America's Got Talent: The Final 12 Send the Quarter-Finals Off with a Bang
America's Got Talent: The Final 12 Send the Quarter-Finals Off with a Bang
I have been waiting for tonight, not just because it concludes the quarter-finals, but because there are some specific acts I know we've all been waiting to see (Prince Poppycock, ArcAttack, and Mary Ellen).  I'm also interested to see Strikers All Stars and MURRAY. 

I feel . . . ambivalent about seeing Da Maniacs, but I'll keep an open mind. They do seem hilarious. One of you mentioned last week in the comments that not all of these acts could contend on America's Best Dance Crew because of age restrictions and I hadn't thought about that, so I'll stop with the "why not that show" business. Piers gave them the first X of the evening (not the last, I'm sure), but they made me laugh and I think I liked them even more than some of the more technically advanced dance groups. Howie said (somewhere within that string of nonsense) that their performance was somewhere in the middle, and it probably will be.

Next up is NU Covenant, four gospel singing guys who could also do Gap ads if America's Got Talent doesn't work out for them. Tonight they're singing "Apologize" by One Republic and something is very very wrong. Then the key change happened and things got worse. They got X's from Piers and Sharon. In Howie's words, "this was not your moment." This performance gets the Collar Tug Award for the evening.

Anna and Patryck might be good but child acts make my stomach turn in general, but add in mildly sexual ballroom dancing and I'm physically uncomfortable. Tonight they're doing a jive, which was a wise choice that wouldn't creep America out too much. I have to say, Patryck's jive kicks are a lot better than Anna's, or maybe it's that crazy sequin-lined, flesh-colored jumpsuit. Guess who loved it? Piers Morgan. And Sharon thinks it would do well in Vegas, but I have trouble imagining even the drunkest bachelor party saying, "you guys, before we hit the strip clubs, let's get some cash together and see some twelve-year olds ballroom dancing!"

I'm excited to see Hip Hop Violinist, Lindsey Stirling, I think she's adorable (even though she's Mormon, which may lose her some votes or get her excommunicated). She definitely "upped" her game tonight with the dancing and the performance. Piers gave it an X but I'd like to see him try to play an instrument and do anything else at the same time. I've tried it and I looked like an a-hole. Sharon recommends that she find a group to make it even better, which is a great idea. I'll agree that the violin element wasn't that great but I liked it just the same.

Tonight we will find out if Doogie Horner can do well without the crowd turning against him. Can I make the Last Comic Standing argument against him? His jokes are pretty good, but the added element of the gratuitous special effects was brilliant. It was exactly what he should have done for this show. I laughed out loud, and I agree with all that dumb crap Howie said.

Rudi Macaggi is a third generation circus acrobat and that is awesome enough to get my vote on its own. Will tonight be the first time we see someone die live on America's Got Talent? Rudi recommends that those of us who are sensitive at heart keep our eyes closed, but I found myself unable to blink. And I GOLed (Gasped Out Loud). I wouldn't mind seeing what else he could do.

All I remember about Taylor Mathews is that his dad loves him SO much. He's cute and bright-eyed, but will it be enough to join Nathaniel Kenyon and Michael Grimm? I think so, but maybe I just want him to get together with Debra Romer and have beautiful, sweet, musically-talented babies. And I want someone to run Nathaniel Kenyon out of town.  He's definitely the cutest of the male singers, but I would contend that Michael Grimm is the most talented. I find myself agreeing with Howie again. Maybe by the end of this show I'll be wearing a surgical mask and opting for the fist bump over a handshake.

Okay, America, we need to have a serious conversation about Mary Ellen. She's terrible, might be crazy, and I don't even find her likable. Why is she here? This is scarier than Rudi Macaggi's act, and the most unfortunate joke of this whole season. Is it so bad it could work? No, absolutely not, but I did get a kick out of watching that cow cutout pass by behind her. And I loved when Howie dressed up like her. But come on, this is a joke and I'm almost mad about it. 

The act that could give Fighting Gravity a run for its money in this competition is ArcAttack.  I mean, they had to build a special outside stage for it (and they're from Austin, Texas represent!). How cool would this be to see live?! I have to know, do you guys like this or Fighting Gravity (the black light puppet act) better?

Another highly-anticipated act is Prince Poppycock, who I adore. I hope he's feeling better. I like his gimmick and he's a fantastic singer (and far less crazy than Hannibal Means, but you know who to call if you need a crocheted animal hat). Piers called him his "little guilty pleasure" and Sharon noted that it's nice to see an opera singer who is not fat and sweaty. I love it.

I recognize MURRAY from that show where professional magicians mentored celebrities and taught them magic (what was it called?). I liked him then, and I like him well enough now. He's just such an illusionist. Especially playing "Eye of the Tiger" (but it made sense at the end of the trick). What a great illusion! At the end of the day, I guess I'm just glad I don't have to sacrifice taste when I choose a more healthful breakfast cereal.

Finally, Strikers All Stars, who have performed on So You Think You Can Dance, AND competed on America's Best Dance Crew, so they have the most TV cred. Plus Nick Cannon probably knows them from Drumline. This is what I'm talking about; this is the dance crew I've been waiting for. I also agree with Piers that this is the best show of the quarter-finals so far (couldn't some of these acts have gone last week? Not sure about this distribution). So in the end, nobody's sure that Strikers All Stars will make it to the top four. 

This is going to be a tough choice, and the results show this week is sure to be rough. How will I rank them?! Who do you want to see move on (too bad we can't put Mary Ellen in all four top spots, right?)? Why wasn't there a more equal distribution of talent and "wow" acts throughout the four Top 48 shows? Who did you love and who did you hate?

(image courtesy of NBC)