AGT Fifth Judge: Sofia and Howie Get Totally Lost — Another Act Almost Sets Their Face on Fire

It was a night of too much good talent as only five of eleven acts can advance — and we want at least nine of them in next week’s finale!

It’s the finale of the semifinals of “America’s Got Talent” to finalize the final five acts who will compete in next week’s grand finale. Got it?

After two hours of incredible competitions, we’re already mad. Easily the strongest overall night of performances, we’re ready for up to nine of these acts to advance. Can we kick out some of the ones from last week (no we won’t say who we’re thinking)?

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For one thing, there were way too many strong vocal acts on the night, which could cause them to split votes among them. We had danger, acrobatics and two similar mentalist type acts, with one adding a grossout element that really turned off two of the judges.

That said, those same two judges were left absolutely confused by the night’s other mentalist, so we’re not sure what they were watching — or not watching. We had no problem keeping up with the whole thing, which we rather enjoyed.

Even our lowest-ranked act on the night wasn’t an act that we think blew it. It was actually a pretty solid perforamnce — and America might advance them regardless of what we think. This night was just so strong overall that someone had to wind up there.

Tonight, only five of eleven acts will advance to the next round. Fair warning, since I’m safe at home, I’m probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, and Sofia Vergara. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe.

And just for fun, I’m gonna rank them from worst to first to see how my favorites do and whether or not you get it right (i.e. agree with me).

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Kenadi Dodds

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(singer) What a quirky idea to build an intimate garden set on an empty street for Kenadi, and then pan out so we can see that’s where she’s performing. It created a strikingly unusual image, but accentuated the message of her song. We underestimated Kenadi last time around, and once again we felt like this was almost a great performance, but lacking in polish and vocal strength consistently throughout her range. Her upper register is strong and gets the cheers, but she’s a little shaky lower down so we’re not as in love with it as our fellow judges.

Brett Loudermilk

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(danger act) Brett’s act didn’t really end as much as he shooed Howie away. The remarkable part about it was how he got Heidi and Sofia to select the photo that represented the object that was already sitting in his stomach, and then he was able to produce it out of his mouth. Illusion, perhaps, but we do know he can swallow things. Either way, this was less chaotic and somehow less entertaining as a result. Brett’s is an interesting act, but this wasn’t its strongest chapter.

Bello Sisters

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(acrobats) It’s slow and methodical at times but every step and motion is so important to what they do that it remains utterly fascinating to watch. We wish they’d show a little more variety as between all of their performances, we feel we’ve seen just about all of these formations, or some minor variance therein. Nevertheless, they’re amazing at what they do, which is incredibly challenging. We’re just starting to wonder how much of this they have and how much further they can push it.

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Max Major

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(mentalist) The only thing Max missed was getting the numbers in the right order, including the red Powerball at the end, but regardless this was some remarkable work from the random guesses from the judges and two audience members to the roulette spin to a billboard taken out before his act. We don’t know how he did it, but with his easy charm and the mind-blowing accuracy he offered, it’s nevertheless mesmerizing to watch moment to moment. And we never got lost like Sofia and Howie — were they paying attention?

Voices of Our City Choir

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(singers) Well we were already bawling before they started singing. When that happened, though, we appreciated that they kept it simple and kept it choir driven. The accompaniment was strong and the harmonies on the leads were right there as well. The song was perhaps a bit repetitive and it certainly didn’t offer any wow moments, but its everything about this group that is wow. And it was with this piece that they finally sounded like a professional choir on top of everything they represent.

Daneliya Tuleshova

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(singer) This song had so many different levels and Daneliya was just flawless in her presentation of each of them. She had a bit of growl, plenty of heart and other than a minor rearrangement to drop a note her range was right there as well. Even that rearrangement shows how well she knows her own voice and how to best showcase it. She did that here and it was incredible. She’s just facing incredibly tough competition, so we’re not sure that was enough.

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W.A.F.F.L.E. Crew

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(dancers) It was just one spotlight moment after the other in a nonstop exploration of what these guys can do individually and when they come together. Covid pushing them into unique settings has really allowed them to show just how much creativity and diversity of movement they have. This week’s garage setting was used to its ultimate, proving that these guys could really make an innovative stage show … or apparently choreograph an awesome routine anywhere!


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(singer) This was a command performance with control every step of the way. At moments her passionate connection with the lyric had us evoking that magically quality that Adele possesses to make us all feel her pain with her. This was so polished, Celina could have been a guest performing her own song on this stage. It was easily her best performance yet.

Jonathan Goodwin

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(danger act) A much stronger and more compelling act than last time, timed to perfection with the danger of burning rope not only facilitating a 60-foot drop (give or take) but also potentially dropping fire on his face. Jonathan executed this very well, he does a great job of telegraphing the danger and intensity and he made this one fun to watch. Also, dude is mad crazy!

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Cristina Rae

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(singer) Cristina is a world-class singer who’s been hiding as a single mom for a few years now, but she’s not hiding anymore. That’s the kind of voice that could compete with some of the biggest vocalists of all time. And she makes it look so effortless, which is even more remarkable. On a season of strong vocalists, we’re not sure we can say Cristina is the best, but she’s so good at what she does, every act should be a little worried.

BAD Salsa

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(dancers) It looked like a couple of the stunts didn’t quite hit as intended, but there were definitely some lifts and moves we’ve never seen before. The incorporation of some of their native Indian style into what they do was welcome, and a beautiful tribute to their heritage. The bottom line is that this is less of a pure dance act and more of a wild danger act, and in that category what they do is so breakneck fast and incredible and dangerous, it’s easily one of the most unique and incredible things to ever hit this stage. There were times it looked like they sped up the film they were moving so fast. Just an incredible act with so much range.

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We haven’t even gotten the results this week and already we’re heartbroken. This is easily the most devastating round yet as there were just so many incredible performers who deserve a shot at the finale.

And we were feeling this would be a lackluster season early on.

Making matters even worse, it seems like most of the best singers wound up on one night, so either they’re going to dominate or cannibalize one another with the voters, which could be good news for acts like Max Major or Daneliya Tuleshova, depending which way it goes.

Actually, though, we’re not so sure our entire Top 5 is going to advance. If Cristina goes through, there’s every chance she could split Celina’s votes as both are similar types of vocalists, and adults to boot.

And while we feel confident BAD Salsa did enough to sail through, will one dance act advancing push W.A.F.F.L.E. down? Plus, we’re not so sure that America will reward Jonathan as they tend to be tough on danger acts this late in the season.

They do love mentalists and magicians, though, which could be good for Max, though we don’t think Brett was dynamic or funny enough this time around. The Bello Sisters we don’t think did enough in comparison to this lineup, while Voices of Our City Choir could advance thanks to their incredible story and solid — if unremarkable — outing tonight.

So now that we’ve said everything about everyone, we’re ready to give our sure-to-be-wrong prediction as to how you might vote. We’re thinking BAD Salsa, Cristina Rae, Voices of Our City Choir, Celina and W.A.F.F.L.E. Crew.

We’ll find out what you did as “America’s Got Talent” continues Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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