How long have we been watching this show? 8 months? A full human gestation period? It feels like a long time, and I blame Gabby Douglas for that. It's the beginning of the Semi-Finals tonight, and only three from this week will go through. I hope some acts get mad X's.
The first act is Andrew de Leon. We just saw him! Last week! I was not impressed! This week he's wearing a Black Swan inspired outfit and singing "Ave Maria." There's a bit of a croak to his voice starting out, and I'm sort of wondering when America will get over their rally cry for Andrew that originated in his audition. I do think this was far better than last week, though. It didn't sound crazy, it sounded pretty. He hit all the notes, too, so the night is off to a good start. Howie loved it, Howard thinks sometimes it's getting strange and too much about the Story. I love Howard, I'm glad he's being straight up. Sharon suggested not wearing all the makeup and contacts, which would strip him of all the "talent."
Todd Oliver is right up next, having barely taken a breath from the Wild Card show. This is a true test of material for him, as this is another act whose gimmick is starting to show. This week, Todd Oliver really stepped up his game, doing a Late Night/Leno bit. That's kind of cute. He's keeping it topical, fresh, and interesting, so that's good. The jokes are still not up to snuff, though, in my opinion, but Sharon thought it was fantastic. Howard says this act deserves to go through. We'll see.
I love Donovan and Rebecca. They are immense. Tonight they're showcasing Rebecca's strength, as Howard recommended. She lifts herself all over, then lifts Donovan, then lifts him IN HEELS and I was like "OMG GIRL!" Then he lifted her by the neck in a way that didn't strangle either of them. Superb. Already, Howie and Sharon declare that this act should be one of the three acts going through. They have only seen three acts! And Howard already said Todd Oliver should be one! We can't all be in the finals.
Edon beat Todd Oliver out one time and he just might do it again. I don't much care for Edon, because I want anything but a singer to win this year, but bless his heart. He chose that song about the girl who doesn't know she's beautiful by One Direction. It started out weak, and then the musical accompaniment was too loud in the chorus. He's pretty good, but I don't know that he'll be in the top three this week. And yet, Howie and Sharon rise to their feet for him! I just don't see eye-to-eye this week. Howie says Edon is "the best singer in this competition" and I disagree. Howard was a bit bored, and a bit honest.
The Scott Brothers. We voted them through so long ago I almost forgot about them. They're doing a more technical mannequin-themed routine tonight. They pop and lock like no other, and I always enjoy it. They're so good, and the fact that it's two of them! But will it be enough? Sharon doesn't think so. Neither does Howie. The Scott Brothers ask America, "did you see what you wanted to see?" making me dislike them.
Dittelman! I'm delighted that we get to see him on this show again. This time he focuses on Howard. He has Howard color in his self-portrait, then does a trick with the audience, and reveals his portrait that is colored in the exact same as Howard's! Pretty good! The judges love it and say everyone is talking about Dittelman. I hope it's enough for us to see more. I love him.
Ah, Turf. We almost forgot about him, too. But the Story! This time he's dancing more than contorting, and it's a better, albeit one-man Scott Brothers. I don't know why the cameras keep using that wide shot, it's useless for this act. This time he may have incorporated more dancing, but there was less magic about it. Howard wonders if it's too much of the same thing, but is pulling for Turf all the same. Turf, to my delight, is just happy to be standing next to Nick Cannon. The star of those Office Depot commercials!
Bria Kelly hails from the YouTube show. Hmph. She's singing a country version of Pink's "Perfect" tonight, wearing a surprisingly provocatively-beaded dress. I liked the part when the giant flakes of glitter rained down. Bria is pretty good, but I think she might just fade into the background of this show. I mean, for god's sake, a woman just lifted a burly man using just her high heel boots. Howie and Sharon are teaming up in opinion tonight, and Howard is agreeing with me. He thought her voice was the strongest tonight and I agree, but her lack of stage presence might not take her the extra mile.
Joe Castillo is in this show, too? What an episode. Tonight, Joe promises to tell an epic story in his 90 seconds. I like this act because I'm never worried he's going to mess up. This time it's a message about peace, and bearded men hugging people? I don't know. I think it was good, but it went by a little bit too fast. The pictures didn't have enough time to breathe. Howard thinks the audience will feel like they've seen it, and I disagree. Sharon thinks it was Jesus.
I get annoyed that I have to type out William Close and the Earth-Heart Collective, also that he named his son Phoenix. But whatever, that shouldn't be any of my business. William Close is a/the frontrunner, and can't wait to show America his new act with instruments and his wife about "two beings coming together." Oh my god one of the instruments IS his wife. I don't know that I like that. And then we've got this guy in the fedora singing. I suppose it all works, though, because you can't really upstage a giant theater-wide string instrument. I still don't know about playing the wife in instrument armor with a bow, though. The guy puts on a show, that's certainly true. Howie is just elated tonight, for whatever reason, just word-vomiting out that William Close is his and everyone's favorite and he deserves to win the whole thing. Christ, Howie, calm down.
They must really believe in Tom Cotter to give him such a good billing in the program. He's certainly a professional, but I think there's a problem for me seeing him get emotional and talk about his family before we see him get funny. Tonight he's going to go off the cuff, asking a judge to pick a topic (off a board of pre-determined topics he can riff on). He just has that much material, and can hate women with any of it! I don't care for his material or his tone, but his timing is impeccable, and with this bit he proved that he can really deliver.
The final act of the night is YouTube's Academy of Villains. They need to step it up in a short amount of practice time. A stunt went wrong and someone broke their kneecap. This changes everything! Tonight they're dressed as mimes, bringing breaking and some drill team type stuff again. They are probably the tightest dance crew on the show this season, and I like their gimmick. Plus, they included a balloon drop and I always want more balloon drops. Sharon and Howie loved it, Howard found himself wishing it would be over.
Finally, the show is over! This I wished to be over most of all. What a night, though. Can we pick just three acts? We'll find out Wednesday night!
(images courtesy of NBC)