You made the right choice, America. You didn’t let those British judges push you around and tell you who to vote for. After all, this is America’s Got Talent, and we didn’t chuck all that tea into Boston Harbor to have Piers and Sharon dictate our final ten. Not that I think that they would have put Boy Shakira/Britney through, if they could, but it still feels like a vindication that he didn’t make it, like America finally got it right where the British judges were blind. And I’m sure that somewhere, right now, David Hasselhoff is doing his happy dance.
This week, the final ten performed, which meant that, first, the final ten had to be chosen. Since we already had half of them, Jerry only had to announce five: Terry Fator (yay!), Cas Haley (yay!), the Calypso Tumblers (cool!), Jason Pritchett (okay!), and the Duttons (…really?). The Duttons aren’t bad, but I don’t think they’re at the level that everyone else is at in the competition. Even Sharon — the nice judge — agreed with me. Oh, she didn’t mention the Duttons by name when she said that there were some acts that she wouldn’t have put through from those five, but she didn’t have to.
On to the performances:
The Duttons: Putting aside Sharon’s and my wishes that someone else had taken their slot, the Duttons’ performance of "Devil Went Down to Georgia" was much better than last week’s "La Bamba." They’ve got tremendous fiddling chops, so it was right up their alley. Unfortunately for them, they also inspired the most creative Piers insult of the night: "It sounded like the noise that a bunch of shrimps make when they’re being boiled alive." But if the Duttons made it back with "La Bamba," they’ll come back with this song, especially if the massive extended-family voting bloc that I suspect exists has anything to say about it.
Robert Hatcher: He did a nice job with "Because You Love Me." It’s particularly difficult to make a Celine Dion song subdued and intimate, but Robert did just that. However, he’s probably the least definable of all the singers in terms of personality, because he doesn’t bring a lot of it on stage with him. I would be surprised if he makes it much farther.
The Calypso Tumblers: Every time they perform, it’s like a party on stage. And yes, everyone is invited, particularly the judges. Last week, they gave the Hoff a high-five; this week, they gave Sharon a rose. They’re a lot of fun to watch, they perform some amazing stunts, and I hope they come back next week, if only because I want to see what they do to/with Piers.
Jason Pritchett: Last week, Jason stalked all over the stage like a rock star. This week, he went back to his strength: just him, a guitar, and some backup singers, playing "When You Say Nothing at All." I think he’s much better with slower songs, and he has the trick of still keeping those less flamboyant songs interesting. He’ll probably make it to next week, but eventually, he’s going to run into the brick wall that is Cas Haley, because Cas is destined to be the last male singer standing.
Butterscotch: She started out with a beatboxing remix of "It’s Your Thing," then settled into really singing the song, with a full band backing her up. It was very different from her last performance, "Summertime," but it was just as fabulous. How many different ways can I say "she rocks, and I would buy her album"? You guys know I love her.
The Glamazons: They gave a sassy performance of "Fever" that ended up looking and sounding like a number from Chicago, but in a good way. It’s true that, as Sharon says, they don’t have the best voices in the contest, but they’re great performers. And as for how patently hot Piers is for them — it’s a little bit wrong, but at the same time, you go, girls.
Cas Haley: His performance of "Bring It On Home to Me" demonstrated exactly why he and Butterscotch are my favorite singers in this competition: they both have a unique sound. If you hear them, you know who you’re listening to. Piers preferred his reggae sound to blues, but I’m not so picky. I just love to hear him sing.
Terry Fator: Terry brought back Emma the puppet to sing "Unforgettable," by Natalie and Nat King Cole. And while I don’t think it was Terry’s best musical performance, it was probably the funniest, thanks to the interaction between Terry and Emma. Emma spent the entire song nuzzling him, nosing his ear, and generally eliciting raised eyebrows from Terry. That’s the thing about Terry: love it or hate it, he’s always on. Whenever you see him with a puppet in his hand, he’s working the puppet, giving it life and a personality. Personally, I love it.
Julienne Irwin: She sang "Til I Can Make It On My Own" with all the heart and sweetness that she’s had in previous weeks, but the judges weren’t crazy about it, noting some places where she had pitch issues. Still, she’s cute, 14, and has a great voice, so she’s a lock to come back.
Sideswipe: Their fatal error was not, as Piers thought, bringing kids (actually their students) into the act, but keeping their chests covered. Did they really think that kids would bring in more votes than abs? Seriously, though, this was the first week that they were put in direct competition with the Calypso Tumblers, and their act suffered in comparison. Less fun, less busy, less surprising — it’s not fair, but there it is.
Worst of the night (and please understand that we’re getting to the point where "worst" just means "not amazing"): The Duttons, Sideswipe, Robert Hatcher
Best of the night: Butterscotch, Cas Haley, Terry Fator
For more TV recaps and commentary, visit Glowy Box.