After announcing tonight’s performing acts, America’s Got Talent flashed the title, “UNLEASH THE TALENT,” letting us know that for some reason, tonight will include a disproportionate number of the acts we’ve been waiting to see.

Without further ado, Alice Tan Ridley is up. I’m a big Alice Tan Ridley fan and she sounded great tonight, but I thought the song choice was a little dated, as were Nick Cannon’s shoes. Regardless, we love her and want her to do well.

Let’s talk Haspop. People love him, a lot of you commenters love him, I guess I’m still not getting it. But tonight I liked his idea with the video (although it was a bit confusing/distracting) and his dancing was really impressive. And god, he’s so French. Piers gave him an X for whatever reason. Sharon didn’t dig it, Howie did. Piers gave him the British version of “wtf.” 

I like Maestro Alexander Bui (the only instrumentalist left in the competition), but here in this group he’s still very much a YouTube act. Maestro Alexander Bui admits to us in his clip package that he doesn’t really have any friends because he practices piano so much. Awkward. Tonight he played a variation on “Flight of the Bumblebee” and you can’t deny that this kid is super talented. Howie gave him an X, maybe out of sadness that “Flight of the Bumblebee” classifies as a contemporary or “pop” song for young M.A.B. Oh well, not everyone can move on this week.

I was discussing Michael Lipari and Ashleigh Dejon after the Wildcard show and some people think it was a cheap trick to scare us so badly last time. This time they want to touch our hearts instead of stopping them. Their act is nice to watch (and still makes me nervous) but I’m not sure it will be enough this week.

Yesssss Michael Grasso. He has had three kidney transplants, you guys, and that’s not an illusion it’s LIFE. And tonight he’s going head to head with MURRAY (well not exactly, but they’re in the same group). Tonight he put a girl in a cage, put a hood over his head, then blew up the cage, turned into the girl, and gave Sharon a rose. You just had to see it. Chills. This guy is a contender. I don’t know why the judges are treating him like he’s an underdog, though, he’s clearly a total pro.

The sweet-natured songbird, Debra Romer, is up next. Sometimes I love the way she sounds, and other times she doesn’t really hit the note. Last time we saw her, the judges told her to pick a more modern song, which she did not do this week. I didn’t like it as much as the last time we saw her and the competition might just be too stiff this week. Like Howie said, it was “nice,” but nice don’t cut the mustard.

Studio One Young Best Society is here to turn up the volume (and potentially incur some more injuries). Their video screens kept saying “NO PLAN B,” which I will go ahead and assume is not a statement about emergency contraception. They had a lot of good tricks and their dancing was tighter than the last time we saw them. But can a dance group make it through the semi-finals? The judges think so.

With a stage setup second only to ArcAttack, it’s Jeremy VanSchoonhoven. During practice, Jeremy busted up his elbow, leg and head, sending him to the hospital! But he’s back from the hospital (AGH!) to deliver a kind of terrifying performance. He messed up one of his earlier tricks and didn’t look super confident, but he made it through the trick that busted him up in rehearsal and it brought the judges to their feet. He didn’t give up, and even Piers is full of the American spirit for him.

Oh my gosh, Jackie Evancho and Alice Tan Ridley text voting together was the cutest thing I have ever seen on this show. But now we have to try to remember who Nathaniel Kenyon is (it seems like a really long time ago that we voted him here doesn’t it?). He still seems nervous. Jeremy VanSchoonhoven just risked his life and Nathaniel Kenyon is nervous. Piers gave him the X. Someone had to be bad tonight and I think Nathaniel Kenyon just made it a little easier for us.

MURRAY comes from a line of railroad workers and tonight he’s doing something in honor of his family history. He promises the largest illusion ever on America’s Got Talent. Tonight MURRAY talked about trains and made one disappear (along with the audience members who were watching, weirdly). I also didn’t understand why there were all the old-timey people on stage for all of five seconds before he covered up the train. It was a great trick, but Piers and Howie thought Michael Grasso was better. What was great, though, was the added sound of a train departing during Howie’s critique.

People are talking about Jackie Evancho, including the previews for this episode. I saw last week that she has an album out on iTunes, which makes me feel a little weird about how hard her parents might be pushing her. But I don’t know their lives, and she is either part robot, part angel, or both. She crapped out on the last note a little but she was amazing, as we all knew she would be. I hope she still gets to be a kid sometimes, though.

Last, but certainly not least, we get to watch Fighting Gravity. People’s brains are exploding over this group, so I hope they live up to the hype and then some. They didn’t exactly come up with this idea (the Japanese do everything first), but they’re exposing it to us and putting a new spin on it. They did a lot of tricks I was hoping they would; they added more props (skateboards!), we saw a face, and they rotated the stage (YES!). The judges agreed they were the only group that could follow Jackie Evancho, and they did not disappoint.

AGHH! Tonight was really good! Who will you choose?! Why is this group so much better than last week’s?! Which magician will reign supreme–MURRAY or Grasso? This is the first tough decision we’ve had, I think.

(image courtesy of NBC)

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).