'America's Got Talent' Recap: Untouchables? - Rolling Stone
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‘America’s Got Talent’ Recap: Untouchables?

Four more semifinal slots are up for grabs

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Lightwire Theater greets the audience after their performance on 'America's Got Talent.'

Virginia Sherwood/NBC

The halfway point of the quarterfinals has arrived for America’s Got Talent. Already eight acts have been put through to the semifinals. For those keeping score at home, that means we have 24 acts left, all vying for eight remaining spots in the semifinals. On Tuesday day night the competition raged on.

The Untouchables: There’s no denying this group of Latin dancers have expert guidance: their coaches made it to the finals last year on AGT as part of the Miami All-Stars. But this Florida-based crew is its own beast: their stylized dance routine on Tuesday, with a young male member out front looking extra Rico Suave, was spectacular. “The level you’re dancing at at this age is absolutely inspiring,” said Howard Stern.

Mike Price, the rock-star juggler: Convincing us that juggling is a $1 million act wasn’t going to be easy, but we would reserve judgment until after Price’s performance. Yes, Price juggled knives and flames. But he ended up dropping one, capping off a “meh” performance. “I wasn’t convinced,” said Sharon Osbourne. “The pressure got to you,” added Howie Mandel. “It was make or break tonight. You broke it!”

Inspire the Fire: This show choir had advanced on account of their giddy spirit and enthusiasm for their craft. But whatever talent the judges had seen in them certainly did not come through on Tuesday. Their off-key rendition of Katy Perry’s “Firework” was so bad it even featured one of the group members failing during an attempted backflip. “It seemed like a really cheesy, bad high school musical,” Mandel said.

Cristin Sandu: Chalk this up as the most heartbreaking performance of the evening. Sandu, an 18-year-old college student studying medicine, has demonstrated in the past his incredible ability to balance on random, odd-shaped objects stacked atop one another. But the pressure got to him: after wobbling for a minute, his self-created platform crashed to the floor. “You bombed out tonight, but you have plenty to be proud of,” Stern said, in a sincere moment.

Elusive: As a solo dancer, the odds were already stacked against this breakdancer. While he has an inspiring story – he had severe hearing loss as a child – his performance was mediocre at best. It only takes one viewing of Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” to be certain that there are far better b-boys in the game. “I don’t know if you’re a headliner,” Osbourne said.

Jake Wesley Rogers: This awkward 15-year-old singer from Missouri turned Britney Spears’ “Toxic” into what can only be described as a Vegas lounge number. Simply, it felt flat. Rogers can definitely sing; this just wasn’t his night. He rocks a mean pompadour, but even spectacular hair won’t save the man Mandel refers to as a “Midwest Pauly D.”

All Wheel Sports: The odds were already stacked up against this daredevil team; American BMX Crew, who boasted a similar routine, was sent packing a few weeks back. But that didn’t stop All Wheel Sports from bringing it on Tuesday. Their act is a bit dizzying at times – it combines dance, BMX, skateboarding and even some cheerleading – but everything was executed to perfection. “I just saw a headlining show in Vegas!” Mandel exclaimed. 

Wordspit and The Illest!: On paper, this crew is a band. But that’s a simplistic way to view them. With adept rapper Wordspit out front and a tight backing band keeping the groove behind it, this was undoubtedly one of our favorite acts. But on Tuesday they took a risk and performed an original number. The song did in fact have a killer sway, but the judges weren’t sure it was the right strategy. “You made the most disastrous choice by doing an original song,” Mandel explained. Osbourne concurred. Stern, however, vehemently disagreed. “I loved it!” he said. “The musicianship is off the charts!”  

Jacob Williams: How long will this awkward, monotone Chicago comic last in the competition? We think a while. Time and again Williams delivers the goods. His routine, which had riffs on “throwing up in babies’ mouths” and the sadness of eating alone, wasn’t his best effort. But it still scored big laughs. “Your persona, everything about you is fun and engaging,” Stern said. Mandel was more direct: “You are the best act of the night!”

All Beef Patty: Our initial dislike for this drag-queen singer stemmed from a belief that she was using her persona as a distraction from below-average singing chops. On Tuesday, All Beef Patty, flanked by shirtless men in football helmets, showed her true colors: she unleashed a whiny rendition of the Deniece Williams classic “Let’s Hear It for the Boy.” Osbourne described her as a “chunky Cher,” while Mandel said the performance came off “more cabaret than big Vegas.”

Spencer Horsman: What made this Harry Houdini throwback so fascinating is that we, the viewers, were able to bear direct witness to his awe-inspiring escape routines. But on Tuesday Horsman – strapped into a steel straitjacket, then stuffed into a bank bag and given 45 seconds to get out before being dropped onto spikes – essentially masked his entire performance by performing behind a screen. A moving shadow was our only window into his act. “We couldn’t see you,” Stern said. “It failed.”

Light Wire Theater: After Aurora Light Painters fell flat last week, we assumed the same fate would meet this group of dancers who use electronic outfits to create the visual effect of different animals prancing around the stage. Surprisingly, their performance was absolutely incredible. Not only did they unveil new “characters” – there was a duck and some large stork-like creatures – but their glow-in-the-dark creations moved with grace and panache. “That was spectacular in every sense of the word,” Osbourne said. “I will see you in the final!”

PREDICTION: It looks like the Untouchables, Jacob Williams and Light Wire Theater will be moving on. As for the fourth act? Our money is on Wordspit and the Illest!

TOMORROW: Tune in to find out which acts are advancing to the semis and also catch performances from Havana Brown and the winner of Britain’s Got Talent.

LAST EPISODE: The Advancing Acts Are . . .


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