America's Got Talent consistently rakes in the largest primetime TV audiences on Tuesday nights. With nearly seven million viewers per episode, it's a ratings winner and a big money-maker for creator and judge Simon Cowell.
Last night, I checked in to watch episode 4 of the semi-finals. And I have to say that some zany Brits, who call themselves the Lazy Generation, left the most memorable impression.
This troupe inflicted stunning levels of pain on one another in a series of uproarious stunts. Their performance culminated in a cactus tug of war—something I had never seen before and which had me in stitches when the losers were stung with needles. I'm not sure it had the same effect on everyone at home.
Another segment of over-the-top amusement came in German Jannick Holste's dance-magic combo, all performed to Ariana Grande's "Break Free". Campy, colourful, and anything-but-sedate, Holste ignited the crowd with his joyous performance.
But as riotously entertaining as these two acts were, I don't expect Americans to vote them into the finals—just as they nixed another of my favourites, Ben Lapidus, after his heavy-metal version of "Parmesan Cheese" in a previous semi-final.
Perhaps I'll be proven wrong and Holste will advance, but somehow I doubt that something this saucy will cut it in the red states of Middle America.
With that in mind, here are my predictions for the top three acts voted on by the show's fans today. The top two will make it to the final.
1. Metaphysic, which used artificial intelligence to turn three opera singers into Simon Cowell, Terry Crews, and Howie Mandel.
2. Hawaii-based singer-songwriter Lily Lily Meola, who performed an original composition called "Butterfly". Her voice soars and her story about looking after her mom with cancer resonates.
Plus, Meola received a boost from a legend, Willie Nelson, with whom she's performed in the past.
3. Comedian Mike E. Winfield, who is trying to become the first standup to make it to the AGT final.
It's possible that either Winfield or Meola could be edged out in the top three by ventriloquist Jack Williams, who has a large social-media following.
Meanwhile, I anticipate that Holste might be in a dogfight with talented tap dancer Bayley Graham to get into the top five. Graham has more dancing chops than Holste, but his act wasn't anywhere near as memorable.
I also enjoyed the performances of the two rising talents below. Harper is a one-of-a-kind 10-year-old dynamo. And there's no denying the talent of Merissa Beddows, even though she could have chosen more recognizable singers to mimic, like Lady Gaga or Madonna.
My bets for the most likely to be bounced off the show tonight are Acapop! and Lee Collinson—as well as, sadly, the Lazy Generation.
Maybe one day, the Lazy Generation can make a comeback in some sort of Monty Python-style revival show. That is, if they're not confined to hospital beds as a result of their antics.