After almost three months of taped shows, “America’s Got Talent” finally moves on to the live portion of the competition on Tuesday with the first of three quarterfinals. In this round the judges — Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Mel B — lose control over who stays and goes as the viewing audience is given the power of the vote. This week, a dozen acts took to the stage to perform, but only seven will advance to the semifinals and continue on the path to the $1 million prize.
Four of these contenders for the season 13 championship got the coveted Golden Buzzer at their auditions, which allowed them to bypass the judge cuts phase and prepare for the live shows. Three of them are talented teens who sing (Flau’jae, Courtney Hadwin and Amanda Mena) while the fourth is a 160-person choir, the Angel City Chorale.
Below, read our recap of the 12 acts in the order in which they were showcased on Tuesday’s live show, which is episode 11 of season 13. Who impressed you the most and who was the biggest disappointment? Be sure to sound off with your thoughts down in the comments section.
8:01 p.m. – Settle in, everyone! It’s time for our first live show of the season at the Dolby Theater. The judges have lost (most of the) control of which acts will advance in the competition. A majority of tonight’s acts will be pushed through based on audience overnight votes alone. Then tomorrow we’re expecting an instant save and a judges’ pick to join them.
8:03 p.m. – The first act of the night was Mochi who returned to the stage with his diabolo act that incorporates high res graphics playing behind him to match the movement of his tricks. To raise the bar this week from his past performances, Mochi capped his show off by using a diabolo that shot sparks out of it while he continued to turn tricks. Heidi led the charge with the judges, qualifying on Mochi’s behalf that diabolos are very hard to learn. Simon also loved the act and stressed how incredible it is that he manages to make something that should be boring a thrilling ride “like a rollercoaster.”
8:14 p.m. – One of the most surprising additions to the quarterfinals is Human Fountains, who were brought in tonight as a wild card selection. Once again, based on the live audience reactions, their act was simultaneously horrifying and hilarious. When the all spit mustard and ketchup on to a hot dog that one member eventually bit into, Simon hit his red X, hoping to rid the competition of them once and for all. Shortly after he was out of his seat, along with Mel, as the guy’ fountaining (is that a word?) grew closer to the dais. For Howie, the act teaches a valuable lesson to children–that “sharing is caring”–and then proceeded to swallow his own drink and then spit it out. Only one live TV, right?!
8:24 p.m. – The singers of Angel City Chorale took the stage next for their follow-up to their golden buzzer earning performance in the Judge Cut round with a soulful rendition of “This Is Me.” What’s great about them as a choir is that they don’t rely solely on their voices to entertain, but instead include synchronized movements and other sounds to engage the audience in other ways. We already know that the group is one of Simon’s personal favorites, but tonight the entire panel of judges was on their feet for a standing ovation. Howie is worried that the choir’s impact might not be fully felt through the television and Mel called them “not perfect, but feel good” which seems like a backhanded compliment! Needless to say the audience booed the heck out of her!
8:34 p.m. – Tyra reminded us that the last time the judges saw The PAC Dance Team Howie wasn’t that impressed with them, calling their act “just a high school dance team.” Tonight’s performance was inspired by “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and incorporated upbeat, but relatively outdated pop songs. Even with the bigger budget afforded them for the live shows, their act still felt messy and disorganized. Heidi and Simon were more positive about them, calling them “optimistic,” but still Howie was not a fan and Mel joined him this time in her own distaste.
8:44 p.m. – Next up was Mel’s personal golden buzzer pick Amanda Mena who sang a remixed version of Pink‘s song “What About Us” that incorporated Spanish lyrics as well as English. Though the first verse was a little shaky (let’s chalk it up to nerves), Amanda managed to bring the performance around to a more mature and confident place and hit some big notes toward the end. Simon told Amanda that she is on her way to becoming a star, but suggested that she might want to join a group in the future rather than be solo. Do you agree with him?
8:54 p.m. – Our second dance crew of the night was Junior New System from the Philippines, the group of guys that make a name for themselves by ending all of their performances wearing heels. The other thing they did tonight was rely heavily on acrobatics and flips, but all of it together made the judges go crazy. Howie’s only criticism was that they don’t perform the entire thing in heels because for him that is the most interesting part of their act. Simon said that it isn’t just the heels but they also bring determination and energy that makes them worth watching.
9:04 p.m. – Another act the judges have always liked is We Three, who performed their third original song for the competition. Some people may have thought that the group advanced through the first two stages based mostly on their sad story, but as Howie pointed out they have “transcended their story” and are relying purely on talent. Both Mel and Heidi were in agreement, but Simon served the real tea when he told them that tonight was a step down from their previous songs and that they seemed like a “support band” not a headliner.
9:14 p.m. – As if alligators weren’t daring enough, tonight escape artist Lord Nil worked with his fiancé and rattlesnakes in order to prove that he will put everything on the line to win. He was chained and submerged in a tank of water, needing to escape the chains in order to release his fiancé before she drops into the pit of snakes at which point she must get him a key in time to unlock himself from the tank before he runs out of breath. I have to say that, for me, there seemed to be a lot of acting going on and that the escape wasn’t as dangerous as they made it out to be. Mel actually hit her red X, explaining that she doesn’t understand why they would put each other in danger. The rest of the judges bought into the act and Simon challenged them to be more dangerous next time.
9:26 p.m. – Flau’jae, the young rapper from Georgia, was up next to deliver yet another self-penned set of verses. Tonight, with the support of a band on stage and a ton of confidence, Flau’jae performed like she’s already a star. She got the entire audience involved in her performance, having them clapping, waving their arms and singing along to her catchy chorus. Mel was harsh in her critique yet again, much to Simon’s dismay who was so taken aback by the performance that he didn’t have much to say other than “outstanding” and to tell her that she has “that steel in her eye” that very few artists have at such a young age.
9:36 p.m. – One of the few magicians left in the competition is Shin Lim, who feels that even without the daring antics of some of the other acts has what it takes to deserve a spot in the finals. Tonight his trick was one continuous flow of a deck of cards disappearing and reappearing, changing into a different deck that (cue eyeroll) spelled out “Vote For Shin Lim America’s Got Talent,” and then even smoking at one point. Howie and Heidi both call Shin the best close-up magician they’ve ever seen, recognizing that his tricks are so clean and smooth. Simon’s only criticism is that he needs to move away from the cards and provide more of a performance next time.
9:43 p.m. – Vicki Barbolak took center stage next to deliver another hilarious and self-deprecating set of jokes. Tonight’s comedy focused on her dating life and the “assistant shift manager” men that occupy her dating life and, apparently, many marriages. Her “trailer nasty” humor was a hit again tonight though personally I thought her set didn’t flow very easily. That being said, as Simon points out, she has a winning personality that the audience relates to and will really pull for in each round.
9:55 p.m. – The last act of the night, Courtney Hadwin, has already exceeded 200 million views on YouTube with her audition. Her performance tonight is likely to reach just as many views because once again she not only knocked a raw, guttural rock vocal out of the park but also laid down some really smooth dance moves! She truly is already a star and you can tell by the way the judges react to her that they think she not only special, but the likely winner. Do you think Courtney is the clear frontrunner?
10:00 p.m. – Don’t forget–AGT is back tomorrow night for the first live results show where 7 acts will advance to the semifinals! Which are your 7 predictions to move on? Sound off about that and much more in the comments!
Be sure to make your full ‘AGT’ predictions, including which seven of these will advance to the next round, and you might win win a $100 Amazon gift certificate. It’s fun and easy, so start predicting right now.