America's Got Talent - 2.12 Recap
America's Got Talent - 2.12 Recap
Episode Overview: Tonight on America's Got Talent, we learn which of the final eight were selected by America to move on to the final four. And, as each selected acts is announced, they have the chance to perform one piece selected by the judges for them, and one they select themselves. This will be the final four's last chance to perform for your vote…which one will be the million dollar performance?

Last week, the final eight were announced: singers Robert Hatcher, Julienne Irwin, Jason Pritchett and Cas Haley; beatboxer Butterscotch;  ventriloquist/singer/impersonator Terry Fator; big girl burlesque singing group The Glamazons; and martial arts/dancing group Sideswipe. Half of these acts will have one more shot to win one million dollars, but the other half comes to the end of the road tonight.
It's time to get into things, and so, let's get right to the first selected act. “In no particular order,” as host Jerry Springer reminds us throughout the night, the first act selected is Cas Haley.

Cas's first performance is the one selected by the judges. They've picked “I Can't Help Falling in Love with You,” made famous first, of course, by Elvis Presley, but then reinterpreted endlessly. The version the judges want to hear is the reggae style interpretation by UB40. Will Cas, the judges wonder, be able to make his own mark of a song already owned by two strong acts?

It seems so, the audience loves it, and the judges do too. Sharon Osborne thinks he's really become comfortable onstage, and Piers Morgan agrees, saying he's grown from “the guy jamming on the beach to a star.”

After a break, we're back to find the next act voted through…it's beatboxer Butterscotch. The judges have picked “What's Going On” by Marvin Gaye. Sharon says the judges are curious to see what she will do with it: will she beatbox it, sing it, combination of both?

Butterscotch decides to stick with just singing. She starts at the piano, but then stands and sings. Once again, the America's Got Talent experience for the home viewer seems very different from what the judges hear. As cute as she is, it really seemed too low of a song for her and her talent doesn't seem strong enough without beat boxing to merit her being in the competition. However, the judges think she did well enough (although they admit they like the combo meal of beat boxing with singing better), so it's maybe it's yet another case of the audio in the theater being better, different, whatever than it is at home.

The second-to-last act to make it through: ventriloquist/singer/impersonator Terry Fator. Seriously: did anyone think at the start of this thing that a ventriloquist could make it to the final four? It's not a talent that is wildly popular these days, so it's definitely a tribute to his talent that he's made it this far.

The judges decide to take him out of his comfort zone. He's stuck to jazzy standards in the past, so tonight, they want Terry to do a contemporary country number, “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks. Of course, as soon as they say that, Jerry introduces him by saying he's from Dallas, Texas. Of course, not everyone from Dallas is a country fan…but he might have more of a head start than we thought.

Once again, it's a solid performance, with extremely strong vocals. It's always a little disappointing to me when there isn't the interaction between him and the puppet as it adds an element of humor to the act, but everything else is very solid. The judges can't find a flaw and Piers admits he can't stand country music, but Terry made it entertaining.

So who will be the last act through? And which four will be going home?

It's 14-year-old singer Julienne Irwin. That means that singers Robert Hatcher and Jason Pritchett, and groups The Glamazons and Sideswipe are going home and we get a little trip down memory lane about their experience. I'm sad to see Robert go…while Julienne is adorable and very talented, I definitely would have picked him over her. But not America!

So it's her turn to perform a judges' pick. They want a contemporary song for her as well, “What Hurts the Most” by Rascal Flatts. Well, again, it's another case of what I hear doesn't seem to be what the judges hear. I think Julienne has good potential for a great career, but I agree with Piers's assessment last week that she might need a little more time to have her voice grow. But Piers doesn't even agree with himself anymore, and thinks she proved him wrong. So what do I know?

Now the acts all have a chance to perform their own picks. First up is Cas. He picks “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder and it's an inspired choice because Cas's joyful energy is a good match for Stevie's. The crowd likes it and the judges do too. Piers thinks he not only has the talent, but also the persona to win: a humble guy who loves his family.

Butterscotch takes the stage next, and she's decided to go back to her strongest talent, straight-up old school beat boxing. She's fierce, and with break dancers behind her, it's a fantastic performance. The judges all think while it might be a risk to do just beat boxing, they agree it's where she's in her element and admire that she brought her style to her final performance.

Terry Fator also picks a song that speaks to his strengths. With a turtle done up in a black page boy wig and glasses, he sings Roy Orbison's “Cryin.'” This particular impersonation probably suits his voice the very best, and Piers gives him a standing ovation.

Last up, Julienne Irwin picks “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to perform. This song, to me, finally brings back the amazing first few performances we got from this young woman. David Hasselhoff thinks she was a little shaky at first, and Piers also doubts she's done enough to win, but all admire her act.

So now that's it and it's in America's hands. Next week, the winner of the million dollar prize will be announced on the final America's Got Talent.

- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of NBC)