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'America's Got Talent' Recap: Playing it Live

The live shows began on Season 9 of "America's Got Talent." Broadcasting from Radio City Music Hall, the show kicked off with the Rockettes on stage with host Nick Cannon, as he introduced the judges.

• First up, Sean and Luke, teenaged tap dancers, performed along with a couple backup dancers. Compared to previous dance acts on the show, they were just OK. Howard Stern felt it was same-old, same-old. Mel B. and Howie Mandel, however, defended them, and Howie urged the viewers to vote.
• The gymnastic duo Valo and Bobby performed, but their act took a long time to set up between stunts. Still, the payoff was pretty impressive, as she spun upside-down on a bicycle inside a wheel while he balanced the whole contraption on his forehead. Howie pointed out how dangerous it had been, and said the producers had been unsure about whether to even allow them to perform the trick. Howard also underlined the dancer aspect, calling them a "fabulous act." Heidi Klum said she'd been holding her breath out of fear. Mel B. called it "awful," because she said she'd burst a blood vessel from holding her breath. Then she explained it was "awful in a good way."
• A 16-year-old singer, Julia Goodwin, wore a floor-length halter-top red dress and sang a plodding version of "Iris" by the Goo-Goo Dolls. Howard thought she'd done a good job, but it wasn't her best performance. Heidi thought she was amazing and wanted America to vote for her. Mel B. agreed with me that she didn't give it everything. Howie thought she deserved a career in music, but on Broadway, not Radio City Music Hall.
Baila Conmigo, a salsa dance team, filled the stage with movement and color, with their members, young and old, performing a quick, choreographed number. The audience and the judges gave them a standing ovation. Heidi told them they'd brought the house down. Mel B. called them her favorite and praised their energy. Howie said he had never seen anyone move that fast. Howard said it was like a big party taking part on stage.
David and Leeman, magicians, did a trick involving the judges, where they took a selfie and then had them rip pages out of each other's autobiographies and then randomly select a piece of paper. While helping them, Mel B. rang the buzzer by accident. Howie read a word from the piece, and it turns out their name tags had said that word in the selfie! Howie said he was baffled and "in a tizzy." Howard called them likable and liked that their tricks were different. Heidi, though, said she'd liked them better the last time.
• Next, The Willis Clan, a music act formed from a giant family, performed a countrified version of "Power of Love." It was cute, but will it be good enough to advance? Howard said he likes what they do but felt the performance wasn't strong. Howie liked the song choice, but said they need their own theater in Branson. Heh. Heidi thoguht they should go straight to the Grand Ole Opry, while Mel B. loved them but said that Radio City swallowed them up. In other words, thanks but no thanks.
Flight Crew Jump Rope bill themselves as nine of the greatest jump ropers in the country. They added black light to their act, combining dance, gymnastics and jump rope as they performed to Tegan and Sara's "Closer." They didn't miss a trick. Howard was impressed by the fact that nothing went wrong. Heidi loved it, and Mel b. called it "off the chain." Howie liked that they stepped up their act for the live show.
• Dance crew Jasmine Flowers blended ballet with Eastern dance moves. The combination of props, lighting and movement was a breath-taking, psychedelic explosion of pink and orange. Mel B., though, felt they were an "acquired taste" and wondered if America would like it. Howie thought they were beautiful to watch. Howard said it had brought out a "weird energy" in the house and didn't like this routine as much as prior performances.
• Then singer Emily West, who has a classic Hollywood look, sang a heartfelt version of Sia's "Chandelier." She demonstrated a terrific stage presence. The jduges gave her a standing ovation. Mel B. thought she'd hit it "in every way possible." Howie said the "soul and feeling are all there" and called it the best act of the night so far. Howard said he'd been waiting for someone like her, while Heidi called her a star.
• Strongman J.D. Anderson was a 12-pound baby! He planned three dangerous tricks. First was breaking sticks. Then, he broke bricks with his head. Finally, he plowed through blocks of ice with his head. Howard loved it, calling him a superstar. Mel B. also loved it. Howie was amazed that he wasn't bleeding. Heidi called him "nutty" but said she kind of likes it.
• Comedian Dan Naturman is an ex-lawyer. He specializes in neurotic comedy, joking about not being able to make kids and about Canadians. Howie laughed the whole way through, and Mel B. was sad that it stopped. Heidi said that he lost her for a little in the beginning but then got her back. Howie said he felt he was on his way. Howard said, "You know how to command this audience."
• Finally, singer Miguel Dakota took the stage. He has been working construction jobs to make ends meet. Accompanying himself on guitar, he sang "Come Together" by the Beatles, with backing by a band. With his good looks, his vocal skills and his luck in playing last in the program, he's probably a shoo-in to advance. Mel B. fanned herself in response to his performance. Howie said that performance could well win a million dollars, calling him a superstar, "the one in One Direction." Howard, though, felt the performance lacked charisma.
• Based on tonight's performance, the most likely five acts to advance are Miguel Dakota, Baila Conmigo, David and Leeman, Flight Crew Jump Rope and either Jasmine Flowers or Valo and Bobby.

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Tags: america's got talent, dance, music, television

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