Jeffrey Ou, a pianist from Carrollton, Texas; Lawrence Beamen, a singer from Walnut Creek, Calif.; Mario and Jenny Ferreira, married jugglers from Las Vegas; Hairo Torres, a contortionist breakdancer from Grants Pass, Ore.; and Footworkingz, a dance crew from Chicago learned Wednesday that they will compete in the NBC talent show's semifinals.
All are vying for the $1 million prize and the chance to headline a Las Vegas show in October. Viewers selected the top four favorites via phone, e-mail and text message votes while judges Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff picked the fifth semifinalist. Last week, five acts - including a trio of singing sisters - progressed to the semifinals.
A few acts the judges heaped praise on Tuesday did not make the cut Wednesday, including 17-year-old crooner Bri Bernstein and the singing group Marcus Terell and The Serenades. When deciding between six-girl dance group Pixie Mystere and six-man dance crew Footworkingz for the fifth slot, Morgan voiced his frustration at the acts selected to move forward.
"I think America's made some strange decisions with a couple of these acts," he bemoaned.
Wednesday's episode also featured performances by "High School Musical" actress Ashley Tisdale and Daughtry, the band fronted by former "American Idol" finalist Chris Daughtry. His take on competing on a reality TV contest: "It's never easy to be in front of, well, one, an audience, and then millions of people judging you on the other side of the screen."
Next week, five final acts will be selected as semifinalists.
By DERRIK J. LANG