Judgment Week: Night 1

Season 9
Episode 908
Air Date 07/22/14
TV-PG
It's the start of Judgment Week, when the judges must decide which acts will move on to the live shows at Radio City Music Hall. But before they agonize over the fate of dozens of acts, Nick and the judges surprise their favorite performers with exciting news: they will skip Judgment Week and go straight to the live shows! Those lucky acts are Blue Journey, David and Leeman, Hart Dance Team, Dom the Bom's Triple Threat, Jonatan Riquelme, Dan Naturman, ACTE II, and Emil and Dariel.
 
The judges bring out the magicians first, with mystifier Mike Super electing to use Howie as a subject for his spirit energy named Desmond. He instructs Howie to hold two chalkboards sandwiched together and to secretly think of a name, then asks Nick to say a random, two-digit number out loud. (Nick chooses 23.) After Mike gives Desmond a moment to make contact, he pulls apart the chalkboards to reveal Howie's secret name (Steve) written out and a zodiac calendar where each row adds up to 23. Mike also points out that the birth month from each judge adds up to 23. They all appear impressed.
 
The judges reel in their enthusiasm after the next magic act, Psycho Jack, botches his presentation. They feel the masked magician lacks the necessary level of execution to even warrant a later discussion, and they summon him from backstage to relay the unfortunate news: he's headed home. 
 
Up next is Franklin Saint, who un-crushes an empty can of soda (and somehow fills it) and, using his own invisible energy, flattens a plastic water bottle. Mat Franco follows him with a card trick where he not only shows the card Mel B picked from the deck, but creates a visualization of Howie holding the card. But are these acts too small for a Radio City performance?
 
Dance is the next category, and with teen tap dancers Sean and Luke, street performer Solto Esengulov, fusion dancers Dragon House "The Agents" and the male salsa duo John and Andrew, the judges agree the level of competition couldn't be higher. However, they also agree that one act appears ready to move on right now. John and Andrew return to the stage to hear the good news - they're heading to Radio City! 
 
Quintavious Johnson leads the charge for the next category, kid singers. He delivers a standout performance, but the sweet opera of Grace Ann Gregorio and the pitch-perfect notes from Mara Justine present the judges with some incredible talent. But rather than stew on one decision they all agree on, the judges elect to push Mara through immediately to the next round of live shows. Julia Goodwin performs next with her father accompanying her on piano, and when she nails a bluesy cover, the judges know more tough decisions lay in their future.
 
Comedians are up next, and quirky comic Darik Santos warms up the stage with his awkward sense of humor. He's followed by a pair of veteran comics (and parents), Wendy Liebman and Joe Matarese. Each showcase their own unique style, but the judges seem to prefer Wendy's set to Joe's.  
 
A category full of surprises trots out next - solo variety. Rollerblade dancer Juan Carlos glides through a new routine and leaves the judges in stitches, with one notable and vocal exception: Howard. John Narum ups the ante with an ambitious yo-yo performance, and Loop Rawlins takes the stage last, adding two fire-lit six-shooters to his already awesome rope-spinning act. 
 
Feats of strength battle it out next, as 93-year-old Mighty Atom Jr. manages to pull a pickup truck across the stage with his teeth - and with the judges in the back! JD Anderson aims to outdo him by not only tearing phone books and bending metal cookware, but also barreling headfirst through a 15-feet-thick wall of ice.  
 
Female singers, another loaded category, starts off with Emily West and a stellar Roy Orbison cover that leaves the judges nodding their heads. Carly Jo Jackson enters next with a soulful ukulele performance, but Anna Clendening hesitates to come out, experiencing a panic attack. Once calm, Anna manages to deliver a solid performance, and in turn, the evening's final songstress Kelli Glover belts out a great tune.
 
But with all this exceptional talent, the question remains: who has what it takes to perform at Radio City Music Hall?
 

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