Boot camp continued in Las Vegas for a second night of auditions from the Judges' Favorites -- a whirlwind spectacle of magicians, comedians, child prodigies, and various musical acts. Whirlwind is an accurate description. I'm definitely disoriented in the aftermath of our first honest-to-goodness eliminations maybe, just maybe, I'm longing for the cut and dry decision making of The Voice, the former holder of America's Got Talent's time slot.
Is it too much to ask for a little bit of explanation? Perhaps a peek into the decision making process that is a little more insightful than a bunch of sound bites taken out of context and mashed up with a token Montage of Tears? How many spots were filled tonight? How many are left? Who actually made the cut? Did anyone actually approach singer Shanice Hayes about ditching her dad, the other half of her duet act? We spent a lot of time talking about it and then never talked about it again, blowing through this entire process like it's some sort of chore we have to finish before going outside to play.
I get it. The live rounds in New York are where the fun lives. It's one of the big selling points of this series. It's The Part That Everyone Looks Forward To. Maybe everything leading up to the live rounds doesn't matter in the long run, like a movie with really terrible build-up and a surprisingly thrilling ending, but for now, I'd like to feel like I'm not wasting my time.
Anyway, obligatory format rant out of the way, tonight's performances featured two of my favorite type of act: magicians and comedians.
Mind reader Eric Dittelman confounded the judges and this particular reviewer again, this time reading Sharon Osbourne's mind for the identity of a former boyfriend not named Ozzy. He guessed that she was thinking of someone named Robin, which was correct, with the catch being that Sharon never dated anyone by that name. She made it up at random. I think the whole act is pretty amazing. Oh, I'm sure there's a trick and if I looked for it, I could probably find it online, but I won't because at the moment, I'm just kicking back and enjoying the feeling of being honestly impressed.
Escape artist Spencer Horsman upped the danger factor by having himself blindfolded and locked in an itty bitty box full of water. There was an audible OMG moment in the audience when he dropped his lock pick outside the box, but with a little MacGuyvering on the spot, Horsman made his great escape.
Tom Cotter came out on top of the comedians with girlfriend jokes that were actually funny. (Yay!) Meanwhile, Frank Roche crashed and burned, ditching the impression-heavy routine that Howard Stern previously panned in favor of something... something that will remain unseen. He received an impressively incredulous look from Howie Mandel when he fumbled his first joke and asked to start over. Unsurprisingly, he was immediately sent home.
Howard Stern revealed that he apparently continues to nurse matchmaker aspirations when it comes to duet act Eric & Olivia. Or maybe he just got a kick out of making them blush. They do it so well, after all. The duo performed "What a Wonderful World" and Stern declared them a potential headliner. He really dug Olivia's voice, and, I suspect, future opportunities to torture Eric with questions about his love life.
The judges were torn on father daughter act Maurice and Shanice Hayes. They agreed that Shanice had a real talent and floated the idea of sending her forward as a solo act after Maurice fumbled some lyrics on stage.
Another father daughter duo, Alexa and Jorge Navaez, performed an adorable, ADORABLE, rendition of "Be my Baby," but ultimately found themselves sent home. The cute, sadly, just didn't cut it.
Of the male singers, Ulysses (aka: that guy who sang the theme from The Love Boat) made it through despite the fact that Stern still claimed not to get the appeal. Sharon compared teenage pianist Edon to a young Billy Joel. There was no mention of the controversy surrounding country star wannabe Tim Poe's questionable combat record, but I think his hasty elimination spoke for itself. Longtime fan favorite Tim Hockenberry made it through just fine.
And finally-- the children. No category caused the judges as much agony as the children. No one wants to see a kid cry, let alone be the cause of his or her tears. Mariachi singer Sebastien "El Charro de Oro" was quickly advanced while we (somewhat) reluctantly bid the delightfully charming Issac Brown goodbye. The Untouchables dance group disco-ed their way to New York while Amazing Elizabeth, though graceful and skilled, was sent home. Despite the cuts, there were surprisingly few tears.
Tomorrow, the Standbys will compete for what few spots remain in the 2-hour conclusion to Vegas Week on NBC at 9.
What did you think about tonight's performances? And the eliminations? Is there anyone in particular you would have liked to see stay or go? Sound off below!
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