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'America's Got Talent' 2014 Quarterfinals: Miguel Dakota could win it all

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There is little doubt that "America's Got Talent" is chock full of amazing and talented acts this season and, as usual, the show is loaded with musical acts that are all worthy of recording contracts. For Season 9, they've got 18 musical acts contending for the million-dollar contract headlining in Las Vegas. And although Judge Howard Stern seems smitten with the angelic tones of Emily West, the other three judges are just as smitten with Miguel Dakota. This would include resident joker judge Howie Mandel, who said after Miguel's performance of the Beatles' "Come Together" on Tuesday night's live Quarterfinals show, that if it had been the finale, he would be a million dollars richer.

Jessica Iannetta at The Star-Ledger did not agree. In her July 29 recap, she admitted that Miguel Dakota had stage presence, but she felt that his vocals

But Iannetta's opinion aside, is he that good? He's the complete package, the judges (including Stern) keep reminding viewers. Good looks. Great vocals. Even better stage presence. Excellent charisma (powered by a killer smile and well-mannered humility. As Judge Mel B. said, after making sure he was still his "momma's boy" and still cooked, "That was just one hot performance."

She was fanning herself like a southern belle in a gazebo in Savannah...

"What else can I say?" she continued. "You chose the right song. That was a proper show. You rocked it. You look good. You sang well. Check, check, check, and check," crossing off her imaginary checklist of what Miguel Dakota needed to be a successful act.

Judge Heidi Klum, who feigned a swoon when Miguel auditioned, still sees the young Coloradoan as eye candy, giving him props but ending with "not too bad on the eyes."

So what got the girls and the female judges (sorry, Howie) all hot and bothered? Miguel Dakota luckily pulled down what is known as the "pimp spot" -- the closer of the show -- for the night. But then he set the stage on fire with flashing lights and pounding drums after a slow-burn start with a softly sung first verse over an acoustic guitar intro. He showed off his power and control throughout, really digging in for bluesy-soul growl when he sang the words "mojo filter" from the popular song.

People were on their feet throughout. The girls in Radio City Music Hall were going nuts.

But Howard Stern said he was going to "rain on the parade." And he did.

He told Miguel he was a "good-looking guy," had "star quality," "picked a great song," and his "band was great," yet he felt the performance "lacked some charisma" and he had had the "unfortunate experience of following Emily West." (That line was met with a few negative calls and groans from the audience.) He still thought that Miguel would make it through on his charisma and looks, though, but wanted him to find his "vocal identity," do something that "blows us away."

But that's not what Judge Howie Mandel thought. He was blown away. The exciteable comedian had jumped to his feet by the end of the performance, giving Miguel a standing ovation -- along with the audience. In his critique, he told the 22-year-old singer that he knew who watches the show.

He went on: "And I know who votes... And if this was the last act we see, I think that performance would win the one million dollars. People can argue that maybe you aren't the best singer they've ever heard, maybe you're not the best performer. But you are the package they're looking for. You are a superstar."

When he was asked his thoughts, Miguel told host Nick Cannon that he was pleased with the performance and hoped that "if I'm here..." -- then he self-consciously paused, laughed -- "when I'm here, hopefully, next time, I'm going to win you over, Howard."

So does Miguel Dakota have what it takes to win the million or was Judge Howie simply overly excited because he was about to go home and got caught up in the moment? Or will he fail to get to the next round?

We'll all find out when "America's Got Talent" returns with the Quarterfinals results show on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. on NBC Television.

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