WATCH: Fate of Willis Clan, suburban tap-dancers to be unveiled Wednesday on ‘AGT’

SHARE WATCH: Fate of Willis Clan, suburban tap-dancers to be unveiled Wednesday on ‘AGT’

A pair of tap-dancing teens and a dozen musical brothers and sisters — both acts with ties to Chicago — are hoping their performances Tuesday on “America’s Got Talent” will woo enough voters to secure them spots in the NBC talent show’s semi-finals.

Sean Jones, 18, of Bloomingdale and Luke Pialis, 17, of Roselle, danced like they’d just downed a gallon Red Bull.

The west suburban duo, both members of Aspire Dance Company, delivered an energetic tap routine to MKTO’s “Classic,” opening the first live show for viewers’ votes on a high note.

“You make it look much easier than it is,” judge Heidi Klum said.

Howie Mandel and Mel B were equally laudatory, but Howard Stern wouldn’t budge from his previous “meh” stance.

“It was nice and nice … is not memorable,” Stern said. “It needed something more.”

Tuesday marked the first round of the quarter finals at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall as 12 of the 48 remaining acts vied to stay in the competition for a shot at the $1 million prize.

Also competing Tuesday was The Willis Clan, a Tennessee-based band made up of the grandchildren of the Rev. Duane and Janet Willis, who lost their six children nearly 20 years ago in a van crash linked to Illinois’ licenses-for-bribes scandal that landed former Gov. George Ryan behind bars. The band members’ father, Toby Willis, was not in the van that caught fire and claimed the lives of his siblings.

The Willis Clan — a collection of singers, musicians and dancers ages 3 to 22 — put their signature bluegrass spin on the Huey Lewis’ hit, “The Power of Love.”

Their routine, however, didn’t have enough power, according to several judges. And me. (I still think their universal charm gets them a pass into the next round.)

“Radio City Music Hall swallowed you up tonight,” Mel B said, adding that their performance simply wasn’t “big enough.”

Stern has been a fan of the clan since the get go, but the shock jock noted that the act “fell flat for me,” likening it to that point in a show where you take a bathroom break.

“I said to a singer earlier in the evening that they were in the right city in the wrong building; I think you’re in the wrong city,” Mandel said, suggesting a place like Branson, Missouri might be more their speed.

The balance of power now shifts from the judges to fans, whose votes will determine which of Tuesday’s 12 acts gets to stick around during Wednesday’s results show at 8 p.m. on WMAQ-Channel 5.

The Latest
Much of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s funding for this program is coming from the state’s $45 billion Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan but almost $16 billion more is expected to come in from the federal government.
Manager Tony La Russa admitted he pondered keeping Kopech in the game but thought the long-term considerations weighed more heavily.
They entered their game Friday against the Tigers swinging at 36.4% of pitches outside of the strike zone, the highest percentage in the American League, according to Fangraphs.
The unclassified documents from the Obama administration are at the official Obama Presidential Library in Hoffman Estates; classified material is in Maryland.
Some records were marked “sensitive compartmented information,” a category meant to protect the nation’s most important secrets — secrets that, if revealed publicly, could cause “exceptionally grave” damage to U.S. interests.