When Nick Cannon showed up in a pink-accented jacket, we knew Tuesday’s round of competition on America’s Got Talent was going to be special. The field was strong with only a few obvious duds — judge Piers Morgan wasn’t afraid to use his buzzer on hokey Coney Island Chris and stagnant African High Flyers.

Highlights of the night included past AGT reject Mia Boostrom, who was validated for giving it another go after being told she was not good enough last season. Bollywood dance troupe Ishaara also rose to the occasion, as did a maintenance worker singer who did a heartful and “hungry” song, according to Morgan.

But two acts stood out from the standouts:

Barbara Padilla, the opera singer who is a cancer survivor, pushed the emotional buttons to make want to see her win. She had a positive attitude and enough raw ability to do just that. Her songs aren’t popular, but for her singing style, they amplified her abilities. Sharon Osbourne called her a “star,” while Morgan said she “raised the bar so high I don’t see anyone beating you.” Padilla seems such a great recipient for the title, saying she felt “blessed” and giving a shout-out to her daughter at home and telling her to “follow her dreams.”

Before the night was over, a high-energy revelation came in the form of New Hampshire’s Recycled Percussion, a Stomp-like act with different instruments and techniques. The four-man group banged on pots, drilled on guitars and appeared to play a can with electric saws to “Ballroom Blitz.” (Watch a clip) After a well-timed explosion at the end, all three judges gave them a standing ovation, a true rarity on AGT. Morgan said he thought Recycled could win the whole show. Osbourne said she could not recognize the act from the previous round because of their improvement. And the Hoff said he wanted to bang on things.

Our top five picks to go on to the semi-finals: Barbara Padilla, Recycled Percussion, Erik and Rickie, Drew Stevyns and Mia Boostrom. –Nicholas White

Tell us: Who do you think will make it to the semi-finals? Who could go all the way?