Wednesday nights are gut-wrenching for “America's Got Talent” hopefuls from now through the next few weeks, and this week's August 16 first vote for Season 12 had every judge on the panel cheering and crossing every body part possible along with the rest of the voting public. The golden voices of this first group of 12 had a very good night, and it was clear that inspiration and genuine heart mattered as much as having glorious vocal range. As usual, voters know the pulse of America, and they usually pick right with tremendous talents.

Sweating it out

Before the first talents were called center stage to face the vote, Tyra Banks announced the three acts up for the save vote. Christian Guardino, Just Jerk, and Yoli Mayor would endure the worst wait of the night to find out their fate. Other performers would get good news very soon.

Song and dance to start

The super-cute dancing pair, Artyon, and Paige, and Air Force Academy cadets in the a cappella group, In The Stairwell, stood summoned for the first vote of the night. The future officers in the Air Force truly shined in this week's auditions. Even though Artyon and Paige performed their best dancing steps, topped off by Paige’s priceless expressions, the singers from the armed forces were singing as a statement, and their commitment could not be denied.

The announcement came that In The Stairwell would be first for the semifinals, and screams and tears of joy filled the Dolby Theatre. They reiterated feelings of being “humble and privileged, and proud to wear this uniform” on the “America's Got Talent” stage. Mel B's crushes on the handsome guys might have made a difference, too, but their beautifully synchronized voices, mixed with committed national service, really touched voters.

Next came The Singing Trump, tearful clown, Puddles Pity Party, and high-energy comic, Preacher Lawson for the vote verdict. Preacher Lawson had another spot-on, near-perfection routine with his world's fastest clapper fun this week. Even though the audience may get the humor of the “fake Trump,” and no one can fail to hear Puddles Pity Party sing from his heart “on the sleeve,” this was the moment for Preacher, who is moving on to the semifinals.

Grace VanderWaal was welcomed into warm arms from all, including the audience, and the “America's Got Talent” panel of judges. Her performance of “Moonlight,” another original composition, only made her glow brighter. The 13-year-old already has such grown-up confidence, and it's obvious that she loves performing now, sure of her gifts, with no more nerves.

The performance was another affirmation of life, and Grace assured that she wasn't changing from being the genuine, unaffected girl that she's always been. When Tyra asked about how people should find out about her tour, she composer said, “you can look it up on the Internet,” with a shrug. No one will catch this girl putting on airs of a star ego.

Grace VanderWaal remains beautifully herself.

Siblings, sisterly love, and super-tension

Howie Mandel is still good at what he does best, playing a pretend real person just doing a job. The comedian spent an interlude as “Harriet the Helper” for registering contestants and had them do all manner of completely ridiculous tasks. Taking a bite of her sandwich, and trying to get just the right eye to open for approval were just two of many.

Marvel ventriloquist, Darci Lynne, and equally marvelous singer, Angelica Hale, had been hoping that they would not be competing against each other for America's vote. Lo and behold, there stood the two girls, awaiting their fate. Every person viewing the moment could feel America biting nails, hoping and praying that both could be chosen.

There were totally real tears in Angelica's eyes before Tyra revealed “both of you” would be going on to the semifinals. The embrace that locked these two immensely talented girls was so moving and so powerful that Tyra Banks had to do some prying apart between the pair. The tears didn't stop, but their joy in the moment and love for each other was so evident in their celebration. These girls are sticking around, on “America's Got Talent” and on new stages, for a very long time.

The last vote before the save results was between daredevil performers, Bello Nock, and skating siblings, Billy and Emily. Both had pulled out all the stops in reaching for this chance, and Billy and Emily earned the votes to have more chances in the competition.

Time was getting short, and the vote for this nights save was ready. Christian Guardino was completely taken aback that his name was the one called, and such pure surprise is a rare sight on live TV. The singer and fellow competitor, Yoli Mayor, joined in a clutching, sincere embrace. Christian thanked everyone for voting for him and promised that his next performance would be even more special.

The last vote for the last and seventh semi-final spot went to the judges. Consideration was between South Korean dance group, Just Jerk, with their undeniable dedication, and Yoli Mayor, for whom singing was an entire life passion. Both hopefuls received mixed feedback after their performances this week, and now the judges had only seconds to decide between the two.

Heidi Klum cast her vote for Yoli, as did Simon Cowell, who has been decidedly in her corner. Mel B and Howie Mandel went for Just Jerk.

The tie vote of the judges meant that the actual vote tally had to determine the winner, and Tyra Banks announced that Yoli Mayor would have the last spot in the semifinals. She collapsed in emotion, and could not even talk as credits rolled. AGT fans remember when a very insecure Yoli got an on-the-spot makeover from Tyra to take on Simon Cowell's offer of a second chance. Her journey in reaching stardom as a singer has really begun to roll now. Simon Cowell closed with saying “America got it 100% right.”