The semi-finals continue tonight, and they contain some of my favorite acts in contention for the Season 7 title. I guess the finale has six acts in it? I thought it used to be only four, but maybe I don’t actually know anything. What I do know is that Nick Cannon really has some endurance. He’s still enthusiastic about all these people and all these judges.

Sharon loves All That but I think they’re Just Okay. Tonight they’ve promised “a trick that will blow your minds.” They’re dancing in a pyramid, and then they set their clogs on fire. It sounded like a cooler idea than it ended up being translated on stage, I think. Might as well make use of all the pyrotechnics and special effects AGT has to offer! They clogged in some water, which was perhaps even more dangerous. I agree that they stepped up their game, but I’m just not sure a clogging act will make it to the finale, no matter how many elements they incorporate. Sharon liked the leather, Howard appreciated the way they took direction, and Howie just wanted to make a joke about them “flaming.” Cute.

Ah, Sebastien El Charro de Oro. Still here! Still saying what someone told him to (I think). For the semifinals, Sebastien is singing in Spanish again, which is good, and there’s a Flamenco dancer. I like his little white and gold suit. He’s darling, but I think this song also showed some of his vocal weaknesses, as Howard pointed out last night. Are people just overlooking that because they aren’t sure what mariachi is supposed to sound like, or whether or not it’s meant to sound good? Howard noted the vocal problems again, but recovered by admitting that Sebastien is an amazing showman and he’s only 10.

The Magic of Puck is here from YouTube. Howard wants something more, so a bigger illusion he will bring. I miss Dittelman :(. He covered his assistant, wearing an autographed handkerchief, in a blanket, then levitated her, made her disappear in mid-air, and she re-appeared in a box. I feel like there was an element missing, like being able to see the handkerchief during the levitation, but I enjoyed it all the same. Howard said “well done.” Howie indicated that maybe we were supposed to see the handkerchief and I just missed that. Oops.

Clint Carvalho is also from YouTube, because no one can make it to this point with a bird act from the beginning. Clint promises that his bird has lots of tricks. She flies, she hops, she takes mail to the mailbox. She is useful. I like how the guy in the audience, obviously a plant, asked “ARE YOU CRAZY?!” enjoying his five seconds of fame. Kitty also got a soda can from Sharon. No one knew what to say, and Clint wouldn’t shut up. Howard said he wants to throw up when Clint says “here kitty kitty kitty” and I’m with him.

I love Jacob Williams! He’s got that awkward swagger. Awkwagger/Swagkward. I love his delivery style, and prefer his material to Tom Cotter’s in tone generally, but I don’t think it hit as hard as he has before tonight. Howie and Sharon wanted to do bits, and Howard actually gave constructive advice because the nerves showed beneath the delivery style and the material wasn’t as strong. Thank you, Howard.

It’s been so long since we’ve seen Shanice & Maurice Hayes! This time they’re focusing the act on Shanice, supposedly, but it starts with Maurice. I just already think this act won’t go through. I don’t know this song, either, so I’m just not excited by it. Even with the gospel choir in the background. Vocally, it was not strong enough at all. Howie compared it to a cruise ship act, and I agree.

I also forgot All Wheel Sports made it through. This is that act with everything going on all at once. Tonight, they’re doing their routine in the dark. Yikes! The act starts out with some suspended movement, then the usual bike tricks and trampolining and dancing and just way too much happening. I think some people fell down but there was so much going on that we didn’t have time to absorb it. Sharon applauds them for performing in such a confined space, Howard thought it was too much, but also not enough death.

Awww, Tim Hockenberry! The singer who could possibly pull an upset in the season of a non-singer winner! “Everyone seems so good,” Tim Hockenberry notes in his interview. How sweet. It’s also sweet that he’s just singing “Imagine” with the piano and a cello. There’s no doubt about it, he’s a great musician with an incredible talent, but I don’t want a singer to win this year! Even if it’s the incredibly likeable Tim Hockenberry! Howard doesn’t care about precedents, and congratulated Tim on one of the most moving vocal performances on the show. I also like the way he casually walked off-stage while Nick Cannon was listing the numbers.

The Untouchables are still in contention for the title, and I think they’ll do better than the Miami All-Stars because they’re young, talented, and there are fewer of them. Tonight they’re bringing a tiny tango. Look how talented those little kids are! And I don’t even like little kid ballroom. They’ve somehow made it palatable. Oh, and look at that, they even brought some illusion and a quick-change to it! Brilliant. That’s what it takes, Untouchables. I couldn’t help but laugh at the little girl’s response to Howie when he asked why she was crying: “I’m crying because I’m so happy because I think we did amazing because we worked really hard!”

Ohhhhh my god Olate Dogs. My favorite dog act in the world. My favorite thing ever. They are bringing new tricks and a new dog, and I’m just thrilled. Jumping rope, flipping, turning, and the conga line! I can’t get enough of this act, especially with the three dogs on the scooter–are you kidding me?! Then Bella, the new dog, did a great jumping and tumbling act and I was so happy when the dog was happy to have done the trick well and the owners were happy for it that I cried like that little girl in the Untouchables.

Lightwire Theater is another clear frontrunner, because it’s a light/dancing act. It’s the dinosaurs again, but this time with lightsabers? I don’t know. The part with the eggshell and then the matrix spin around was pretty cool, though. The idea of a dinosaur lightsaber fight is fine, but I liked the way they played with time and space even more. Howie, tiredly, told them they deserve to go to the finals and have their own show.

The final act of the night is David Garibaldi and his CMYKs. They’re dancing, moving parts, and it’s really pretty spectacular. They’ve stepped it up! They’re painting and sliding and moving all four frames! Then they hoisted them all together, and dropped it down to reveal the Statue of Liberty! So good, oh man. Howard asked him to be careful of making us wait too long for the payoff.

Carla Patton

Writer, BuddyTV

Originally from Seattle, Carla recently took a husband and moved to Austin, Texas, where she is finally using her television “problem” to her advantage. It’s sort of like Dexter, but boring and less murdering. Carla’s favorite shows include 30 RockThe Amazing RaceProject RunwayModern Family, anything with murder, and pretty much anything gross and weird (CSIThe BachelorToddlers & Tiaras, etc.). Favorite canceled shows include: Arrested DevelopmentVeronica Mars and Average Joe. In her spare time, Carla leads tours of downtown Austin on a Segway (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!), blogs about Netflix Instant, and visits elementary schools telling children they don’t need math to succeed (just kidding, stay in school, kids).