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'America's Got Talent' Shocker! West Springfield Dance Team Advances to Finals Over Daniel Joseph Baker

Date August 25, 2011
Daniel Joseph Baker We'll never know if Sharon Osbourne would have voted for West Springfield Dance Team, a team she championed, or singer Daniel Joseph Baker, a young man she supported, on 'America's Got Talent's' results show.

When it came down to the judges voting on which act would advance, Howie Mandel and Piers Morgan voted for the dance team, making Osbourne's...

Daniel Joseph Baker We'll never know if Sharon Osbourne would have voted for West Springfield Dance Team, a team she championed, or singer Daniel Joseph Baker, a young man she supported, on 'America's Got Talent's' results show.

When it came down to the judges voting on which act would advance, Howie Mandel and Piers Morgan voted for the dance team, making Osbourne's decision moot.

With superior dance troupe Miami All-Stars advancing it seemed like West Springfield might not make it.

Why did the judges vote the way they did?

"West Springfield Dance Team has hit a nerve with the trend of what young people are watching," Mandel says. "They also have had no time to put together [a new routine.] All the other [dance] team had three weeks. That's huge. I think it's easier to choose and perform a song than it is to choreograph and create a look."

Even some members of West Springfield appeared dumbfounded that they'd been chosen over Baker.

"They didn't know," Mandel says. "I screamed at them, 'You got it.'"

How would Osbourne have voted? (It was previously announced to reporters that she'd be skipping the Wednesday night post-show press line.) "I didn't ask her," Mandel says.

Baker took the rejection like a true professional. "The West Springfield kids are very talented and I wish them all the best," Baker says. "Everything happens for a reason. I don't live and die by this competition."

Still, Baker hopes to continue to perform. "I'd love to move to Hollywood. I feel like I belong here and I feel alive when I'm here."

At the end of Tuesday's show producers ran an In Memoriam tribute to late chief hairstylist Russell Latham, who passed away suddenly after working on last week's show. "Russell was a friend of mine," says executive producer Jason Raff. "We were all so happy for him when he was nominated for an Emmy this year. He's the only Emmy nominee we've ever had. He was using a cane and he had it all bejeweled for the Creative Arts ceremony. Someone will be there for him [in case he wins.]"

"Russell was such a wonderful, sweet talented man," Mandel says. "I always conferred with him. We had a woman on last year who had a bee-hive hairdo. He made me a bee-hive hairdo that I put on. He was always having so much fun. He was a great guy."

"Russell was a lovely man, a gentleman," Sharon Osbourne said on Tuesday.

"Russell did my hair from day one, six years ago," says Morgan. "He was a fantastic guy and we're all pretty shocked about it. I hope he wins [the Emmy.] It'd be a very special thing. He was a much loved member of our family."

Read more http://www.aoltv.com/2011/08/25/americas-got-talent-shocker-west-springfield-dance-team-adva/

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