'America's Got Talent' final live cuts recap: The contestants get desperate for the last spots

With the last week of live rounds before the remaining acts move on to the semifinals, the last 12 acts put it all on the line on “America’s Got Talent.” With all the decisions left up to the American voting public, there was no room for error, but some were still reaching for the middle.

Despite the stiff competition for the last remaining spots, the first half of the night was relatively uneventful. Compared to last week where technical difficulties and feuds amongst the judges ruled, it was a rather run-of-the-mill performance as acts like the the Greater Works gospel choir took the stage. The group started things off strong and delivered yet another flawless outing on the “AGT” stage. Although no one had criticism for them, they made sure to innovate for the live rounds and turned things into more of a performance and spectacle, and the judges took notice.

Also innovating on Tuesday were Junior and Emily. The dancing brother and sister duo crawled up from a bad neighborhood and brushes with crime to make their way to the top. Last time, judge Simon Cowell got on them about their choreography and its lack of originality. Taking that note to heart, they delivered in a huge way and ended up winning over the ice-cold judge. He called it, “The most powerful and dynamic performance we’ve seen so far.”

From there, Final Draft took the stage followed by Oscar Hernandez. The first sang, the second danced and both performances were great. However, the judges clearly wanted to prepare them each for the possibility that America won’t find what they do worthy of a million dollars and a show in Vegas. Not to say they’re not talented or impressive, but the time has come to thin the herd.

A more puzzling act came in the form of the master of deduction Colin Cloud. The Scottish mentalist studied forensic investigation and uses those skills to make impressive predictions on stage. It’s unlike any other act on the show, but what he called his most impressive showing yet ended up being a lengthy and confusing showcase. However, if showmanship is his only flaw, there’s still time for him to improve if he makes it to the next round.

Finally, things took a turn for the unique as projection artists Oskar and Gaspar took the stage. Last time, they earned a golden buzzer from Heidi Klum when they projected a variety of outfits and images on her body. This time, they had two models take the stage and trade tattoos and other artwork through touch. It was beautiful, but Heidi felt it lacked energy. However, she admitted that her opinion may have been colored by the fact that she wasn’t the star of their second outing. In the end, it was original enough for almost all the judges to agree that they wanted more from the mysterious technicians in the next round. However, it’s no longer up to them.

In what was clearly a bottom-heavy show, Sara Carson took the stage next with her dancing dogs. Typically she’s been a controversial act as the judges are split on whether or not they like her. However, given that she’s currently living in her car, the stakes couldn’t have been higher for her. Luckily, this was without a doubt her best showcase yet as she not only incorporated another animal, but did some tricks that Simon said were better than a lot of the human dancers they’ve seen - sorry Hernandez.

Next up was another golden buzzer winner, Chase Goehring, who made a name for himself with his fast singing, tight writing and heartfelt performances. Simon commended him on his ability to stay true to himself, even as his star rises. The whole judge’s panel made it clear that if he continues to follow his path, regardless of what happens on “AGT,” he’ll be a star.

Also carrying a lot of star power was the dancing group Diavolo. If there is a group that’s worthy of their own regular show, it’s these people. Between their props, acrobatics and rhythm, they’re a force to be reckoned with on the “AGT” stage, and it’s hard to envision a world where they’re not through to the next round.

The night closed strong with a musical performance from Meet Kechi, a young survivor of a plane crash that found healing in music. All of the judges gave her gold marks, but Howie Mandel came up with the best reason to put her through - she’s a Houston, Texas native, and he felt as though the people there need her. With a wish of strength for the people affected by the storm, the night of talent was over.

Fans have until 7 a.m. EST August 30 to vote for their favorites before the results are announced on Wednesday night.