After a hiatus for the awesome performances of the 29th Olympiad (Shawn Johnson is my Iowa Homegirl!), we are back with America’s Got Talent. Tonight is a two-hour extravaganza so buckle up, kiddos. Having not watched the show in previous seasons, I have no idea what to expect. Do all acts perform? Is it like an AGT Royal Rumble, where one act comes out every 2 minutes and they fight to throw each other off-stage? I’m on pins and needles.

We find out that tonight we have 10 acts performing live and then we vote. Those acts are Extreme Dance FX, The James Gang, Derrick Berry (Britney Spears), Elite (the street-fighting little girl), Ronny B (weirdo dancer), The Cadence, Jessica (factory worker with daddy issues), Shimshi, DC cowboys and Neal E. Boyd. I already know who should be going home without even seeing the show. Let’s send Ronny B home and call it a night, huh?

The judges are introduced and Jerry Springer welcomes us and the live audience. Hey, he’s finally doing something other than making borderline-creepy non-sequiturs backstage. Good for you, Jerry! Jerry explains that tonight we see 10 acts and then ONLY FIVE STAY tomorrow night. HOLY CRAP! I had NO idea that was how this worked! How exciting! Alright, my five early picks are Extreme Dance FX, The James Gang, The Cadence, Shimshi, and 1 out of DC Cowboys/Elite/Jessica/Neal. We’ll see how I feel about that after their performances. Also, at the end of the show we get to find out who is the voted-back-in finalist that is replacing the injured Russian Bar Trio. Cool!

Extreme Dance FX is up first. They are dancing to Salt n Pepa’s "Push It." Great song choice. It starts off a little boring, to be honest. Their dancing isn’t exciting enough to keep up with the beat and hardness of the song. I’m disapointed in the cloggers, until the end, when they start a unison, tightly-formed grouping segment that is pretty awesome. They needed to lead with that. It was the most impressive part of their act, but by the time it came around I was a little bored. They are still good enough to stick around. Piers calls them terrific, Sharon says smoking, the Hoff asks about their average age (trying to figure out which ones you can hit on, Hoff?) and says they were great.

Second tonight is The James Gang. I love these little hip-hop Newsies! Very original, very creative. I want them to do "King of New York" with a hip-hop beat SO BADLY. Tonight they come out doing a cute dance and rapping while an old-timey saxophone plays in the background. The song seems to be "I’m a Hoofer," but I can’t swear to it.

They strike a great acrobatic pose in the middle and do some magic tricks at the end. It was interesting and entertaining. I don’t know if I see it as a 90-minute Vegas show, but I certainly think they can go through to the Top 20. Piers says the good news is that they are terrific. The bad news is that they were trying a little too hard with the magic tricks. He says they are good on their own and don’t need to add the bells and whistles. I would agree with that. Sharon cites their uniqueness. The Hoff says they don’t need the doves but that they are as American as the Olympics. Aww.

Britney Spears is up next and I’m pretty much over this guy. Yes, you look a lot like Britney and have abs I would kill some of my own family members to have. Great. But you don’t sing your stuff, you just dance around and imitate Britney. Big deal. I enjoy female impersonators, but I think you should do your own singing. We’ve talked about this, readers.

Britney comes out tonight with a school-girl outfit on and "Hit Me Baby One More Time." Wow, that’s old school. She also has a whole cadre of back-up dancers. But it’s still boring as crap. It’s just someone dancing around to a recording of Britney Spears. I do this when I blow-dry my hair! Granted, I do not look as much like Britney as Derrick does, but it’s still basically that. No way is she Top 20. Piers says it’s nothing personal, but that grown men should not be wearing school-girl outfits and impersonating Britney. That’s not the point, Piers! If he was doing his own singing, I’d be down with it. Sharon loved it. The Hoff says terrific.

Elite the Street-Fighting Girl is up next. I love this little girl’s voice, she’s so Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, it’s not even funny. She’s also obviously talented, I’m just not sure about the 90-minute show part. She swings in all Errol Flynn-like and starts fighting pirates while a screen with crashing waves plays in the background and there is a faux-pirate ship set and very dramatic music plays. It’s… actually pretty effing awesome. This is a show you’d take your kids to in Vegas and they’d go bonkers for it. Piers loves the creativity of her set and the energy. He also says she’s quite a professional for her age, which is very true. Sharon loves her presentation and stage-presence. The Hoff says she makes him smile and that she could open at Treasure Island for Pirates of the Caribbean. Absolutely. Way to go, little girl!

Our next act is Ronny B, the creepy guy who dances like a big weirdo. This guy can just go home. I can’t believe Victoria the Contortionist or Mia the awesome piano player didn’t make it through and this guy did. Gag me. He comes out tonight in a shiny jacket and dances to "She Bangs." Offfff course he does. I guess at least this guy sings his own songs, unlike Britney and Tina. However, I don’t think any of them need to go through to the Top 20 This guy is creeping me out. I believe I compared him to the skinny kid from Road Trip. That comparison still stands. Piers says he won’t win but he likes the enthusiasm and spirit. Ronnie responds by doing some pelvic thrusts. Ugh. Sharon likes his absurd confidence. The Hoff likes his back-up dancers. Get the hook!

The Cadence is next and it turns out my friend Melissa’s cousin is in this group, so Go Team Cadence! They start off with drum sets and tubs and are playing "Beat It." Awesome.  So awesome. They’ve added some choreography and are really utilizing the whole stage. I’d like to see them incorprate some paint on the drums, like when the pageant girls go out to party in Miss Congeniality. Oooh and then they do (well, at least water.) I think it and it happens! Well done, Cadence boys! Piers thought the start needed to be more dynamic to match the ending, which is true. But he liked them. Sharon wants more Animal from The Muppets. Snerk. The Hoff thinks they are going to go through.

Jessica Price, our Steeltown Girl Waiting for her Daddy to Come Home, is next. She sings and plays "Time After Time" on her guitar. This is quite the countriefied version of a Cyndi Lauper ditty. Hm. There are also a bunch of lit candles on stage. That seems safe. Honestly, this is just meh for me. She can sing and her guitar is fine, but the song is kind of boring. There is no way she can support a Vegas show. Piers says fantastic, but she needs to smile more and enjoy it. Sharon says her dad should get his ass to Los Angeles to see her because she was great. The Hoff thinks she has a chance to win. Really? Hmm.

We are back with Shimshi the Magician. This guy’s initial audition was pretty sweet. Tonight he grabs a volunteer from the audience, Susie. She picks a card in a fanned-out deck. He tears off a corner, then takes the card and puts it back in the deck. She shuffles the cards and he says he is going to kick her card out of the deck 8 feet in the air. He backflips and kicks the card out of the deck. It’s pretty awesome, not gonna lie. Piers criticizes him for doing a "card trick" on the biggest stage in the world. Oooh, ouch. Lame, Piers. That was a cool trick. That was much better than a "card trick." Piers says he bottled up his talent for this one. Sharon loved it. Thank you, Sharon. Anything that involves a backflip is not a "card trick." The Hoff agrees with Piers, saying, "This is, like, a big, big deal, man. You gotta bring it." When did The Hoff turn into a character from The Hills ? I don’t like my shows criss-crossing. Don’t cross the streams!

The DC Cowboys are the next act. The montage reminds us to "think Brokeback meets Broadway." Heh heh, that still makes me laugh. Wow, these guys got together 14 years ago. They come out to some "wah wah wah" cowboy music that turns into Footloose. Great song choice. I’ll be honest, I enjoy the enthusiasm but the dancing isn’t actually together. It’s like they haven’t practiced since the Las Vegas rounds. There is some tumbling in the middle but overall the dancing is unimpressive. Piers says they are great fun, but as dancers are sub-par. Yes. Sharon says what they lack with ability, they make up with personality. That’s not enough, Sharon. This is not America’s Got Great Personality. The Hoff agrees more with Piers.

Last but not least is Neal E. Boyd, Opera Singer. I am not as enamored with this fellow as the judges are. He sings the West Side Story song again, which is NOT opera. Don’t call yourself an opera singer and then sing something from a Sondheim musical, kthxbai. He sounds fine, but I’m bored. There’s a big ending and that’s great, but this guy just doesn’t excite me and would not sustain a 90-minute Vegas show. Piers says it was incredible, calling him the Michael Phelps of this competition. Uhh… not quite, Piers. Sharon says superb. The Hoff loved it as well. Hmm.

My 5 picks are still Extreme Dance FX, The James Gang, The Cadence, Shimshi, and Elite. Elite was more entertaining than either of the singers or the DC Cowboys and I’m over Britney and Ronny B. We’ll hope they all get through.

Now it’s time to find out who is replacing the Russian Bar Trio. The judges gave us 8 possible finalists and the American Public voted. Sharon gives us a little goblin voice, saying, "We cahn’t WAAAIT to see who it is!" The 8 are Lil Countrie and Page 1ne, Victoria the Contortionist, Donald the Singer, Sparks Girl, Xclusive, the Sword Swallower, the Salsa Siblings and Kyle the R&B singer. The one put through is… Donald Braswell, the 40-something father of 3. Hmm. Not who I would’ve picked, but fine.

We get a recap of the Cloggers Pushing It, the James Gang being the most creative thing I’ve seen in awhile, Britney needing to go away, Elite being the cutest lil’ pirate since Goonies, Ronny B giving me the heebie-jeebies, The Cadence rocking out, Jessica being kind of a big downer, Shimshi back-flipping his way to an Ace, the DC Cowboys being amateur hour, and Neal AGAIN not singing opera.

Come back tomorrow to see who is going through to the Top 20 and see 10 more acts perform. I’m outta here!

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."