Wow. Just when we thought the “America’s Got Talent” acts couldn’t get any better, the first set of semifinalists hit the stage last night and truly raised the bar to incredible heights. Judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel laughed, cried and jumped to their feet in applause. There is just SO. MUCH.TALENT this season! America definitely has tough work heading into tonight’s elimination round. Did a winner emerge out of the pack last night? Or will we be shocked be an unexpected elimination? For the first time this season, we have no idea! Everyone deserves a place in the finals. With only five spots to fill, six acts will be forced to leave. Say it isn’t so!
“Holy Moly Yoli!”
That’s what Howie Mandel said after Yoli Mayor kicked off the night with a stripped back rendition of “X Factor UK” champ James Arthur’s timeless ballad “Say You Won’t Let Go.” Yoli’s heart shined through the song. Her pitch was on point. She couldn’t have done any better. All of the judges loved her. With only five spots, though, it’s hard to say if she did enough.
Eric Jones “Steps It Up”
Simon warned Eric Jones in the prior round he was going to have to “step it up” to stay in the competition and boy, did he deliver the goods! He changed paper bills into coins and back again and made coins disappear right out of the judges’ hands. It was phenomenal and his presentation was much smoother. Simon was thrilled with the performance and dubbed Eric “ready for the finals.” It would be fantastic to have a magician in the final five. We’ll have to see what happens.
DaNell Daymon and Greater Works Bring Down the House
AGT has seen a lot of choirs across 12 seasons but Greater Works is by far the best! We still can't forget their earth-shaking "Grease" cover last week. This week, they raised the roof with a rockin’ rendition of Aerosmith’s power anthem. Their energy was infectious and choir founder DaNell’s backstory about overcoming depression and thoughts of ending his life with music was so emotional. He broke down while telling the audience and viewers, “How you got here doesn’t have to define what your future will be.”
Mel B was so revved up she yelled a big happy, “Jesus take the wheel!” We want to see this act go on because they are uplifting, unique and uber-talented. Simon called them the life and soul of the show. He’s right and we hope America votes them through.
Preacher Lawson Crosses a Line
Simon is right. Preacher Lawson is funny enough to have star in his own sitcom. However, he arguably crossed a line by teasing Tyra Banks for having a big forehead. Albeit, he panned his own “big lips.” But still, this needless joke didn’t need to be part of his schtick and anyone who has ever been picked on for a physical feature would arguably agree. None of the judges seemed to mind – even though Tyra tried to call him out on it and he tried to excuse it away. We didn’t care for it.
Johnny Manuel Takes a Risk
Flint, Michigan native singer Johnny Manuel took a big risk by trying again to break out of the diva mold. This week he sang an original song. The message of “flying on blind faith” was great and we all know he has the vocal chops to sing anything. Heidi and Simon complimented his courageous choice. But, Howie was worried he made a mistake singing an original. Who will America agree with, Simon or Howie? As one of the best singers in the competition, Johnny deserves a place in the finals.
Skating Siblings Sizzle and Evie Clair Conquers
Sibling skaters Billy and Emily England came out and did another death-defying skate routine. They are mesmerizing to watch. However, we don’t know if their act holds up in such a strong playing field.
Young Evie Clair did what she does best by sitting at the piano and playing and singing her heart out. She deserves major props for pursuing music most of her only 13 years, and having the courage to push on through the pain while her dad fights for his life. She was perfect. Her heartfelt performance of “Yours” felt like we were watching her own live concert, not a competition and this is a mark of a true artist.
“Walking on Sunshine” and “What is Love?”
AGT powers-that-be timed Sara and Hero’s act perfectly in having them follow Evie’s emotional song. There was a beach scene and the routine was set to “Walking on Sunshine.” We don’t know which part we loved most, Hero doing CPR for Sara, skateboarding, or jumping through hoops. It was pure fun!
Ginger-haired singer-songwriter Chase Goehring captivated us again with another original song called “What is Love?” He’s so genuine. Simon pointed out that he’s never compromised who he is as an artist and this reminds us of last season’s AGT champ Grace VanderWaal, who stole America’s heart with her unique, quirky tone and original, intuitive lyrics. Win or lose, Chase seems destined for a record deal. We really hope to see him in the final.
Darci Lynne and Edna Dominate, Mike Yung Shines
We’re going to talk about the last two acts in reverse order. Subway singer Mike Yung easily returned to his amazing audition roots with his passionate “Don’t Give Up On Me” performance. This guy can really sing and he has so much heart. We wish a label would scoop him up and help his dream come true.
Darci Lynne, overall, delivered the most outstanding performance of the night by allowing her elderly puppet friend named Edna to reveal her huge love for Simon. We’ll probably never understand how young Darci can sing with such power with her mouth closed. But, Edna let Simon know he “made her feel like a natural woman” and it was so cute to see the music mogul actually blush at the puppet’s flirtations.
This was the best act of the night and maybe Darci Lynne’s best performance to date. Darci Lynne needs her own kids’ show (as Simon suggested) and we’re really starting to agree with the judges – she could really win the whole thing. Let’s hope America doesn’t “assume” she’s safe and forget to vote her through!
“America’s Got Talent” airs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on NBC.