Return of the Child Acts on the 'America's Got Talent' Semi-Finals
Return of the Child Acts on the 'America's Got Talent' Semi-Finals
Look how far we've come, America. Remember when this show started? I'd look it up, but it's only on the Mayan Calendar (at least we know the show will be over by 2012). But now we're finally at the semi-finals, and the strange and sometimes cringe-worthy chaff has been separated from the mostly talented wheat. It's business time.

The first act vying for a spot in the Top 10 is Anna and Patryk. In the comments one of you suggested I watch myself try to ballroom dance in the mirror and decide if I still think Anna and Patryk are the creepiest thing I've ever seen. You were right, there are some things I can't un-see now, but this week Anna and Patryk are doing a paso doble, which is not only sexually loaded but very angry. It's a tie! First of all, it was to the song "Paparazzi," which Kate Gosselin has already laid claim to in the ballroom world. Second, Patryk is still just a little bit better than Anna. Howie said tonight it wasn't creepy, and I agree. Piers is really over-selling them, though, and that alone is starting to get weird.

I had almost forgotten about Christina and Ali, America's favorite act in the "inspirational" category. I agree with Sharon that you want them to do well, but I also agree with Piers that it's all about talent tonight. And they're not winning any points with me choosing that song "Miracles," originally performed by Mariah and Whitney. And it just wasn't that good, something was off. The little one wasn't totally hitting it (I don't know which one is which). Sorry you guys, I respect them and think they are wonderful young ladies but it can't be about cystic fibrosis anymore.

To break up the child acts, Antonio Restivo is going to walk around and light some more stuff on fire. I bet Antonio Restivo saw The Mummy five times in the theaters. He did some fire magic and it was good but I like the other two magicians better. Howie likes that it's campy (which I like about it, too) but I wonder if Antonio takes it seriously.

Back to the child acts, I would like to take back what I said about liking Future Funk the first week of the quarter-finals. They're cute but it's not impressive enough to be a real act and I don't see them headlining in Las Vegas. As Piers said, cute won't win and then he gave them a big red X. They pulled off a little Haspop and a little Fighting Gravity but not very well and their attitude is getting a little too CJ Dippa for me.

Next up is Taylor Mathews, who is basically a kid. No word on whether he and Debra Romer will be hanging out and falling in love yet, but tonight it's all about Taylor and his piano (and the gospel choir behind him). Tonight he did well, but I'm dying to give him a haircut (I'm an old fart who disapproves of long, shaggy hair and skirts above the knee). Howie was right, it was good but not "wow" enough.

Connor Doran, a young adult at best, is up next and also competing in the "inspirational" category although his act is more inspirational to watch than the preceding clip package. For whatever reason, Piers (the "mean ogre") gave him an X. The ending (where he picked up a jar with "fireflies" in it) seemed like a bit of a throwaway. The judges didn't like the music! I disagree, I thought this was a refreshing change.

The kids must have gone to bed, because Dan Sperry is on deck. I just hope it doesn't become all about Howie again this time. I like Dan Sperry because he does a sort of dark, Tim Burton-esque goth magic instead of using glitter, tigers and fire. But tonight wasn't great; his preparation took way too long, the severed Nick Cannon arm looked really fake and I could have guessed how he did it. But Dan Sperry tells us it's about "imagining." I imagine he won't be in the Top 10.

I'd kind of forgotten that Kristina Young was still in this competition. She promises us something "sexy and energetic" in her clip package. I guess her definition of sexy and energetic is a not-as-good slowed-down version of "Poker Face." Amazingly, she got THREE X's from the judges! Sharon said it perfectly, "who wants to take on a Lady Gaga song at this stage? You shouldn't even attempt it, it's too huge." Awkward, but it was best cut short.

The judges and audience move to a second studio for the dangerous but wonderful ArcAttack. I love them, but for whatever reason America doesn't seem to as much. Come on, they're making geeks cool again! Also, they really stepped up their performance from last time (they brought Frankenstein's Bride to life!). Howie tells us that the live experience doesn't translate on television--all the more reason to see it live.

What happened to Michael Grimm?! "Disaster," according to Nick Cannon. "Dehydration," according to a doctor. But he made it (with some sexy girls in tow)! I want to dislike Michael Grimm just on the basis of him being a male vocalist in this competition but he is SO good. Vocally (even with strep throat), he grinds Taylor Mathews' bones to make his bread. He's so good I may never get over it.

For a while, I was worried that five of the twelve acts tonight would move on, but they clearly backloaded this show. Case in point: AscenDance. For tonight's performance they added glitter, a skyline, and Nelly Furtado. Piers gave them an X for not being Anna and Patryk (seriously, he is obsessed with them). It was good but I'm not sure how much they stepped it up from last time. The judges weren't really feeling it. Wuh-oh.

Prince Poppycock! Does he even need to perform? He's one of the favorites to win this whole thing. Also, it has been brought to my attention that there are many true opera singers who are not fat and sweaty. But I'm not here to piss off opera people, and neither is Prince Poppycock this week, taking on Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." He definitely added to the performance level, proving that he is a force to be reckoned with (even though it was a little all over the place). He is the King of Camp, and I doubt he's going anywhere.

It still worries me that five are moving on, because I only have three I want to see again. But who did you like? Who bombed tonight?

(image courtesy of NBC)