'America's Got Talent' recap: Trudging through sludgy semi-finals

Olate Dogs.

I'm probably taking this show a little too seriously over here, but some presentation as to how the 24 acts are divided up into two groups would be nice, because the second week of the semi-finals is full of acts that could never compete with the ones from the first week.

Brian Dittelman lost, even though that mind-reading nerd could whoop the majority of this week's semi-finalists. Makes no sense at all. 

Onto week two's far more miserable group of semi-finalists. Recurring themes this week were big time acts going small, Avicii's dance hit "Le7els," and as always, Howard imparting wisdom no one asked him to impart.

All That, a group of cloggers whose deal is that they look like the kind of guys you'd find in a gas station bathroom, loopy on bath salts, danced with their feet literally on fire, soundtracked by Flo-Rida's Avicii-flipping dance hit "Good Feeling."

It sounds more impressive that it actually was. Sharon loved it, because she's Sharon. Howard and Howie didn't fall for it; Howie even called it "one-dimensional."

Sebastien "El Choro De Oro" misfired as well, going full mariachi, losing sight of the fact that it's his charm and -- screw it, I'll say it -- his swagger that makes him so great. A step down from the Mexican Sinatra performance from a few weeks ago. 

Howard Stern, who must have just read a Wikipedia entry on different types vocals or something, criticized Sebastien's "midrange vocals." He's done this a few times to other contestants, as well. Does he even know what that means? 

The Magic of Puck, a whatever act who got through on the YouTube round because most of the acts were worse, came through with a genuinely impressive magic trick -- a woman in a covered case floated in the air and then reappeared in another case on the floor -- set to, you guessed it, Avicii's "Le7els." 

Clint Carvahlo sent his bird, Kitty, through hoops, over to a mailbox to deliver a letter, and then had the bird grab a can of soda from Sharon. The biggest problem is Carvalho himself, a little too high-energy and a little too full of himself for an act that, as Howard Stern put it, would be best for a "kids party."

Jacob Williams, awkward and deadpan in every way that comedian and finalist Tom Cotter is confident and jokey, performed a careening string of charming, absurd observations, but the jokes just weren't that good.

Perhaps the funniest part of his act was his inappropriate intro music: Tyga's lewd strip club rap, "Rack City." There's no doubt that Williams was smiling as he walked out to that inane party hit.

Dad and daughter singing duo Shanice and Maurice Hayes performed Mariah Carey's "Anytime You Need A Friend." But with the focus on Maurice isntead of Sharice, and a take on the song that was all bombastic slow-burn, it just never really connected.

Howie described All Wheel sports as "'Cirque du Soleil' meets 'The X-Games,'" which he meant as a compliment but pretty much nails what's awful about this act. Their ambitious BMX/acrobatic/light show done in the dark, was further derailed by one of the bikers totally beefing it, mid-performance.

Tim Hockenberry performed John Lennon's "Imagine," in his phoney-balony Joe Cocker voice that this time around, had a few moments where it sounded more like the guy who sang the theme from "Mr. Belvedere." That's this guy's deal though, and it was the poor arrangement of cheesy keys and plucked strings that turned it into a snooze.

Howie compared Hockenberry to Joe Cocker and also Michael Grimm, as if he's as famous as Joe Cocker, and not just that gruff-voiced singing dude from season 5 of "America's Got Talent."

Perhaps the most entertaining and touching moment of the Untouchables' performance occurred during the judges' comments when one member cried excitedly over the simple fact that they danced so well, but you know what? They did. 

During their high-energy tango, this team of young dancers, all of them 13 or younger, appeared impressively synchronized which is pretty much what every other dance troupe this season has aimed for and failed.

Olate Dogs had their canines jumping through hoops, jumping rope, dancing in a conga line, riding a scooter, doing back flips. Sharon almost cried. I did too. Tears of joy, of course. Got to love these doggies!

The last two acts were Lightwire Theater and David Garibaldi and his CMYK's. I'm grouping them together because they are judges' favorites who make sense for the show as "Vegas acts," but who also possess a smoothed-out professionalism that there's just an abundance of this season. They will make the finals and they deserve it, but it doesn't make them more interesting to watch. 

This week, the results show is on Thursday at 8 p.m., so adjust your DVRs accordingly.