This stage of “America's Got Talent” always gets tense, as talented performers run out of chances to impress the judge’s panel. August 7 offered the final round of Judge Cuts for Season 13, and some fans took to social media to say that comedian and game show host, Chris Hardwick, should have been the first cut before coming on the show. Hardwick had been a favorite in his temporary “America's Got Talent” role last year, but in light of sexual assault allegations in recent months, the star has been under scrutiny. Some of the pressure is off, now that Hardwick has returned to his “Talking Dead” gig following an investigation, and the guest judge only had to put pressure one time on his golden buzzer for a worthy rapper.

Performers had everyone paying attention to precise steps, songs, and a great comic routine about having a not-so-great car. No one will forget that some alligators showed up, too, per Simon Cowell’s request.

Sounds and steps

Brian King Joseph retold the challenges of his neuropathic disease that began to overtake the young violinist just as he began his time at Berklee College of Music. Hardwick was clearly moved, like the other judges, by the buoyant spirit, energy, and smile exuded by Joseph. Standing ovations came once again for Brian, and Mel B praised how consistently he keeps “fighting through” every adversity. He was victorious in this battle for the live shows.

Even Simon Cowell can't resist the big-bellied boys of Yumbo Dump, the duo who use tummies to create out of the ordinary sounds.

“I love these guys,” the British judge insisted as they presented sounds of an owl in a silent forest, and a caught fish flopping on a boat, which Chris Hardwick couldn’t resist replicating for himself, because it “feels so good,” in Yumbo-speak. The two would surprise themselves in passing this cut, and they always make everyone laugh.

Dance groups Academy of Villains and Da Republik had gone head-to-head before in the competition, and this time, Simon Cowell seemed to take a true dislike to the routine of Academy of Villains. That left an opportunity for Da Republik, who danced their hearts out in memory of a departed member. The spirit and unity stand out in every step of this group from the Dominican Republic, where troops were deployed to clean up plastic pollution.

Strength and danger

Father and daughter strength and balance performers, Sergey and Sasha, delivered death-defying one-hand, full-body balancing at incredible heights.

Their finale was Sergey walking with Sasha atop his head while balancing rings-- it boggles the imagination. The pair did everything required, but will not move forward. Sasha seemed crushed, but stressed, “I will be okay,” and she'll probably be busy, too, because their lives will never be the same.

14-year-old rapper Flau’jae perfectly exhibited the internal kind of human strength in her performance of another original rap, “I Can't Lose,” affirming that she felt she had to do the things her rapper father never lived to do. With her mother watching, the daughter delivered an affirming, yet brutally honest chronicling of all she has overcome. The performance, like her audition, brought everyone to their feet, and Chris Hardwick did one better, pressing his golden buzzer, and telling the rap prodigy that she had given him goosebumps.

The teenager was still on the floor in disbelief when Hardwick came to hug her. Her star is truly shooting as her music decries gun violence. It's not going to take long for Flau’jae to go places.

When it came to musical acts, Simon Cowell seemed to have a bad taste in his mouth for some performers who he previously loved. Transgender singer Brody Ray was among them. Whether the song choice was wrong, or the moment simply not right, several parted company. Glennis Grace was another story. She took Mel B’s caution of trying to be too much like Whitney Houston, and not enough herself, to heart. She made “Nothing Compares 2 U” transform into a song from her soul, and she felt it. Chris Hardwick stated that he was “floored,” but everyone else was standing and applauding.

Simon Cowell reminded the mother to thank her son, who supported his mom in taking this chance at her “America's Got Talent” dream.

No contortionist has ever a nicer guy or more bendable than Troy James, who works in human resources. He literally turned himself inside-out to get Chris Hardwick on his couch, but comedian Samuel J. Comroe didn't talk about being nice. The comedian with Tourette's Syndrome elaborated on the benefits of having a “crappy car” in the case of a disabled person being on either side of an accident.

The last time “America's Got Talent ” got a look at escape artist, Lord Nil, he narrowly dodged a box full of giant scorpions set to fall on his face during Week 3 auditions.

There was less than a second to save his life. After that foolhardy feat, Simon Cowell asked if alligators could be part of the next performance, probably hoping that Howie Mandel could be recruited. Sure enough, the danger artist unveiled a plexiglass pit with the highly interested reptiles, and they even watched as he was readied with his straitjacket. Before being hoisted high, the harness straps were set on fire. The danger factor was stratospheric. At the instant of what seemed a deadly slip, there was a commercial break, and viewers had to be tormented. When the show returned, Lord Nil avoided the pit and the chomps. He later told Tyra Banks that waiting to hear if he was chosen was “worse than the alligators.”

Along with Lord Nil and Flau’jae, Da Republik, comedian Samuel J.

Comroe, Glennis Grace, Brian King Joseph, and yes, Yumbo Dump advanced to the live shows. There will be a special “AGT” broadcast this Thursday, August 9, and the competition will air Tuesdays and Wednesdays beginning next week.