Baltimore's Spencer Horsman is one of 12 acts performing live tonight in the quarterfinals. After the show, America will vote and only four will advance to the next round.
Tonight's show starts off with The Untouchables, a Latin dance troupe of kids of all ages. They're so good, it's almost creepy. They dance just like adults and they're so professional -- I'll bet they go home, put their feet up and talk about the sagging economy while they watch the evening news.
Mike Price, "rock star" juggler, is up next. He juggles fire on a unicycle and over a woman covered in oil but he drops a club (don't worry, he doesn't drop it on the woman).
When he finishes, he gets a fair bit of applause but I can hear some booing from the crowd too. The maintenance guy who puts out the fire onstage gets more applause.
The judges aren't impressed and right off the bat, Howard Stern says he doesn't think Mike will advance.
After the break, Inspire the Fire, a glee club type group, performs. They did great the last two times they performed, but today the singing is flat and the choreography messy.
"Tonight it seemed like a really cheesy, bad high school musical," Howie says. They're goners.
Cristin Sandu, a balancer, is up next. He stacks metal cylinders on their sides and then stands on top of them. Tonight, he gets up there, wobbles a lot and ... NO! He falls, the metal tubes crashing down around him. As he gets up, Howard buzzes him out. Well, this is upsetting. It hardly needs to be said, he probably won't be advancing.
B-boy Elusive takes the stage after the break. Meh. The judges agree that he's talented but needs some moves -- especially if he's going to outshine Turf.
Next up is Jake Wesley Rogers, a 15-year-old singer from Missouri. He's singing a jazzy but strange version of Britney Spears' "Toxic." It's pretty spooky, actually; I feel like it would be most appropriate to play during a vampire party. The judges aren't feeling it either.
All Wheel Sports is next. They have a lot going on: dancing girls, people doing flips on trampolines, stunt bicyclists and skaters and more. Even though it's a lot, it's all amazing.
One of my favorite contenders is up after the break: Wordspit and the Illest, a band from New York. Tonight they perform an original song. One word: awesome.
Howie thinks they made a disastrous decision tonight, performing an original, saying they're going to get less votes because of it. Sharon agrees and says the home audience can't feel their energy. Not true -- I totally felt it. Howard saves the day and disagrees completely with Howie and Sharon.
An awkward nerd of a comedian, Jacob Williams, is up next. He's hilarious and I want him to be my friend. Then it's time for All Beef Patty, a cross-dressing, fabulous-looking singer. He/she is just okay.
Finally, it's Spencer Horsman's turn. Tonight we learn that when Spencer's not working at his father's bar, Illusions, he's researching and trying out acts inspired by Houdini.
For his act, Horsman wears armor and chain mail, his arms are strapped and locked over his chest and he's put into a bag that is risen 15 feet above sharp spikes. He has 45 seconds to escape before he is dropped and possibly impaled by the spikes.
The bag containing him is behind a screen though, so we only see a silhouette of a bag moving around as he tries to escape. With 13 seconds left on the clock, he escapes, but we can't really tell because he's still behind the screen. There are even some loud boos until he shows himself, then the audience applauds politely.
The judges think the screen ruined the whole thing. "It was a failure," Howard says plainly. Howie adds that the screen turned it into just a regular magic act. It pains me to say it (or type it), but this might be the end for Horsman in the competition.
Lightwire Theater wraps up the night. Easily the best act of the night. They're the only ones to get a standing ovation from both the judges and audience.
"I'm glad that we're a part of your success story," Howard says to them.
So that ends a show of mixed emotions. Tomorrow night, we find out which four make it to the next round.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times