America's Got Talent” opted to let the fur fly right off the bat in the July 31 Judge Cuts round. The mother and daughter team comprising The Savitsky Cats had already set a high bar in their audition, and now, they had to prove that it wasn't just a fluke. The balls of fluff proved to be quite gifted at rolling a ball, mastering a ladder walk, and even pushing a broom -- along with doing a Conga walk. That's all pretty incredible to anyone who’s ever failed at simply get a cat to obey a simple “Come” command. Guest judge -- country music superstar Martina McBride -- was plenty impressed, as were the regular judges.

There was a momentary pause from one of the four-pawed entertainers, but after a reset, he or she complied perfectly. Heidi Klum commented that the pets truly put on “a real show,” and Mel B couldn't help but say that it made her feel warm and fuzzy inside.

No age range when it came to inspiration

Week 3 of Judge Cuts followed previous rounds, with only seven acts out of 18 being selected for the live shows. Many youthful performers suffered under a second look by the panel, failing to impress strongly enough to hang on to their “America's Got Talent” dream. Martina McBride marveled at Jeffrey Li’s delivery of Whitney Houston's “This Moment in Time,” stressing that despite her long career and string of hits, “I can't sing like that.” Jeffrey also won approval from Josh Groban after his audition.

Angel Garcia chose a more current song with Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are,” sung eloquently by the bespectacled teen boy in Spanish and English, but he had a tough round. The tumblers also took it on the chin, with Blue Tokyo, Fratelli Rossi, and more failing to dazzle enough with their dangerous moves. The PAC Dance Team still got the spirit award from the judges, but even the teacher, Ms.

Lopez, was taken to task for the mismatch of music to moves. By the skin of their teeth, they moved on -- but with conditions. Ms. Trish proved she could sing, again, but forgetting the words can be fatal at this point.

It was not a singing act that stole Martina McBride's heart for the night, and her golden buzzer delight, too.

The May-December dancing couple, Quin and Misha, had another stellar moment of spirit and movement. The story of how 71-year-old Quin met 35-year-old Misha, with the full support of her loving husband, only added to the magic. Martina gushed that “you inspire everybody” and didn't hesitate a second longer to press her golden buzzer. Simon Cowell had already affirmed that “you light up the stage,” to the pair, and Quin literally kissed the pieces of gold confetti.

Songs for the moment

Things almost went wrong for powerhouse singer Noah Guthrie, returning to his musical roots after his run on “Glee,” with dad rooting him on. Simon Cowell asked him to stop his first song and go to his second, and boy, was it ready.

He tore into the Allman Brothers’ “Whipping Post” with a vengeance, and won raves for his raw passion. “You have it,” Howie Mandel assured the singer. It was nothing but standing ovations for family band, We Three, who sang another original song, “Lifeline,” after paying tribute to their mother in their audition performance of an original. This one was even more powerful, extolling living while one can, and being there for one another. Martina McBride complimented that the opening line of “I'm just trying to be real, “ was one of the best she had ever heard. Simon Cowell essentially said that their careers were being made at this moment.

Comedians didn't fare so well in this go-round, either.

Howie Mandel had heartily endorsed comic Bone Hampton up to this point, but this crucial routine fell flat. Deadpan, Goth-looking funnyman Oliver Graves still mustered the laughs with jokes comparing his mom to a hoarder and the effects of him wearing a wedding ring. For whatever reason, this time, the panel didn’t pull Oliver through, but he will surely book bigger gigs now that “America's Got Talent” is part of his resume.

Ending on a frightful note

The final act of the night gave a new definition to creepy and almost did Mel B in for good. The Sacred Riana walked out with her look-alike doll and refused to answer any of Martina McBride's questions with anything but a shake of the head. She carried the doll to Mel B, placing it on her lap, and forcibly placing her arms around it.

A routine then began to unfold with a candle mysteriously lighting and then extinguishing, a book of blank pages being inscribed with “Do you want to play?” as though the doll were asking, a structure blowing up to reveal a grown-up replica, and bloody handprints filling the book’s pages. Mel B was shaken in every sense and ran backstage. She was still pursued by the horror magician until security buffered her. “We just want this to end,” Simon Cowell insisted. There was no vote on the performance, but oddly enough, The Sacred Riana was selected to go to the live shows for the sake of audience interest, even though Cowell asserted that “we just ran away from the table,” and that “a demon has never won “America's Got Talent.’” This performer won the Asian version of the competition, and that should be sufficient.

The other five acts joining the chilling magician and Quin and Misha are We Three, The Savitsky Cats, PAC Dance Team, Noah Guthrie, and UDI light dancers.

Chris Hardwick sits in as the guest judge on “America's Got Talent” for a second time next week.