“This is the stage that makes dreams come true,” declared judge Lilly Singh off the top of Tuesday’s exciting first-of-two semi-final episodes of Canada’s Got Talent. Added Howie Mandel: “Are they going to rise to the occasion? Or are they going to be crushed under the pressure?”

First up on Tuesday’s semi-final showdown was Alexandra Cote and her two fantastic fidos.

Trish Stratus, as viewers may recall, showed no puppy love in the audition round. Can’t all dogs do tricks? She asked to the amusement of the other judges.

There were no catty remarks from Trish Tuesday. After all, how many pets can skip rope with their master?

Alexandra and her clever canines performed in a park-themed setting while “Walking Through Sunshine” blared over the Fallsview Casino speakers.

Best of all they looked like they were having a doggone good time. As Lilly remarked, “It’s so clear the relationship you have with your animals is so pure.”


Maya Manzu, a 14-year-old singer/musician from Toronto, was next. She sang a peppy pop song accompanied by several dancers, cranking her voice way up several octaves for some diva-like high notes.

“OK, Maya,” said Lilly, who was impressed. This was Kardinal Offishall’s Golden Buzzer choice, and he was equally effusive in his praise.

Cool Giraffes, a dance act from Edmonton, gave it their semi-final shot. The age range for the troupe is 12 to 27 years old, and they all sounded very confident in the warm-up video.

Unfortunately, Tuesday’s performance did not wow the judges.

“I didn’t think this routine was as good as your first,” said Howie. “Giraffes stick their necks out.” Kardi said it was cool, but “there was no explosion.”

Next: could the Turnbull Brothers live up to their charming audition round?

The Glace Bay, Nova Scotia twins, backed by the house band, ripped into “How Far is Heaven.”

Kardi said he loved the energy and the personality. “It’s super loveable,” he said, but, like Lilly, he also felt “it started and ended in the same place.”

“I don’t agree with my colleagues,” said Howie. “I think the people at home are going to love you,” adding, “I enjoyed it from beginning to end.”

Appearing next was Magician Atsushi Ono from Calgary. Once again, he came down to the judges table to perform an intricate, sleight of hand card trick.

It all involved a seven of diamonds. Trish drew a star on the card.

The real star, however, was Atsushi Ono, who wowed all four judges.

“You’re amazing!” declared Howie. Lilly felt his talent “was undeniable.” The Fallsview Casino crowd loved him as well.

FOR MORE of my recap of Tuesday’s first of two semi-final episodes, follow this link to about.Rogers.com.

NEXT TUESDAY: none more semi-finalists go before the judges.

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