America’s Got Talent pulled a cruel twist Wednesday while announcing five acts headed to the finals.
Show host Tyra Banks, 43, called forward singers Johnny Manuel and Yoli Mayor and they stepped up to await their fate.
‘The next act going into the finals is… woah, neither of you,’ Tyra read, as the camera cut to the judges all pulling frustrated and upset faces.
Cruel twist: Tyra Banks pulled a cruel twist on Johnny Manuel and Yoli Mayor during Wednesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent
Tyra then put Simon Cowell on the spot by asking for his reaction.
‘Oh, that was nice,’ Simon said sarcastically. ‘You just told them one was going through and then said neither of you.’
Simon then told the disappointed singers: ‘No one is going to leave here tonight as a loser, I genuinely mean that.
‘I’m disappointed that neither of you are going to make it, but you could not have done any more. You walk out of here with your heads held high, I mean that.’
On the spot: Simon Cowell was put on the spot by Tyra after she told both singers they were not advancing to the finals
So close: Johnny and Yoli were told that only one could advance and then Tyra said neither of them were going to the finals
The gripping results episode saw five acts go through, but meant six talented hopefuls saw their dreams end at the last major hurdle.
Perhaps the most surprising elimination was roller skating brother and sister act Billy and Emily England who pulled out all the stops in the semifinal — with Billy even throwing his sister off stage at high speed.
Only the top three in the viewers’ votes from the semifinal performances were voted through automatically, with the last two spots coming from a Dunkin’ Saves online vote during the night with the final pick by the judges.
Tough call: Sarah and her dog Hero were called forward along with brother and sister rollerskating act Emily and Billy
They will be joined by another five acts from the second round of semi-finals next week.
Comedian Preacher Lawson was the first to be sent through automatically, with Howie Mandel insisting: ‘Somebody like you comes along once in a lifetime, once in a decade. I predict you are the next comedic superstar.’
Preacher had poked fun at host Tyra Banks’s forehead in his act, and she kissed his forehead after the decision as he insisted: ‘I love every big forehead person out there.’
First through: Preacher Lawson was the first to make it to the finals
Ventriloquist Darci Lynne, the 12-year-old who managed to make Simon Cowell blush when her aging puppet Edna sang Aretha Franklin’s(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman to him, was next to go through.
‘I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’re gonna win this,’ insisted Mel B, who gave Darci her golden buzzer vote in earlier rounds. ‘I really do believe that, I really do.
‘Keep doing what you’re doing. America loves you and I love you, you are absolutely incredible, you really are.’
Fan favorite: Darci Lynne advanced to the finals after making Simon blush
The final automatic spot in the finals went to dog dancing act Sara and Hero, getting the nod ahead of Billy and Emily England as they stepped forward together.
Hero jumped in the air and repeatedly barked in apparent celebration, while Sara looked genuinely shocked at the decision, saying she felt ‘incredibly blessed.’
‘I pulled that off in five days with some friends and I can’t even believe this,’ she said of her semifinal performance.
Cute routine: Sarah and Hero advanced after their beach-themed routine
Instead of commenting in English, Simon pretended to say a full sentence barking, ending with: ‘Congratulations.’
The next three places in the viewers’ votes — singer-songwriter Chase, magician Eric Jones, and singer Evie Clair — spent the night nervously waiting to see which one of them would be eliminated with just two spots left.
‘The three of you obviously all deserve to go through to the finale — you left everything on this stage last night, you really gave 100 percent,’ Heidi Klum told them.
Viewer voting: Chase Goehring, Eric Jones and Evie Clair were among the bottom three
High praise: Heidi Klum told Chase, Eric and Evie deserve to make it to the finals
‘You prepared for it, you gave it your best, so now it’s up to America.’
Young singer Evie — who brought Simon close to tears with her performance dedicated to her seriously ill father — got the first pick from the Dunkin’ Saves viewers’ vote on the night.
‘This has been such an amazing experience,’ the 13-year-old said, sounding almost breathless after the wait.
Teenage talent: Evie made it to the finals thanks to Dunkin’ Saves
Chase then beat Eric to the night’s final spot in the final, with all but Heidi picking him.
Mel had said during her decision process: ‘I’m going to go with what my 18-year-old wants — she doesn’t listen to me much but I’m gonna listen to her — and pick Chase.’
As the other finalists rushed on stage to hug him, Eric walked off immediately, leaving host Tyra Banks to call back to him: ‘Love you, Eric — love you and your son, Eric.’
Last one: Chase was the final contestant to make it to the finals
Gospel choir singers Danell Daymon and Greater Works were first to be sent home as they lost out to Preacher, who said after they left: ‘I want to congratulate them for getting this far — it was just too much gospel, you know what I’m saying?’
New York subway singer Mike Yung was also eliminated, losing out to Darci.
Last year’s runners up The Clairvoyants returned for a guest performance, blindfolding Howie and bringing up Mel, in a beautiful gold dress with flowers on it, and making Howie think he was being touched even though everyone was across the stage.
Mind readers: The Clairvoyants returned and performed an impressive routine
They also did a trick where Howie was told he would ‘listen to Mel’s thoughts,’ with him quipping: ‘Oh my God that’s scary.’
Mel picked a word from a stack of 100 cards, and Howie then insisted he sensed the word — correctly guessing it was ‘Sunshine.’
After the act, Thommy Ten and Amélie van Tass, called the judges ‘the newest clairvoyants’ while Tyra said: ‘This is some crazy hocus pocus going on up here.’
Thought reader: Howie appeared to read Mel’s mind
Got it: Mel picked a word from a stack of cards and Howie guessed it
The judges also played Buzzer Buddies, a game where they showed off how much they know about each other.
Bald judge Howie joked that he never takes the stage without ‘Hair gel’ — joking ‘I’m not telling you what I use it for’ — and Simon said he wished Howie would stop ‘calling me at five in the morning to go to a sauna.’
Heidi yodeled when the judges said they wished she would stop singing, and when she was asked what she ‘would not be without on set,’ answered: ‘Breathing.’
Game time: The judges played a game of Buzzer Buddies
‘You’re taking this very literally, Heidi,’ Simon told her, to which she replied: ‘I’m German.’
Mel, meanwhile, showed off a comparatively conservative hairstyle having previously had it dyed blue, silver and red on other nights this season.
Clips from the previous night showed Howie teasing his colleague over her bright red hairstyle that night, with him saying: ‘I spent the whole night beside a sexy turkey.’
America’s Got Talent returns next week on NBC with the second group of semifinalists performing for a chance in the finals.
The winners: Heidi and Mel won the Buzzer Buddies competition