Academy of Villains

Getting handsy paid off for Academy of Villains. (NBC)

Spencer Horsman may yet escape elimination on "America's Got Talent." Last night, the Baltimore illusionist was one of Howard Stern's picks for next week's wildcard round.

But first, we had to suffer through more YouTube acts.

Last night's episode, whose only purpose was to reveal which four of the 12 YouTube acts would advance, was all about buying time and stretching a predictable show with 10 minutes of important information into an hour.

And it was preceded by an hour-long recap that just showed the acts from last night again. Recaps on recaps on recaps! Not to mention, the episode was padded out by as many diversions as possible:

Olympian Gabby Douglas co-hosted admirably; we were privvy to a preview of the Justin Bieber video for "As Long As You Love Me," which is pretty much a completely not-subtle version of Usher's "Climax"; a performance from annoying viral pop-phonies Karmin; Randall, who "humorously" commented on footage of a Honey Badger on YouTube, transferring that painfully unfunny schtick to "AGT" clips. 

There was also a mini-documentary that showed Howard Stern going from his Sirius/SM radio show in New York, to "AGT" in Newark, New Jersey. It involved a police escort, which is terribly obnoxious. 

The Stern segment also reminded me of the most maddening aspect of Stern's involvement in the show. A few years ago, Stern, who treats "AGT" like it's life or death,  commandeered Season Six of "American Idol"by getting his obsessively devoted "Baba Booey!"-bellowing fans to keep voting for the much-hated Sanjaya Malakar.

That a man who was responsible for trolling and seriously fudging the results of a reality show, is now all-business on another reality show is a pretty incredible case of cognitive dissonance, right? 

Anyways, onto those brief moments when the show, you know, actually had something to do with keeping competition going.

First up was Cast In Bronze, Reverse Order, and the only, great-with-no-caveats YouTube act, Academy of Villains, who obviously advanced.

Next, there was 7 In Unison, Bria Kelly, and Rudy Coby. Sharon got creepily magnanimous and all proud grandma-like and told the acts they "had great courage," and then apologized to Rudy Coby for saying he was "dark." She did not apologize for comparing him to "a Nazi," though.

Bria Kelly, competent, confident country singer, moves on. Then, in what was a surprise to no one, Magic of Puck beat out last night's two worst acts, Eric Buss and Melinda Hill.

Clint Carvalho and his Extreme Parrots, Romeo Dance Cheetah, and Drew Erwin were the last trio to face elimination. Romeo, the annoying air guitarist, got the boot, and it was left up to the judges to pick either the overly confident Carvalho ("I did what I was supposed to do, exactly," was his smarmy appeal to the judges) and the reedy-voiced Erwin. Parrot dude was picked.

At the end of the episode, there was a quick montage that revealed which wild card acts each judge chose for next week.

Howard's picks are the Kriss Angel of crossbows Ben Blaque; Todd Oliver, a weirdo who turned his dog into a ventriloquist puppet; Horse who gets kicked in the crotch like no other; and Horsman.

Sharon picked dancin' Red Staters All That!, Lindsey Norton who's like Turf if he weren't completely insane, euro-trash acrobats The Bandbaz Brothers, and singer Jake Wesley Rogers, whose name immediately sticks the tune of Bob Dylan's "John Wesley Harding" in my head. 

Howie's choices are pretentious magician/pianist duo Jarrett and Raja who said they're "outsiders in the world of magic" last month, so-cute-you-want-to-kill-yourself mariachi singer Sebastian "El Charro de Oro," bro who balances on stuff Cristin Sandu, and Susan Boyle-voiced goth, Andrew De Leon.