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'America's Got Talent' recap: The top 40 revealed!

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I knew even before last night’s episode began that we’d be lucky to see even a few minutes of performance shots interspersed with all the cheering, and the crying, and the sentimental music. And sure enough, I was right. Not that I’m patting myself on the back. America’s Got Talent may be a lot of things, but unpredictable isn’t one of ’em. Over-the-top emotional, however, is the show’s strong suit, which is probably why the producers focused on individual judging sessions that put the contestants through hell as they waited to find out if they’d cracked the top 40.

This episode took the drama to uncomfortable levels, to the point where I became audibly mad at the Hoff when he played the cat to Queen Emily’s ball of (gloriously talented) yarn. Hasselhoff bemoaned the singer’s overwhelming emotional sensitivity, saying that he “wasn’t voting her through…because of her emotions, but because of her talent.” By the time he got to telling her she was in the final 40, Queen Emily was reduced to a mass of tears and sequins. Not right!

In the end, the Zooperstars, Derek the Britney impersonator, Shequida, and Tapping Dads (among others) made it through, but not so for Dan Meyer, Miss PussyKatt, Junior and Emily, Lil Countrie and Page 1ne. The elimination of the last group, break dancers from New Orleans (embedded below), was particularly tough on thisformer NOLA resident, but all hope is not lost! (Click past the jump to find out why.)

The night contained one one surprising twist: Christine fromThe Russian Bar Trio (one acrobatic act to make the cut) suffered aserious injury, and had to withdraw from the show, so America gets tovote who takes her place. Your choices are DonnyBraswell (the man with the severed vocal chords), Lil Countrie and Page1ne, Dan Meyer, Victora Jacoby (little miss contortionist), MissPussyKatt (chainsaw girl), Kyle Rifkin (soul vocalist), Xclusive (solodancer), or Junior and Emily (ballroom dancing pair)? Choose wisely, oryou may be seeing more of the following act. Eeep!

The judges made a slew of other “tough” “decisions” too, but with the Olympics onthe immediate horizon, it all turned into an undeniable rush job. Ikinda wish they’d have cut this episode altogether, then let us get tothe real competition when the Beijing games are over. Is it just me? And who are you rooting for to win the whole ball of yarn wax?