The four semifinalists from the wildcard round were predictable enough. Three of them had not performed in the original Top 48, sufficing to indicate that America was indeed more interested in the unknowns than the rehashes, with the fourth spot going to an act that had previously qualified for the judges choice and been voted down 2/1. America also did not side with any specific judge; one of each of the judges’ acts qualified for an automatic pass.
The judges, however, could not possibly have made this any more personal. Cannon asked how Morgan felt about putting his reputation on the line, to which Morgan responded “No pressure from me.” Morgan has demonstrated that he is at least comfortable gambling with his reputation, though considering some of his choices, it’s possible that he just does not care at all one way or another what America thinks of him.
Sharon Osbourne, however, called Morgan “delusional” for being so confident.
Just as he had done for the Youtube special, Cannon brought out four acts instead of three to begin with: Kruti Dance Academy, Michael Grasso, Swing Shift Side Show, and Rudi Macaggi. Since two of Osbourne’s acts were in this group, Cannon asked for her opinion; she completely disregarded Kruti and Swing Shift and only commented that she believed Grasso was the better of her two choices.
She was correct. Michael Grasso, whom the judges had originally rejected in Las Vegas, will perform as a semifinalist. “You’re against three other magicians,” Cannon reminded him. “Have you thought about how you’re going to stand out?”
Grasso simply responded: “I have.”
Brought out next were the Hot Shot Tap Dancers, R.N.G., who had outranked the former and qualified for the judges’ choice in the first round of semifinals, and Anna & Patryk, who had also qualified for the judges’ choice in the much more competitive fourth round of semifinals. R.N.G.’s shortcoming was surprising, but not that Anna & Patryk had won the second spot instead.
Brought out next were Howie Mandel’s remaining two picks: C.J. Dippa and Connor Doran. The spot unquestionably went to Doran.
When Cannon asked Mandel for advice, however, Mandel could only congratulate himself once again for picking him. Doran is a sweet kid, but he’s also flying completely blind into the next round.
The last elimination, predictably enough, went to Doogie Horner, leaving the remaining true wildcard act, Michael Lipari & Ashleigh Dejon, and a surprising comeback by Harmonica Pierre, Osbourne’s and Morgan’s picks respectfully. As expected, Morgan and Osbourne both cast their votes for the acts they were responsible for including.
Mandel has apparently chosen to, like David Hasselhoff before him, try to compensate for his many shortcomings by antagonizing Morgan whenever possible. He did apologize to Harmonica Pierre for buzzing him before his performance had even begun, though said it was wrong of him when he “stooped to the level of my partner,” referring to Morgan.
The reality, however, is that Morgan has never stooped so low. Morgan did buzz the first four acts that were not his, but he had actual reasons for buzzing them. The reality is that Mandel has stooped lower than anyone – even Hasselhoff – ever has on this show and has let both the talent and his responsibilities as a judge take a back seat completely to his petty feud with Morgan. He has therefore chosen to believe that Morgan reached that low point ahead of him because that somehow makes his ill behavior seem better validated.
Needless to say, Mandel voted against Morgan in favor of Michael Lipari & Ashleigh Dejon. As expected, three out of four of the wildcard acts were Vegas rejects.
Semifinals will begin next week, and to further add variety, and perhaps also to be fair to the original Top 48, the acts have been reorganized randomly instead of the first three rounds competing against each other. Only ten of twenty-four acts were announced – this presumably means that two of the wildcard acts announced tonight will be competing in the first round of semifinals as well.
The ten acts announced as first round semifinalists are:
- Christina & Ali
- Future Funk
- Michael Grimm
- Taylor Mathews
- Prince Poppycock
- Antonio Restivo
- Dan Sperry
- Kristina Young