“America’s Got Talent” concluded the semi-final phase of its unconventional season 15 on Tuesday with the another live show featuring performances in a variety of formats–on stage, outdoors on the Universal Studios lot and some from elsewhere via satellite recording. In this semi-finals round, which consisted of two episodes, 11 acts per night performed for the judges, including wild card selections brought back after elimination in a previous round. After each round of performances, three acts will advance to the finals based on the overnight audience vote, then the 4th, 5th and 6th vote-getters will compete live for the Dunkin’ Save which one will earn and another will be saved by the judges.
On the September 15 live show, Simon Cowell was still absent while recovering from surgery, leaving Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Sofia Vergara on their own as the panel of judges. The line-up for this final night of semi-finals was led by two Golden Buzzer acts: Terry’s pick Voices of Our City Choir, Simon’s pick W.A.F.F.L.E. Crew and Heidi’s pick Cristina Rae. They were joined by dance duo BAD Salsa, magician Max Major, singers Celina, Daneliya Tuleshova and Kenadi Dodds, daredevil Jonathan Goodwin, acrobatic trio Bello Sisters, and sword swallower Brett Loudermilk.
The five acts that already advanced to the September 22 finale are: singing duo Broken Roots, spoken word poet Brandon Leake, aerialist Alan Silva, and singers Roberta Battaglia and Archie Williams.
SEE ‘America’s Got Talent’ judges rankings: All 13 judges ranked from worst to best
Below, follow along with our live blog as we recap all the action on “America’s Got Talent” Season 15 Episode 21 in our minute-by-minute blog.
8:03 p.m. – The first act of the night was Simon’s selection as a Golden Buzzer act, W.A.F.F.L.E. Crew. For this performance they lit up an old truck repair shop on the studio lot and used almost every inch of it with tricks, flips and sharper choreo than they’ve ever shown before.
8:11 p.m. – Heidi was positive about their performance and Howie thought they stepped it up by using the studio lot like no group this season has yet. Sofia agreed with the other two, saying that they show off their personality and passion.
8:13 p.m. – Next up was young singer Kenadi Dodds with her take on Thomas Rhett‘s “Be a Light.” Aside from confidently handling the ballad, the most striking aspect of her performance was the magnificent set they built for her, a plant box and piano in the middle of one of the neighborhood lots.
8:21 p.m. – Unlike in the last round, Howie thought that Kenadi stepped her game up this week and says she sounded beautiful. Sofia called the song the “perfect sentiment for the night” and that she sang it like a “confident pop star.” Heidi said she was stellar and suggests that she can be competitive with the other sings in the competition.
8:23 p.m. – For Max Major’s magic routine tonight he employed Heidi as an assistant in a roulette-inspired trick. In the trick Heidi and the other judges, Terry and even live audience guests all selected a number from the table. But before then he placed a wallet on the table that had correctly predicted all six numbers. In addition to that he showed a clip of a video that had him standing in front of a billboard he had made earlier that also had the numbers on it. Sofia found the journey of the act confusing while impressive and Howie agreed. He said that it was too much talking and not enough magic. Heidi defended Max and said it was something new and not at all confusing.
8:37 p.m. – Tonight the Bello Sisters showed us a more upbeat routine that matched their daring moves that required strength and incredible balance. The judges were wildly impressed and gave them a standing ovation. Heidi said that they create something both insane and beautiful. Like Heidi, Howie thought that some of their stretches seem to go beyond the limit that should be possible and that makes what they do incredible to watch. Sofia liked that they’re simultaneously “flowers” and show such strength.
8:48 p.m. – For her next performance, Celina covered “Jealous” by Labrinth from the top of a studio lot building at night. It was a delicate performance that showed both her range and her tone really well.
8:57 p.m. – Howie called Celina one of his favorite singers in the competition this year, but knows that the competition is stiff in signing this season and that he’s not sure if this performance was enough. Sofia retorted with “it was enough” and said that she performed it like she was at an awards show. Heidi called her an amazing talent and believes that she did enough to move on to the finale.
8:59 p.m. – Once again Jonathan Goodwin promised to raise the bar with his danger act by doing something that puts his fear of heights to the test. This was a trick that no one has ever attempted before–riding a zip line 60 feet in the air to land on a platform 80 feet away. To make it dangerous he locked himself with a padlock, tied his hands behind his back, suspended himself from ropes lit on fire and then rode the zip line by his teeth. On his journey he had to get his hands out of the ties, unlock the lock and release the zip before the fire burned through the ropes.
9:08 p.m. – Sofia said the act was intense and that she was suffering throughout it. Heidi was hung up on the fact that he called it his second most scary act and that she was ready to see his most scary act in the finale. Howie called what he does terrifying and thought hanging from his mouth was especially amazing.
9:11 p.m. – Heidi’s Golden Buzzer act, Cristina Rae, sang Cynthia Erivo‘s “Jump.” It was a powerful song that showed her control and range while also sending an uplifting message. Heidi was ecstatic for Cristina and pleaded for the audience to vote for her. Howie declared her “the one to beat” in the signing category because of her pure and powerful voice. Sofia thought it was perfect and that she nailed it.
9:22 p.m. – Performing from India, BAD Salsa delivered another fast-paced routine that set their traditional set ablaze. They incorporated some impressive tricks that most pair dancers don’t attempt and executed with precision and flare. It was another performance that the judges gave a standing ovation for. Sofia called it one of her favorite acts to watch and loves that they bring danger and comedy to their dancing. Heidi said their speed is what makes them stand out and Howie simply called it amazing.
9:32 p.m. – Next up was Terry’s own Golden Buzzer act, Voices of Our City Choir, with their rearrangement of “Heroes” by David Bowie. It was a rather subtle performance for a choir, though the emphasis was on harmony rather than any standout moments from soloists. The judges did give it a standing ovation, with Heidi saying that she loved the song choice especially in light of the heroes that the world has fighting for everyone right now. Howie likes that they feel important for this year and that their message is an important one. Sofia echoed Howie’s sentiment, adding that what they do is so powerful.
9:42 p.m. – Instead of bringing Sofia to the stage for his act this time, Brett Loudermilk utilized the talents of Howie. But before Howie was needed, Brett had Sofia and Heidi randomly narrow down a stack of images to a photo of a rubber ducky all to reveal, with Howie and an endoscopic camera helping, that he had previously swallowed a rubber ducky. He then choked it up live on stage. While Sofia was visibly disturbed (again) and Howie didn’t love it, Heidi was all laughs despite calling it a “little disgusting.”
9:55 p.m. – The final semi-finalist to perform was Daneliya Tuleshova with her rendition of Jessie J‘s “Who You Are.” Though her enunciation was pretty bad, her tone and confidence were really strong moments. The judges added another standing ovation to the night. Sofia said she’s shining like a star and Heidi said it’ll be a hard choice for America to choose, but that she’s incredible. Howie said he doesn’t think it will be tough because Daneliya needs to be voted through.
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