Frontrunners Drew Lynch, Oz Pearlman and Siro-A take charge of Week 1 of “AGT” Semifinals

Did Howie Mandel's Golden Buzzer act deliver another knockout performance? (Photo property of NBC, SYCO Entertainment & FremantleMedia North America)

Did Howie Mandel’s Golden Buzzer act deliver another knockout performance? (Photo property of NBC, SYCO Entertainment & FremantleMedia North America)

By: Jacob Elyachar,

After three impressive quarterfinal rounds, it is time to for the Semifinals!

At this stage of the game, I could divide the acts into a couple of different categories: sure thing finalists (Drew Lynch, Oz Pearlman, Siro-A, Samantha Johnson and the CraigLewis Band), middle of the pack acts [that might be fighting for the Dunkin’ Save or the Judges’ Save (Arielle Baril, Benton Blunt, Gary Vider, Metal Mulisha Fitz Army and Mountain Faith Band) and the out-of-their-league-who-I-would-buzz-in-an-instant acts (Derek Hughes and Ira).

Which acts stepped up their game and rightfully earned a spot in the finale? Which acts received an “X” from the judges?

Who will your vote for?

Read on to find out…

Up first to face America and the judges were Ira and his mom, Miriam. The son-and-mother duo hoped that a new outfit and clothes would be able to keep them out of the bottom. After doing a quick dialogue, they did a parody of Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana.” Ira received his first “X” from Howard, who stated that they burnt out on the show and should have done a comedy piece. In all honesty, it is time to send Ira and his wacky mom home. C-

I enjoyed Mountain Faith Band’s Bluegrass cover of Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” last week. Once again, I was blown away by their song choice: The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face.” Their harmonies were much better than their last performance and their artistry put the Radio City Music Hall audience in a trance. I just hope these guys get a chance to perform in the finale, because it is a time for a band to appear in the AGT finale. B+ 

The judges decided to bring back Metal Mulisha Fitz Army because they are daredevils and always never disappointed them. I am so glad that Metal Mulisha got this second chance. The quartet’s stunts were fiercer than ever and they added pyrotechnics to their routine (they even set one member on fire). In addition to receiving the first standing ovation of the night, I would pay money to see this act in Vegas! A

After Howie shared a Twitter update, singer Samantha Johnson returned to the Radio City Music Hall stage for an encore performance. Accompanied by an orchestra, Samantha belted The Weeknd’s love song for 50 Shades of Grey-“Worth It.” While there are stronger singers in the competition such as Alicia Michilli and Sharon Irving, Samantha never fails to disappoint the audience as her bombastic vocals shook Radio City Music Hall to its core! A+

In all honesty, Derek Hughes has no business being in the semifinals. His last act bored me to tears and if I was sitting at the judges’ desk, I would have hit my buzzer in the first 30 seconds. I did not his approach this round and I found it quite boring. I rather watched Piff or Oz blaze the stage then watch an abysmal routine. F

After Heidi passionately pleaded for votes, the CraigLewis Band went back to their southern roots with a cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.: While their vocals reminded me of the second coming of Al Green, I still have Adam Lambert’s bombastic tour-de-force cover in my head. I have a very strong feeling that they are going to need their fans to rally to vote for them in tomorrow night’s Dunkin’ Save. B-

Oz Pearlman AGT

Mentalist Oz Pearlman treated the judges to Happy Hour during his Radio City Music Hall performance. (Photo property of NBC, FremantleMedia North America & SYCO TV)

I have been waiting for mentalist Oz Pearlman’s next trick since last week! He invited Howard and Heidi on stage to help him create some cocktails (cola, orange juice and wine). He instructed Heidi to blindfold him and wanted to read Howard’s mind and taste buds. Oz correctly picked out what Howard drank and asked Heidi to blindfold him again and he correctly picked out Howard’s second round of drinks. Not feeling left out, Oz asked Mel B to pick out a drink at the pool and he correctly picked out an extra dirty vodka martini! He also correctly picked out Howie’s fruity and chocolate drink. This trick was risky, but I thought that he pulled it off and should go into the finale! A+

Benton Blunt had an impossible task ahead of him–could he breakthrough to the finale? He surprised me with his superb take on Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song.” His voice might have viewers compare him to both Jason Aldean and Chad Kroeger. He has a future in Nashville, but unfortunately…. he might have to be this year’s Branden James and not make it to the finale. B-

Siro-A cemented a place in this year's finale and their future as a headlining Las Vegas act. (Photo property of NBC, FremantleMedia North America & SYCO Entertainment)

Siro-A cemented a place in this year’s finale and their future as a headlining Las Vegas act. (Photo property of NBC, FremantleMedia North America & SYCO Entertainment)

In all honesty, Siro-A should have closed the show not Arielle Baril! Their artistry has no limits and they brilliantly combined projections, lights, videos and graphics for their 90-second routine that had all four judges on their feet. It will be a crime if either they do not either enter the semifinals or win this competition! Just like Howie said, I predict that we just watched a million dollar winner perform and the latest AGT act to headline their own Las Vegas show! A+

Arielle Baril (Heidi Klum’s Golden Buzzer act) closed out the first round of the Semifinals. For her performance, she tackled “Nessun Dorma”- a powerful aria that is associated with both Luciano Pavarotti and Aretha Franklin. While I was in awe of her voice and the power of her vocal range, I have to be honest and state that she might not move into the finale. B

Acts that deserve to be in the finale: Metal Mulisha, Samantha Johnson, Drew Lynch, Oz Pearlman & Siro-A

Tomorrow night, the Illusionists perform and we receive the crucial results and learn which five acts will move on to the finale!

 Adam Lambert’s performance of “A Change Is Gonna Come” is property of FOX & 19 Entertainment.

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar