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‘America’s Got Talent’: Howie Mandel Calls Lil Starr The Next Shirley Temple

Mon, July 2, 2012 11:45pm EDT by 4 Comments

‘AGT’ kicked off its first live show with Howie’s blackhead surgery, the revelation that Sharon calls Ozzie ‘Daddy,’ and 12 acts vying for America’s vote.

(I was so enthralled with the first half hour of completely ridiculous filler that I almost forgot what tonight is actually about.)

On the July 2 episode — dubbed the first round of the quarter-finals — America’s Got Talent skyrocketed with two and a half hours at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Twelve acts took to the electrically bright stage to prove to America, by way of an eclectic judging panel, that they were worthy of $1 million and the chance to headline a show in Las Vegas. (Now, that’s some major do-re-me). How did your favorite act fair when the heat was turned up? Check out the sweet-n-sour (no, not chicken) recap after the jump.

The Distinguished Men of Brass – Dancing Brass Band

Did amateur high school marching band come to mind for anyone else? Sure, they were entertaining — and a great way to open the first live show — but would they make a great headlining act? (I think you know the answer…)

Edon – 14-year-old singer – “Titanium” by David Guetta

Greyson Chance, is that you?! Point blank: his 14-year-old voice is clearly not yet developed to its fullest potential. (Puberty is gonna hit him hard.) With that said, Guetta was a great song choice, and the little Justin Bieber-wannabe delivered a solid offering. (America will love him.)

Jarrett and Raja – Comedy Illusionists – “Singing in the Rain”

Broadway came to AGT! Mixing spectacle, comedy, and tricky illusion, the routine fell a little short for the panel, but for the viewer at home, it was unexpectedly bedazzling. (FYI, the longer you stay in the shower, the greater probability of being treated to sequined dancers.)

Lil Starr – Tap Dancer – “Sorry for Party Rockin'” by LMFAO

She’s only six years old, but her swagger (and scorching talent) spoke for itself. You can not teach something like that. Decked out in LMFAO-inspired attire, she tapped her way into America’s heart. Sparks fizzled down around her, and, yet, she did not flinch for even a microsecond. (A star-in-the-making, for sure) Howie called her the next Shirley Temple. (Just maybe)

Todd Oliver – Stage circus with rescued pets

If you weren’t “in the mood for love” — I adore Doris Day — before, you would be after this hilarious routine. The idea of talking dogs alone is enough to vote until your fingers are numb, and, according to the judges, is a $1 million act. (We shall see about that.)

American BMX Stunt Team

Steam, bikes, fearlessness, oh my! Stunts and physical tricks are typically not engaging or original enough, but they worked. it. out. They swooped and glided along the rubbery ramps with such ease and composure that it was hard not to like them. Kudos!

Nikki Jensen – Singer/Guitar – “The Scientist” by Coldplay

She decided to lay down her guitar for the biggest moment of her life. With a beat-heavy and synthesized accompaniment, her quirky voice surprisingly rose to the occasion. Her vocals dripped with emotion, and needless to say, her nerves did not hinder her delivery. Fantastic!

The Scott Brothers – Cartoon Popping

Charlie Chaplin is in the building (well sort of)! Hip-hop infused robotic dancing is exactly what AGT ordered. With precise execution, their specific moves were not particularly original, but how they constructed the routine was, well, original. (Thanks, Howie. I now must retire that word from my everyday lexicon.)

Michael Nejad – Musician – “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5

Have you ever wanted to know what a baseball bat would sound like as an instrument? Or how about a shovel as a makeshift violin? Or maybe a household vacuum as a clarinet? Well, judging by the boos from the audience, it’s not too fascinating.

787 Crew – Dance Group

They’ve had a bumpy journey up to this point — with one of their team members vomiting during Las Vegas week. This was it for them. Donning robot gear (that seemed to be a theme tonight), their edgy and punk-rock moves definitely played to their advantage. (I dig ‘em, but clearly, the judges had their issues.)

Shanice and Maurice Hayes – Father/Daughter Duo – “There You’ll Be” by Faith Hill

A father/daughter duo taking on a (presumably) love anthem? Sure. Why not. Shanice — who pulled out a slinky blue dress — shone the brightest of the two. Her powerful vocals and smooth tone are the backbone of the pair. Their performance had some minor rough patches but a ton of heart, and isn’t that what matters most?

David Garibaldi and his CMYK’s – Performance Painting

Toss in “Paint it Black” by the Rolling Stones into a Wal-Mart-bought blender, add buckets-full of colorful paint with a pinch of dance, and you have one absurdist presentation (worthy of of standing ovation). Quite marvelous.

(Sidebar: A paintball party is in my new future.)

Tomorrow night, after millions of votes have been tallied, four acts will move on to the next round. Who will they be?

Jason’s predictions: Nikki Jensen, David Garibaldi & his CMYK’s, Shanice & Maurice, Lil Starr

Hollywoodlifers, what was YOUR favorite act of the night? Which four will advance to the next round? Leave your predictions in the comments below.