Host Terry Crews welcomed the second round of Season 14America's Got Talent” semifinals in a bright green suit, and from the start of the September 10 night of competition, it was “GO” for every performer hoping for the $1 million prize and a forever-changed life. As soon as judges Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Julianne Hough, and Gabrielle Union were greeted from their seats, Queen Latifah came to the stage as the guest judge for the night. As always, she wasn't reserved about her emotions or her comments, and from the first act onward, almost every performer did something to leave the panel without words, and the audience wowed.

Going really big

When it came to wowing the crowd, the acrobatic dance troupe from Mumbai lived up to its name, V. Unbeatable. Their opening performance was dazzling with color and energy. As if their trademark tosses and leaps of human bodies were not impressive enough, a spinning ladder was added to the act. Simon Cowell also credited the appropriateness of the group’s name, saying that the ensemble had made their entire country proud from the “America's Got Talent” stage and that he was proud to be part of their story of success. Queen Latifah was blown away, adding that she loved nothing more than a “confetti cannon” to close a performance. A member of the troupe spoke that he and his athletic tumblers always hope to give the best to the audience.

V. Unbeatable will be doing that for years to come.

It's not easy to follow spectacular efforts, but magician Dom Chambers took Simon Cowell’s counsel to heart. Chambers went big, and went back to his first audition, conjuring glasses of beer. First, small glasses of beer simply vanished, before a giant “mega-beer” appeared.

The Australian illusionist asked Simon Cowell to guess the number of glasses to fill the huge container, and the 2,501 number was correctly written on a hidden banner. Just for fun, Chambers drank the beverage to end the performance, which the audience lapped up like rounds at a bar. Gabrielle Union loved the performance and how Dom is “so Australian.” Queen Latifah added that it was “a lot of fun,” while Julianne praised how Chambers manages “to bring us along” with the story of the act.

Simon gave a standing ovation, saying the act was great for making him a “genius,” and he had “personality, scale, and fun.” Howie Mandel also enjoyed how Chambers used humor, technology, and showmanship.

No illusion was needed for 12 year old Broadway star in the making, Luke Islam. His emotional build to the climactic close in “Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman” left the judges spilling out praise and the entire audience cheering. Julianne Hough declared that she was like “a proud mama,” seeing and hearing her golden buzzer boy. Gabrielle Union dubbed Luke “a world-class talent.” Howie Mandel assured the super-gifted Islam that his dreams would come true and that he will be on Broadway, no matter where “America's Got Talent” takes him.

Once again, a solid five standing ovations came from the judges and another 5000 from the crowd for Luke Islam.

It wasn't a perfect performance for Lukas & Falco. The devoted dog had some slips on his master’s racing suit and missed a push-up or two in one sequence. The pair never falls short in showing the absolute portrait of love in their relationship. Falco keeps trying, no matter his age or the difficulty of the trick, and Lukas is always rewarding the effort. The close of the performance came when Falco jumped on the judges’ desk to give Simon Cowell a high-five. “Dogs vote on this show, too,” reminded the British judge. Howie Mandel wasn't so nice, saying the dog gave the X he wanted to give on his way to Simon.

Gabrielle Union applauded the way that the devoted dog “kept trying,” while Queen Latifah quite openly declared that she was ready “to party with Falco.”

Swedish singer-songwriter Chris Klafford received a mix of raves and regrets from the judges, but seemed to still get his emotional message in song to the audience. The artist again used his grandparents and their lifetime love as inspiration for his original song, “If Not With You, For You.” Julianne Hough, felt Klafford’s heart, giving a standing ovation, and commenting that she “loves the originals.” Howie Mandel held his sour note, saying that he didn't connect with the song. Gabrielle Union continues to be a big fan, and Queen Latifah became a new one, saying that she felt like she was at Chris’ concert in the audience.

Simon wanted the soulful singer-songwriter to reprise his song from the quarterfinals performances. The votes will have the last say on Klafford’s “America's Got Talent” future.

Even before the Detroit Youth Choir sang a note of their unique rendition of “High Hopes” by Panic! At The Disco, the judges and anyone watching was tearful. The youth thanked their director, Mr. White, for being so transformative in their lives in their pre-performance profile, and the powerful tribute seemed to power the outpouring hope from the stage. This ensemble brings things beyond their energy and voices-- it reaches to the spiritual realms, and this world is craving the things that really mean something these days.

Gabrielle Union complimented that the performance was “church, it was praise and worship, it was everything.” “That's entertainment,” was the summary from Queen Latifah, and Simon Cowell said that this offering was as good as the group’s first audition. The British judge also elaborated that everyone “needs a Mr. White in their lives."

The inspiration rose even higher when light-painting artist Alex Dowis depicted the horrendous, unimaginable scenes consuming the twin towers at New York City's Ground Zero on 9-11, and powerfully presenting the rescuers who saved untold lives. His timing and his talent could not have combined for any greater impact. Howie Mandel was still confused, saying that he couldn't follow every moment, but the other judges were beyond moved.

“There's no light without the dark,” Julianne Hough spoke. “Evocative,” was the word Queen Latifah chose. Simon Cowell related that the performance was “so beautiful, respectful, and important” that he would be watching it again.

Still more moving offerings

Guitarist Marcin Patrzalek left the high-production behind as he opened his performance of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” which instantly had the judges moving in their chairs. Patrzalek began with his back to the panel and then turned around to the judges and the audience for a flourishing finish. Five ovations came for Marcin, too. Simon Cowell said that it was the musician’s “best performance by a mile.” Queen Latifah enjoyed watching the musicians on stage try to keep up with the guitarist’s talent, and Julianne Hough said she loved everything that Marcin “freakin’ shows us!”

Julianne Hough was at a loss for words and lost her composure after the performance from 10-year-old opera phenom, Emanne Beasha.

The beautiful schoolgirl with the beautiful voice didn't miss a note with her contemporary choice of “Everything I Do, I Do It For You.” Hough related that it was a “profound thing, such beauty and grace” in Beasha’s voice, before saying “I have to compose myself,” and passing to Simon. “You don't know how good you are,” Cowell reminded Emanne, who has a stuffed blue-eyed dog who reminds her of the judge. The stuffed animals told Queen Latifah that the singer’s performance was going to be something special. They were right, and her journey from “America's Got Talent” is already beginning.

Comedian Ryan Niemiller had a hilarious profile piece portraying preconceptions many people have about a challenged or disabled person.

His message was that every person wants to be treated like everyone else and respected. His routine focused on his drive from Indiana to LA, and how people always want him to do things that he will never do, like fishing, jet skiing, or otherwise being around water. Howie Mandel remains Ryan's cheerleader for the finals, and it could happen. Gabrielle Union is waiting for the comedian’s comedy special, and Queen Latifah went one better-- she's waiting for the movie. Simon Cowell said that he felt like he was on Ryan's ride to the finals.

The military service quartet, Voices of Service, touched every soul in earshot of “America's Got Talent” with their performance of “Choke” by OneRepublic. Anyone not familiar with the song is assuredly running to replay the clip after last night.

The mission of this dedicated group is as noble as it gets,and the healing, hope, and light that reflect from their unified hearts has undeniable power. Simon Cowell encouraged that it was the “most outstanding vocal” ever from the group. Julianne Hough praised “the purpose behind your passion” as the most powerful force. Queen Latifah felt that passion very personally as the daughter of a veteran.

Inspiration and talent fueled this emotional night ahead of the finals, and America will decide the five acts going forward on Wednesday.

Predictions for the final five finalists:

  • V Unbeatable
  • Luke Islam
  • Detroit Youth Choir
  • Emanne Beasha
  • Dom Chambers