Howie Mandel (‘America’s Got Talent’) gives public apology to Emerald Belles high-kickers: Live performance was ‘spectacular!’ [WATCH]

Let’s be honest: “America’s Got Talent” judge Howie Mandel hasn’t been the kindest to the Emerald Belles high-kickers in the past. But during the live Quarterfinals 1 episode of “AGT,” Howie was so impressed that he called the act “spectacular” and gave them a public apology. “Thank you so, so much. You do not know how much your support means to us,” shouted the group of 63 talented Texans, who dressed all in white for their first live show at the Dolby Theatre. Will America vote Emerald Belles into the Semifinals? Watch the performance video above, read the judges’ comments below and make your predictions before Wednesday’s results show.

Gabrielle Union: “You know, they say the best way to silence your critics is to come out and give it an amazing performance. Listen to this crowd. You guys killed it! And I don’t hear anything over there. It’s crickets from Howie.”

Howie Mandel: “Okay, I gotta say, I’ve been tough on you guys. But with your talent and our production and pyro and those overhead shots, you just blew the roof off the place. And I’m now sold. I’m so thrilled that America now has to vote. You just made it really tough because not everybody can go through. That was spectacular! I hope it played as well at home.”

Julianne Hough: “Oh my goodness, you know I haven’t been a fan from the beginning, but the way that you stepped it up tonight was beyond anything you guys have done. I have to say that when you guys come together, you’re better together and I love that. Unbelievable.”

Simon Cowell: “The reaction you’ve had from your first audition — I’ve watched it online — [is incredible]. What I love about you guys is you define what ‘America’s Got Talent’ is all about. It’s about hard work, dedication, rehearsals, ambition. And Howie, I actually think you owe them a public apology right now.”

In his “AGT” live blog, our recapper John Benutty had this to say about the performance: “Howie was the only judge that didn’t support the Emerald Belles moving on in the competition so tonight was their chance to prove him wrong. To do that, the high kicking dance squad kept the energy level high and managed to move as one body through a series of synchronized waves that showed just how in control they are as a single mind. Sure enough, Howie admitted that with the higher production value of the live shows the group won him over and he called it ‘spectacular.’ The other judges were just as impressed by the performance, but I get the feeling that the performance played much better in-house than it did through the television.”

Be sure to make your predictions to influence our reality TV racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next results show airs on NBC. You’ll compete to win a $100 Amazon gift card and a spot on our leaderboard. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

SIGN UP for Gold Derby’s newsletter with experts’ latest predictions

More News from GoldDerby