon was going with it. But no. Simon’s is also done with Robert. Howie says “I know the Jews, but not the blues.” Ha.
Eric Chien – Close up magician – The last time, Simon advised Eric to go bigger. Julianne thought he shouldn’t change a thing. What will he do? Close up magic is his THING. But if he works in Vegas, he’ll need to switch it up. Yes, he actually ruminates on this choice in his video package. He starts off at a table with cards and a map. Eric is taking us on a virtual trip around the world. Is this his idea of going big? I guess so! Julianne is a little confused. That’s not good. Simon was waiting for something “ginormous” and didn’t “have a bloody clue” what was going on. Howie calls him a great close up magician. Gabrielle was also confused, but wants him to advance anyway. It wasn’t the least bit confusing. He turned cards into little statues on a map. You could argue that it wasn’t exciting or a step up. But confusing? He did look really nervous on stage. Was that me, or was his hand shaking at times? He’s probably toast, unfortunately.
Light Balance Kids @lbkidsofficial – Light and Dance group from Ukraine – These Ukranian kids went to the beach for the first time! Sadly, the war in their country keeps people from following their dreams. This week, the kids are taking on Marvel super heroes. Oh…this comic book vibe is fun to watch. The kiddos are flying superheroes that can stop anything. That was very good storytelling. Simon apologizes for dissing them last time. He loves their hard work and imagination. The act this week was definitely a step up. Howie can see them in Vegas. Gabrielle says they set the stage on fire. Sean loves the choregraphy and technology. Julianne feels they’ve been better in the past. She didn’t like them stepping into the Marvel universe. “You are your own brand” she says.
Benicio Bryant @BenicioBryant – Teen singer competed on The Voice Kids Germany recently – The 14 year old singer performs another original. He’s been thinking about being a star since he was 10 years old, he sings. That’s funny. Benicio needs to work on his enunciation. Still, he’s the best kid singer in the competition right now. He might have been better off with a cover this week, however. This song is lackluster. Simon calls it “outstanding” nevertheless. He also calls him relevant. He’s sure he’ll make the final. Julianne agrees she loved the song’s lyrics. Sean is obsessed with him and his talent, and feels he can call him “Benny.” Gabrielle calls him a star. Howie criticized him for singing an original song last week. But he’s changed his mind and proceeds to slather him with compliments, comparing him to Harry Styles and Troye Sivan.