There was not one second to spare as “America's Got Talent” surged into the first semifinal performances on September 6. Every moment was golden for the 11 talents this night, and Tyra Banks barely had time to strut on stage to make her introductions before the night of songs, laughs, twirls, and tricks had already started. Only five of these hopefuls will be voted on to the finals, so tension was up as much as the excitement.

And so it begins

Yoli Mayor remembered her life-changing second chance from Simon Cowell during her first “America's Got Talent” performance, and she stuck with the “stripped back” approach on James Arthur’s “Say You Won't Go.” Her delivery was pure, raw, and soulful, packing an emotional punch.

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“You are back,” affirmed Simon, while Mel B praised Yoli’s performance with an emphatic “Well bloody done!” Howie Mandel went with superlatives, too, saying “holy moly, Yoli,” while Heidi Klum actually teared up from the emotion in the moment.

Going first this time in a night of really strong performances may not work to the good for Yoli, but the world has seen and heard her talent and her true self now, and that will make a world of difference.

Eric Jones

Magician Eric Jones came out with blazing confidence and a backdrop of fire with his pocket full of coins that vanished and moved every which way. Most magical of all, perhaps, is that he got a $100 bill from Simon as part of his routine. The coins vanished mid-drop for Howie Mandel, moved to Mel B's shoulder, disappeared for Heidi, and moved under Simon Cowell’s folding money for a finish.

This talented artist has never been better. “Wow, wow, wow” was Howie Mandel's reaction, and Mel B called Eric a true human superhero. Heidi Klum praised Eric's delivery as “so cool” and easy, and Simon also observed his strident confidence, noting that he had delivered “pure magic.” This one just may earn the vote to the finals for the hardworking husband and dad.

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His talent is matched by his sincerity.

DaNell Daymon and Greater Works dared to be different more than ever with their take on Aerosmith's “I Don't Want to Miss a Thing.” Standing ovations from the full panel were paralleled by a shattering roar from the audience.

The choral group highlighted the power of many of their standout vocalists, and there was a tangible “sonic super lift” that outdid all their previous performances. Heidi Klum thanked the group for being part of “America's Got Talent” and for the performance, calling it amazing. Simon Cowell simply said “you get me every time. Howie Mandel credited that Greater Works had made him a choir lover, while Mel B exclaimed: “Jesus, take the wheel!” No matter how the tally goes, this assembly has a message that needs to be experienced in every corner of the country.

Levity and centrifugal force

Preacher Lawson was another artist primed for his moment. The comedian has the innate ability to warm every audience by his likeability and personality, and his role was gradual to start, relating his early standards in dating, but by the time he finished with young relatives making fun of his facial features, the crowd was in uproarious rapture, along with the panel! Simon Cowell opened remarks, saying that Preacher should have everything he's ever dreamed of, based on his talent.

Howie Mandel continued, reminding that “you’re about to have it all.” Heidi Klum reported that she “got it all this time,” referring to her struggle in keeping up with his rapid-fire humor. Mel B called the comic brilliant, and Tyra banks tried to bind him with tape after his references to her forehead! Preacher Lawson deserves every good thing that can come his way from the lasting laughs and impressions he’s made on “America's Got Talent.” He’s funny enough to make laughs keep coming an hour after he's left the stage.

Risky Johnny Manuel

Johnny Manuel took his biggest risk yet in the competition. He chose to sing his own original song, “Flying on Blind Faith.” While the choice definitely showed a fuller dimension to the singer artistically, not everyone on the panel was enthralled. Howie Mandel felt that now was not the time to make such a move, despite being a “technically great” singer. Mel B didn’t sense being taken on a journey through the performance. Heidi admired the choice, and Simon Cowell offered respect in Johnny being brave enough “to show us who you are.” America will make the decision as to whether the moving and dramatic ballad was enough to push him forward. Regardless, he has a valid chance at following his dreams again.

Mel B didn’t sense being taken on a journey through the performance. Heidi admired the choice, and Simon Cowell offered respect in Johnny being brave enough “to show us who you are.” America will make the decision as to whether the moving and dramatic ballad was enough to push him forward. Regardless, he has a valid chance at following his dreams again.

Daredevil stating siblings, Billy and Emily England, spoke of the surprise twist for this performance in their profile segment, and they certainly added speed to their death-defying twirls in the circle, but the final move left everyone watching stupefied. At the climax of the performance, Billy tossed his sister into a “fire pit.” For a few moments, no one realized it was all performance, but the pair got raves of approval in the end. Heidi Klum said that Billy and Emily could “roll away with $1 million.” Howie Mandel teased that the two did everything “your mother tells you not to,” while Mel B just adores the thrill of being on the edge of her seat. Simon Cowell said “This was brilliant. The judge described it as “everything ‘America's Got Talent’ is.” America's voting public will decide if this heaping dish of “

For a few moments, no one realized it was all performance, but the pair got raves of approval in the end. Heidi Klum said that Billy and Emily could “roll away with $1 million.” Howie Mandel teased that the two did everything “your mother tells you not to,” while Mel B just adores the thrill of being on the edge of her seat. Simon Cowell said “This was brilliant. The judge described it as “everything ‘America's Got Talent’ is.” America's voting public will decide if this heaping dish of “dare and scare” did the trick.

Heart-tuggers to the finish

At just 13, Evie Clair, not only has the strength to perform and strength of heart to support her father through his battle with colon cancer, she has a perfect sense of choosing not-so familiar songs, and making them completely her own. This time, she chose Ella Henderson’s “Yours,” accompanying herself on a piano covered in flower blossoms. The young singer sees “America's Got Talent” as a light for family, and she gave light from her heart in song. Simon Cowell called her “gutsy” and her song “beautiful,” adding that he knew the composer. He also reminded that “your dad so proud of you.” Heidi Klum noted the performance as “intimate, personal, and moving,” and Mel B praised that Evie had a gift that offered so much for someone only 13.

The young singer sees “America's Got Talent” as a light for family, and she gave light from her heart in song. Simon Cowell called her “gutsy” and her song “beautiful,” adding that he knew the composer. He also reminded that “your dad so proud of you.” Heidi Klum noted the performance as “intimate, personal, and moving,” and Mel B praised that Evie had a gift that offered so much for someone only 13.

Sara Carson has her own inspiring story of struggle in finding her place in life and her calling. Her connection with her dogs is bound by love. The talented trainer shared the story of her younger pup, Loki, in her profile piece, and in only five days, put together as an astounding routine of feats under a “Baywatch” theme. Hero started out by giving her CPR, then both dogs played some beach volleyball, went for a rolling surf, and did some fast hula hoop jumps before running for Frisbees. The affection between Sara and her companions is so tender that no one can help but be touched, and her talent is undeniable. If Olate Dogs have a changed life from their “America's Got Talent” time, then this devoted trainer and her dogs merit worlds more than just a steady roof over their heads. All of the judges spoke of the cuteness and happiness flowing from seeing the performance, but it was Simon Cowell who said: “America needs this now.” Seeing the pups play after their show is a pure delight.

The affection between Sara and her companions is so tender that no one can help but be touched, and her talent is undeniable. If Olate Dogs have a changed life from their “America's Got Talent” time, then this devoted trainer and her dogs merit worlds more than just a steady roof over their heads. All of the judges spoke of the cuteness and happiness flowing from seeing the performance, but it was Simon Cowell who said: “America needs this now.” Seeing the pups play after their show is a pure delight.

Chase Goehring remained steadfastly his expressive self with his original song, “What Is Love.” This composer's wisdom beyond his years with his verses tinged with references to tequila and tears is remarkable, and he showed off his vocal skills more than ever. Mel B commended his originality, while Howie Mandel said he would be the offspring of Ed Sheeran and Logic, and Chase accepted the comment as high praise. Heidi loved that the song was faster this time, and Simon Cowell complimented the courage of the artist who is “so special.” Can this young composer’s ever-growing fan base rally to pull him to the finals?

Darci Lynne shines

If anyone could be crowned queen of the night for these semifinals, it would be the ventriloquist, Darci Lynne, who didn't just pull out another great performance, she pulled out an all-new puppet character, Edna Doorknocker. Edna is 80-something and makes absolutely no secret of her love for Simon Cowell. In celebration of her affection, Edna and Darci did a spectacular duet of “You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)” and Darci put herself right by the British judge’s seat so that Edna could swoon and sing right to him! Straight standing ovations were no surprise, and Simon said that the performance was brilliant, and he now has a crush on Edna.

Mel B raved that her golden buzzer performer utterly mesmerized the entire crowd and that she was on her way “to win the show.” Howie Mandel agreed, saying Darci had a “great chance” of winning, and she had managed to use a puppet to make Simon flirt “like a woman.” Heidi Klum closed by saying that Darci and all her “friends” were a “class act.”

Straight standing ovations were no surprise, and Simon said that the performance was brilliant, and he now has a crush on Edna. Mel B raved that her golden buzzer performer utterly mesmerized the entire crowd and that she was on her way “to win the show.” Howie Mandel agreed, saying Darci had a “great chance” of winning, and she had managed to use a puppet to make Simon flirt “like a woman.” Heidi Klum closed by saying that Darci and all her “friends” were a “class act.”

Subway singer, Mike Yung, had the toughest job of the night following Darci, but he poured out his most emotional performance ever. Singing “Don't Give in on Me” in honor of his mother, everyone listening could feel every word was from his heart. Mel B has been tough on the senior singer, but this time, she was one of the ones offering an ovation. Simon Cowell said Mike had “come back” this week, and gave him “respect.” Mike is not giving up, and the man with “such talent” in Howie Mandel's words, should find his future path much smoother.

Mel B has been tough on the senior singer, but this time, she was one of the ones offering an ovation. Simon Cowell said Mike had “come back” this week, and gave him “respect.” Mike is not giving up, and the man with “such talent” in Howie Mandel's words, should find his future path much smoother.

Predictions of the five acts moving to the finals:

Sara and Hero

Eric Jones

Darci Lynne

Preacher Lawson-on the bubble

Yoli Mayor

Tune in tonight for the results.