‘America’s Got Talent’ review: Tom Cotter, William Close lead semifinals

The semifinals for “America’s Got Talent” are here — and Howard Stern was tough. “America’s judge” was harsher than ever this week, but it helped to separate the great from merely to good.

With that in mind, you have to consider that the producers were also the judge this week — after all, we saw someone get the pimp spot for the second time in three weeks, and the heavily-touted opera singer was put first on the night.

Andrew De Leon – If you want even further evidence that the producers here are desperate for a winner who is not a singer, all you have to do is look at how the judges treated Andrew here. There was talk about his lack of formal training and even his look — which is really the reason why he is distinctive to begin with. Did Sharon Osbourne really just tell someone to stop being goth?

Todd Oliver and Irving – This was largely the same sort of act that we saw during the wild-cad show. Was it really funny? Mildly, but it was not something that we were rolling on the floor over. The audience did seem to like it more than we did, and this was really the same that we felt about the guy last time.

Donovan & Rebecca – What was really interesting about Howie Mandel’s argument to keep these aerial artists — that there are no other shows where they can shine. This is true, and this group is fantastic — on the other hand, we have a problem here in that we are not sure than an entire Las Vegas show can be built around two people unless some other components are thrown into the mix.

Edon – We were all about Edon until he performed a One Direction song this week. Why? It just didn’t fit his style of his voice at all, and it really just felt as though he was just trying to get as many votes as possible by performing a One Direction song. It was still a good performance, but not worthy of making it another round on the show.

The Scott Brothers – You have to step it up at this stage of the game — and we already saw almost everything that these poppers brought to the stage this week before. There just wasn’t anything different about the act this time around, and they have no real chance of moving on to the next round.

Eric Dittelman – Dittelman did it again! There is something rather incredible about what this guy does, but at the same time the issue here is that whether or not this guy is actually exciting enough. He’s skilled, but he is not necessarily that flashy.

Turf – We’ve been hard on Turf throughout this competition, mostly because we’ve felt that what he does is really a lesser version of what Hairo Torres did on this show a few years ago. However, the guy really stepped it up this week! There was more dancing to go along with his signature twists and turns, and even though he’s still probably not going to get through, hats off to the man for stepping it up.

Bria Kelly – In her introduction, Bria claimed that she was a country singer — and then she sang a song by Pink. This is like claiming that you are a rapper and then coming on stage to sing Neil Diamond. It just didn’t make any sense.  The song was good, but it wasn’t  good enough to actually get her through to the next round.

Joe Castillo – We have been a major fan of Joe’s storytelling and art since we first saw his audition, and we really do enjoy him every time he was on stage. However, it didn’t feel like he finished in time this week — the ending was rushed, and that could put him in trouble this time around.

William Close –  He has been our favorite act for several weeks now, mostly because he finds a way to music consistently different than anything that we have ever head before. At times we thought, though, that the singers clashed with each other … but that was the only problem here. He stated things off by literally playing his wife, and the earth harp playing made us so happy to have HD.

Tom Cotter – Tom is funny … very funny. He’s not only the best comedian that this show has ever had, but we genuinely think that he could make it to the finale based on the quality of his material. He proved tonight that not only does he have great material, but he has so much material that he puts every single person to shame.

Academy of Villains – We were surprised to see this dance crew go last again, and they did manage to surprise us — after starting their routine with something that was more of the same, but the final 45 seconds were something special. They do have a challenge getting through on this tough night, but it’s possible.

Who was your favorite to go on to the next round, and do you think that Tom and William at the moment have to be the two favorites? To check out where we ranked our contestants leading up to this show, be sure to visit the link here.

Photo: NBC

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