“America’s Got Talent” aired the second week of Live Show Quarterfinals last night on NBC. Twelve more acts took the stage in hopes of earning America’s vote. A couple of acts experienced technical difficulties, which flustered judges Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Mel B and Heidi Klum. Despite the mishaps, at least four acts really shined, including singers Johnny Manuel and Mandy Harvey, who arguably owned the night.
Dancing Toward a Dream
AGT does a great job putting contender backstory packages together and last night we learned it hasn’t been easy for some Brobots and Mandroidz dance crew members, whose parents didn’t fully support dancing as a viable career path for their sons. We get that, because, dancing is a highly competitive field and there are tons of crews out there who would love to catch a break and don’t. However, this crew is spectacular. They could easily entertain a Vegas audience with the showmanship and complexity of their routines. One member said they are “chasing the dream” and Simon thought that was great. So do we. AGT is all about making dreams come true. Let’s hope these boys have a bright future ahead of them.
Believing in Miracles
Pint-sized singer Celine Tam sang Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston’s uplifting duet anthem, “When You Believe.” She did a wonderful job, though her vocals may not have been as polished or expressive as Angelica Hale’s. Mel B thought the song was too big for her and we’re inclined to agree. However, Howie Mandel noted her age and found her innocent imperfections endearing. Overall, she did great at such a young age under the kind of pressure this show brings.
Merrick Hanna Steps It Up
Simon Cowell thinks robot dancer Merrick Hanna is being overlooked and underestimated because what he does is totally unique. We agree. At just 12, Merrick comes up with his dance concept, story, and interpretation. Last night he danced to Ruth B’s “Lost Boy.” The story was captivating and the amination behind him was stunning. Simon dubbed him the best act of the night and Mel B found it “mesmerizing.” We hope he advances to the next round because we would love to see what he does next.
Eric Jones, The Masqueraders and Evie Clair
All three of these acts were amazing last night. Eric Jones made a poker chip, then himself pass through solid glass. The Masqueraders sang an original song that should have been recorded 50 years ago. It was truly wonderful to see them get a chance to showcase it on a huge platform like AGT. These guys are fantastic and watching them sing was such a feel-good moment.
Young Evie Clair is the bravest contender there is this season, if not also in series history. Her dad is battling stage IV cancer and last night was the first time he didn’t make it to the audience because he wasn’t feeling good enough. Evie sang “Wings” and played piano, dedicating her performance to him. It was both heartbreaking and beautiful. She was definitely in her element at the piano and we could easily imagine her getting signed and going on tour.
Technical Problems Plague Two Acts
There may not have ever been an AGT live show quite like this one with two acts experiencing technical difficulties. Light Balance’s lights were malfunctioning, so they played back dress rehearsal footage in lieu of the live performance. It was magnificent! It’ll be interesting to see how America responds. Could the glitch cost them a pass to the next round?
Likewise, escape artist Demian Aditya experienced technical difficulties in his box suspended over open flames. Something happened, which totally detracted from the suspense and “wow” factor Demian normally delivers. He could potentially face being cut as well.
Johnny Manuel and Mandy Harvey Deliver Perfection
It bears repeating that the number of talented singers on AGT this season is huge. Flint, Michigan native R & B artist Johnny Manuel returned to his “diva” roots after slightly disappointing Simon in the Judge Cut round. This week, he blew the roof off with “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.” He earned a well-deserved four-judge standing ovation. He might have the most powerful vocals of any season 12 vocalist. Win or lose, he deserves a new record deal with a label that will help him become the next R & B superstar.
Deaf singer Mandy Harvey closed the night with a beautiful original song she wrote for her cousin’s wedding. Mel B praised her for making the impossible possible. She was Simon’s Golden Buzzer pick and he became emotional during the performance, eventually offering a one-word critique as “stunning.” Her performance was breathtaking and she definitely has the potential to impact a lot of hearts and lives with her gift.
“America’s Got Talent” airs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on NBC.