Tonight the top America’s Got Talent Top 12 perform and I’m so excited. Next week’s the finale if you can believe it! When the live shows started I wasn’t too sure about the level of talent this year. Boy was I ever wrong. This has easily been one of the strongest season we’ve ever witnessed. It’s been fun and so, so great. Nick’s decked out in a very nice tuxedo tonight, but he still has on some very shiny shoes.  Let’s get to it!

kristef brothers

Chicago Boyz
Leading off the night are the Chicago Boyz. They forgo their usual blue suits for yellow and it’s a nice change. Their routine had a few small mistakes, but they also had some pretty big moves. This wasn’t my favorite performance of theirs, mostly because it took them a bit to set up their moves. There’s no doubt, however, that these guys have really upped their game since we first saw them. Mel compliments their skills and noticed the mistakes. Howie also pointed out the mistakes but doesn’t think it will hurt them too much. Howard tells them they are phenomenal performers and hopes the mistakes didn’t hurt them and thinks the nerves got to them a little bit. Heidi calls them inspiring and doesn’t have anything negative to say.

Branden James
James sings “Hallelujah” which I believe is the first time we’ve heard it this season. I didn’t like the first part of the song and didn’t think it was anything special. Until he got the chorus, that is. Very strong ending, for sure! Mel was worried the song was going to be too big for him but tells him he owned it. Howie tells him that he made a great song choice and played to his strength. Howard tells him he connected with the audience and tells him congratulations. Heidi tells him he sang to his strengths and said it was even better than last time. James tells us he chose that song because it’s something that inspires him, and tells the crowd “it will get better for sure.”

Innovative Force 
Last week I complained about there being too many members and this week having too many members really worked to their advantage tonight. They do more dance moves and they are really good and look sharper than last week. The whole performance is strong, tight, and very enjoyable. Howard calls them adorable and fun to watch, and tells them that adding trampoline and more dance was a wise decision. Heidi gives them two thumbs up and tells them they are an inspiration. Mel calls it their best performance to date, while Howie calls the performance entertaining and makes an awkward Superman reference that no one seemed to appreciate.

The KriStef Brothers
“How to be a KriStef brother in 90 seconds” is the theme for their act tonight. And it’s very charming, surprisingly. The comedy is funny and they do a ton of stuff in 90 seconds. Heidi loves them and gave them a standing ovation. Mel says they are “bloody entertaining” and wants to go to their show. Howie liked them and called the whole routine “like a Richard Simmons tape on steroids.” Howard likened the performance to a Saturday Night Live sketch, and to him that was a good thing. One can’t be too sure sometimes when it comes to SNL. Howard says they are the first act that is going to go through and seems very confident. Nick helpfully tells us that the KriStef Brothers never do the same tricks twice, so each time we see them we are seeing something we’ve never seen before. Overall, I definitely liked the Brothers better than the Boyz tonight.

D’Angelo and Amanda
I really love D’Angelo’s face when he’s on stage. He’s just so fierce and happy. Tonight they do a salsa (I believe — I’m by no means a dance expert), and it’s a very, very good performance. Mel says they nailed it and they dance with such strength and precision. Howie tells them they are ramping [the show] up and calls them spot on and perfect. Howard tells them they have the unfortunate distinction of being on the best season ever of AGT and in any other season would have already been crowned the winner. As such, he can’t predict if they make it into the finals but calls the performance flawless.  Heidi calls it super impressive even if she thinks we’ve seen all the moves before.

Catapult Entertainment
Tonight’s performance was by far the best thing we have seen from this group. The story tonight was about small kid fighting monsters. It’s a great message of bullying and standing up for others and yourself. It’s a beautiful story and it’s the first act of the night I want to watch over again. Howard gives his first standing ovation of the night and liked that they told a simple story and was able to connect emotionally with the message. He also boldly tells them they will move on into the finals.  Howie tells them they told a clear story and loved it and tells them they deserve to be where they are. Heidi loved the positive message and Mel calls it magical and flawless and breathtaking. A truly inspiring performance. Adam Battlestein tells America “We need to stand up to people who can’t stand up for themselves.” When Catapult does something simple yet inspiring and emotional that’s when they are at their best. Last week they tried to do too much and it hurt them. But this week was stunning and perfect.


Man. What a show so far.

kenichi ebina

Forte sings Celine Dion’s classic “My Heart Will Go On” and are stunning right on the first note. Their harmonies are phenomenal and each guy really has a fantastic voice. Sorry, Branden James, but these guys are just on a whole other level. Howard and Howie reenact the Jack and Rose scene on the front of the Titanic as the song ends. It’s pretty cute. The crowd is going insane and there’s a huge roar as they await the judges remarks. Howard tells them they always pick the right song and know how and when to harmonize. He tells them they will be the third act to go through. Heidi tells them they sing like true professionals and gives them three thumbs up. Mel says they will definitely go through: “When you guys harmonize I just want to melt.” Howie: “It’s amazing that three guys can sing a song synonymous of a sinking ship can elevate the night to such great heights.” Wow.

Taylor Williamson
Taylor’s pretty edgy at times and I enjoy him. I don’t think he has enough to win the competition, but he’s charming. I do find him funny, but he sort of gets swallowed up by some of the bigger acts. Heidi tells her she always feels verklempt around him and means it as a positive thing. I think. Howard hopes people votes for him and says it’s important for a comedian to be in the finals. He doesn’t elaborate as to why. Mel makes a grimace and Taylor asks Howard to speak again. Howard praises Taylor a bit more until Howie takes over. Howie once again talks about everything a comedian does — writing their own jokes, material, creating a character, etc. and really praises him. They don’t let Mel talk but her face said everything we needed to know — she didn’t really care for it.

Collins Key
Like everything Collins does, tonight’s act is complicated. Here we go: He takes Nick’s watch and changes the time and put it in one of three paper bags. He puts two cheap watches in the other bags and has Mel and Heidi pick the bags they believe Nick’s watch is not in. Those bags he then destroys with a sledgehammer. Earlier, he asks Howie to take off his watch and set it to a random time. When Collins takes Nick’s unsmashed watch out of the bag, the time matches the time Howie set his watch to. I did notice that Mel picked bag two and he very discretely picks the other bag to smash since he could tell which bag Nick’s watch was in the bag she chose. Mel can’t figure out how he does it and was impressed. Howard liked him and tells him his only critcism is that he needs to speed things along. Overall it’s a small criticism. Collins’ act went over time so they only get comments from two judges.

Kenichi Ebina
Kenichi explains that his wife told him to express more emotion, so tonight he will do just that. On stage. It’s a smaller performance than we are used to, but it’s absolutely gorgeous and so incredibly graceful. He incorporates some new elements and it’s perfect. I can’t get over how he can give us such diversity in each performance. What a talent. We are really have an amazing night. Mel calls it crazy and can’t understand how he comes up with everything and how it flows so beautifully: “flawless.” Heidi calls it intense and beautiful and understood the story he was telling. Howie pleads to America to vote for Kenichi and calls him the best. “You are true, pure talent.” Howard is a fan of Kenichi for life: “We really got to see how you move.” He calls it brilliant and also says he will go through. “You’re a real contender. You’re going through.” Radio City definitely agreed with our judges tonight as the auditorium erupts with cheers.

Jimmy Rose
Jimmy sings the Blake Shelton version of “God Gave Me You.” It’s a fine cover but he’s probably the weakest performer of the night. That’s not to belittle his talent, it’s just we’ve been given an embarrassment of talent tonight. Howie says there have been so many wow moments tonight and Jimmy didn’t have that wow factor. “But you were great!” he tells him. Mel calls him more country than ever and he owned the stage: “You’re talented and humble.” Heidi says it wasn’t her favorite act of the night but applauds him nonetheless. Howard says he seems a lot more relaxed tonight with the electric guitar. He says he might be playing it safe and wishes he would take more risks. “In order to win you’ve got to blow it out of the room.”

Cami Bradley
Getting back behind the piano, Cami sings a stripped down version of Bon Jovi’s “Livin on a Prayer.” She seems much more comfortable than she did last time. It’s a gorgeous arrangement, her vocals are strong and I think it was smart to end the show with her performance. All four judges are on their feet at song’s end. Heidi: “You take an iconic song and you make it your own.” Mel tells her last week she wasn’t a huge Cami fan but tonight she turned it all around: “You gave a proper performance.” Howie calls her a star and tells her he has a little bit of a crush on her. Cami reminds Howard of Linda Ronstat, which is incredibly high praise. He tells her she will get the sixth slot tomorrow night. High praise from all the judges.

cami bradley

Tonight’s show was pretty incredible. My picks on who will advance tomorrow night: Kenichi, Forte, KriStef Brothers, Catapult, Cami and either Taylor, Collins, or Branden. Or it could be Chicago Boyz, D’Angelo and Amanda, or Innovative Force or Jimmy. I don’t even know!

Who do you want to see in the finals? Sound off in the comments and we will see you tomorrow night!

Photos by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC


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