Chris Haston/NBC/AP
July 15, 2010 01:00 AM

Judge Piers Morgan called hand whistler Sally Cohn “one of the great whistlers in the world,” but the quirkiness of her talent didn’t ring well in the ears of America and she was one of the first contestants to be sent home on Wednesday’s live eliminations.

“I was surprised because earlier this afternoon, I had over 2,700 messages on Facebook, email and YouTube,” Cohn, 75, told PEOPLE. “In a way, I’m kind of relieved.”

Although Morgan says he is sad to see Cohn go, “the right acts went through.”

Singer — and Justin Bieber lookalike — Nathaniel Kenyon was the first to move on to the semifinals. Fighting Gravity, the Virginia Tech fraternity brothers who perform their acts entirely in the dark, also moved on. “They re very, very different and they keep surprising me,” Morgan said Tuesday. Howie Mandel added on elimination night that America “will see them in the finals.” Sister act Christina and Ali, who both have cystic fibrosis, secured the third spot in the semifinals and dedicated their victory to another sister who recently passed away.

For the fourth spot, it came down to Future Funk, the pint-sized break-dancing duo, RNG, a group of five girls who danced Tuesday to Rihanna, and singer Paul Safy, Jr., who did not make the cut to judges’ choice. Safy, a waiter in New York City, will be back to work at his restaurant this weekend but told PEOPLE, “This is by no means the end of me. I’m going to keep singing.”

Then, in a split decision between the panel, Future Funk was selected to move on to the semifinals, getting votes from Morgan and Mandel, while Sharon Osbourne‘s vote went to RNG.

“I looked at the ages,” Osbourne told PEOPLE. “And we had the girls who are teenagers versus boys who are 5 and 10 and I just thought, ‘I’m going to give it to the girls.’ “

There are still 36 more acts to see in the next three weeks, and “We could have a Susan Boyle moment where someone comes out of nowhere,” Morgan said. “I’d love that to happen.” –MoMo Zhou

Tell us: Did America – and the judges – make the right decision in the first round?

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