'America's Got Talent' Recap: The Advancing Acts Are . . . - Rolling Stone
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‘America’s Got Talent’ Recap: The Advancing Acts Are . . .

Four are happy, many are sad, Gavin DeGraw wears a fedora

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Tim Hockenberry performs on 'America's Got Talent.'

Virginia Sherwood/NBC

With another round of quarterfinal performances in the bag, the time had come for another America’s Got Talent results show on Tuesday. While there’s always the potential for underdog acts to advance – after all, you never know how America will vote – after Monday’s show, it felt pretty obvious which four acts would be staying alive in the competition. Would our predictions be correct? It was time to find out.

First to take the stage were Tim Hockenberry, the middle-aged singer who flipped the script on Monday and growled out a rendition of Katy Perry’s “Part of Me” – a daring choice for someone with a Joe Cocker-ish voice – and Turf, a freakshow-style contortionist dancer with a heartfelt backstory plucked straight off the Hallmark channel. Did this mean someone was going to be going home? It seemed certain that both of these acts would advance. So who would be moving on in the competition? “BOTH OF YOU ARE!” exclaimed host Nick Cannon. Oh, Nick. You trickster. All is well in the world. “Let’s say my faith has been rocked a little,” admitted Hockenberry. “I really thought it was over for me.”

Next up, filling the time gap before more results were announced, was singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw, who performed the title track from his new album, Sweeter. DeGraw stole a page from judge Howie Mandel’s book by sporting a fedora while belting out his no-frills pop-rock cut, and he hit a nice falsetto on the hook.

Back to the results. Four acts were brought out onstage: Lisa Clark Dancers, a group of toe-tapping youngsters who struggled with their routine the night before, The AllWays; the rock band who performed Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” and showed why rock bands should stick to, well, rock; Aurora Light Painters, the hippie crew that unveiled a childish art display involving laser pointers, balloons and a sock puppet; and Big Barry, the miniature-sized old man with the painful voice that Howard Stern vehemently despises, someone he referred to on Tuesday as “like herpes . . . the act that just doesn’t go away.” Would any of these shoddy acts advance? Drum roll. Nope. All were denied and told to exit the stage.

Keep bringing’ em out, we say. Up next was a trio of acts: comedian Tom Cotter, a standup veteran whom we peeped getting love on Twitter last night from the likes of Lisa Lampanelli and Jim Gaffigan; LionDanceMe, a crew of dancers well-versed in the ancient Chinese art form of “lion dance”; and Hawley Magic, a husband-wife duo who performed an illusion Mandel referred to as the “wife kabob.” This one seemed to be an easy call. Tom Cotter is advancing. How was he feeling after the announcement? “Just completely blown away,” he said.

Before the final act was decided by the judges, the cast of “New York’s hottest show, Traces,” performed. Any acrobatic act on AGT should take some cues form these professionals: their tumbling performance, during which the performers flipped and swooped their way through absurdly tiny hoops, was simply stunning.

Who would fill the last slot? It was down to Danielle Stallings, a 14-year-old singer who gave a mediocre-at-best rendition of Bruno Mars’ “It Will Rain” on Monday; Ben Blaque, the crossbow-shooting oddball; and Donovan and Rebecca, the too-buff-to-believe acrobatic couple. First one act would be eliminated. It was Ben Blaque. He looked pissed. Now it was down to Stallings and the acrobats. The judges would make the call. Stern voted for D&R, Sharon Osbourne cast her ballot for Stallings, and it was down to Mandel. Thankfully, he made the right choice, putting Donovan and Rebecca through. “It’s the hardest decision I’ve made all season,” he said.

NEXT WEEK: 12 more acts set their eyes on semifinals glory. But only four will make it happen.

LAST EPISODE: The Madness Continues


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