(CBS News) "America's Got Talent" booted a whopping nine acts Wednesday night, leaving just three semifinalists out of this week's 12 competitors a chance to compete in the finals.
The evening kicked off with comedian Steve Harvey cracking jokes and also praising the contestants.
"I gotta tell you, some of the greatest acts I've ever seen have been on the show," he said.
Host Nick Cannon then announced the top four contenders: harp player William Close, sand artist Joe Castillo, dog ventriloquist Todd Oliver and comedian Tom Cotter.
But one was about to get cut.
Close and Cotter were the first to go through, so the judges had to pick between Oliver and sand artist Joe Castillo. In the end, the judges chose sand over a dog; Castillo will head to the finals.
"Wow," judge Howard Stern said. "We're going to have a fabulous, fabulous finale."
But before that, comes another semifinal round. Next week will see the other top 12 acts perform for a shot at the finals. The winner will score $1 million, along with a spot on the Las Vegas performance circuit.
Wednesday night's episode also said goodbye to acrobat duo Donovan and Rebecca, opera singer Andrew De Leon, dance act Academy of Villains, the synchronized Scott Brothers, mind-reader Eric Dittelman, street dancer Turf, and teen singers Bria Kelly and Edon.
The next round begins Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
Tell us: Did the right acts advance?