We’re just one week away from the start of the finals of season 13 of “America’s Got Talent.” Five acts made it through based on the results of the first semi-final last week. Another 11 are performing in semifinal 2 on September 11. They are hoping to win over America with their performances on Tuesday’s live show, which is episode 19 of season 13.
As with the quarterfinals, the four judges — Simon Cowell, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel — are no longer in charge during the semifinals. Three of the five acts that make it through will do so based on the votes of viewers. The fourth will win the Dunkin’ Save, a sudden death showdown for audience votes on the result show. And the fifth will be the judges’ choice.
Last week’s semifinal included five acts who had earned a Golden Buzzer at their auditions, which allowed them to go straight through to the live shows. This week there is just one: Courtney Hadwin. This English teenager won over Howie at her audition with her rollicking rendition of the Otis Redding classic “Hard to Handle.” In the live quarterfinal, she rocked another soul classic, James Brown‘s “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag.” Will she do another cover tonight?
Below, read our recap of how Courtney and the other 10 acts did on Tuesday’s live show. Who impressed you the most and who was the biggest disappointment? Be sure to sound off with your thoughts down in the comments section.
8:07 p.m. – Up first in this week’s semi-finals is Christina Wells, the big-voiced diva who has overcome body insecurities and embraced her talent. She’s singing “Natural Woman” by the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. It’s a high bar she set for herself and she’s doing alright. There were definitely a few missed notes and I don’t always appreciate how she goes full-throttle through every song. Sometimes less is more at the beginning and allows you to build to the crescendo.
8:10 p.m. – Howie felt she pushed a little too hard and hit some bad notes, but he loves the message she spreads. Mel B gets overjoyed whenever Christina sings and calls her voice “spectacular.” Heidi was the only judge to give Christina a standing ovation and said she’s the only singer in the competition with the moxie to take on that song. Simon loves Christina but thought the song was over-orchestrated and it wasn’t her best performance. He hopes she makes the final anyways.
8:18 p.m. – Da RepubliK is the next act to take the stage. The Dominican dance crew was given a cinematic intro package rather than the typical emotional reel. I’m not sure if that will help or hurt them. Nonetheless, the dancers were full steam ahead once they began dancing. It was high energy and included plenty of acrobatics, but if I’m being honest they aren’t my favorite dancers in this competition. At times I was even bored. Oooh! Just as I said that Simon gave them the red “X.”
8:20 p.m. – Simon was frustrated because the production behind them drowned out their performance. He though the dancing was generic and he doesn’t believe they will make it to the next round. Mel B felt it was under-rehearsed but she enjoyed it. Heidi disagreed with Simon and never gets tired of Da RepubliK. Howie said their were some mistakes and the pressure of the semi-finals seems to be getting to the contestants tonight.
8:30 p.m. – Singer Noah Guthrie is tonight’s third act. He’s admitted that song choice has been a struggle for him this season. Tonight he’s performing a cover of “I Will Always Love You,” the monster smash penned by Dolly Parton and brought to new heights by Whitney Houston. He’s added his own bluesy twist to it and his husky voice is just enough to make it sound original. All that said, I’m not into it. At all. I would never want to listen to this version again. Too many singers this season have a terrible habit of screaming through the song.
8:32 p.m. – Heidi liked the way Noah stripped down the song and sang with heart. Simon thought it was a smart idea, but the first half was horrible. Simon isn’t sure if he made the right decision, but said Noah was brave. Howie gave Noah a standing ovation and said the song was perfect for his voice and he was the best act of the night so far. Mel B loves the unique sound of Noah’s voice, but she didn’t like that rendition.
8:40 p.m. – The fourth act performing is opera singer Daniel Emmet. He admits to being unprepared for his audition and was overwhelmed when he won the Duncan Save in the quarterfinals. Tonight he is performing “Somewhere” from “West Side Story.” Brilliant song choice. Daniel isn’t original at all and you can hear a voice like this on any Broadway stage, but the guy has charisma. More importantly, he’s got a great voice and knows how to build a song. Well done!
8:42 p.m. – Simon thought the first half was okay, but the last 20 seconds was amazing. Mel B is confused (isn’t she always?) and was thrown off by the song choice. The performance wasn’t up to par for her. Heidi loves Daniel and thought he gave the best performance of the night so far. Howie thought it was “just musical theater” and didn’t love it.
8:50 p.m. – Angel City Chorale is the fifth act tonight. The singers have inspired so many people around the country and it was highlighted in their introduction package. Dressed in white shirts and holding flashlights for special effect, the group performs “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen. It could be production’s fault, but for such a huge choir, I can barely hear them and certainly don’t understand the lyrics. I love their message of inclusiveness, but this performance is NOT for me.
8:52 p.m. – Howie says they are so much more than just a choir and loves their choreography. Mel B thought their performance was beautiful. Heidi says Angel City Chorale consistently fill the room with happiness. Simon applauded their tribute message to 9/11 and says they are one of the best choirs they’ve ever had on the show.
9:03 p.m. – After so much singing tonight, I’m actually excited for danger act Aaron Crow to show us something different. The silent, mysterious smizer appears to have been pondering all week over which judge to torment next. It looks like Howie is missing, which can’t be a good sign for him! Aaron holds up four blocks with the numbers 1-4 on them. Then we see four larger boxes with the same numbers on stage and a hidden cam of Howie in ONE of them. Heidi shuffles the numbers face down and then her and Mel each choose one for him to pick up with his ax. He heads on stage and obliterates the two large boxes that could potentially hold Howie inside. With just two boxes remaining, it’s up to Simon to make the final choice. Will Howie live or die? Simon makes his choice and Aaron chooses the OTHER number to obliterate. LAME. Had Simon chose the other one, he probably would have just switched it up. Send him home.
9:05 p.m. – Simon joked he was disappointed by the ending, but thinks Aaron is a great showman. Mel B really enjoyed how he kept it moving. Aaron scares Heidi but she loves the danger and suspense he brings. Howie didn’t have much to say since he was stuck in a box throughout the entire act.
9:15 p.m. – “Trailer Nasty” comedienne Vicki Barbolak hopes to bring the laughs tonight with her stand-up routine. It’s tough to do stand-up on a family-friendly show like “AGT” so I respect those who are successful. Vicki comes out with high energy and tells a few jokes about how she attracts men. The highlight for me was her joke about getting a potential DUI if her trailer house becomes unhitched and slides down a hill while she’s drunk.
9:17 p.m. – All of the judges think Vicki is hilarious and love her persona. Simon doesn’t have a clue what she’s talking about half the time, but he has a crush on her and wants to take her for a Grand Slam at Denny’s.
9:28 p.m. – The sibling trio We Three is up next. Growing up, music was always a part of their lives and songwriting came naturally. Their songs have been hit or miss with the judging panel, particularly Simon. Tonight, they are taking a risk by singing a fun song. Yes, they actually said that. It’s a reggae-sounding jam that sounds like something you’d hear from part-time singers at an amusement park. It lacked feeling AND fun. Next!
9:30 p.m. – Simon thought the whole performance was a mess tonight and he didn’t like the song. Howie said it didn’t “pop” and the song wasn’t “contagious.” Mel B was into their performance and thinks the guys are being a bit harsh. Heidi didn’t think the vocals were as strong as they’ve been in the past, but she likes them overall.
9:38 p.m. – Glennis Grace thought she was going home a few weeks ago when she misheard Tyra’s announcement. The journey has been difficult for her since her son is not with her (she’s from Amsterdam). Tonight she’s singing one of my favorite songs, “This Woman’s Work” by Maxwell. Hands down, Glennis is the best technical singer in the competition this season. I LOVE her voice. If anything is lacking, it’s a fierce passion in her stage presence, but I think she turned that up a notch tonight. She was my favorite act of the night and the first to receive a standing ovation from all four judges.
9:40 p.m. – “Yes! Yes! Yes!” screamed Mel B and said everything was perfect. Heidi said every moment with Glennis is a special and memorable moment and she needs to be at the finale. Simon thinks it was the best performance of the night and her voice is incredible. Howie said Glennis is perfection and is the first person tonight that brought it home.
9:48 p.m. – Electric violinist Brian King Joseph is tonight’s 10th act. The nerves in his body are deteriorating and causes a burning pain that could someday stop his ability to make music. He’s fighting to continue doing the one thing that gives him hope and achieve his dream. Brian begins his set high up on a giant pedestal in the crowd. After being lowered to the ground, he makes his way to the stage while putting his incredible musicality on display. But it’s the guy’s charisma and megawatt smile that make him a star. Tonight the lighting and theatrics on stage helped his performance rather than distract from it and I thought he put on a great show.
9:50 p.m. – Brian was the second act of the night to get a standing ovation from all of the judges. Heidi said he was on fire and she loves him. Simon thought the performance was in a different league from everything they’ve seen tonight. After this performance, Simon thinks Brian can actually win the show. Howie thought it was an amazing production, but Brian lived up to it. Mel B absolutely loves him and encouraged everyone to vote for him.
9:58 p.m. – The last act of the night is Howie’s Golden Buzzer winner and front-runner to win it all, Courtney Hadwin. The introduction package showed how much buzz she has created on the internet and it’s as if the winner has already been crowned. Finally, Courtney takes the stage singing “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf. This is probably my least favorite performance of hers, but she’s doing her thing. Only Simon and Howie stood up for this act.
9:59 p.m. – Howie predicts Courtney will win it all. Mel B thought she was a bit off tonight and felt the nerves. Heidi agreed with Mel B but she loves having her on the show. Simon said none of Courtney’s performances are perfect, but being gritty and messy is what she’s all about. He adores her.
10:00 p.m. – That’s a wrap for tonight’s semi-final! My top five acts I hope get voted through are: Brian King Joseph, Glennis Grace, Vicki Barbolak, Courtney Hadwin and Daniel Emmett. Who are you rooting for? Sound off in the comments!