I did it. I finally did it. For the first time in my life, and without compromising my journalistic integrity (11 times for Timber Brown), I picked up the phone and took to Twitter to vote for an act on America's Got Talent
I didn't feel particularly comfortable doing it, but the guy clearly needed my help. My decision came after a night of semifinal performances perfectly summed up by the first-act spat between Howard Stern and Howie Mandel and subsequent awkward make-up kiss over completely misguided comments.
America's Got Talent Recap: The Semifinals Part 2 >>>
Basically, it was a love/hate affair all around. Between the judges themselves, and between them and me as well. For the vast majority of acts, I either agreed completely with their assessment or couldn't have been further off.
And despite the fact that I still haven't had a perfect week of predictions, I'm again trusting my own judgment. C'mon, I'm due.
First up, the "Awesome agreement" group: Chicago Boyz, Kenichi Ebina, KriStef Brothers
All three of these acts are destined to advance to the Top 12, or America will have gotten it wrong, plain and simple. The judges love them, I love them, the audience loves them and viewers love them. This is particularly true for Kenichi Ebina and the Chicago Boyz, who were an easy 1-2 in my performance rankings.
Next, we've got the "We all agree you're going home" batch: the American Military Spouses Choir and Marty Brown.
I was grateful when Howie called out Heidi about the singing wives and said their backstory shouldn't be relevant to the voting. I've said all along that if they were just a good choir, they would've been gone a long time ago. And while Marty redeemed himself with a quality performance, it still wasn't on par with his audition or the other talent we saw.
Moving to the "On the fence" crew: D'Angelo and Amanda, Jimmy Rose, Timber Brown and Branden James
Our resident kid ballroom dancers were at the unfortunate disadvantage of going first, and they didn't live up to the hype they generated after their amazing semifinal performance that won over even my anti-kid-ballroom-dancers heart. I thought we were going to be off to a great start when Mel B echoed my performance ranking comments nearly word for word.
I'm not a big fan of Jimmy, but it's hard to argue with the success of the pimp spot. And despite getting that coveted spot, he got lackluster reviews from all the judges. It's worth keeping in mind that Tone the Chiefrocca is the only act this season to perform last and not advance.
Branden James probably did enough compared to his competition Tuesday night, but he's going to get blown away by Forte and, in my opinion, wasn't as good as Jonathan Allen.
On the other hand, I love Timber Brown (thus the votes), even though he turned in a slightly sub-par performance with a tangle and got so-so reactions.
This could also be called "The judges got it wrong" group. John Wing got endless praise for his jokes and his professionalism, but I chuckled literally one time and barely cracked a smile throughout the rest of his set.
Anna Christine supposedly has the best voice of every singer in the competition, but I feel like she can't cut it on such a big stage. And she shouldn't get bonus points just because she's 11. Otherwise, the military wives should stay.
And as for Leon and Romy -- oohhh, Leon and Romy. This was the biggest surprise for me in the entire show. Apparently, simple rapid-fire tricks my seven-year-old nephew could learn pass as "bigger and more dangerous than ever before." It's quality, not quantity, people!
The bowling ball trick? Yeah, he was holding the ball and then just flipped to a different page in the notebook.
I can't break down the others because I don't even care enough to figure it out, but they were all things I've seen before. The disappearing woman, the pole through the box -- I know these are all easily-explainable slights of hand that any magician can competently pull off. I'm just not impressed.
Yet, not only were the judges blown away, not only did they offer standing ovations, but Howie actually thanked Howard for bringing Leon and Romy back and then kissed him on the lips for it. On the bright side, at least he got to kiss Howard's wife, too.
Anyway, I'm trusting that America will side with me and send this pair packing (again) despite the heaps of praise.
So in the end, my predictions are Kenichi Ebina, the Chicago Boyz, the KriStef Brothers, Jimmy Rose, Branden James and Timber Brown. My biggest fear, however, is that the judges' choice will come down to Timber Brown and another act (D'Angelo and Amanda?), and they will pick the other act, probably just to mess with me.
I can only hope they keep in mind how much more amazing Timber's performances must be in person and vote accordingly. We've seen the best we're going to see out of the other acts that should be heading home.
What are your six picks to advance? Anyone you think should move on who won't? And who is your favorite to win it all?
You can watch America's Got Talent
Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9pm on NBC.Want to add America's Got Talent to your very own watch-list? Download BuddyTV Guide for free for your phone.