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The semifinals of Season 9 of "America's Got Talent" got underway with the first 12 acts competing for audience votes.



• The first act to compete for a chance to move on was judge Heidi Klum's Wild Car pick, Flight Crew Jump Rope. They performed to "Stronger Than I've Ever Been" by Ariana Grande, but while the jump rope tricks were well-choreographed, there was nothing new. Heidi said they'd done her proud. Mel B. praised their energy. Fellow judge Howie Mandel remarked that they weren't perfect, while Howard Stern thought they were great but that America wouldn't be impressed.

• Next was young singer Mara Justine, who was relieved to still be in the competition and sang "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson. She's a real little belter with plenty of potential, for sure. The judges all got on their feet for her and begged America to vote. Howie praised her passion and talents, at age 12. She fills his heart with joy and awe, he said. Howard felt that she'd redeemed herself this week. He called her "a freak of nature in the best way," since she's got such a big voice. Mel B. thought she'd been smart with the arrangement, taking the audience the dimensions of her voice. Heidi thought it was a breakout performance and predicted she'd "spread her wings and fly right into the finals."

The Bad Boys of Ballet had the misfortune to follow that. As Mel's Wild Card pick, they were excited and promised to bring it. However, despite the guys losing their shirts halfway through, they didn't do enough to prove they deserved the "bad boys" part of their name, with their routine primarily consisting of high jumps and spins to the Lenny Kravitz tune, "Are You Gonna Go My Way." Lots of finger-pointing and acting tough. Yawn. Mel B. thought their performance was "seamless" and "in sync." Howard acknowledged they're good, but tried to help them understand why they'd been voted off before. He criticized the female lead of the act for leaving the stage for part of the performance. Heidi liked that their dance routines are "new and modern." Howie agreed with Heidi, that if they don't move on, they'll become "hot back-up dancers." He didn't feel it was a million-dollar act. Given the opinion to talk back, the female of the act told Howard that she's "no gimmick." After talking back, they'll be gone, for sure.

Paul Ieti, singer and U.S. veteran, performed "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys. It started out OK but was a little too high for him in the middle, causing him to strain on the higher notes. Heidi said it wasn't his best vocal performance, even though she loves him and has been rooting for him. Mel B. agreed that it was a little off. She thought he'd been doubting himself, and it took over. Howie told him that "Mara did a lot better than you." Howard thanked him for his service but said it was time to separate his story from his musical act. He actually felt the low notes were the problem.

• Magician/mysticist Mike Super was Howie's Wild Card. This time he performed without his shtick of using his "spirit friend, Desmond." He put himself in a small box and painted a symbol the judges picked on both his hands and the audience's hands, in reflective ink not visible until blacklight was shown on them. Howie was pleased, calling the illusion "worthy of having your own show on a Vegas stage." Mel B. was really glad he was back, calling the act dazzling. Howard was happy that "you got rid of that dumb, dead idiot." He liked that it was a great magic trick. Heidi thought the trick, "much like you, was out of the box."

• Next was Andrey Moraru, a hand balancer who can do amazing things with his body. He must be muscles on top of muscles. It was, however, very similar to his initial audition. Howie said, "You just showed us everything." He said he was thrilling to watch. Howard liked that he communicates through movement. He called him compelling and asked America to vote for him. Heidi called him "a human pretzel" and said she'd bend over backwards and sideways, etc. for him to make it to the finals. Mel B. mentioned there were a few hiccups in the performance but said it didn't matter because "you still captivated everybody." She called it memorable and mesmerizing.

• Singer Miguel Dakota ditched his guitar for a rendition of the White Stripes song "Seven Nation Army." It was an interesting choice, because I wouldn't call that a singer's showcase sort of tune. Jack White is known for his guitar playing, not his singing. However, it was full of passion, and his voice has a lot of character. Howard thought he had the whole package, with his looks, his outfit, his dance moves. The one thing that he thought was missing was he lacked a connection to the song. Heidi felt that "America's new heartthrob has arrived." Howie felt Howard was totally wrong. He thought that because Miguel has charisma and can carry a tune, he has a great chance to win a million dollars. Mel B. agreed, comparing him to Sam Smith. "You have star quality," she said. When he got a chance to sing, Miguel dedicated his performance to his grandparents.

• Next, Sons of Serendip did a dreamy performance of "Don't You Worry Child" which got Howie and Heidi on their feet. Heidi thought they'd sung beautifully and that they didn't have anything to worry about. Mel B. liked that they'd taken a well-known song, flipped it upside down and made it their own. She called it a solid performance but she wasn't sure about the clouds that were onstage with them. Howie called them "musically the most talented group we have." He thought it people were voting on talent, they should vote for them. Howard pointed out that "there's a singer." He quibbled with their name, though, which he doesn't understand. Host Nick Cannon suggested shortening it to "S.O.S." Actually, not a bad idea!

• Magician duo David and Leeman brought more of their entertaining patter to take an old trick and freshen it up. They had hid a spike inside a bag, which they had the judges pick one at a time. Mel B. said that they keep people entertained, and she'd loved it from start to end. Howie said only, "I like it!" Howard liked their delivery. He said he's seen other people do this trick, but "they don't do it as well as you." Heidi praised their showmanship. She was happy she didn't have to call 911 for them.

• Comedian Dan Naturman had a stronger act this time, but he was rushing, probably due to nerves. Loved his joke about why it's more useful to learn Braille than other languages, "you might go blind, but you're not going to go German." Heidi was mildly offended that he'd picked on Germans. Mel B. called him funny at the end. Howie called it smart writing and "people will be quoting you tomorrow." He thought "America should go Naturman." Howard called him a capable comic who can keep things moving on a big stage. He said he always looks forward to him coming on.

• Then was Aerial Animation, an imaginative story told through on-screen animations combined with her aerial work, this time including her floating up on balloons with a dance partner. It was playful but a bit more surprising in her initial choreography for the auditions. Mel B. thought it was so much more captivating the first time out. Heidi agreed, saying that today she'd taken "a step back." Howard felt that the jet lag might have been impacting her, saying she was great in the act. He found her fantastic. Howie agreed with everybody, saying that as an artist you've got to experiment. Still, it wasn't his favorite.

• Last to perform was singer Emily West, who has a very classic Hollywood look. She sang "Who Wants to Live Forever," knocking it out of the park with a powerful performance. She got a standing ovation from the audience. Heidi liked her old Hollywood style and beautiful voice and confessed to having a "lady crush on you." Mel B. thought she'd topped her previous performance and said she could listen to her voice "all day long." Howie called her "seasoned and iconic." He said that "this is what we're striving for." Howard called it the best musical performance of the night and called her a star.


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Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
rosiedlotrfan
Aug. 27th, 2014 11:09 pm (UTC)
(How appropriate - Beach Avenue's Coming Your Way came on as I pressed reply!)

Quite a good night last night - standout performances for me were Andrey Moraru and (a bit to my surprise) David and Leman (I've always liked them but they didn't ever blow me away until last night).

I was also very impressed with Sons Of Serendip (didn't care for the song, so didn't enjoy them as much as usual), Emily West and Paul Ieti (I'll admit to a strong partiality for that quality of voice - I thought his high notes were beautiful and didn't hear any problem with the low notes).

I kind of hated Howie for a moment when I found out he was bringing Mike Super back, but he managed not to be creepy and skeevy this time and I quite enjoyed the performance.

How many are going through tonight? I can't remember (hope it's at least five, and my top five make it :)


alycewilson
Aug. 28th, 2014 01:34 am (UTC)
I think only about 5 of them are going through. I liked the hand balancer, too. Sad he didn't make it.

Like you, I really didn't want to see Mike Super again, but he did a lot better last night. I'm pretty sure the guy who held the bag for Howard managed to finagle things so that Howard would definitely get a triangle. I also am thinking the audience members had their hands marked with black light ink on their way in, but I'm wondering how it was accomplished without them realizing it.
rosiedlotrfan
Aug. 28th, 2014 01:54 am (UTC)
Yeah, much as I like Sons Of Serendip, I would have preferred Andrey to go through. Hopefully the other one (whose name I'm blanking on) will go through because of Scooby.

Oh Damn, there go David and Leeman :( Sorry Mara, but I just don't like your voice

.......come on judges, you know you like David and Leeman better ::fingers crossed::
rosiedlotrfan
Aug. 28th, 2014 02:01 am (UTC)
Phew, they did :)
rosiedlotrfan
Aug. 28th, 2014 02:03 am (UTC)
Next week's semifinal looks horribly strong - now I'm worried for Christian and Scooby!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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