Anticipation was high on “America's Got Talent” for the voting results on August 29, set to send forward the last group of semifinalists. One might say this was “family night” for the competition, because so many of the contenders were mothers and fathers, from all ends of the spectrum. The third round of quarterfinals performances left the judges’ panel in tears, with even Simon Cowell choking with heartfelt emotion. The feelings flowed through this night of the public's verdict, too, and there was a surprising turn to the judges’ final deliberation.

Hoping to be saved

With no time to waste, host Tyra Banks called forward the acts in sixth, seventh, and eighth place, who were vying for a “save” vote from their followers first, and then from the panel of judges. Every performance was taken up a notch in this round of quarterfinals, but only seven from the dozen acts would be voted as semifinalists. Danger artist Aaron Crow, opera singer Daniel Emmet, and dancers The Future Kings were summoned for the long wait before the revelation.

Expecting couple Us The Duo definitely did their best to melt every heart listening to their dedication song to their baby daughter on Tuesday, and the lovebirds were called along with splashy entertainer Hans for the first vote results.

Hans also got kudos for his glitzy Spice Girls song that even slipped by Scary Spice herself, Mel B. Pure sincerity pulled through for the young family, and Us The Duo thanked America and the judges for this platform that has allowed them to prove their talent and transform their future. Tyra playfully remarked that now she didn't have to worry as much about her job with Hans out of her picture, but he and his accordion definitely will find a home on a stage somewhere.

Violinist Brian King Joseph and singer-songwriter Joseph O'Brien were next to face the spotlight and the public's choice. Both artists have cultivated very strong followings since their first auditions for the competition, but America especially celebrates a conquering hero with an unflinching, positive attitude. Brian King Joseph overcomes his pain from nerve disease with every performance and lets nothing steal his smile.

Those qualities of spirit, matched with his talent, were reflected in the vote tally and Joseph will be moving on as an “America's Got Talent” semi-finalist.

Beautiful and tense decisions

Beautiful Broadway star Abby Mueller joined with some of her castmates from “Beautiful,” based on the life and songs of Carole King, for a delightful respite from the tension of the vote. The rendition of “You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)” had an amplified impact in light of the outpouring of celebration and gratitude for the life of Aretha Franklin this week in Detroit.

Adoptive dad Michael Ketterer has been a moving example to millions watching “America's Got Talent,” not only because of the conviction and passion in his voice but more because of his compassion as a father to his loving brood, raised along with his wife.

Christina Wells gave another inspiring performance, embodying the newfound confidence of the singer. She dedicated her moment to her mother, who always inspired her daughters to embrace dignity, no matter their circumstances. Her sons also looked on from the audience. Ketterer and Wells came forward on the stage, along with magician Rob Lake, to face America's decision. Michael Ketterer trembled visibly as his name was first called, thanking America and the judges before getting the priceless hugs from family backstage.

Tyra Banks asked Christina and Rob to stay in place, awaiting yet another revelation. Christina Wells was called as a semi-finalist. She gushed that she knew she sang “with more passion than perfection” but assured that “every bit of me” will be poured into her next performance.

Aerial dancers Zucaroh were called up with UDI Dance for the next decision. Considering the YouTube following and the consistent raves from the judges, the announcement of Zucaroh as the act moving forward was not truly a surprise. These performers could already sign a Las Vegas contract, and hopefully, UDI Dance will also have a performing home soon.

There was no time to dillydally with time closing in for the night's final votes. Daniel Emmet maintained his early lead in the tally, taking the public's vote for the save. That left the judges’ deliberations between Aaron Crow and The Future Kings. Simon Cowell was steadfast, keeping his vote with the exuberant dance group. Mel B has no interest in being on stage with the daredevil magician but gave him her vote, anyway, as did Heidi Klum.

The deciding vote was left with Howie Mandel, and he agonized until the final second before going with Aaron Crow.

The “America's Got Talent” semifinals are off and running next week, with the first 11 acts performing. Look forward to more heartfelt and hopeful moments to come before the season concludes on September 19.