'America's Got Talent' Season 9 semifinals: Emily West wows, Dan Naturman offends

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emily-west-dan-naturman-americas-got-talent.jpgTime for the first group of semifinalists on "America's Got Talent" Season 9. There were 20 acts that advanced out of the quarterfinals, plus four more that were wild card picks by the judges, for a total of 12 acts during each semifinal. Let's get to it.

1. Flight Crew Jump Rope (wild card, Heidi)


This is a fun act -- for school assemblies. They're cute and look like they're having a ton of fun, but they aren't finals material for this show. I would be pretty shocked if they get through. There's just not enough pizazz in the routine. I do love all the flips, though.

2. Mara Justine

Oooh, this is not good. Mara sounds nervous, which is putting her pitch all over the map. I'm sorry, sweetie. You seem very nice and you have a very powerful instrument, but this was kind of a mess.

3. Bad Boys of Ballet (wild card, Mel B.)

I like this act a lot, but I worry that they just aren't big enough for this show. Their dancing skills are phenomenal, but it's just so weird when they go from pirouettes and leaps to sticking their tongues out and air guitar. It doesn't fit. They're immensely talented, but there's just something missing here.

4. Paul Ieti

I'm not as high on this guy as the audience members (and presumably voters) are. He's just not that good of a singer, but he's likable and has a nice story, so he'll probably win the whole thing. This show has a history of those kinds of acts going all the way. This week, I particularly dislike him because the song choice is terrible. This is a call-and-response song, so one person singing the chorus just sounds dumb. And his pitch is way, way off a lot of the time. Yikes.

5. Mike Super (wild card, Howie)

At least he gets rid of Desmond, which is a dumb schtick. However, this trick is just OK. the getting from the stage to the balcony is nice, but the random symbol thing was lame. The helper guy took so long "shuffling" the bag of cards that you know he did something so Howard would draw the triangle, which is what Mike and the audience members had on their hands all along. A smoother assistant would have gone a long way with that trick.

6. Andrey Moraru

This is the first act of the night that truly impresses. Andrey is amazing -- not only is he talented, but he is engaging, almost telling a story while he performs. It was beautifully done and it's exactly the type of act that should go far on this show. Bravo. The night finally started with this act.

7. Miguel Dakota

Miguel keeps the momentum going, performing "Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes with more grit than we've heard from him so far. I really like this, though not as much as his last performance. And the light guys need to dial it back. You're giving people seizures. But this was solid.

8. Sons of Serendip

Smart music choice. I like these guys, though I fear they're a tad boring. However, compared to the first half of tonight's show, they're positively amazing. They really might sneak through, even if I don't think they necessarily have much chance at winning. But the lead singer brings his A-game, he's solid. Little shaky right at the end, but that sounded more like nerves than lack of ability.

9. David & Leeman

This was a fun trick, it's all based on power of suggestion and there was a nice tension in the air to go along with it. They definitely won me over this week.

10. Dan Naturman


I'm sorry, nope. This guy just doesn't make me laugh. Plus, his xenophobic joke was terrible. That's why people think Americans are dumb a-holes. If you're going to be offensive, you have to also be funny to pull it off. Howard Stern is a good example. Dan Naturman is not.

11. Aerial Animation


I was excited to see this act again, then slightly disappointed at the finished product. This one wasn't smooth, there were obvious glitches and it didn't really tell a story like the last one. This one featured a lot of the girl just hanging there doing nothing. Really blah compared to what I was expecting. I wouldn't mind seeing her again to see what else she can do, but her advancing would be based on body of work and not tonight's performance.

12. Emily West

Now, I was not that impressed by her last time. "Chandelier" was too big for her. This week, "Who Wants to Live Forever" by Queen is a perfect, perfect fit. She gets to show off her big, throaty voice without having to make those crazy leaps from "Chandelier." This was outstanding. Well done.

So, who should advance? My top picks are Andrey Moraru, Miguel Dakota, David & Leeman and Emily West. For the final two spots, I guess I would go with Aerial Animation and Sons of Serendip, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Paul Ieti or Dan Naturman will sneak in there. Probably both.

Who do you think should advance, "AGT" fans?
Photo/Video credit: NBC