Ahhhh decisions, decisions. After a night in which two of the best performances we've seen in the past three months of America's Got Talent
hit the Radio City Music Hall stage -- destroying seat 642 (can Matty F. just pay that out of his millie?) and plucking a rubber band-like hamstring or two in the process -- we are about to round out our top 12 acts of season 9.
And if the voters got it right, the next hour will be satisfying and controversy-free. That's not to say things aren't open to a bit of interpretation, but if all goes as it should, I can happily live with the results.
America's Got Talent Recap: Earning a Spot in the Top 12 >>>
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The top four vote getters should be fairly straightforward, as AcroArmy and Mat Franco were, in a single word, off the chain. Yes, that's one word in British English, like spot-o-tea. Additionally, both Emil and Dariel and Quintavious Johnson are fan favorites who delivered consistency without any setbacks. So they may not have taken a leap forward (like the first two acts did), but they didn't take any steps backwards either.
The Best of the Rest
Jonah Smith absolutely deserves one of the remaining spots in the top 12, but that will be up to the judges and real-time Snapple Save votes, for which he'll battle Blue Journey and Christian Stoinev. Smoothini shouldn't be any higher than eighth in the rankings, but he could sneak into that top seven and earn a shot at America's votes. And I'd be OK with that, because in all honestly, no one in this paragraph has a real chance to win the whole shebang at this point anyway.
And as for Wendy Liebman, Jaycob Curlee, Baila Conmigo and Kelli Glover, you should all be very proud of yourselves for making it this far. Now buh-bye.
If you'd like to dive a bit deeper into these predictions, I'll defer to comrade in AGT's Catherine Cabanelabalana, with whom I am in general consensus more so than any other point this season. But hey, she keeps me honest.
We agree on five of the six acts, whether we like them or not, but she gives that last spot to Smoothini thanks to his social media prowess. But unless he wins the Snapple Save, I don't see the judges putting him through, so I lean more towards Blue Journey or Christian Stoinev (with my vote going to the BJ), who have more potential if they can put it all together and avoid relying on adorable pooches.
Which acts do YOU think are moving on, and who is walking the long lonely plank to Loserville? Let's find out together, shall we? And as always, the blog is live, so when you have delicious little nuggets of brain magic, type 'em out for all of us to enjoy. Then it's like we're getting entertainment from two sources instead of one. And we'll all be a little bit more stupid for it.
On to the show!
The Live Blog Begins Now
Nick Cannon is sticking with the traditional dapper look that worked so well last night, sporting a dark suit sans hat, and like Ariana Grande last week, we're jumping right into the guest performer.
This time, it's that venerable hit-making machine Maroon 5. Seriously, I think Adam Levine and the rest of this megagroup produce a song a day that they send directly to the top of the iTunes chart and to various radio stations. They've only been doing this two years, and they already have 729 top 10 singles (they took one day off). Seriously, can you believe it's been 12 years since Songs About Jane?
Recap of the Recap of the Recap
After the filler that is the elongation of the recap that opened the show, which was preceded by the hour-long recap, it's time to learn the fifth, sixth, and seventh-place acts that we'll be voting for in real-time.
Blue Journey, Christian Stoinev and Smoothini are competing for the Snapple Save
This is in line with the predictions, though with two of the above going through, it means that one of Emil and Dariel, Jonah Smith and Quintavious Johnson is heading home. It also means that neither Catherine nor I can be perfect
The First Results
Before we find out who's moving on, we first need to stop by the Reddi Wip After Party to see 12 acts huffing from whipped cream cans and eating strawberries. Money well spent, Reddi Wip!
NOW, let's get to it. AcroArmy and Baila Conmigo are called to the stage, and we're getting the most obvious out of the way first, which I appreciate.
AcroArmy is in the Top 12
Heidi and Mel B. Wrestle for Your Votes
So last week, we got to watch Howie Mandel put on a funny disguise and punk audience members as they arrived for the show. This time, it's something everyone can enjoy -- Heidi Klum and Mel B. getting into a wardrobe tussle.
It's a Glam-Off that ends with the two of them strangling each other, and it's every bit as much of a time waster as Howie's fakeout. Actually -- and I never thought I'd say this -- I actually enjoyed Howie's bit more.
Emil and Dariel, Kelli Glover and Wendy Liebman are called to the stage, and we're still good to go.
Emil and Dariel are in the Top 12
That means it's either Quintavious Johnson or Jonah Smith who didn't make the cut, and my unfortunate guess is Jonah (as I still think I nailed the top four). There's no chance it's Mat Franco. Just no way. If it is, at least Catherine will have some company inside the igloo we will be co-habitating at the North Pole.
Howie Employs Mel B. to Mess with People
It's called Mystic Mel, who sits at a table with some Tarot cards and a crystal ball and messes with people thanks to an earpiece and a little help from some devious relatives. Mel B. does a great job of getting into the act, as family members dish the dirt on their unsuspecting loved ones.
I initially wrote some of my usual negativity regarding the time wasting, about not getting these past 6 or so minutes back, but it was actually the funniest filler routine of the season. Delightful.
The Hammer Drops
Nick calls out Mat Franco and Jonah Smith, and my dire prediction is about to come true.
Mat Franco is in the Top 12
Sorry, Catherine. I wanted it, too. But it just wasn't meant to be. I also love Mat's comments after learning the news, about how he's dedicated his life to magic and it's crazy for people to be so receptive.
The last two acts on stage, Jaycob Curlee and Quintavious Johnson, head to the lip to learn the next result.
Quintavious Johnson is in the Top 12
Well done, America. Well done.
Who Wins the Snapple Save?
Blue Journey, Christian Stoinev and Smoothini are back on stage, and America picked one of them to advance.
Blue Journey is in the Top 12
Wow! More props to America! Now it's up to the judges, and like I said, I don't see any of them picking Smoothini. They'll urge Christian to leave Scooby out next time and shy away from becoming an animal act, and he's worthy of another shot based solely on that. We've seen what Smoothini excels at, and we've already got three magicians in the Top 12. Compared with zero circus acts.
The Judges Decide
Mel B. was disappointed by Christian's performance, but she also doesn't feel like Smoothini is big enough to be a million-dollar act. So she's picking Christian Stoinev.
Howard Stern is up next, and he tells Stoinev he was lazy, sloppy and blew it as a frontrunner. And if Smoothini is going to make it in show business, he has to go bigger. So he's also going with Christian.
As the credits roll, Howie says size matters and seals the deal for Christian Stoinev, and all is right in the world.
Like I said in the beginning, satisfying and controversy-free.
The Top 12 is Set
Now things really get serious, and it will be a free-for-all next week when 12 acts hit the stage vying for a spot in the finals. This one will be tough to predict, so the actual performances will be more critical than ever. No backstories are getting you through this time. And everyone needs to step up their game and put on a better show than the time before.
It's down to singers Emily West, Quintavious Johnson, Sons of Serendip, Miguel Dakota and Mara Justine; magicians David and Leeman, Mike Super and Mat Franco; hand balancer Christian Stoinev; acrobatic dance group AcroArmy; cellists Emil and Dariel; and projection-screen dancers Blue Journey for the $1 million prize and a chance to headline a show in Vegas.
If it's up to me, Miguel Dakota, Mara Justine, David and Leeman, Mike Super, Emil and Dariel and Blue Journey are the ones who especially need to step it up. We know where to pencil in Quintavious, and Christian is the wildcard since we don't know what he'll do without Scooby. That leaves Mat Franco, AcroArmy, Emily West and Sons of Serendip as my favorites to win this thing.
Who are you rooting for? And who do you think doesn't stand a chance? Join us next week for what shapes up to be the best show of the year, and not only because it's do or die for the acts all over again. That's right, it's Muppet Mania! And you just can't miss Muppet Mania. Beeker and Pepe are the best. See you then!
You can watch America's Got Talent every Tuesday and Wednesday night at 9pm on NBC.