America's Got Talent - 2.09 Recap
America's Got Talent - 2.09 Recap

Episode Overview:  Tonight, the final ten semi-finalists on America's Got Talent get their shot to show America that their act is worth a million dollars, and we learn the results of last week's voting on the first set of ten.  The new batch has some strong talent, but there are also a few disappointing clunkers.  Did your favorite from last week make it through to the next round?  Read on to find out!

Once again, Sharon Osborne, David Hasselhoff and Piers Morgan are sitting, buzzer at the ready, waiting to evaluate the next set of semi-finalists.  However, just like last week, as host Jerry Springer reminds us, their opinions are now just that: opinions.  The final word belongs to the public, and so now the last group of semi-finalists have their chance to win the hearts of the audience.

The show starts with a bang in the form of the Second Story Guys.  The stilt dancing guys have donned some disco threads and dance to "Turn the Beat Around."  The group's performance seems pretty flawless and the audience loves their combination of acrobatics, showmanship and good-natured camp, and do the judges.

The next group isn't such an instant hit, though.  The singing trio Southern Girl sing "If I Ain't Got You."  Two of the judges think their performance was not as strong as it could be.  Piers thinks they weren't quite on key and wonders about their onstage chemistry.   Sharon feels like they need a lead singer.  But David, contrary as usual, insists they are "the real Dreamgirls."

Gregory Popovich's Comedy Pet Theater would seem to be an easy crowd pleaser: who doesn't love an animal act?  But they have decided this time to do a more in-depth skit, with a homeless clown interacting with a couple of stray animals.  There are a few cute bits, the dog stealing the clown's food, the cat pushing a pram, a fur coat being magically turned into a pile of live ferrets.  But the judges feel like this act is stronger when they focus more on the animals, and advise them to do that if they make it back to the next round.

Singer and stay-at-home dad Cas Haley now takes the stage to sing "Higher and Higher."  Once again, it's entertaining to see this cherubic-faced and humble-seeming guy really go for it in his performance, and everyone seems to respond to it.  The judges all love not only the strength of his voice and presentation, but also his genuine likability.  They all feel he'll go far.

Cas was one of those acts that defied expectations during his initial auditions, and he's followed by a performer who also surprised the judges.  The Hoff had initially groaned when ventriloquist Terry Fator took the stage, but quickly changed his tune when he saw his skill at not only throwing his voice, but also impersonations.  Tonight, Terry has a turtle puppet, who imitates another amphibian, Kermit the Frog.  He sings "What a Wonderful World," and "duets" with Terry himself who imitates Louis Armstrong.  The judges love it.

The next act isn't quite as much of a success with the judges.  Acapella rock group The Fault Line sings the Michael Jackson song "The Way You Make Me Feel."  While their performance is solid, all three judges think the pop song was the wrong choice, and want them to come back (if voted through) with a rocker.

And now the biggest oddball of the evening: Boy Shakira.  But tonight, he's not Boy Shakira, he's Boy Britney.  In pigtails and a schoolgirl outfit, he performs "Hit Me Baby One More Time."  Once again, his commitment to the performance and sheer joy in doing his quirky drag show wins over the audience.  And, to his own chagrin, Piers, who admits he's powerless against the charms of the Boy, whether Shakira or Britney.  He just can't bring himself to buzz him off.  The Boy is becoming, Piers says, his "guilty pleasure."  And it's true; against all better judgment you find yourself mesmerized by his infectious energy.

A more straightforward act follows, country singer Jason Pritchett.  He performs "Life is a Highway" but gets mixed reviews from the judges.  Piers thinks he should stick to his usual genre and not pretend to be Bon Jovi.  Sharon appreciates his branching out, and David likes the whole package.

The acrobatic act Calypso Tumblers puts on an energetic show, but, as Piers notes, needed a little more tumbling.  Their energy is always top notch, though, and David comments that he saw them perform down on the beach and they gave just as much to that performance as this televised one.

The last act of the night, the family band The Duttons, might be suffering from a little bit of an excess of energy.  Their performance of La Bamba was "frantic" according to Sharon, and a general mess by the other judges.  Not a hit for the evening, but who knows?  Maybe giant sincere family bands are exactly what the public wants to see and we'll find that out next week.

For tonight, though, that's it for the new acts, and so now, it's time for the results of last week.  Although they have kept us waiting for the entire show, America's Got Talent mercifully does not take a page from American Idol's book and just gives us the results straight out.  The five acts from last week going on to the next round are...(drumroll)...14-year-old singer Julienne Irwin!  Beat-boxing Butterscotch!  Plus-size Pussycat Dolls, The Glamazons!  The singer who works in the sewer, Robert Hatcher!  And guys who do some martial arts and dancing with their shirts helpfully ripped off, Sideswipe!

Next week, we learn the results of this week's voting.  If you find yourself vaguely and shamefully hoping that Boy Shakira/Britney makes it through, don't feel bad: you're not alone.

- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

(Image courtesy of NBC)