'America's Got Talent' Recap: Head in the Sand - Rolling Stone
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‘America’s Got Talent’ Recap: Head in the Sand

Four acts advance to cement the semifinal lineup

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Joe Castillo on 'America's Got Talent'

Virginia Sherwood/NBC

For the first time all season on America’s Got Talent, we headed into Wednesday night’s results show with hardly a clue as to which four acts would advance to the semifinals. The performances on Tuesday had simply been top-notch. To that end, we could only offer up a mere prediction. And our money was on William Close, David “The Bullet” Smith, Olate Dogs and Eric Dittelman

Before getting down to business, host Nick Cannon asked the judges for their thoughts on the previous night’s talent-packed performance show. “America had the best night and the worst night,” remarked Howie Mandel. “The best night of entertainment and the worst opportunity to just choose four. It was tough.”

Enough speculation – it was time to find out which acts were advancing. The first trio of contestants to be brought onstage was Ulysses, the Afro’d TV-theme song singer whom Howard said was as likable as a terrorist attack, Olate Dogs, the dog-trick duo whose pooches flip and prance in human-like form, and Smith, the human cannonball who was shot 70 feet in the air on Tuesday’s show. Unless two of the three acts advanced – something that has only happened once this season – it already appeared as if our prediction was incorrect. So who advanced? “Olate Dogs!” Cannon screamed. We had anticipated they would be moving on, but we were admittedly surprised to see “The Bullet” headed home. 

Before another trio learned of their fate, U.K. X Factor contestant-turned-pop-star Cher Lloyd performed her hit single “Want You Back.” She went with a Fifties diner theme for her performance and ended up coming across as a less-marketable Katy Perry.

The next trio to face the music was William Close, the master of the Earth Harp, whom Stern said was hands-down the most talented contestant on the show, Unity In Motion, an all-girl dance troupe, and Sebastian “El Charro de Oro,” a pint-sized mariachi singer. Stern was torn up over these three. “I feel like I’m in the Jackson compound arguing over the kids,” he quipped. But only one act would advance. And that act was . . . William Close! The musician was humbled. “The artists that I’ve been on the stage with this week are unbelievable,” he said. “I’m honored to be moving on.”

Another three acts were ushered onstage. Out walked Eric and Olivia, the guitar-singer duo who performed a lounge rendition of Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” on Tuesday, Horse, the dude whose only talent is the ability to withstand repeated blows to the nuts, and Joe Castillo, a beret-sporting artist who tells stories through sand manipulation. This one seemed to be a no-brainer. Yup, it was Castillo who was moving on.

After the cast of the Broadway play Once gave a sampling of their show, the final three acts stepped onstage to learn their fate: mind reader Eric Dittelman, macho-man cloggers All That and dancer/contortionist Lindsey Norton. Norton was soon sent packing. So now the judges had to decide between a mind reader and a clogging crew. After both pleaded their case, the judges cast their votes. Howie Mandel: Dittelman. Osbourne: All That. It came down to Stern. The shock jock said he had to vote for the act he would pay to see perform. And that act is Dittelman.

So there you have it. The final four acts advancing to the semifinals are Olate Dogs, William Close, Joe Castillo and Eric Dittelman.

You can breathe now.

LAST EPISODE: Like They’re Shot Out of a Cannon


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