'America's Got Talent' season 13, episode 9 recap: Judge Cuts bring shocking eliminations
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“America’s Got Talent” aired the third round of Judge Cuts last night (July 31) on NBC. Celebrity guest judge Martina McBride joined AGT veteran judges Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Mel B and Heidi Klum to decide the fate of 18 more acts. At the end of the intense installment, seven acts were sent through to the live quarterfinals and this week’s cuts turned out some shocking eliminations, a moving Golden Buzzer moment and at least one creepy save.

Savitsky Cats are Purrfectly Precious

The amazing Savitsky Cats kicked off the night with another jaw-dropping set of feline tricks that were equally incredible and adorable. The mother-daughter training team led their mix of mind-blowing kitties through a variety of challenges including pushing a ball with their nose across parallel bars, weaving in and out of an obstacle course, climbing a ladder and walking backward on their hind legs. This act puts on such a captivating, feel-good show. We are pumped they are prowling on through to the next round.

Dance Teams and Young Singers Deliver Mixed Results

Overall, it was an odd night for this round of contenders. Several of the acts failed to step up their game and under-deliver. That said, the pressure has to be crazy at this stage of the competition! Blue Tokyo received over 1 million YouTube views on their first AGT audition. This week, Simon and Mel B didn’t think they had enough wow factor. Likewise, OC Music & Dance tried to follow Simon’s request to focus on individuals in the group. But, something was lacking and felt a little chaotic in their delivery. High schoolers PAC Dance Team did a cool “Alice in Wonderland” story. But, Simon felt the song choice was all wrong. Ultimately, PAC Dance Team was the only one in this batch of performers who earned a pass to the next round.

Middle school singers Jeffrey Li and Angel Garcia have amazing voices for their age! Angel took Howie’s advice and sang a more age-appropriate song by covering Bruno Mars’ smash hit ballad, “Just the Way You Are” in a stunning Spanish and English blend. Howie maintained a bit of a tough stance, saying he closed his eyes all the way through the song. Everyone else loved him and he received well-deserved praise from the rest of the panel.

Young powerhouse vocalist Jeffrey Li followed with a sparkling rendition of Whitney Houston’s iconic anthem “One Moment in Time.” Jeffrey has a beautiful voice but he has visibly nervous and does need to work more on his stage presence. Still, big props to him for tackling such a huge song in that kind of pressure-filled setting!

Unfortunately, one of the biggest shockers of the night was that neither of these two extremely talented boys made it through to the next round. That’s unbelievable, given their degree of talent! The bar is set incredibly high this season and we hope one of them gets a chance to return as a Wild Card.

Frustrating Flub and Golden Buzzer Glory

It’s always rough to see a talented vocalist flub lines in a song and that’s what happened to Ms. Tysh who blanked on the lyrics to “If You Don’t Know Me By Now.” It’s a shame to see her go – but, with such a small number of acts being pushed through any mistake can be costly. Two more acts bombed with Kazi the singer being mediocre and comedian Bone Hampton falling flat on his jokes.

Can anyone believe the fire Quin brings to the dance floor at 71 years old? Her partner, Misha, is much younger, but, her stamina is incredible! Quin twirled, flipped, did the splits and just burned up the floor with her passion for dance. Her enthusiasm is infectious and inspiring and Martina McBride was so moved by her dazzling, age-defying performance that she smashed her Golden Buzzer, sending the dance duo straight through to the live shows. Yay!

Second Chance Singer and Self-Deprecating Wit

Noah Guthrie has an incredible amount of raw talent packed in his raspy, soulful vocals. However, he almost blew his second shot at fame (following his stint on “Glee”) when Simon cut him off with his first song and asked him to sing another. He chose “Whipping Post” by the Allman Brothers and smashed it!

Oliver Graves stands out in a crowd with his black makeup and costume and dry, self-deprecating stand-up material. Howie jumped to his feet in wild applause and Simon maintained his love of his routine. Howie dubbed him one of the “most original” comics he’s seen. We were surprised (and sad) to see Oliver get cut and hope he continues to pursue his career. Meanwhile, we’re happy to see Noah make it through to the next round.

Light Show, Sibling Sensations and Creepy Magic

Udi Dance troupe delivered another amazing dance show bathed in light and an enthralling story. They are truly a standout in the competition and we hope America keeps them in it all the way to the finals. Sibling trio We Three sang another beautiful, meaningful song about “dealing with your demons” and received a well-deserved four-judge standing ovation. We’re so thrilled they are sailing through to the quarterfinals.

Creepy magician The Sacred Riana brought her horror-infused magic back for another mind-blowing set of tricks. Mel B was totally frightened and didn’t want to hold her creepy doll when asked, quickly shoving it and Howie and then he gave it back to her. She’s terrifying – with her twitchy head and hair falling into her eyes and for whatever reason, the panel voted to put her through! What?! Maybe she cast a spell on them and they weren’t in their right minds …

“America’s Got Talent” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on NBC.