After a heartbreaking exit from hip-hop crew Wordspit The Illest! during last week's results show, America's Got Talent returned on Tuesday night for the final round of quarterfinal performances. As was stated ad nauseam throughout the show, the evening was full of more talent than America could possibly handle. How would the public be able to decide which four of the remaining 12 acts should advance to the semifinals?
David "The Bullet" Smith: Up first was the human cannonball, who goes by the name David Smith when he's not being shot out of a gigantic cannon like a fleck of dust. Naturally, this stunt required the judges to go outside for optimal viewing. Clutching a football and flanked by a cheerleading squad, Smith was shot 70 feet in the air at approximately 60 mph. And . . . he succeeded, landing in a huge net! "People don't understand how dangerous this is," said Howard Stern. "Eighty-five percent of the people who attempt this are dead!" Smith confirmed this to be true. But before Smith departed, Sharon Osbourne offered him a suggestion: next go-round he should soar over "flaming alligators."
All That: This meaty group of cloggers, Osbourne said, reminded her of the cast of Magic Mike. That they are supremely proficient at their toe-tapping craft makes this declaration all the more hilarious and outstanding. The question however, is whether America finds clogging as interesting as male stripping? Osbourne thinks so, suggesting they wear "leather trousers and no tops next time.” Stern, meanwhile, said that he loves the act but doesn't know if they did enough.
Ulysses: Like Big Barry, Stern is out to eliminate this TV-show-theme-singing crooner. Donning a tacky light-green suit and surrounded by "hot mamas," the Afro'd singer belted out a seriously weak rendition of the American Bandstand theme song. Osbourne and Stern "X"d him right away. Howie Mandel held out before giving him the "X" near the end of his routine. Mandel said he didn't like how Ulysses tried to "Vegas up" his routine, while Stern more bluntly added, "We have a rough economy, we have terrorism, and now we have this!"
Joe Castillo: You couldn't have made us believe that a guy drawing pictures in sand would be mesmerizing. But leave it to this beret-wearing dude to charm our pants off by swirling his pinky around in a pile of particles. The theme of Castillo's performance on Tuesday was endangered species – he transformed a drawing of a globe into a walrus, then a lion, then an elephant and finally a human tear drop. "You continue to amaze me," Stern said. "So moving, so beautifully executed," added Osbourne.
Sebastian "El Charro de Oro": The initial appeal of this young mariachi singer was his big pipes and small body. While the judges seemed to lap up Sebastian's performance of "Besame Mucho," during which he went flat on several notes, only to recover with a big wailing cry at the end, we fear this may be the end of the road for the youngster. "You have an old soul," remarked Mandel. "Like a male Mexican Jackie Evancho."
Eric Dittelman: Magicians never impress us; we find ourselves skeptical – always searching for that obvious sleight-of-hand maneuver. But "Dittelman," as the judges loved to call him over and over, takes it a step further: he claims to be a mind reader and leaves us little doubt that he's legit. This go-round he made a play at Mandel's stint as the host on Deal or No Deal by bringing out a team of models with briefcases and having Mandel choose one of 15 cases. Dittelman had already selected one that he anticipated Mandel choosing. And even after letting Mandel switch his initial choice, Dittelman guessed correctly! We must be missing something here, because this kid is unbelievable. "All of America will be talking about Dittelman tomorrow morning," Osbourne proclaimed.
William Close: It's been some time since we saw this musician, who plays a self-made, room-sized instrument known as the Earth Harp. Plucking massive strings that he anchored to what appeared to be the ceiling of the auditorium, he busted out a rendition of the Who's "Love, Reign o'er Me" while a mediocre singer wailed away in the background. Don't get us wrong: we thought dude killed. But the judges were ready to cancel the rest of the competition. "I think you won this whole contest," Mandel declared. "This is almost unbeatable," Stern said before volunteering himself and the other judges as investors in a Close-anchored show, regardless of whether or not he wins AGT.
Unity in Motion: It's been rough for dance crews this season on AGT. This all-girl group, who combine acrobatics with ballet, did perform at a noticeably high level, with Stern even going so far as to declare them "the best dance act we have." Still, it’s hard for us to see them advancing, given the slew of talent on Tuesday's show.
Eric and Olivia: Our feeling about this duo – Eric plays acoustic guitar and Olivia sings – hasn't changed after Tuesday: Eric is useless. Yes, we know, Olivia says he creates their arrangements. But his slowed-down take on Taio Cruz's "Dynamite" didn’t help his cause. Olivia has a refreshingly honeyed voice, one that could take her places. But the duo’s shtick felt lounge-y and unpolished. "Tonight didn't cut it," said Stern. "There was no emotional connection."
Lindsey Norton: We like this girl. Perhaps it's because the ballet dancer has maintained a smile for the entirety of her time on America's Got Talent. Her Cirque du Soleil-themed performance, which utilized mirrors for added effect, was visually appealing, with contortion somersaults and back-to-back backflips. But it's not likely going to be enough to get her through to the next round. Stern, though, apparently disagrees. "Do you deserve to go through?" he asked rhetorically. "Absolutely."
Horse: We've been waiting for another viewing of our favorite nutshot champ. For those uninformed, Horse's talent is, well, getting kicked in the junk, repeatedly. But the novelty has started to wear off. It only was funny for a few seconds on Tuesday before the repeated image of his assistants jumping off a ladder and kicking him in the babymaker fell flat. Osbourne said he was "entertaining," and Stern likened Horse’s act to his own radio show. But the general consensus seemed to be that this dude is a love-it-or-hate-it type of act.
Olate Dogs: Pet tricks never fail to amuse. Especially when they involve a team of dogs that basically act like humans. How these two trainers get their team of fluffy pooches to hold each other up for wheelbarrow marches, do backflips and walk up the stairs to go down a slide, is beyond us. But we frickin' love it! "I have never seen a dog act like this in my life," Osbourne declared. Neither have we, Sharon! We want more!
PREDICTION: This is a tough one, and admittedly a crapshoot. But our bet is on David "The Bullet" Smith, Eric Dittelman, William Close and Olate Dogs. Someone is going home tomorrow who doesn't deserve it. That much we know.
LAST EPISODE: The Elusive