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America's Got Talent Season 3

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Season 03, Episode 01 Episode #3.1

S03 E01

Jun 17, 2008
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Episode #3.1 Jun 17, 2008 The third season of "America's Got Talent" kicked off touting more than 200,000 acts that auditioned in front of an audience of thousands in theaters across the country. The new audience component made it so the crowd acted as a fourth judge, cheering and jeering the contestants as they saw fit as the contestants set off on a journey that each hoped would end with the $1 million prize and a show in Las Vegas. Grim Start in The Big Apple: The auditions begin in New York City. Bill B. Curlee aka "Serious Mysterious", a 52-year-old scrap metal worker, was first out of the gate, and his Elvis-inspired rendition of Tom Jones' "It's Not Unusual" made judges David Hasselhoff and Piers Morgan hit their buzzers immediately, but Sharon Osbourne let it linger on and on until the judges had a chance to lambaste him. Curlee's bit was followed by an entire opening montage of terrible performances, including the tongue-stretching antics of 18-year-old Nick Afanasiev. Jonathan Arons, 32 of NYC, was the first contestant to set the crowd on fire, and he was an unlikely one: a classically trained trombonist who tooted along to Donna Summer's "Bad Girls." Jonathan got the three "yes" votes he needed to move to the Vegas callbacks. A pair of 24-year-old, female Romanian twins, who call themselves Indiggo, sang Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" very poorly, but Sharon wanted to give them another chance in Vegas and Piers, who'd buzzed them quickly, changed his mind and decided to give them a pass. Nuttin' But Stringz, violin-playing brothers from Queens received a huge ovation for a high-energy act that "combines classical meets hip-hop with the perfect marriage of R&B and rock 'n roll." Sharon asks, "Do you guys think you can win?" and one of them wittily replies, "I don't think I can lose." Piers said, "This show is about people walking on the stage and doing something fresh, exciting, original and super talented. You two have got the lot." They kicked off a run on "yes" votes that included an illusionist, a puppeteer, a percussion group that beat on plastic drums and PVC pipes, and an all-girl quartet called Jazmin. Mary Bly, an 80-year-old tap dancer, got X's from Piers and The Hoff. Sharon complimented her on her dancing and gave her a "yes," but that was the only vote of approval she got and she was sent home. Do it for the kids! A montage of kids getting turned away led into 4-year-old singer Kaitlyn Maher, who sang "Somewhere Out There" from the "An American Tail (1986)" soundtrack. The crowd cheered and she got no X's. Piers said she might be the best 4-year-old singer in the world. All three judges moved her on to the Las Vegas callbacks, making her the youngest contestant to ever make it that far. Hello, Chicago: The auditions move to Chicago. The Slippery Kittens, a burlesque dance group of mothers, had the crowd shouting "Vegas, Vegas" before the audition ever started. The nine-member group got some huge cheers from the crowd and got three votes from the judges. Big Boos: Host Jerry Springer says that the Chicago audience is proving to be the fourth and most brutal judge of all. Chay Vang, a 32-year-old factory worker, had barely started his performance, using a guitar he'd been building for ten years, before he was X'd off the stage and booed by the crowd. Terry Christensen, a 45-year-old handyman/songwriter, was booed before he could get much of his song beyond the opening lyrics, and he was followed by more performers who fell victim to the crowd. ... the best there's ever been: Jonathan Birkin, 17, mysteriously said that what he does made things difficult for him as a child. Eventually, viewers saw that he was a baton twirler -- and he was a darn good one. He twirled with flames on the ends of his baton to The Charlie Daniels Band's "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." Jonathan was near tears as the crowd stood and cheered. "All those kids who called you names can shove it!" The Hoff said. "I'm proud of you for sticking with your dream." Intoxicating: The auditions move to Los Angeles. Britney Spears impersonator, 24-year-old Derrick Barry -- that's right, Derrick -- knocked Sharon and The Hoff's socks off. His Spears take was enough to win him a spot in Las Vegas, where he'll continue to make The Hoff question his own sexuality. A montage of winners followed, including a gymnast who twirled hoola hoops with her toes, a tap dancing group, a young would-be Whitney Houston singer and another dancing troupe. Extreme Dance FX, another nine-member dance troupe that combined tap and clogging for a modern twist. Piers hated their outfits and told them to change them, but the group got their votes for Vegas, much to the crowd's approval. Neil E. Boyd, a 32-year-old insurance salesman who sang opera, told a heart-wrenching story of growing up poor with a single mother and he wanted to show her that her sacrifices weren't wasted. He got emotional before singing and teared up again after bringing the crowd and the judges to their feet with his huge voice. Host Jerry Springer said that in his two season of doing the show, he hadn't heard better. The Hoff called him the front runner and told him it's OK to be emotional. Sharon told him he won her heart. Piers noticed the crowd's sense of the electricity he Neil brought to the stage. After he got through, Neil called his mom and told her the good news.

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Season 03, Episode 02 Episode #3.2

S03 E02

Jun 24, 2008
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Episode #3.2 Jun 24, 2008 "America's Got Talent" got warm and fuzzy again after a raucous season premiere. On a night of impressive displays and stories that tugged at heartstrings, the judges walked away feeling like theyd seen some serious acts that could find themselves in the finals, battling for the $1 million grand prize. Just Beat It: Looking to get rid some of the worst performers right off the top, the night began with a montage of bad performances that had buzzers buzzing and the audience booing. Sing us a song: Eli Mattson just might become the new Piano Man after impressing the judges with his rendition of Marc Cohn's "Walking in Memphis." Before the audition, he told some stories about traveling around the country trying to make something of a career in music, but by the time it was over he had judge Sharon Osbourne wondering why he hadnt already been signed by a record label. Judge Piers Morgan also said that Eli could be a finalist. On my grind: So what if Grinder Girl has been performing on The Late Show with David Letterman for six years? As NBC used to say, if you havent seen it, its new to you! Miss Pussykatt, a 27-year-old bartender, sent sparks flying by tapping a drill against metal plates that she wore. The judges seemed impressed and moved her on to the Vegas callbacks. Survivors: Tumblers Lil Countrie & Page 1NE had the crowd cheering before they even began performing after they shared a story of survivor Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans Ninth Ward. But the applause grew even louder and stronger as they showed some incredible acrobatics, including a headstand/slide across the stage that had the judges in awe. The judges told the guys that theyd just blown the competition wide open and that they have a good shot of winning the whole deal. Raising the bar: The Russian Bar Trio, from Canada (just give that one a minute), unveiled one of the most dangerous auditions the show has seen. A woman did flips on a flexible balance beam, of sorts, that was held by two guys. It was pretty incredible and had viewers and the judges on the edge of their collective seat. Judge David Hasselhoff said the act was perfect for Americas Got Talent and they moved on. The Ozzman Cometh: A 49-year-old self-proclaimed Ozzy Osbourne impersonator got Sharons attention quickly, and quickly lost it. Sharon and The Hoff hit their buzzers almost immediately, but Piers let the man continue butchering Ozzys Crazy Train until Sharon pressed Piers buzzer herself. Kevin from the blocks: In Chicago, Kevin "Big K" Taylor busted through 1,000 pounds of cement that was stacked up in blocks that were set aflame. As he punched the blocks, his own hands caught on fire for a moment, prompting Sharon to vote no on him, because she didnt want him to hurt himself on her watch. Piers and The Hoff put him through, though. Use Your Illusion: After some bad magicians, an illusionist couple, including a guy who took an arrow to the chest two years ago, stole the show at least the magic portion of the show. The Pendragons pulled a combination escape from a locked box and quick changing illusion that made the judges stand up and take notice. Viva Las Vegas: Joseph Hall, a young Elvis Presley impersonator, had the girls going nuts and had the judges all excited as they ushered him into the next round in Sin City.

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Season 03, Episode 03 Episode #3.3

S03 E03

Jul 1, 2008
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Episode #3.3 Jul 1, 2008 Another night, another round of boos and cheers and oohs and ahhs from the crowd in three cities where "America's Got Talent" stopped on the way to the Las Vegas callbacks. In another two-hour episode, judges Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff watched all manner of talent, human and non-human, take to the stage in hopes of winning the $1 million grand prize and a chance to perform on the Vegas strip. Hold the line: Professional line dancer Corky Duke kicked off the night with Piers calling him a waste of time. More bad auditions followed, including tap-dancing banjo player and a hula hoop juggler whose only real flaw was her inability to catch the hula hoops she tossed in the air. Good golly, Miss Holly: Holly Hardin, a 19-year-old country singer, tried to play the Kellie Pickler card as she claimed she didn't know how far her hometown was from Dallas. She sang "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" which didn't impress Sharon and the Hoff, although Piers said he liked it well enough. They gave Holly a bit of a second chance, allowing her to sing a couple of lines of Dolly Parton's "9 to 5," and that won her a ticket to Vegas. Rolling in the mud: "Talent" took a pretty sad turn with a potbelly pig named Smithfield attempting to paint. The act, which hardly worked and resulted in the pig refusing to leave the stage, prompted Piers to suggest that the pig would be more useful in his bacon sandwich. Paul West and his dog, Tucker, rocked the house, though, with their Frisbee catching act that drew big cheers from the audience. Ol' Blue Eyes lives? Paul Salos, 71, after 40 years of doing his own version of Frank Sinatra, go a chance to perform "Fly Me to the Moon" in front of the Dallas crowd and had them on their feet. The retired Air Force veteran said he felt like Sinatra on stage, and it showed. He nailed Sinatra's style, sound and manner, smiling all the while before Piers said, Frank Sinatra's going back to Las Vegas. Yellow, goodbye! Zane and Stephanie, a husband-and-wife singing team that appeared to be too in love for their own good, turned the crowd against them with some brutal attempts at harmonizing on The Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody." They ended the song with a sloppy kiss that had Sharon telling them that despite their decent individual voices, the performance was overly nice and dated. Got gag reflex? George the Giant, a 7-foot-3 self-proclaimed sideshow freak, promised to show something the judges had never seen. The question was whether they ever wanted to see what he did. Performing his take on the crazy straw, George would a flexible tube around a volunteer from the audience and used it as a straw to suck milk through it. Oh, I failed to mention that he'd also stuffed one end the straw up his nose and pulled it out through his throat before taking in his calcium for the day. Sharon couldn't watch, saying she was going to throw up. She voted no and seemed downright upset by the whole thing. George later set off a string of firecrackers that were taped to his chest, and that appeared to seal the deal for Piers and The Hoff, who sent him on to Vegas. 'I Can't Make You Love Me' Jessica Price, a 24-year-old factory worker and part-time musician, said her father was her idol when she was growing up, but that he one day up and left the family. She said something has been missing since he left and that she still felt a desire to make him proud. She won over the crowd with her version of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me." Backstage, host Jerry backstage milked the sob story a little longer and asked Jessica what her father would have thought. She said she hoped he would be proud. No shirt, no shoes ...: In The Hoff's hometown of Atlanta, Allister McQueen, who called himself Smokin' McQueen, reminded viewers why most of the population is better of clothed, for everyone's sake. The super-skinny McQueen did a burlesque style dance that left Piers especially unimpressed, saying that if you're going to bring an act like that you've got to have the goods to deliver on it, and McQueen didn't. A montage of male and female stripping and pole dancing routines followed, to the tune of Jermaine Stewart's "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off." Someone's got a crush! Busty Hart, a significantly large-breasted woman who promised a unique performance, proceeded to crush aluminum cans with her more than ample bosoms. The Hoff X'd her right away, and said, "If you were on 'Baywatch,' we would've lasted another 11 years." Ring my Belles: The Southern Belles, a four-piece dance group of women from 15 to 31 years old, set the crowd on fire with a crisply choreographed routine that combined Michael Flatley's Riverdance style with some southern tap-dancing and country flair. Piers said it was the best audition of the day. They were moved on to Vegas. A double-edged X: Dan Meyer, a 50-year-old sword swallower, provided the most dangerous audition of the night, swallowing several swords, including a group of at least five of them at once. There was a mildly scary moment, though, when The Hoff had enough and hit his buzzer while Meyer still had a sword in his throat. Meyer visibly reacted and coughed the sword back up quicker than he expected to. He later told Springer that he nearly punctured his stomach when the buzzer went off because he wasn't expecting the interruption. The Hoff couldn't handle it and voted no, but Piers and Sharon gave Meyers a ticket to the next round. A voice worth waiting for? Nine-year-old David Militello didn't speak until around the age of 3 after he'd been diagnosed as autistic. But one day, he began singing and that, it appears, would become his destiny. He sang little Michael Jackson's "Ben" and earned a standing ovation from the crowd. The Hoff told him he's won over the hearts of America with his song. He moved on to Vegas, but what's next? Stay tuned.

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Season 03, Episode 04 Episode #3.4

S03 E04

Jul 8, 2008
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Episode #3.4 Jul 8, 2008 Jerry Springer welcomes us to Atlanta, our first location, and we're introduced to Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff, who look ready to send some folks to Las Vegas. Billy Dodson Our first Georgia contestant is Dodson, a 29-year-old health inspector who looks very much as if he could be a bouncer on Jerry Springer's daytime show. But surprise, surprise, he fires off a fully soprano rendition of "Habanera" from the opera "Carmen." Piers hits his buzzer by word No. 5 and Sharon barks that "he should sing like a man." The vote: NO. Alex Pyles Toothy and southern-accented Pyles is next. The 10-year-old and her father (notable for facial hair that belongs in the WWE) essentially perform a mediocre up tempo fight scene with daughter fighting off father with several graphic faux kicks to the groin. One assumes her talent is some combination of self-defense and martial arts. Piers buzzers rather quickly, but David thinks Pyles is "very cool and very different." Sharon is on the fence, eventually letting Pyles talk her into the second vote after promising even more fake attackers down the road. The vote: YES. Sarah Lenore 19-year-old Lenore is the first contestant we're supposed to really care about, and over soft music we hear she has left both family and puppy to pursue a dream of singing. The "American Idol" similarities leave subtle behind with Lenore giving a capable rendition of Carries Underwood's "Before He Cheats." All three judges are modest fans and the young blonde is through to Sin City. The vote: YES. Vignette of "YES": Flambeaux, a 41-year-old Performance Artist fire-breathes to what, according to editing, is a standing ovation. Jerry's mouth is agape and Sharon is "going to say yes." Nicole Romana follows with a pole routine that makes one strongly doubt her job title of 'Fitness Instructor.' Despite removing none of her clothing the lithe 32-year-old is put through. David thinks Giwayen Mata , an approximately eight-member female dance troupe is "awesome and what this show is about." SQ Entertainment We're back to full routines with this 11-member group of cousins that performs a dance routine which looks like an amalgam of gymnastics and breakdancing. Despite one dancer inexplicably wearing oversized Mickey Mouse gloves, David likes the "energy and choreography" and it's a "definite yes" from Piers. The vote: YES. The James Gang We're now in New York City, and our first contestants are the Harlem based group that comes out of the subway wearing 1930s style outfits. T.J.G. tells us they rap and sing and call themselves a "mash-up of old and new." The foursome delivers easily the most entertaining performance of the night, dancing and singing an apparently original song in front of a DJ. If a group could succeed both on the Apollo Theater stage and in "O Brother, Where Art Thou," this is it. David calls them "a great representation of what this town is all about" and the guys are put through unanimously. The vote: YES. Victoria Jacoby If you happened to be thinking, "It sounds like the only thing this show needs is an 11-year-old contortionist who was adopted from China as an infant," you're in luck. The show's second fifth-grader creepily bends her way into the judges hearts, doing things I'd prefer not to describe lest I lose my dinner. David found her "absolutely fantastic" and Sharon believed Jacoby "really deserved to be here." The vote: YES. Polka Today We go from good to bad, beginning with the self-described "No. 1 polka dancers in the country," a 40ish married couple that apparently thinks mixing ballroom, country line dancing and polka is going to impress the judges. Ah, no. Booing from the crowd quickly ensues, and three buzzers come almost simultaneously after about ten seconds. An almost angry David says, "It kind of looked a little bit to me like you were in a blender." We get another zinger from Sharon, who responds to David's thought that the couple at least looked to be having fun with, "You can have fun with a sack race, but we don't want to see a sack race, do we?" No, Sharon. No we don't. The vote: NO. Vignette of "NO": Mr. Phil is the first snapshot of failure. The 59-year comes out in a plaid jacket and large novelty bowtie, singing an original song it's difficult to take seriously. The only amusing part was Pier's buzzer, which prophetically came before Phil had begun to sing. Peter McIntosh, an effeminate ventriloquist with no compunction about blatantly moving his lips, got into a brief obscenity exchange with Piers before leaving us stage left. We're not shown enough of 29-year-old mother Ursula Knudson to know exactly what her high-pitched singing was all about. We do learn that David thought it was "the worst act I ever saw." Rachel Star, a 22-year-old Caucasian college student, jumps up and down on broken glass while rapping. As cool as that sounds, Star got only a "Security!" from David. 51-year-old camp counselor Debra Weiner wouldn't leave the stage after her rendition of "Dancing In The Street" didn't past muster. This led to David awkwardly dancing her off stage. Kyle Rifkin Jerry's soothing voice and gentle piano music is our clue that the much-teased Rifkin is the show's emotional climax. The 36-year-old tells us that after his abused mother left home, he was forced to use singing contests to help put food on the family's table. Now on his feet, reunited with his mother and employed as a wedding singer, Rifkin nearly breaks down before starting a strong "Aint Too Proud to Beg." Eventually Rifkin's mother leaves a weepy Jerry to join her son on stage as applause and judge hyperbole rains down. The vote: YES.

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Season 03, Episode 05 Episode #3.5

S03 E05

Jul 15, 2008
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Episode #3.5 Jul 15, 2008 Apparently there's no need to formally introduce our judges (who I've heard are Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff) this week. Let's just get started. Michelle Wallace: A banker who considers her voice "a gift to share with the whole world" takes a long time imploring the crowd to get on its feet and wave its hands then officially stinks at singing "All By Myself." Three quick buzzers, followed by Sharon recommending Michelle listen to a recording of her voice. The vote: NO Bruce Block: Block is back for a second year, having gone through to Vegas last year as a magician but being dealt the tough break of an assistant quitting right before his second round performance. This year he's laying on a bed of nails with an assistant (has he learned nothing?) singing and dancing on top of his shirtless body. David goes on stage and stands on Block himself to prove the nails were sharp. Piers votes 'no' but he's in the minority. The vote: YES. Dorae Saunders: Host Jerry Springer tries to fool us with female pronouns, saying that our next performer is "known around the world" as "one of the most successful female singers of all-time." Saunders is actually a male(ish) Tina Turner impersonator on stage to lip sync and dance to "Proud Mary." David found Saunders very entertaining and Sharon wanted to see more of her/him, Piers intelligently wondered whether a limp sync act to be put through and says 'no.' Ultimately the deciding vote is cast by David, who looks via editing to be swayed to the positive by the studio audience. The vote: YES Vignette of YES: Tropidanza, a colorfully costumed collection of college students looking fresh off the parade route of Carnivale is put through, with David adding they are "my kind of act." 43-year-old entertainer Fast Wally juggles a few silvery shiny objects before being told by Sharon that he is "sensational." We're told Bryan Cheatam, 30, is an exotic dancer. Cheatham's biceps clearly made up for a mediocre Aerosmith cover and the young man is on to Vegas. If you've ever seen the sausage race at a Milwaukee Brewers game you've got a sense of what Zooperstars' aerobatic dance troupe' is all about. The crowd goes insane and the last image is of Jerry jumping for joy as they are sent on to Las Vegas. Dallas Desperados: We get some back story on these cheerleaders, learning that they are a close-knit group consisting of "mothers, students and professionals." The dozen or so ladies perform an up-tempo routine similar to that of a NBA halftime show. After David tells us he's "moving to Dallas," we learn Piers think the girls are "brilliant" and Sharon likes the group's energy. The vote: YES Xclusive: We learn Kenneth Par-something (we don't get a spelling) is an 18-year-old college student performing in public for the first time. He does an amusing mime-like routine over top of original music that all the judges seem to appreciate. The vote: YES Barry Collier: The 56-year-old warehouse worker tells the judges he's going to perform barnyard animal noises. If that sets off alarm bells for you then you've clearly seen the show before. The chicken draws David's buzzer, the hound dog Piers', but for some reason Sharon sits through the coyote and the "rottweiler and wild hog having a disagreement." Ultimately the lack of a third buzzer doesn't matter. The vote: NO Vignette of NO: The people who have told Nance Upchurch they've gotten chills when she sings are liars. Performance artists The Freak Show weren't much better, and if Salt-n-Pepa were dead they would have rolled over in their graves at what they did to "Push It." Accordion playing duo Music Makes the World Go Round is told by Piers that the "only thing worse than one accordion is two accordions." David tells dancer Mac Jay he is very strange. Advertising rep Fancy Ray McCloney informs us he is "too pretty for this show" while leaving the stage. Donald Braswell: Our final performer is the requisite heartstring-tugger, a former professional singer and father of three who had his vocal chords severed 11 years ago in an accident. There's certainly no way this guy can perform after that. I guess its time to end the show and roll the cre---wait . . . hold the phone! It turns out those idiot doctors were wrong and Braswell has learned to talk and sing (Josh Groban) again. Lets just see how this turns out, shall we? Braswell's ''You Raise Me Up'' is perfectly capable by A.G.T. standards, though for some reason the blood-thirsty crowd boos the bejesus out of him for the first 30 seconds. Check your watches, studio audience, this is NBC's last performance of the show. All three judges say yes to the teary-eyed Braswell and we're done for the night. The vote: YES

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Season 03, Episode 06 Episode #3.6

S03 E06

Jul 22, 2008
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Episode #3.6 Jul 22, 2008 Jerry Springer tells us the show is in the Big Apple (New York City) for the very last time. We meet our three judges Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff and it's time to begin Perry Zanett: We learn Zanett thinks he is "among the greatest actors the country has ever had," a claim difficult to believe given that he's dressed like King Friday from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Zanett launches into some "Richard II" and is greeted almost instantly by a buzzer. Piers thinks the thespian is a "complete waste of space" and Sharon and David, for the most part, agree. The Vote: NO After Zanett is run off stage we go right into a . . . Vignette of "NO" -- Animator Inflatable Theater, essentially a guy inside a strange Q*bert-looking cube costume (you had to be there) is first, and isn't allowed more than a few seconds into his dance thingy. Next is Sweet-Lou Fusco, and one hopes Sweet-Lou is better at inspecting pharmaceuticals than he is at singing Michael Jackson. For David, it was "one of the weirdest things I've seen in three years." The Power Team is described to us as Youth Motivational Speakers, which apparently translates to large men braking things which are either frozen or on fire. "You're all completely bonkers, aren't you?" comes the response from a confused Piers. Seed and Feed is a (and I quote) 'Marching Abominable' which basically means 60 people in Mardi Gras costumes pranced around on stage with no discernible organization. Sixty-two-year-old performer Anita Aloha spins a few things around and flails on the ground before being thoroughly buzzered. Fun With Shadows : The monotony of the vignette format is broken by two pleasant-looking middle aged fellows who appear to have driven straight from their cubicles to the show. "I do hand shadows," one tells Piers. But as buzzerrific as that sounds, renditions of three presidents and a pontiff go over swimmingly with the judges. David's "You've taken shadow puppetry to a whole new level," is the most memorable bit of what was unanimously positive feedback. The Vote: YES X.L.: Over soft piano music we're told the $1 million prize will provide this 25-year-old warehouse assistant a chance to provide his wife and baby son a better life. X.L. performs some rock-solid John Legend, and the swaying arms of the audience are all we need to see. "I actually prefer your version to Johns Legend's," says Piers and the other two agree. The Vote: YES Texas State Strutters: Los Angeles is the finals stop of the tour and our first contestants are a "precision dance team" from Texas State in San Marcos. The 20 or so female college students give us essentially a Rockettes routine which David thinks is a "good act". Peirs doesn't think the Strutters immediately translate to a Vegas act, but found them "fun." Fortunately for the girls, Sharon is the lone 'no' vote. The Vote: YES Vignette of "YES" -- Too-cute 10-year-old hip hop dancer Shakes was a shoo-in from the word go. The bit of dance troupe we see from The Awakening looks like a pretty straight-forward up-temp routine, solid enough to get a "definite yes" from Sharon. Georgia Force (the Strutters with tighter outfits) is put through as well, mauling Jerry with glee before exiting the stage. Ronny B.: The choice of Lionel Richie probably should have proven unlucky here, but somehow the atrocious Ronny gets way too much love from the judges with his thoroughly creepy "All Night Long" rendition. "The worst act I've seen" says David correctly, while Piers and Sharon inexplicably put him through based on some affinity for kitsch. The Vote: YES The Snake Kissers: We're told this will be the most dangerous act in the history of the show. The father/son pair performs the "Kiss of Death," during which son holds a cobra's tail while father kisses (licks, really) it on the head. Dangerous or not none of the judges are impressed. Piers humorously points out the act would only have been entertaining had the snake killed one of the two men. The Vote: NO Michael Harrison: More soft piano music as we take a look back at Season 2 winner Terry Fator, who we're told has signed a contract making him the most successful ventriloquist in the world. This leads into the 42-year-old Harrison, who is trying to follow in Fator's hand-up-a-dummy footsteps. Harrison's act is easily the most polished of the last few weeks, even getting a "he's very good" from Jerry. All three judges emphatically concur and Harrison is through. The Vote: YES Queen Emily: If you were wondering when NBC was going to try and make us cry, I give you Queen Emily. As a single mother caring for her children, the 40-year-old tells us through tears that she never had time to pursue a life-long dream of singing. To the delight of the crowd, judges and Jerry, Emily knocks "Chain of Fools" out of the park. "You were awesome" says David, before thanking Emily for coming on the show. Sharon wonders where Emily has been hiding and Piers tells her she has "a great chance of winning America's Got Talent." The Vote: YES

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Season 03, Episode 07 Episode #3.7

S03 E07

Jul 29, 2008
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Episode #3.7 Jul 29, 2008 The seventh and final week of opening auditions on "America's Got Talent" proved, mostly, that what happens on MySpace should stay on MySpace. After visiting six cities across the land, Tuesday night's episode gave a chance at the $1 million prize to people who had uploaded their auditions on MySpace.com. It would be the last chance for contestants to make it to the Vegas callbacks for a shot at glory. The result was mixed, but mostly unfavorable as only a couple of heartwarming stories emerged from a crowd of mediocre or worse performances. Best of the night: The biggest crowd pleaser of the night went to the show's big finish, Army Sgt. Daniel Jens, whose story of spending 15 months in Iraq, got the crowd on his side quickly. Jens said his guitar playing and singing helped keep morale high for him and his fellow soldiers in the desert and that he was proud to have a chance to perform in front of such a large crowd and on national television. Jens sang Edwin McCain's "I'll Be," with Bryan Adams-esque gusto and earned himself a trip to a more desirable desert location in Las Vegas. A tear-jerker of a tale came from Holly Stone, a 44-year-old nurse who said she'd always wanted to be a singer but had to give up those dreams when she got pregnant at 18. Stone gave the baby up for adoption and ended up using MySpace to find her long lost daughter. The social networking site also scored her the audition on "America's Got Talent," and she made the most of it by singing Martina McBride's "A Broken Wing." Judge Piers Morgan said he honestly wasn't expecting much, but praised Stone's performance and gave her an enthusiastic pass to the next round. David Hasselhoff cried out that "only in America" could someone find their loved one online and then parlay that into a national TV performance and a chance at $1 million and a show on the Las Vegas strip. That's probably true. A percussion group of six guys banging on drums and buckets blew the crowd away with its precision and high-energy display. Judge Sharon Osbourne actually gave the group a "no" vote because she didn't think the act could sustain a 90-minute show. The Hoff was totally behind the group and Piers, while skeptical, decided to give them another shot in Vegas and voted "yes." The most fun of the night came courtesy of Randy Hanson, a 47-year-old carpenter who offered up an Ozzy Osbourne impersonation that had Sharon questioning what her eyes and ears were showing her. "Could you take your trousers down so I could check you're not my husband?" Sharon asked. Far be it from the judges to have Sharon ask the guy to drop trou and not send him to Vegas. He got through. Worst of the night: The night started badly with a hobbit-looking, self-proclaimed "rock 'n' roll magician" named Michael Trixx. He strung together a bunch of amateurish gags -- a feather turning into a baton, matches turning into handkerchiefs, making a burning candle disappear -- to the tune of Judas Priest's "You've Got Another Thing Coming." The only thing he had coming was a trip home. Eloy Rendon reinforced Rule #1 on "America's Got Talent": Spoken word doesn't fly. Especially when it's "motivational" spoken word talking about holes in people's souls. He was quickly buzzed and booed off stage, but we've got a pretty good hunch he'll get over it. Just plain weird: A mother-daughter act that wasn't too specific about its talent proved to be the oddest performance of the night, whistling "Climb Every Mountain" from "The Sound of Music." Mom, age 79, and daughter, age 38, forced some piercing sounds out of their pursed lips for much longer than necessary as the crowd booed mercilessly and eventually to to chanting, "Off! Off! Off!" Piers called the act "irritating, pointless, childish and a waste of our time." Harsh, but true. On to Vegas, baby! The episode wrapped the preliminary audition process and next week brings the Vegas callbacks, where more hopes and dreams will be smashed and others will continue on the road to $1 million.

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Season 03, Episode 08 Episode #3.8

S03 E08

Aug 5, 2008
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Episode #3.8 Aug 5, 2008 It was such a lackluster night on "America's Got Talent" that even had judge Sharon Osbourne admit, "I can't take this anymore." In fact, the judges all got up and made a trip backstage at one point to fire up the performers, who were failing to live up to the expectations that got them to the Las Vegas callbacks in the first place. The episode took the contest's 113 remaining acts and cut the group to 60. Those will be cut to 40 in a special 90-minute episode at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT Thursday that will determine which acts will continue to the performance rounds in Hollywood. The lack of anyone in the audience contributed to the lack of energy in the Vegas round, which started with an interesting twist: Some of the acts would be sent packing without getting a chance to perform. The judges went back over the first-round audition tapes and and came up with a list of what appeared looked like a few dozen who got an early ticket home. One dramatic moment came when the judges divided the 113 acts into four groups and sent one of those four groups home before getting one chance to perform in Vegas. Of the first batch of variety acts, only martial artist/brick breaker Kevin "Big K" Taylor went home. A fire eater, a grinder girl, a sword swallower, and a couple of freak show and contortionists were pushed on through. A big show was made of the impressionist drag queens, Derek Barry as Britney Spears and Dorae Saunders as Tina Turner, going head to head. In the end, though, they both got through, along with early favorite Paul Salos, a 71-year-old Frank Sinatra imitator, and young Elvis impersonator Joseph Hall. Illusionist David Martin slipped up with his trick, despite claiming otherwise. A false wall accidentally dropped in the middle of his routine, apparently revealing how the trick worked. The opera showdown between four singers gave no solid results. Michael Strelo-Smith; Donald Braswell II, who wowed fans with his story of having his vocal cords severed in a freak car accident; Chiquita, a drag queen opera singer who showed off a remarkable vocal range; and Neal E. Boyd, the opera singer who doubles as an insurance agent from the season premiere, squared off. But, despite the hype, all four of the singers made it to the next round. Four-year-old Kaitlin Maher and 9-year-old David Millitello became friends and both got tickets to the next round. They took spots that might have been better used by Mia Boostrom, a 15-year-old singer-pianist who was impressive enough to merit staying in the competition. Mia sobbed later when she got the news that she'd be going home. Daniel Jens, the Army sergeant who won over the crowd and the judges earlier in the season with his vocals and guitar playing, let nerves get the best of him by forgetting his lyrics midway through the song. It didn't cost him much, though, as the judges moved him on to the next round. Holly Hardin, the Kellie Pickler wannabe, was sent home. In case you missed it: These performers weren't big on face time, but were good enough to move on: Singer-guitarist Jessica Price; urban violinists "Nuttin' But Stringz"; Ukrainian twins "Indiggo"; bluesy pianist-singer Eli Mattison; and The Tapping Dads.

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Season 03, Episode 09 Episode #3.9

S03 E09

Aug 7, 2008
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Episode #3.9 Aug 7, 2008 A special 90-minute episode of "America's Got Talent" on Thursday narrowed the field of contestants down from 60 to 40. The episode aired on a special date and time in order to wrap up the Vegas portion of the competition before going on a three-week hiatus for NBC's coverage of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. When the show returns on Sept. 2, it will be for the live semifinal round in Hollywood. After the taping of the auditions, one semifinal act, the Russian Bar Trio, had to forced to drop out of the competition because one member, Christine, suffered a serious injury while trying to do a jump. Fans have been asked to vote online for that act's replacement from a list of eight wild-card picks laid out by the judges at nbc.com/AmericasGotTalent. There was only enough room for one R&B singer, so when it came down to Bryan Cheatham and Kyle Rifkin, it went to Bryan, the former Chippendales dancer. Paul Salos, the 71-year-old Frank Sinatra impersonator, talked about this show being his last chance at success before being told he was moving on. He was joined by 4-year-old singer Kaitlin Maher, and Army sergeant Daniel Jens. Also moving on: * Elvis impersonator Jonathan Hall * Urban violinists Nuttin' But Stringz * Freak show performer George "The Giant" MacArthur * The Russian Bar Trio, who eventually had to drop out * Hip-hop quartet The James Gang * Tina Turner impersonator Dorae Saunders * Impressionist Matthew Piazzi * Singer-pianist Eli Mattson * Dancer Ronny B. * Ukrainian twin sisters Indiggo * Magician Shimshi * Pyromaniac Flambeaux * 10-year-old martial artist Elite * Drag queen opera singer Shequida Percussion group Plastic Musik * Magician Bruce Block * Trombonist Jonathan Arons. * Queen Emily, the 42-year-old single mom singer * Jonathan Burkin, the 17-year-old baton twirler * Jessica Price, the 24-year-old singer-guitarist whose father abandoned her family * Britney Spears drag queen impersonator Derrick Barry Jagged edge: Sword swallower Dan Meyer was praised for being one of the best in the world at what he does, but the judges didn't believe he had the good to sustain a full show and cut him. New Orleans street performers Lil Countrie and Page 1NE were on a mission to rebuild their city, but their journey ended too soon. Xclusive, a popper who might have fit better on that "Dance" show on Fox, wasn't invited into the exclusive group of semifinals. Donald Braswell, whose inspiring story of returning to singing after a car accident severed his vocal cords was enough for judge David Hasselhoff to call it "the comeback story of all time," didn't make it through. The year of the dance: The Zooperstars, a group of inflated animal mascots dressed in sports uniforms, broke through to the next round despite judge Piers Morgan's early opposition. Ironically, he was the one who got to deliver the news. Other dancing groups moving on include the Slippery Kittens; the Dallas Desperados dance team; Sickstep; The Tapping Dads; the DC Cowboys; and Beyond Belief Dance Company, which won out over the Sterling Silver clog group for the final dancing spot. The main event: After showcasing the duel as a head-to-head battle for two episodes, the two big opera singers, Michael Strelo-Smith and Neal E. Boyd, faced off at the end of the night. The trick was on the viewers, though, as the judges put them both through to the next round, preferring to let the viewers decide rather than taking on the job themselves. On the disabled list: With the Russian Bar Trio's departure from the competition, viewers were asked to vote on nbc.com/AmericasGotTalent for one act to take their place. The choices are: singer Donald Braswell III; 11-year-old contortionist Victoria Jacoby; salsa dancers Junior and Emily; street performers Lil Countrie & Page 1NE; sword swallower Dan Meyer; grinder Miss Pussykatt; singer Kyle Rifkin; and popper Xclusive.

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Season 03, Episode 10 Episode #3.10

S03 E10

Aug 26, 2008
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Episode #3.10 Aug 26, 2008 In the first live show of the third season of "America's Got Talent," host Jerry Springer got things moving by announcing that the 40 contestants in the semifinals are vying for a $1 million prize and a chance to headline a show on the Vegas strip, saying "the prize is the biggest, ever, anywhere in the world." Ten acts performed Tuesday night, five will move on to the next round. Those will be announced Wednesday night before 10 more acts hit the stage. It was also announced that Donald Braswell, the singer whose vocal chords were severed in a freak accident 11 years ago, won the viewer vote that determined the 40th spot in the semifinals that opened when the Russian Bar Trio had to bow out due to injury. Best of the best Neal E. Boyd: The insurance salesman turned opera singer stole the evening with a powerful performance of "Somewhere (There's a Place for Us)." He got a standing ovation from the all three judges, who scooped praised upon him by the shovel full when he was done. Judge Piers Morgan told Boyd, You have become the Michael Phelps of this competition. You have become the man to beat, and whoever beats you is going to have to give the performance of their life. Jessica Price: Singer and guitarist Jessica Price, who has long shared her story of her father abandoning her family, gave a genuine performance of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," bringing the crowd to its feet. The judges loved it, as well, only telling her that she needs to embrace her talent and show a little more confidence on stage. Derrick Barry: The Britney Spears impersonator promised to raise the controversy stakes a bit and came through to some extent, embracing a version of the schoolgirl outfit Spears wore in the video for "Hit Me Baby One More Time." Barry lip-synced and danced to the tune and received a quick "X" from Morgan. The judge later told him, Its nothing personal, and Im sure the entire audience will not agree with me. I dont think, personally, that grown men should be wearing school girl outfits and pretending to be Britney Spears. David Hasselhoff didn't seem to mind, admitting, "I'm questioning my sexuality." Worst of the night Ronny B., who The Hoff said had "Zero voice. Zero danceability. Zero talent," did his best impression of William Hung, circa 2004, performing Ricky Martin's "She Bangs." It just wasn't funny anymore -- which begs the question of whether it ever was. Morgan told Ronny, "The show is about fun and entertainment. And youre funny and entertaining." Sharon Osbourne followed by saying, You are an absurd little man, but I do like you. Will America? The D.C. Cowboys were pretty much a mess. The choreography wasn't good, which drove Osbourne to the Paula Abdul-esque comment, "What you lack with your dancing abilities, you make up with your personalities." She might as well have said, "You look great!" Even The Hoff, one of the dance group's biggest supporters during the audition phase, said, "Tonight, you were just a little off." The James Gang: The 1920s music and hip-hop hybrid thrilled the crowd with its performance during the audition, but went too far to try to impress on Tuesday. They included a couple of attempts at cheap magic tricks, including some pulling of doves from their jackets, which ended with some of one of the doves escaping from a pocket at the end of the routine. Morgan suggested that if they got through, they should slow down and focus on singing instead of such gimmicks. But will America give them a second chance? On the bubble Extreme Dance FX: A nine-person precision clog dancing group performed to Salt & Pepas Push It. The group put forward a solid effort, performing first in the season's first live show. Morgan, who reminded them that he wasn't the group's biggest fan, said it was "terrific." Cadence: The group of percussionists from Missouri took the judges' advice by adding music to their routine, but the judges struggled to see what was special about the group and different from what the Blue Man Group is already doing in Vegas. Shimshi: The previously impressive illusionist opted to do what was ultimately a card trick -- albeit a pretty mind-blowing one. He asked a volunteer from the crowd to pick a card from an oversized deck, then picked the woman's card after suspending the deck eight feet above the ground, doing a backflip and kicking the deck in such a way that the woman's chosen card was the one that stuck to tape he'd put on his foot. It was remarkable, but Morgan and The Hoff questioned the decision to do a card trick at such a critical point in the competition. Elite: The 10-year-old martial artist put together a pirate-themed presentation that had her kicking, punching and tossing her faux-foes around the stage in a highly choreographed routine. It was mildly entertaining, but came off a little hokey.

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Season 03, Episode 11 Episode #3.11

S03 E11

Aug 27, 2008
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Episode #3.11 Aug 27, 2008 The semifinals were in full swing Wednesday night on "America's Got Talent" as five performers from Tuesday's show moved ahead in the competition while five others discovered the end of the road. America's vote proved in favor of true talent, with the gimmicks being cast aside in favor of true performers, including Neal E. Boyd, the opera singer; Jessica Price, the singer/guitarist; modern clog dancers Extreme Dance FX; and percussion group The Cadence. The judges picked the fifth and final act to move on, and they were left to choose between 10-year-old martial artist Elite, and the 1920s and hip hop fusion group The James Gang. With a heavy heart, judges Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne gave The James Gang the two votes they needed to move on and dashed the hopes of the young girl who kicks some choreographed butt. She cried, then smiled, then left. On to Wednesday's performances... Best of the night: The evening was again stolen by the final act, and this time it was Queen Emily. The single mother who'd put her singing dreams on hold to raise her children captured the attention of the judges, who the previous night had labeled Boyd the man to beat in the competition. Judge David Hasselhoff told Emily that she was now the front-runner. Paul Salos, the elderly Frank Sinatra impersonator, put forth another swinging performance, this time singing "My Way" Sinatra's way. It's clear the judges love him, but will the voters feel the same way? Beyond Belief Dance Company, a group of what appears to be nearly two dozen young dancers, pulled it together and put on a high-energy display to work their way into contention. Missed the mark: George the Giant left the judges speechless, befuddled and less than impressed with an odd act that included him hanging upside down while getting beat by kids who thought he was a pinata. The end was awkward as the judges weren't really sure the act was over, but once they started talking, they didn't say anything good. Morgan called it childish and embarrassing, Osbourne called it "silly," and The Hoff thought it was just plain strange. Kazual, an R&B group that showed promise while singing ballads during the audition process, went upbeat and crashed hard. They sang The Jackson 5's "Can You Feel It?" and the judges didn't, for the most part. Morgan railed against all the singers but one, insisting that only one was good enough to be a lead singer and that the rest should back him up. Daniel Jens, the Army sergeant with a heart-warming story, opted not to wear his military uniform and looked pretty ordinary. He promised he wouldn't forget his lyrics again, which he did in the audition phase, but he stumbled over some and compelled Morgan to say that he hadn't heard a singer all night who was deserving of a Vegas show. (Queen Emily had not yet performed). The ZOOperstars, the inflatable sports mascots, danced around but could be losing a good amount of their appeal. What will America think? On the bubble:The Wright Kids were cute, singing The Monkees' "Daydream Believer" rather than perform something along the lines of their traditional bluegrass roots. Jonathan Arons, trombonist and dancer extraordinaire, was playing out of tune and the judges called it out, but he might have been high energy to save himself for another round. The Slippery Kittens burlesque dancer group from Utah got the blood pumping a bit with a star-spangled strip show that had Morgan saying he wanted them to put their clothes back on.

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Season 03, Episode 12 Episode #3.12

S03 E12

Sep 2, 2008
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Episode #3.12 Sep 2, 2008 Last week: Five finalists were determined, five were sent home and 10 more awaited their fate. The 10 performers from Wednesday's show were the first to find out if their journey toward the $1 million prize would end or continue. Four voted by America and one voted by the judges would continue on the path to the big prize. After a quick recap of all 10 acts, the performers were asked to step to the front of the stage in pairs. The acts continuing with America's votes were: Frank Sinatra impersonator Paul Salos (over the Slippery Kittens); The Wright Kids (over trombonist Jonathan Arons); Daniel Jens (over George the Giant); and Queen Emily (over R&B quartet Kazual). That left the judges to decide who would continue between Beyond Belief Dance Company and he Zooperstars, who came fifth and sixth in the public vote. Piers went with Beyond Belief Dance Company and Sharon, after some hesitation and admitting that "every show needs silliness," voted for the Zooperstars. That left the deciding vote to The Hoff, who went with the Zooperstars, leaving the 21 girls in Beyond Belief Dance Company to congratulate five inflatable mascots. Best of the night: Baton twirler Jonathan Burkin put on quite the pyrotechnic display, twirling as many as three batons with flames on their ends at one time and putting on some impressive flips and acrobatic displays in between tosses. Piers said Jonathan was the kinds of act, "like Terry Fator last year" who nobody thinks can win until they do. The Taubl Family did a wild nine-part harmony to Rhianna's "Umbrella" to try to prove they aren't as old-fashioned as folks might have thought they were. Piers said, "it works." Sharon said it was "all looking very grim tonight until you lot came on." Worst of the night: The Texas State Strutters got buzzed by all three judges, but the performance didn't immediately stop. The choreography was a bit off, and just Piers Morgan said "it was boring." Judge Sharon Osbourne wondered what they could do to sustain a whole 90-minute show and The Hoff said he just said goodbye to some dancers that he thought were better. Magician Bruce Block said he'd put his life's savings into Tuesday's performance. Bruce made a pony appear in a box that didn't appear to have come from anywhere. Piers, who buzzed Bruce, called it "the oldest trick in the book." The Hoff called it "very confusing" and said it "just didn't come together." Impressionist Matthew Piazzi had a tough mountain to climb as Piers declared that "to get into the finals as an impersonator, you can't just be good, you've got to be great." The judges wanted Matthew to do more than impressions and he offered up a bit that included takes on George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vince Vaughn and others into a piano-inflused "Great Balls of Fire." It fell apart at the piano section, which Piers noted, saying that as soon as Matthew went to the piano, the audience went dead. The Hoff loved it. On the bubble: Michael Strelo-Smith, the big competition to Neal E. Boyd for the mini-battle as "America's Favorite Opera Singer." Strelo-Smith, who gave up his teaching job to sing full-time, got buzzed by Piers and Sharon. Piers said Michael seemed "karaoke," and Michael fired back, telling Piers he was "sorry" that he couldn't see "what's inside and what drives me." Sharon told Michael, "It's not good to answer back." She said his performance "screamed to me: music teacher." He again talked back, saying being a music teacher was an admirable thing, and she again told him to be quiet. The Hoff liked about Michael that he never gave up. Shequida, the drag queen opera singer, tried her hand at an operatic version of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" and didn't. Piers buzzed her, and that the extent of the buzzer use. Piers called it a "very, very, very high-pitched noise." Sharon said Shequida looked stunning, which is never a good sign. The Hoff said it seemed campy because Shequida didn't show the different levels of her voice. Sarah Lenore, a singer and acoustic guitarist competing with Jessica Price for that title, was excited about performing for her father, who was in the audience. She took a chance on the Dixie Chicks' "I'm Not Ready to Make Nice," which might split her heartland votes -- not to mention the fact that she didn't sing it very well. Piers said it started rough, but picked up toward the end. The Hoff said her daddy should be really proud and predicted she'd be in the top 10. SickStep, a 10-piece dance crew, put on a decent display. Piers praised the choreography and said they've proven to him "that they are more than street entertainers." Joseph Hall, the young Elvis impersonator, got another chance to feed off the crowd. It didn't work. He tried a rendition of "Jailhouse Rock" with the assistance of black and white TV effects that had the crowd split. He didn't get buzzed, but the performance seemed like less of a tribute to Elvis and more like some Disney Channel-esque take on The King. Piers told him to relax and Sharon empathized with the difficulty in singing and dancing at the same time. She asked him to bring back the naughtiness.

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Season 03, Episode 13 Episode #3.13

S03 E13

Sep 3, 2008
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Episode #3.13 Sep 3, 2008 Judge Piers Morgan, who buzzed half of the 10 performers on Tuesday night, said he "should have buzzed at least two more." Sharon Osbourne said the stakes are higher now and that there's "no more Mrs. Nice Woman anymore. This is serious, and we are looking for a superstar." To the results...: It was time to eliminate five acts and let five continue to the next round. After a night that was mostly disappointing, it was anyone's guess as to who would make it through. Magician Bruce Block wasn't there because of illness. To add insult to ill health, he was booted. The acts voted through by America were: baton twirler Jonathan Burkin (over the Texas State Strutters); singer and guitarist Sarah Lenore (over drag queen and opera singer Shequida); Elvis impersonator Joseph Hall (over impressionist Matthew Piazzi); and the Taubl Family. That left the judges to decide who would continue between the dance group SickStep and opera singer Michael Strelo-Smith, who had talked back to the judges Tuesday night, to Sharon's dismay. Piers told Michael, "your problem is that you're probably half as good as you think you are," and added that "a bit of humility goes a long way in this business." He gave his vote to SickStep. Sharon followed suit, ending Michael Strelo-Smith's second run on the show. Best of the night: Donald Braswell, who got a second chance thanks to America's vote when a spot in the top 40 opened up because another act pulled out because an injury. He promised he wouldn't let America down. He gave a powerful rendition of "The Impossible Dream" from "The Man of La Mancha" that had the crowd roaring with approval. He was the sixth act of the night, and was the first performer over the age of 4 that Piers didn't buzz. Piers told Donald that America's vote for him was "absolutely right." "You've got a great chance now," Piers told him. Sharon said he sang beautifully but wondered if there was a place for him in today's music business. She also told him to lighten up and smile and enjoy the journey. The Hoff said he "nailed it." Eli Mattson, a bluesy pianist and singer, sat at the piano and played "Nobody Knows It But Me," made famous by Babyface. Piers had one word for him, "Sensational." Sharon, equally impressed, said, "No dancers, no fire, no backing track. Just talent." The Hoff predicted Eli would make it to the top 10. Nuttin But Stringz burst onto the stage and closed the show by earning the rare standing ovation from the crowd and the judges. "For emotion, for intensity, for professionalism, for commanding the stage, for electricity, you guys are my favorite act in the competition." Piers said it was brilliant and that he was "trembling." The Hoff loved that the guys were able to move him with their music. Sharon defended the move to put 4-year-old Kaitlyn Maher into the top 40 because she was deserving. "She is unique, she's confident and she's talented," Sharon said. Kaitlyn came out and gave her rendition of Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." Kaitlyn got a standing ovation despite looking a bit nervous. She said she felt good and sang well. Piers acknowledged that "a lot of people say a little girl of your age shouldn't be in this show or shouldn't be on this stage. You have more charm, more star quality, more professionalism than almost all of the other acts I've seen. You're incredible. You deserve to be here." Sharon told Kaitlyn she was pitch perfect again, but suggested that she could add some movement to her performance and Kaitlyn simply repeated, "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you." The Hoff said Kaitlyn should run for president. He told her, "You bring the world together." Worst of the night: Flambeaux put on a big dramatic display that was full of flames and fire and boredom. All three judges buzzed him and the crowd turned completely against him, showering him with boos. American Transylvania-born identical twin sisters Indiggo qualified for the top-40 semi-finals on Season 3 of America's Got Talent. The show began with an audition in New York City, which the twins passed performing "New York, New York", Sharon Osborne voting "yes" and calling Indiggo "wild, crazy and fantastic". With the audience cheering and clapping, Piers Morgan gave his "yes" so that they were then promoted to the next stage of Las Vegas callbacks where the twins performed Elvis Presley's "Viva Las Vegas". Indiggo's audition was strong enough for the judges to send them to the Top 40 Quarterfinals in Episode 309. They were then promoted in the competition to the semi-final Los Angeles rounds where they performed "I Don't Need No Georgie Clooney", written for them by Germany's pop-titan Dieter Bohlen. The Dallas Desperados Dancers seemed completely out of step and Piers and Sharon quickly buzzed them. The Hoff later said he only let them continue to the end because they'd worked so hard. On the bubble: R&B singer Bryan Cheatham took on Barry White's "The First, the Last, My Evereything," which seemed a little out of his range. Piers buzzed him, but the crowd seemed pleased. Piers told Bryan that rather than being a headline act in Vegas, he's "more likely to be a headline act on a cruise ship." Sharon told the ex-Chippendale's dancer to "cut the cheese," meaning the winking and faux sexy moves. "Cut the crap and use your voice," she said. The Hoff said he nailed the second half of the song. Drag queen Tina Turner impersonator Dorae Saunders tried "Burn Baby Burn," lip-synced and shimmied through a high-energy performance. Piers buzzed her and later said that he didn't think it would be fair to put her through to the next round when the other tribute acts in the competition actually sing. Nonetheless, Sharon and The Hoff loved it. The Tappin' Dads set out to prove Piers wrong after he said they simply lacked the talent to continue in the competition. Piers buzzed them quickly, but the crowd was into it. Piers told them that Fred Astaire would "turn in his grave." Sharon apparently didn't like it, as she proceeded to slap Piers and tear up sheets of paper after smacking him with them. She told him to shut up after he cut her off, and told the dads "What you lack, technically, you make up for in heart, and I love you. You're brilliant."

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Season 03, Episode 14 Episode #3.14

S03 E14

Sep 9, 2008
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Episode #3.14 Sep 9, 2008 The "America's Got Talent" crop for 2008 was narrowed on Tuesday night to the 20 semifinalists still in the running for the $1 million grand prize and a headlining gig in Las Vegas. To the results: In the results everyone wanted to know about, 4-year-old singer Kaitlyn Maher made it through to the next round, advancing over Flambeaux thanks to America's vote after Wednesday's performances. The other three acts to make it by popular demand were urban violinists Nuttin But Stringz (over Indiggo); pianist and singer Eli Mattson (over Dorae Saunders); and singer Donald Braswell (over The Dallas Desperados Dancers). The judges were left to decide the fate of R&B singer Bryan Cheatham and The Tappin' Dads. The vote was split, at first, with Piers Morgan giving his vote to Cheatham while Sharon Osbourne supported the Dads. That left David Hasselhoff to break the tie and, after complimenting both acts and telling Cheatham he could headline a Vegas show, The Hoff voted for The Tappin' Dads and moved them into the semifinals. On with the show! Percussion group The Cadence promised to bring everything they had; Queen Emily told viewers to prepare to be surprised; The Wright Kids said they were going to win it all; The James Gang acknowledged that last time things fell apart and vowed to redeem themselves; Army sergeant Daniel Jens said it's now all about making the Top 10; The Zooperstars said they were "ready to rock again"; opera singer Neal E. Boyd said he believed he was the best new act in America and was going to prove it; Jessica Price said she wanted this "more than ever" and that she didn't want her journey to end; Extreme Dance FX promised to take their act to a whole new level; and Frank Sinatra impersonator Paul Salos said that performing in Vegas had always been a dream and "now I want the reality." Best of the night: Neal E. Boyd got another chance to show America what he could do and told the audience that people from his hometown bought a plane ticket for his mother to make the trip and watch him perform live. Neal sang Il Divo's "Mama" as a dedication to her. Piers directed his comments to Neal's mom and told her that all her work and sacrifice gave him "a brilliant chance of winning 'America's Got Talent.'" Sharon said she loved the song choice and called him a "superstar." The Hoff said he wondered before Neal performed whether an opera singer was enough to sustain a show in Vegas. "I scratched that all out," he said. "You've got it, man." The Wright Kids gave themselves another pop music challenge with The Jackson 5's "Rockin' Robin." Piers said the middle kid's singing was miles better than last week. Sharon said she thought this week was as far as they could take it, but they surprised her again. The Hoff said "I know you're going to get voted back" and told them they could win the whole competition. Queen Emily took on Mariah Carey's "Hero" and gave it her powerful treatment. Piers said he wasn't sure if she could handle it, but said parts of her performances are like riding on a rocket, which is probably a good thing. Sharon said she couldn't wait until the finals when Queen Emily would be able to sing a full-length song. Extreme Dance FX offered what Jerry Springer called "the hippest synchronized clog dancing you've ever seen" -- which I personally thought was a huge assumption about my experience watching synchronized blog dancing. Piers complimented the leader of the group, and Sharon jumped on board saying that the leader could take the group all the way to Vegas. Worst of the night: The James Gang might have wanted to avoid a tune like "Hit the Road, Jack" on what will probably become their final night in the competition. The judges went right at them, with Piers first telling them the vocals were off. Sharon said she loved their smoothness, but that they seemed to have gone backward since the first time the judges saw them. Even The Hoff told them "it's just not there" like it was earlier in the competition. The Zooperstars took the stage by storm with some tremendous singing and dancing, but the judges didn't seem to be digging it. Piers said the time has come for the act to go home. Sharon agreed, saying that they made her laugh at first, but they don't anymore. She said it was time for someone to come alone with a big needle to put the inflatable sports mascots to rest. The Hoff even said it was likely the end of the road for them, even though the kids seem love. On the bubble: The Cadence tried to add some new dimensions to their act, including some flips and tumbles and some piggy-backing on each others' shoulders as they played "You Really Got Me." Piers praised them for listening to the judges' advice and said, "tonight, for the first time, I saw an act that could play in Vegas." Sharon, who'd been most critical of the group, said they'd come a long way and she wanted to see more attitude. Daniel Jens said that since he last performed, the Army had asked him to re-enlist, leaving him with some tough decisions to make. He said, "tonight America holds my destiny in its hands." He sang Lonestar's "I'm Already There" and looked a bit uncomfortable without holding his guitar. He looked nervous walking down the steps and Piers told him, as a singer, he doesn't think Jens compares to the others remaining. He said that if Jens has to choose between following his singing dream and serving his country, he should serve his country. Sharon said she liked Jens and even though he wasn't the greatest singer, she liked him. She also told him "don't go back" and that he's already served his country. THe Hoff something about having heart. Singer and guitarist Jessica Price said her confidence has grown throughout the competition. She sang Colbie Caillat's "Bubbly" (that "starts at my toes then I crinkle my nose" song). Sharon's buzzer went off as soon as she was introduced, but it apparently was a mistake (it was cleared, but it must've freaked Jessica out a bit). Piers buzzed her for real toward the end and called it "a bit cheesy." Sharon said she could have put more sassiness into the performance, then she told her to take off all her clothes. The Hoff said she has more talent than that song. Frank Sinatra impersonator Paul Salos combined his two loves, Frank and flying, with a rendition of "Come Fly with Me." The performance was a little off and the judges let him know. Piers said it didn't quite work for him as it had in the past. Salos said he couldn't hear the music through the monitor speakers, but refused to make it an excuse.

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Season 03, Episode 15 Episode #3.15

S03 E15

Sep 10, 2008
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Episode #3.15 Sep 10, 2008 The second half of the top 20 got their chance to perform for a shot at the top 10 on "America's Got Talent" on Wednesday. The first half of the final 20 performed on Tuesday night, and the final 10 would be announced during a special results show on Thursday night. After a time-killing montage all about how great it would be for the winner to get a show in Las Vegas, last year's winner took the "America's Got Talent" stage for a special appearance. Fator got a nice plug in for his headlining show at The Mirage that starts on February 14, and his new book called, "Who's the Dummy Now?" It was a night that would separate the skilled from the less deserving, and one judge even had a dose of reality for the 4-year-old fan favorite Kaitlyn Maher. Some of the best performers in the competition stepped their games up even further, while a small handful made some decisions that could backfire when the results are revealed. Best of the night: Donald Braswell, who Sharon thought was "dated," wanted to prove that he was more than what the judges thought he was. He took on "Music of the Night" from "The Phantom of the Opera." Piers said he was "hating the sight of" Braswell because every time he shows up and does better than the week before, it reminds him of how the judges left him out originally and the voters brought him back. He called Braswell the Rocky Balboa of the show. Sharon loved the song choice and asked him to do something younger and sassier next week. The Hoff told Braswell he took his breath away. Urban violinists Nuttin' But Stringz talked about dedicating their performances to their cousin, who was killed on the streets of New York. They took a risk with a new style of music that was a little dark. And, while The Hoff danced awkwardly in his seat, they rocked the house again. Piers said they were "electrifying" and said they bring two worlds together. Sharon said that if they weren't voted into the next round it would be "such an injustice." The Hoff said, "Four words: Nuttin' but the finals!" Singer and pianist Eli Mattson, who host Jerry Springer said has been receiving fan mail from all over the country, gave himself a new challenge with his own take on Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You." A bold move. What did the judges think? Piers said that if every one of the singers in the competition put an album out today, he'd buy Mattson's. Sharon loved it, but suggested he work on his intonation when singing in his lower register. The Hoff agreed, but said Mattson really is "the piano man." Elvis impersonator Joseph Hall was looking to bounce back from a shaky "Jailhouse Rock" performance the previous week. After Hall's rousing performance of "Suspicious Minds," Piers said "Elvis is back in the building" and praised Hall for bringing back the swagger and confidence. Sharon said he was all showbiz and was "what the show needs." The Hoff said the only difference between Hall and Elvis is that Hall is much thinner. Baton twirler Jonathan Burkin said he felt more pressure after Piers said last week that he never makes mistakes. With such a specialized skill, Burkin knew that if he ever did drop his baton, "it could be all over for me." He again wowed the crowd with his stunts, juggling three batons lit at both ends and doing flips in between each toss. Piers said he was "absolutely sure" that Burkin would drop a baton, but he didn't. He told Burkin the only challenge he'd have would be from the rest of the competitors, who did great. Sharon said he was unique and that she hoped to see him next week. The Hoff said watching Burkin makes him nervous because he's so afraid to watch him drop a baton -- but he never has. Worst of the night: Singer Sarah Lenore cried as she talked about how much she wanted to win the competition. She vowed to show a softer side of her voice, which tends to get shouty when she's nervous. She took on Leona Lewis' "Keep Bleeding." Piers said it was a brave song choice and she sang it well, "but not brilliantly." He said her best-suited type of music is country and that the song exposed her weakness. Sharon told Sarah "you tried to make it your own, but you didn't." The Hoff stepped over the line and asked America to vote Lenore back because she simply picked "the wrong song." The Taubl Family talked about the challenge of picking the right song and they seemed out of sync in their harmonies as they tried "When You Believe," originally sung by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston on "The Prince of Egypt" soundtrack. The girls mostly took the vocal parts. Piers buzzed them and said the first half was boring, but said the second half was great after they got their harmonies together. The Hoff encouraged the group to sing together because that is their strength. On the bubble: Kaitlyn Maher said she wasn't nervous performing live the previous week, she was just having fun. She said she was getting a chance to do something no other 4-year-old in America had the chance to do, "and that makes me feel really special." She sang "Beauty and the Beast" and waved her arm up on a part about the sun rising, after Sharon had asked her to move her arms a week earlier. Piers said he was going to play the role of the beast, telling her she'd done brilliantly and said she's been the princess but she might not be ready to be the queen. Sharon mysteriously asked Kaitlyn to tell her daughter, Kelly Osbourne, to cheer up because she was not very happy. The Hoff said it didn't matter whether Kaitlyn won the competition because she's brought the country together. The Tappin' Dads were looking to prove Piers Morgan wrong after he said that they didn't have the talent to pull through in the competition. They offered a high energy, well choreographed performance that had Sharon and The Hoff both standing at the end. Piers noted that something held him back from buzzing them because they seemed to be having more fun. He admitted that there was something about their spirit and dedication that was beginning to get to him, which was a good thing. Sharon said their dancing was hugely improved. The Hoff said he was "so glad" he didn't vote them off last week. Martial arts/dance group SickStep promised to take its act further than ever with more stunts and moves. The group delivered, but was it the kind of performance that could propel it to the top 10? Judge Piers Morgan said he was going to be extra tough and that he didn't think the group did much better than last week. Sharon Osbourne agreed, saying the dancers have to continue to step it up.

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Season 03, Episode 16 Episode #3.16

S03 E16

Sep 11, 2008
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Episode #3.16 Sep 11, 2008 The final 10 performers were announced on a special, action-packed, 30-minute episode of "America's Got Talent" on Thursday, and the results came with a few shocking moments. The big question on many viewers' minds was whether 4-year-old Kaitlyn Maher would make it into the finals. Judge Piers Morgan suggested on Wednesday night that it had been fun, she was their princess, but it was probably time for her to go home and make way for a more deserving finalist. Did America heed his words? No. Kaitlyn stood nervously at first but became very excited when host Jerry Springer called her name over the dance group SickStep for a spot in the final 10. The last push to the $1 million grand prize and a headlining gig in Las Vegas begins for Kaitlyn and the nine other finalists on Tuesday night. So, who were they? To the results...: Thursday night's special results show broke the final 20 into the groups in which they performed. Tuesday night's performers were the first to hear the results of America's vote. The Wright Kids took center stage along with The Zooperstars, who appeared with all but one of them not in costume for the first time. The judges had suggested the Zooperstars' antics had run their course and America agreed. That meant The Wright Kids moved into the first spot in the top 10. Next to center stage were single mom Queen Emily and insurance-salesman-turned-opera-singer Neal E. Boyd, two fan favorites who earned an uproar of boos and gasps as they were called to the stage at the same time. The judges appeared shocked as well, with Sharon Osbourne mouthing something along the lines of, "Are you serious?" Springer ramped up the drama long enough, announcing, "The next act to move into the final 10 is ... (pause) ... (pause and camera zooms on each of their faces) ... (pause just to pause a little longer) ... BOTH OF YOU!" The crowd roared and Sharon's heart began to beat again. The flip side of that fun little bit was that when Extreme Dance FX, "the hippest synchronized clog dancing you've ever seen," met at center stage with The James Gang, who had been a disappointment for a few weeks. Both acts went home. Finally, Springer called Frank Sinatra impersonator Paul Salos and percussion group The Cadence forward. Salos took a deep breath and crossed his fingers as Springer made the announcement that confirmed Salos' spot in the finals, sending The Cadence home. That left the fates of Army sergeant-turned-singer Daniel Jens and singer/guitarist Jessica Price in the hands of the judges. David Hasselhoff made his choice first, which surprised him. He told Jens not to go back to Iraq as a solider, but as an entertainer, and he complimented both performers before picking Jessica. Sharon said she wasn't sure if either act could sustain his or her own show in Vegas so she made her choice "as a mother" and picked Jens. Piers, who clarified that when he suggested Jens continue to serve his country he meant it in a noble way, said his choice was made with the utmost respect to both singers and picked Jessica. She broke down in tears and hugged Jens before joining the other finalists. The Wednesday crowd: After first announcing that Kaitlyn Maher made it into the final 10, Springer asked Donald Braswell and The Tapping Dads to come forward. Braswell, who originally didn't make it into the top 40 and got his spot after America voted to replace another act that had to drop out due to injury, made it into the final 10. Nuttin' But Stringz and The Taubl Family came to the middle of the stage, where Nuttin' But Stringz got the good news they were hoping for, and The Taubl Family discovered the end of the road. Singer Sarah Lenore's face said it all when she was asked to join pianist and singer Eli Mattson for their results. Mattson has emerged as a crowd favorite and earned rave reviews from the judges for his rendition of Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You." Lenore, meanwhile, was told by every judge that she picked the wrong song on Wednesday with Leona Lewis' "Keep Bleeding." Mattson went on, Lenore went home. Only Elvis impersonator Joseph Hall, baton twirler Jonathan Burkin and one spot in the final 10 remained. The judges would have to make the choice and Sharon simply laid her head face down on the judges' table because she could stand the pressure. Piers made his decision first and, though he praised Burkin for his skill and the fact that he's never made a mistake, he worried that he's already seen the best Burkin has to offer. He said his choice of Hall was based on feeling like he had more to offer. More to offer? An Elvis impersonator in Vegas? Really? Sharon didn't say much, but fumbled over the names of the two contestants, both of whom she likes very much. She first said "Jonathan" then "Joseph," then asked, "Which one is Jonathan?" Finally, she said, "The baton boy" and laid her head back down on the table. That left the decision to The Hoff. The credits on the packed episode were already beginning to roll by the time he finally let out his choice: Joseph Hall.

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Season 03, Episode 17 Episode #3.17

S03 E17

Sep 17, 2008
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Episode #3.17 Sep 17, 2008 The top 10 finalists on "America's Got Talent" took the stage Wednesday night as America would cut the group in half, deciding the final five that would be announced in a special results show on Thursday. With no more judges' picks remaining, it would be up to America to make the right choices. Judge Piers Morgan said voters would have to make "responsible choices tonight. The games are over, the sympathy votes are over. This is the real deal." He seemed to be clearly talking about 4-year-old Kaitlyn Maher, who has skated through into the top 10, possibly taking the spot of someone more deserving. What would America do? Luck be a top 5 finish? Frank Sinatra impersonator Paul Salos talked about his long-time admiration of Ol' Blue Eyes and said he was going to "knock 'em out" with his rendition of "New York, New York." Piers buzzed him about halfway through and later told Salos he'd done Sinatra with style and it had been a pleasure watching him. Piers said Salos is "a million-dollar guy, but not a million-dollar act." Sharon said she thought he was "just fabulous." David Hasselhoff said it was a "very, very difficult song ... and you nailed it." Daddy's little girl: Kaitlyn Maher, 4, said she was singing her song for her dad because it always puts a smile on his face. It was The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There." She tried to offer up a little more movement, sitting on some steps before walking to the front of the stage to sing her song. Piers said it was amazing for her, at 4, to remember all the words. He said he didn't think it would be fair to her to put her on a Las Vegas stage. He advised voters, "Just bear that in mind, America." Sharon said Kaitlyn looked great in red and that she loved her song choice. The Hoff told her she did great job and that he enjoyed watching her journey. It was a speech that sounded like a send off. Ultimate fighter: Donald Braswell recounted the story of having his vocal cords severed in a freak motorcycle accident in 1995, and credited his wife for making him strong enough to fight his way back. The Hoff said in the taped bit before Braswell's performance he needs to connect with the audience more. Well, the crowd went nuts for his stirring, strong performance. Piers said there are "lots of great singers" and that he wasn't sure if Braswell was as good as the others, adding that he wasn't sure he'd buy Braswell's album or pay to see him perform. Sharon told Braswell he looked very sexy and said he was "fabulous" and "lovely." The Hoff said he loved Braswell's story and that he kept coming back, and added that he would buy Braswell's album. Factory girl: Jessica Price told her story of working in a factory in Michigan and how different her life is now with a chance to win $1 million and a show in Vegas. Price dedicated her song, Sarah McLachlan's "Angel," to her mother, her angel. Her mom cried as she sang. Piers said that every time he'd seen Price perform, he thought there was something missing. "But tonight, finally, it all came together," he said. Sharon said McLachlan would "love" what Price did and said she'd finally found a style for her that fits. The Hoff, getting a little emotional as he spoke, said she channeled all her pain and heartache into the song. It's now or never: Elvis impersonator Joseph Hall talked about paying tribute to his hero and listening to The King's music on road trips with his father. He took on the challenge of performing "A Little Less Conversation," a remix he said Elvis didn't perform very often. He had the fans going nuts, for sure. Piers said that judging purely on his singing, "that was terrible." "You sing Elvis like I would sing Elvis in a karaoke bar while I'm drunk." But he said there was something about Hall that was "incredibly entertaining." Sharon praised him for getting more confident with his performance. The Hoff said he didn't know what Piers was smoking because Hall "absolutely nailed it." Lonely boy? Neal E. Boyd said he was going to sing "All By Myself" because he was "always the fat kid" in school and that meant he was lonely a lot. He dedicated his performance to his school choir teacher because once he started singing, nobody made fun of him anymore. It started off a little slow, but Boyd brought it home for the big finish. Piers called it a big risk but said it was like watching a volcano because nothing was going on before it erupted. Sharon said she was worried when he first started singin, but she got goose bumps when he hit the chorus and showed his strength. The Hoff said Boyd is "absolutely the front runner." The Wright stuff: The Wright Kids planned to perform "ABC" by The Jackson 5. They dedicated their song to their music teacher. The performance came off a little flat. Piers said it would be very tough for the family band to get into the top five, but they didn't themselves and their family proud. Sharon said they made the song their own and said they should be happy with themselves. The Hoff seemed to be closing the book on the group, telling them, "Look how far you got!" Is she going? Queen Emily decided to take on "And I Am Telling You" by Jennifer Holliday (popularized even further by Jennifer Hudson in her Oscar-winning performance in "Dreamgirls"). Piers said "there's always a moment in this show, normally around this time, when somebody comes out and they just rip that stage to pieces. You just did that." He said Queen Emily just jumped ahead of Neal E. Boyd. Sharon said Emily had the voice and the stage presence to be a born entertainer. The Hoff told her she knocked it out of the park. No stringz attached: Violin-playing brothers Nuttin' But Stringz took a risk by performing a song they created themselves in honor of their mother. Piers acknowledged that it was a big risk performing a song they wrote themselves. He said they were up against nine other singing acts, but "if I ask myself ... which of all the acts would I pay my own money to see perform in Vegas? It's you two. Every time." Sharon said she wanted to meet their mom "because she did a hell of a job." The Hoff said it's almost like Led Zeppelin on violins and "we'll see you in the final." Rocket Man: Eli Mattson said Elton John is one of his heroes and he remembered, at the age of 11, watching John perform. Mattson gave his rendition of "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word." Piers said it felt pretty great. He thought Mattson held back a little bit, but this week he let loose and "the piano playing was just ridiculous." Sharon said she knew Elton John was watching and "I know he will not be disappointed in that performance." The Hoff said he really nailed it.

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Season 03, Episode 18 Episode #3.18

S03 E18

Sep 18, 2008
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Episode #3.18 Sep 18, 2008 Thousands of auditions led to the top 10, and Thursday night, America's votes decided which five performers would still have a shot at the $1 million grand prize and a headlining show in Las Vegas. It was a packed 30-minute results show that somehow still had time for Natasha Bedingfield to perform her current single "Angel." Host Jerry Springer promised "some very major shocks" with the results. Would the promise hold true? To the results: Jerry first asked uran violinists Nuttin' But Stringz and family band The Wright Kids to come to center stage. One safe, one going home. Nuttin' But Stringz lived on, leaving The Wright Kids to cry a little as they watched their journey on the show. Next up were Elvis impersonator Joseph Hall and single mom Queen Emily. Joseph was all shook up when he got news that he'd be going home. Apparently, America could help falling in love with him. Queen Emily moved on. Joseph kept a strong smile on his face and threw up the Hawaiian "hang loose" sign with his right hand. Be our guest...: As promised, Natasha Bedingfield stopped by and sang "Angel." Back to business: Jerry got back to the results by bringing back the biggest and smallest performers in the competition: 4-year-old Kaitlyn Maher and opera singer Neal E. Boyd. Neal had a concerned look on his face as he looked across and saw Kaitlyn walking to her spot across from him. Judge Sharon Osbourne's jaw dropped in disbelief. Jerry called out Neal's name and he rejoiced while Kaitlyn sweetly walked right over to him and gave him a congratulatory hug. Up next were Paul Salos and Donald Braswell, meaning a fan favorite was sure to get dumped. Paul gave a quick "awww, shucks" look as Donald's name was called. Donald seemed unable to contain his disbelief at his good fortune. At one point, he was out of the competition as the judges didn't pick him among the top 40. A bad break for another contestant gave him another shot and there he was, now with a 20 percent chance at winning the whole deal. Paul watched with a huge smile as the highlight reel showed how he did it his way. The final spot came down to pianist and singer Eli Mattson and guitarist and singer Jessica Price. Jessica appeared resigned to a doomed fate while Eli looked focused and hopeful. There was good cause for both of their looks. Jessica went home and Eli claimed the final top five spot. Jessica said she never thought she'd get as far as she did, "so, thank you." In the end, Jerry's "major shocks" claim didn't really pan out. This was a prety solid top five, and while it was sad to see acts like Jessica Price and Paul Salos go, it's tough to argue with the final crop of Donald Braswell, Eli Mattson, Neal E. Boyd, Nuttin' But Stringz and Queen Emily.

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Season 03, Episode 19 Episode #3.19

S03 E19

Sep 24, 2008
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Episode #3.19 Sep 24, 2008 America may have talent, but it doesn't have much money these days. Therefore the first part of "America's Got Talent" was pre-empted on the east coast by an address from President George W. Bush about the failing economy and the $700 billion banking bailout plan. After 15 minutes, it was time for Jerry Springer to get the show started. He addressed the Presidential interruption and said the one-hour performance finale would be done quicker to accommodate the last-minute change. First, some deep thoughts from each of the five finalists... Queen Emily: I never thought that life could be this way. You see if on television all the time. But when it's happening to you, it's... wow. Donald Braswell: I've gone through incredible challenges, and to be at this place in my life is just unbelievable for me. I am so close to fulfilling my dreams right now. Nuttin' But Stringz: We started out going against hundreds of thousands of acts in America. Now it's down to five. We came from two kids playing in the subway, and now we could have our name in lights in Las Vegas. Eli Mattson: For the past 10 years, I've been lost. Everything that I've gone through in life and on the show has all come up to this last performance. And that's a big deal. Neal E. Boyd: There have been a lot of songs sung. There's been a lot of proving that I deserve to be on that stage. I came from nothing, but now here I am. I've come here to win this and fulfill my lifelong dream. On with the show... Nuttin' But Stringz was the first act to perform and they promised to bring one of the first songs they ever composed. Judge Piers Morgan wondered in their pre-performance tape whether we'd already seen everything they had to offer, or if they had one more surprise left in them. They got a huge standing ovation from the crowd. Piers said, "I hope the President is still watching this show. Because there may be a lot that's going wrong in America right, but there's not much wrong with a country that can take two guys like you from the subways of New York to a stage like and do that -- that was incredible." He said, "The winner of the show should be the act that has the most unique talent, most creativity, most dynamism. And unless I'm wrong, unless one of these singers comes along and does something sensational, I'm looking at the next winners of 'America's Got Talent.'" Judge Sharon Osbourne agreed, and David Hasselhoff said, "I'm going to make it real short: Nuttin' But Vegas!" Deja vu Donald?: Singer Donald Braswell decided to look backward and sing "You Raise Me Up," which he sang earlier in the audition process. In the pre-performance tape, Sharon said Donald was a nice guy with a nice voice, "but is he nice enough to win this competition?" It was another strong performance, but didn't draw the reaction that Nuttin' But Stringz did. Sharon said it was nice, but she didn't think his personality was as nice as the voice. She said he should go on Broadway, where he could play someone else with his voice. The Hoff praised him for bringing it. Piers congratulated him "for proving the judges wrong and America right." Donald agreed that no matter what happened, he'd had a great time. Opera Man: Decked out in a tuxedo for the big night, Neal E. Boyd went back to his opera roots after a near-disaster with Eric Carmen's "All By Myself" last week. The Hoff said, "whether you win or not, I am honored to be on this show with you. Because you are what this show's about." He said Neal would go a long way whether he wins or not. Piers said, not believing he was saying it on national television, "I totally agree with David." Sharon said she'd heard that song performed so many times by so many singers, but never like she heard him sing it." Take a look at him now...: Eli Mattson chose to sing Phil Collins' "Against All Odds" because it was a reflection of his life and his journey. It seemed like the nerves got to Eli a bit as he stumbled over some lyrics in the first chorus. Piers said he liked that Eli can take some classic songs and give them his own twist. He said Eli's odds of winning improved dramatically with that performance. Sharon heaped a little more praise on him, saying he would be a terrific representative for the show if he won it, not only in America but also around the world. The Hoff praised Eli for being "real." Reigning Queen: Queen Emily said that after 25 years of trying to make it as a singer, "you begin to give up." And she was so glad she didn't as she found herself in the top five of "America's Got Talent." She promised to sing from the depths of her soul. She gave a powerful rendition of Whitney Houston's "One Moment in Time." Piers said she sang it "with amazing passion" and thought it was her best performance in the competition. But he thought she might struggle to overcome the competition. Sharon called her a diva, but in a good way. She said she "nailed it." The Hoff said she looked like a princess and said that whether she won the competition or not, she was going to have an amazing career. The results of the vote will be announced during a special one-hour finale at 9 p.m. Wednesday on NBC.

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Season 03, Episode 20 Episode #3.20

S03 E20

Oct 1, 2008
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Episode #3.20 Oct 1, 2008 In what host Jerry Springer called the closest vote the show has ever had, a champion for the third season of "America's Got Talent" was crowned Wednesday night. The finalists -- singers Donald Braswell, Eli Mattson, Neal E. Boyd and Queen Emily, along with violinists Nuttin' But Stringz, brother Damien and Tourie Escobar -- had the judges baffled as to who would win. David Hasselhoff said it was impossible to call a winner before Springer introduced the top 10 finalists first-ever joint performance. They all contributed to a rendition of Kelly Clarkson's winning "American Idol" song "A Moment Like This." It started and ended with 4-year-old Kaitlyn Maher singing solo. Sharon Osbourne said all of the people on the stage would go on to have amazing careers in the entertainment industry. Leona Lewis, a Simon Cowell discovery, stopped by to perform her single, "Better in Time." Terry Fator, this season's winner and "all of your favorites" from Season 3 will perform together on Oct. 17 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Springer introduced special messages for each of the finalists, and the first was from the members of Il Divo, who congratulated opera singer Neal E. Boyd on his success and told him they especially enjoyed his version of their song, "Mama." He just about passed out. Brian McKnight, a Queen Emily fan, wished her luck and suggested that one day they might work together. She looked a little confused at first, but flashed a huge smile when she figured out what was going on. Marc Cohn was rooting for Eli Mattson, who previously sang his song "Walking in Memphis." Cohn said that when Mattson gets a record deal, he'd write a song for him. Andrew Lloyd Webber had a message for this season's big-voiced Donald Braswell, who sang Webber's "Music of the Night." Webber said he'd love to work with Braswell and noted that the Phantom's new show is in Las Vegas. Wyclef Jean, a producer and former member of the Black-Eyed Peas, had a shout out for Nuttin' But Stringz. "Let's take it home, baby," Jean told them. As another time-killer, er, touching flashback on the season, Springer introduced the "America's Got Talent" audition all-stars, which included Ozzy Osbourne, Rod Stewart and Dionne Warwick impersonators, hula-hoop dancers, and way too much more. To the results: After a montage that ran through the long summer, Springer announced that the fifth-place finisher was Queen Emily. The fourth-place finisher was Donald Braswell. He mouthed, "Oh, man" as his name was called. The man who the fans brought back after he was left out of the final 40 had a wild ride to the finale, and seemed satisfied with a fourth-place finish. Finishing in third place was Nuttin' But Stringz. The Hoff just about fell out of his chair, and Piers Morgan looked a little angry as Springer read the result. "We didn't even think we could get this far, and we made violin cool and we brought a new culture of music to America," one of them said.They looked a bit sad and disappointed as they watch highlights of their journey on the show. That brought it down to Eli Mattson and Neal E. Boyd for the $1 million prize and headlining show in Las Vegas. Neal said, "It would change my life. This competition, coming in, I didn't think that I would make it this far. I didn't think people would respond to opera, but they have. And I love America so much for getting me to this point." Eli said, "It means I can take care of my family, and I can do what I love for the rest of my life. And, no matter what, Neal's going to be around forever." Neal cried as he watched his highlight reel before the announcement was made. His hands shook and face crinkled. Eli, who shook with nerves when he landed in the top two, smiled as he watched his journey on the "Talent" stage. From more than 200,000 acts, it came down to two. There was less than one-half of one percent between the two singers. Springer finally announced that the winner of $1 million, the headlining show in Las Vegas and the title of "best new act in America" is ... Neal E. Boyd. "I love you, Mom. I love you Sikeston. I love you, Missouri," Neal said. Placido Domingo had a special, pre-taped message for Neal, telling him that he should be proud to have brought opera to America's ears. "What has happened to my life?" Boyd said, laughing at the thought that Placido Domingo had just congratulated him on winning $1 million and a new career in opera. That's exactly what he did moments after being crowned, singing what's now his signature song, "Nessun dorma."

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