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Military wives on ‘America’s Got Talent’ have hill to climb

Updated: 2013-09-04T14:26:08Z

By LISA GUTIERREZ

The Kansas City Star

The American Military Spouses Choir – with a wife from Fort Leavenworth – soared to the semifinals of “America’s Got Talent” with showstopping performances in recent weeks.

But after Tuesday night, maybe even their husbands can’t help them.

The choir performed in the second round of semifinalists on the NBC talent show. The group, including Stephanie Holmberg of Fort Leavenworth, performed Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel.”

Judge Heidi Klum was the first to address the group after it sang, telling the women “I love what you stand for.

“I thought that the song choice was perfect. You are all angels. You are all angels to your spouses.”

And that’s when fellow judge Howie Mandel pounced.

“Here’s the thing,” he interrupted Klum. “The thing is, we got to judge them on what they did, not who they’re married to.”

Judge Howard Stern agreed with Mandel.

“Of course I applaud you. You have a beautiful story and part of who you are is your story,” Stern said.

“But I like Howie’s point. I felt tonight’s performance was pleasant, like maybe more a USO tour than Radio City Music ...

“I think now it’s the best of the best. I applaud you, I love you, I love what your husbands do ... but I don’t know if this was the best of the best.”

Only six of 12 acts that performed Tuesday will move on in the competition.

The choir’s competition includes an 11-year-old singing diva, little-kid ballroom dancers, the comedic Kristef Brothers magicians, faux-angry comedian John Wing, an opera singer and a contortionist.

And Kenichi Ebina, the Japanese dancer/martial artist whose first performance on the show racked up millions of YouTube hits and a prediction from Mandel that he would win the $1 million prize.

Maybe, for the wives’ sake, friends in high places count for something.

A few days ago the choir received a letter of support from Jill Biden, wife of vice president Joe Biden.

The six acts moving on will be announced at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

To reach Lisa Gutierrez, call 816-234-4987 or send email to lgutierrez@kcstar.com.

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