'America's Got Talent' Quarterfinals 3: Simon Cowell cries in night of stunning performances
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“America’s Got Talent” aired what was arguably one of the hottest quarterfinals rounds in series history last night (Aug. 28) on NBC. Twelve more hopefuls hit the stage hoping to win America’s vote and a trip to the semifinals. So many explosive performances were delivered, it seems impossible to find any of the acts eliminated this week. However, five of them will end their AGT journey in tonight’s nail-biting elimination round.

Several musical acts wowed the crowd and judges Simon Cowell, Mel B, Howie Mandel and Heidi Klum. Among them was electric violin virtuoso Brian King Joseph, Wild Card opera singer Daniel Emmet, oh-so-cute and talented parents-to-be Us the Duo, soulful powerhouse Christina Wells and proud father Michael Ketterer whose performance touched his Golden Buzzer giver Simon so deeply, he actually broke down into tears.

Related – Interview: Us the Duo talks risk-taking ‘America’s Got Talent’ audition and staying connected to fans

Amazing Dancers and an Adorable Duo

Future Kingz kicked the incredible night off with an amazing routine set to hip-hop music and the troupe, who is formed by members of all ages, did a fast-paced, high-energy routine filled with tricks, spins and moves that showed off their collective talent and passion for dance. This group is full of fighters and their courageous spirit is infectious.

Michael and Carissa Alvarado, aka Us the Duo made their adorable AGT return happily showing off Carissa’s 7 ½-month pregnant belly. They performed another original song, which was a sweet, uptempo dedication to their baby girl, with Carissa adding percussion ala their original audition.

This duo is so talented and joyous. They radiate an inner light while performing and Howie Mandel finally paid them a compliment. He told them they “stepped it up” and dubbed their performance last night as his favorite. Simon has loved them from the start (Who can blame him?) and joked they might have to consider changing their name to Us the Trio. We really hope they make it through. They are unique, vibrant and bring the sort of positive energy a high-pressure competition show like this needs.

Both acts received well-deserved four-judge standing ovations.

Wild Card Brings What. Just. Happened! Moment

Thank God the judges brought back Daniel Emmet. He rose to the challenge during his original audition when Simon stopped him and asked him to go work on a song he’s never heard and then come back and sing it. To say Daniel smashed it feels like an understatement!

Last night, Daniel hit the stage flanked by backup dancers and flaming torches. Theatrics weren’t needed when he belted an operatic version of Aerosmith’s hit rock ballad “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” Once again, all four judges jumped to their feet at the end of Emmet’s brilliant and powerful performance and Simon told the emotional singer “That is what I call a moment. Congratulations!” Daniel’s vocal gift definitely transcended the language barrier and he was so genuinely thrilled with his second chance. We really hope he makes it through tonight!

Brian King Joseph and Christina Wells Slay Performances

King of the Violin, Brian King Joseph’s courage is incredible and his passion for playing music despite his degenerative nerve disease continues to be awe-inspiring on multiple levels. Last night, he arguably topped his mind-blowing audition with an electrifying interpretation and performance of “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy. He plays his instrument with unparalleled skill, passion and command. He was so immersed last night that he broke multiple strings while playing.

Viewers may not even realize he’s constantly in excruciating pain. In an AXS interview about his journey, Brian said being on the show has given him more of a drive to be himself and be positive to overcome what he’s going through. That drive was obvious in last night’s stellar performance.

Power vocalist Christina Wells also delivered a stunning, series-best performance of “I Am Changing” from “Dreamgirls” and brought down the house. Howie Mandel was so impressed he said, “Oh my God. I can’t believe there’s gonna be more show tonight. That was like a grand finale. That’s the way to leave them. You know, you said in the package before that you didn’t believe in yourself and sometimes it was only your mother that believed in you. After that, and I think I speak for the entire country, I think we all believe in you now.”

She was brought to tears by the collective praise of the judges and without question, she deserves a spot in the semifinals.

Related -- Watch: Simon Cowell gets star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Zucaroh and Tear-Inducing Close

The way that acrobatic dance troupe Zucaroh blends dance, story, and theatrics is breathtaking. AGT host was so impressed she awarded them her Golden Buzzer. Last night, the troupe delivered a mesmerizing Garden of Eden performance. It was simply incredible. If any act seems primed for a Las Vegas stage, it’s this one. Group members are a variety of ages, with young members last night saying they were nine and 10 years old. What they do is so unique, compared to any other act this season and once again, we’re rooting for them to survive tonight’s elimination.

Father and husband Michael Ketterer moved millions of hearts following his AGT audition (for which Simon Cowell pressed his Golden Buzzer) after revealing that he and his wife adopted five boys out of foster care. In an AXS interview following that audition, Michael stressed that he hoped to raise foster care and adoption need awareness and would potentially use the $1 million prize money (if he wins) to buy a handicapped-accessible house for his family and his son who has Cerebral Palsy.

Last night, Simon broke down crying following Michael’s moving performance of “Us” by James Bay. The song perfectly fits Michael’s family situation. Through tears and a quavering voice, Simon told him, “Michael, look. Oh gosh. As a dad, I can’t imagine what you’ve done. The fact that you’re on this show and you really need this and you’re a really, really special guy. I don’t know, there’s something about that.”

It was a standout moment in AGT history, as the renowned music mogul praised the proud dad. Last night’s contenders really set the bar high for any who move forward into next week’s semifinals. Tonight’s elimination round is going to be off-the-charts intense.

Tune into “America’s Got Talent” tonight at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on NBC to see if your favorite survives.