Article will continue after advertisement

So here we are, the final contestants, with the top five getting through to next week finals. Simon Cowell and the gang — Howie Mandel, Mel B., Heidi Klum and host Tyra Banks — listened to the semi-finalists and offered their feedback, knowing that it’s up to America’s votes to determine who gets through.

Once again, the singers dominated. In the Stairwell had its best performance of the competition. Celine Tam was fantastic (even though Mel B. didn’t think so), and Christian Guardino was also out of this world. And, oh yeah, Mandy Harvey, Kechi and Angelica Hale were tremendous, too. I don’t know how you vote off any of these acts — but someone is going home on Wednesday.


But first, let’s see how they did during the second AGT semi-final.

America’s Got Talent, season 12, episode 21, first semi-final, 8 p.m. Tuesday September 12, 2017

Celine Tam, singer

Who can vote against cute as a button little 9-year-old girl with the face of an angel?  So far, she’s wowed with performances of  “My Heart Will Go On” and then, How Am I Supposed to Live Without You and When You Believe. And here she is, with a chance to go to the finals, and in an effort to get there, she did How far it goes         from the move Moana. It fit her perfectly, and she opened the final AGT semi-final in blow you away fashion, so much so that she had the crowd cheering early on. Simon acted like a conductor, moving his hands to the music. The judges clapped. Damn she’s good. “This was a massive, massive step up. The song was perfect for you,” Simon said. Mel B. said it was way too musical theater, and she got hammered by the crowd — and Simon. Let’s hope America tunes out Mel. B.

Colin Cloud, magician

Magic done right is amazing. The best tricks start with a simple premise that contains a twist that blows away the audience. That’s what Colin Cloud did in his initial appearance. He took a simple premise — a coin trick — and turned it on its head.  During the live show, he promised his most impressive performance yet. It was long winded and confusing, and he made it through anyway. But this time he did a mind-blowing trick in which was able to predict the judges would select three words — a week before they did. “I’ve got goosebumps, on my goosebumps, on my goosebumps,” Simon said.

Christian Guardino, singer

At six-months-old, Christian’s parents learned he would go completely blind. When he was 12, they found an experimental gene therapy that worked and helped him regain his site, and now his dream is to became a singer. From his initial appearance on AGT,  you could tell that the now 16-year-old was going to be something special. Howeie gave him a Golden Buzzer after he killed Who’s Loving You. His rendition of Make it Rain, had the judges standing at the end. “I am so proud, I’m bursting with emotion,” Howie said. “In one word, you’re magic.” In the AGT semi-finals he really stretched, trying the Marvin Gaye classic, What’s going on. His slower, almost ballad like performance showcased his style and range, and it earned a standing ovation from the judges.

In the Stairwell, A-Capella group

The A-capella group, In the Stairwell, “bored” Howie the first time they performed, but during the judge cuts, they did a terrific version of “Bye. Bye, Bye” had the crowd in it from the beginning.  You have to root for a group of men who are prepared to give their lives for the country and note how willingly they’d do it. “We are military and we’re being trained to be leaders, and music is a way to have fun together.”  During the live performance they did What Do I Stand For with a military bent, saluting in their camouflage. “Your harmonies as so yummy,” Mel B. cooed. So for the AGT semi-finals, in their perfect dress blues, they did, “Castle on the hill,” and it was their best performance of the show. Another standing ovation from the judges.

Merrick Hanna, interpretive dance

Merrick Hanna, the  tremendous 12-year-old, tells stories through  dance. First, he was a broken, floppy robot through dance. His second interpretive dance had the crowd cheering early on.  For the live show, he did a dance about a boy without a family. Mel B. called him “mesmerizing;” Simon has been a supporter from the start and said, “You’ve got originality.” For the AGT semi-finals, he took his act to the next level, bringing a robot on stage and flying through the air. As good as he was, he’s facing a lot of competition to get through. Again, optics matter. The judges didn’t rave nearly as much, and the voters notice things like that.

Mandy Harvey, singer

Mandy lost all of her hearing when she was 18, and now, she’s 29. She got sick and the nerves in her ears deteriorated, and she finally went deaf. But that didn’t stop her from pursuing her music dreams — she’d been singing since she was 4-years-old. Now, she feels the music through vibration, and she sang an original song called, “Try,” a homage to her desire to perform the music she loves so much. It was a beautiful, heart-stopping moment. Forget about the song, which she should release on iTunes tomorrow; her grit showed America what you can accomplish if you try. She got a Golden Buzzer for that performance.  She performed an original song that was soft, understated, and remarkably beautiful. “That was stunning,” an emotional (!) Simon said. There are so many good acts left on the show, but she is certainly a strong contender to win it all. For the semi-final, she sang a song while performing it in sign language. Trmendous, a performance that’s worthy of winning the whole thing. Simon said it was “about as good as anything I’ve seen or heard on this show. Breathtaking.” He is so, so right.

The Pompeyo Family

The judges had a chance to bring back one act who was voted off. So here comes the Pompeyo family — mom Natalia, daughter Katerina and husband/dad George —  love their dogs. All 18 of them. The family has a dream of having its own Las Vegas show, and they don’t seem that far off, with a dog that can do a handstand, balance on someone’s hand, or walk on their front legs. The dogs also jumped rope, jumped through a hula hoop — all sorts of stuff. They brought the dogs back again during the AGT semi-finals, this time with some sort of Alaska theme with a dog dressed as a penguin(?).  They are good … but with Sara and Hero through to the finals, will America vote for another dog act? Besides, Mel B. looked bored out her mind and the judge’s feedback was as cold as the set.

Diavolo, Architect in Motion

Diablo is a very large performance group that does a combination of dance and gymnastics on a moving structure.  That does not go near far enough in describing how amazing the act was. The first time we saw them, the dancers jumped on an arch-looking structure that moved side-to-side, and the dancers took turns dancing and jumping. For their second act, the troupe said in preparation some members suffered some broken bones. The live show was just as crazy, as they danced and pranced inside a large moving wheel. So we could expect more insanity during the AGT semi-finals — and that’s what we got. This time it was pyramids and large moving balls among the controlled chaos.  If there’s one act that can give the singers a run for their money, it’s them. “This is a million dollar act,” Heidi said.

Kechi Okwuchi, singer

There are a lot of people to root for in this competition, but you’d be hard pressed to beat Kechi, who has the single most compelling story in the competition. On October 29, 2006, an ADC Airlines plane went down in Abuda, Nigeria. Some 107 people died, and there were just two survivors. One was Kechi Okwuchi, a 16-year-old girl who was coming back from her boarding school.  Now living in Houston, she’s sailed through the competition with renditions of  Ed Sheeran’s instant classic, Thinking out Loud, and then, A Song for You. For the  live show, she was her same terrific, steady, beautiful self, and it may have been her best performance in a series of them. When she was done she broke down crying. “You are an inspiration,” Mel B. said. For the semi-final, she busted out “Don’t worry about me,” and good Lord was it powerful. To see her there, with her arms outstretched, repeating, don’t worry about me … be still my heart. The judges were blown away. “It was your best performance by a clear mile,” Simon said.

Light Balance Dance Group, from the Ukraine

They came here for a better life in America, and if they win, they want to being their families over from the Ukraine. So here they were, about a dozen guys who look nothing like dancers, kicking it, at the start, to Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic — and using lights to create a funky techno display that blew everyone’s mind, and was as original as anything you’ll see. “We’ve seen dances in the dark before, but not this good,” Heidi said. It was so good Tyra Banks came from behind the curtain to press the coveted Golden Buzzer, sending Light Balance straight through to the live show. So here, for the semi-finals, they did another mind-blowing display that showed why they’re the most imaginative, original act left. It’ll be interesting to see who makes it through — Light Balance or Diavolo. With the amazing singers, it will be hard for both to make it through.

Angelica Hale, singer

The incredibly cute 10-year-old is a singer who overcame pneumonia that it ruined a kidney and she almost died. But her mother donated a kidney to keep her alive. For the judge cuts, she did Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys and it earned her a Golden Buzzer. The next time we saw her, she slayed Clarity. So during the AGT semi-final she Without you, and no one that small should have that kind of voice.  Close your eyes and you’d think she’s a mature 30 with decades of training. How many of the child singers will get through? If you could choose one, it’s her. Mel B. said it wasn’t perfect, but my goodness, she’s 10! “You deserve to be there next week,” Simon said.

America’s Got Talent Season 12: How to watch, TV info for Wednesday September 13, 2017

 Second Semi-Final Results

Wednesday, September 13 | 8 p.m. EST |

The Finals

Tuesday, September 19 | 8 p.m. EST |

The Finals live show, winner named

Wednesday, September 20 | 8 p.m. EST |