America's Got Talent-Season 8 Episode 8-John and Andrew
Happy-go-lucky time is over for America’s Got Talent.  It’s easy to simply chop the ridiculous and the laughable in favor of the truly talented.  Picking the best out of a sea of hopefully and fairly talented folk is an entirely different story.  For a select few their worry was abbreviated thanks to stunning auditions. This year the judges took turns delivering the news in person for a change. Mel B. gave opera duo Acte II and Hart Dance Team the good news while Heidi Klum jumped on stage during magicians David & Leeman’s show to make their night.  Nick Cannon showed up at one of Dan Naturman’s stand up shows to tell him about Radio City Music Hall, and Howard Stern got balance artist Jonatan Riquelme to fake cry on The Howard Stern Show after delivering the news. Either Howie Mandel has a lot of free time on his hands, or he loves giving good news, as evident by his telling dance duo Blue Journey and teenage rock cellists Emil & Daniel about their future at Radio City Music Hall.  Easily Howie’s best delivery was to child superstar Dom the Bom’s Triple Threat and his equally young siblings.  After using their bathroom, eating their bananas, and jumping on their trampoline, he managed to mention their straight shot to Radio City as he was walking out the door.  For the rest, it’s all over but the waiting, after performing in an empty auditorium that is.

Mike Super returned with his lifelong spirit energy companion Desmond.  Howie held chalkboards and rolled them around until Desmond was able to not only write the name Howie was thinking of, but create a Zodiac calendar with each row adding up to Nick’s random selection, 23, based on all the judges unspoken birth months.  Psycho Jack wasn’t as successful; after struggling to through his basic trick and a poor presentation, the judges wasted no time sending him home.  Franklin Saint, who thinks in binary code, flattened a plastic bottle and unbent an empty soda can before he resealed, reopened, and poured from the former piece of trash.  Mat Franco approached the judges table again for a card trick.  Having Mel pick a card at random, he ran his deck on the table producing patchwork picture of Howie holding Mel’s seven of hearts.  Amazing as it was, using close up card tricks might not be enough for Radio City Music Hall.

Male Dance Groups
Sean & Luke returned for another spirited tap routine to a modern cover of “New York, New York”.  Solto Esengulov did a couple cool body contortions that didn’t seem to add up to a real routine.  Dragon House “The Agents” produced another faultless slow motion pop lock routine, but its similarities to the original may count against them.  Favorites John & Andrew returned with another salsa routine that warranted them an immediate pass to Radio City Music Hall.  Don’t let me down boys!

Kid Singers
Quintavious Johnson, 12, sang Michael Jackson’s “Whose Loving You” with the same passion of a young Michael.  Grace Ann Gregorio, 11, sang “That’s All I Ask of You” from The Phantom of the Opera, but after Quintavious a few judges doubted her power.  Mara Justine, 12, returned to belt out another Whitney Houston tune, but her performance of “I Have Nothing” was a little more nerve ridden than her original.  Though it seemed like the judges called her back on stage to dismiss her, Mara was passed straight to Radio City Music Hall.  Julia Goodwin, 15, sang “Feeling Good” accompanied by her father, with more control and power of someone well beyond her years.

Darik Santos wasn’t flustered by the empty auditorium, and it wasn’t long until the judges were cackling.  Comparing Chinese food to hangovers and running from a birds and the bees talk was hilarious, though Mel B. was more impressed with his nervous character than his actual jokes.  Wendy Liebman talked about nagging her husband and her inability to pick an outfit, which was chuckle worthy.  Joe Matarese seemed to lose all his steam, serving up quick jokes with no real set up or humor.

Solo Variety
Juan Carlos, appropriately dubbed an individual Starlight Express by a fellow contestant, brought his flair and disjointed roller-skating routine to the tune of “Big Spender.”  As usual Howie has dragged in a lackluster act that has no hope of winning the competition.  Hopefully the rest of the judges won’t waste a slot on him.  John Narum used an oversized black lit yo-yo to impress the judges while Loop Rawlings flaming rope routine wasn’t too different, but when you’re playing with fire it doesn’t really matter.  Mighty Atom Jr. returned to pull a truck with the judges and Nick in the flat bed and his kid brother in the driver’s seat.  Considering the Atom’s 93 years of age, it’s amazing that he showed up, let alone pulled tons of weight across the stage with his teeth.  J.D. Anderson ripped phonebooks at the judges table before bending two frying pans, one on top of the other.  The finale was crashing through a great many thick slabs of ice, warranting a cut on his head and a room full on stunned judges.

Female Solo Singers
Emily West sang “You Got It” by Roy Orbison to utter perfection, with measured breaths, perfect pitch, amazing runs, and soulful interludes.  Carly Jo Jackson’s ukulele accompanied “Somebody I Used To Know” was good, but with a few off notes the judges paused to consider whether her voice deserves the main stage.  Plagued by anxiety all her life, Anna Clendening literally ran from her performance, but bolstered by the others in her category she made it to the stage.  Her folk version of “Radioactive” was so original and impressive, especially with her self-accompaniment on the acoustic guitar.  Let’s hope talent wins out over nervousness. Kelli Glover sang Demi Lovato’s “Warrior” with her usual vocal power and the cloud of her 2009 AGT journey ending at this stage hanging over her head.  Whether she breaks the pattern and makes it to Radio City Music Hall is a question only tomorrow can answer.