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'America's Got Talent' Semifinals: Round 1 sees the return of three favorites

"America's Got Talent" entered the Semifinals Tuesday night with nine finalists voted through and three contestants the judges thought deserved a second chance -- Wild Cards, as it were. Now we'll see if America thinks they deserve a second chance (doubtful, considering these acts finished fifth or sixth in the voting during their respective Quarterfinals appearances).

Buddy TV recapped the "America's Got Talent" Semifinals performances Aug. 26, criticizing host Nick Cannon for not mentioning during the Quarterfinals that the Wild Card picks would be revealed on Twitter. Still, Nick might not be entirely to blame so much as the producers and whoever is in charge of cue cards and teleprompters. Given all the other things the host has to do, not to mention participate in crosstalk with judges and finalists, a cue or prompt might have come in handy.

The Wild Cards

Judge Heidi Klum brought back Flight Crew Jump Rope, the jump rope acrobatic team cut during the first week of the Quarterfinals. They're good but they didn't deserve a Wild Card. At the end of their routine, Judge Howard Stern noted that they made several mistakes and at this stage of the game, they couldn't afford them.

Judge Mel B brought back Bad Boys of Ballet, the one girl and half-a-dozen-guy dance team cut during the last week of Quarterfinals. Their routine looked more like something put together for some high school dance recital, and somewhat ill-prepared. Howard was also tough on them, criticizing the lead dancer (the girl) for leaving the stage for 45 seconds (half the act's time). She would later correct him, saying she had been gone for "two counts of eight."

Judge Howie Mandel brought back Mike Super, the Mystifier with the spirit sidekick, Desmond, that Howard Stern told him to lose. So he did for his Semifinals return. He performed an illusion slash card trick where he disappeared from under a red cover, wound up at the back of Radio City Music Hall, and had the image, a triangle, that Howard had chosen from a deck of cards emblazoned on his hands. To add to the illusion, he had people in aisle seats that "felt" him pass by show their hands. There were triangles on their hands as well. The judges loved it and Howard praised Super for listening to him and getting rid of Desmond.

We'll get to see Judge Howard's pick next week.

The Nine Finalists

The other nine finalists can be categorized as the good, the bad, and the boring.

One act was boring. Not necessarily bad, just boring. Surprisingly enough, that finalist was Aerial Animation. A visual aerial act, the act's reliance on the animation playing in the background usually is complimentary, but during Tuesday night's performance, the aerial portion of the act was languid, with long moments of idleness.

Also surprising was that there was only two truly bad performance. That also came from two unexpected sources. The first: Mara Justine. Starting off a little shaky, she got into Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" about 30 seconds in. However, she was more shout and almost no finesse. The judges gave her rave reviews, but once they hit the playback later, they're going to see -- and hear -- that they mis-heard the 12-year-old's performance.

The other poor performance? Paul Ieti. Singing The Back Street Boys' "I Want It That Way," he kept missing the low notes. With possibly one of the best voices in the competition, a combination of nerves and a poor song choice seemed to be the singing soldier's undoing.

The rest of the acts were rather good. Hand balancer Andrey Moraru was a work in muscle control.

Although Judge Howard went after Miguel Dakota as an artist that was missing "something" he couldn't quite grasp, the other judges let the young singer, who performed "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes, know that his performance was excellent. Judge Howie told him he could win it all.

Sons of Serendip were musical perfection with their Swedish House Mafia cover ("Don't You Worry Child"). Howard, who was in super-critical mode Tuesday night, said they need to change their name. Howie said they could win, they were so perfect. He said it could come down to a vote between Miguel Dakota and them.

Comedian Dan Naturman made everybody laugh except Judge Heidi Klum. Like Taylor Williamson last season, his jokes did not register with her. Judge Howard hit her buzzer to show that he disagreed with her critique. Of course, it might not have helped Dan's case that he made fun of Germany, Heidi's native land.

Magic act David & Leeman did an illusion with bags, one of which contained a spike. The judges got to choose the bags, one by one, as they flattened them, hopefully not getting a spike through their hands. They were successful, and, as was noted by Judge Howard, even though it is a trick many are familiar with, they were able to do it in an entertaining way that made the illusion all their own.

Emily West pulled the pimp spot for the night. She brought down the house. Judge Howard finally came out of his critical funk to declare her a million dollar act. Give the shock jock judge his due: She performed Queen's "Who Wants To Live Forever" flawlessly.

So who will advance to the Top 12? Emily West is a definite lock, as are Miguel Dakota and Sons of Serendip. Mara Justine barely got through in her Quarterfinals performance, and America most likely finds her shout-y as well, so it is doubtful she will advance. David & Leeman will most likely advance, too. Among the Wild Cards, Mike Super could advance, but he'll have a to get past Andrey Moraru. Although Dan Naturman was funny, a couple of his jokes were slow developing and it might cost him his spot in the Top 12.

However, America gets to exercise their Snapple Save. For the first time, "America's Got Talent" will allow a real-time live save of one of the acts by popular vote. The public will then vote online, deciding between the acts coming in fifth, sixth, and seventh in the overall voting. The results will be announced by host Nick Cannon at the end of the eliminations show.

"America's Got Talent" airs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9 p.m. (EST) on NBC Television.

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