[symple_heading style=”” title=”By Ken Stone” type=”h1″ font_size=”” text_align=”left” margin_top=”20″ margin_bottom=”20″ color=”undefined” icon_left=”” icon_right=””]

Stronger than he knows, Merrick Hanna of Encinitas advanced to the Aug. 15 or 16 live show of “America’s Got Talent,” getting a standing ovation in Tuesday night’s “Judge Cuts” episode.

The 12-year-old was seen for the first time on the NBC show since late May, when his storytelling dance won raves and hearts.

“Since then, his performance has racked up more than 7 million views on the NBC talent competition’s official YouTube page,” noted Gossip Cop. “Now he had to win over the judges again in hopes of making it into the quarterfinals. And this time, he wanted to be ‘happy and more energetic.’”

He delivered, thanks to a 95-second routine involving a park bench and “Something Wild” from the movie “Pete’s Dragon.”

(Hours before the East Coast airing of the show, several YouTube channels posted Merrick’s performance, apparently from the United Kingdom showing of “AGT.”)

The Lindsey Stirling song performed by Andrew McMahon includes the lyrics:

You’ve got a big heart
The way you see the world
It got you this far
You might have some bruises
And a few of scars
But you know you’re gonna be OK
And even though you’re scared
You’re stronger than you know

Merrick, a former “So You Think You Can Dance” entrant who didn’t make the top 10 in that Fox show, heard judge and show creator Simon Cowell say: “The way that you managed to tell the story within your performance makes you different, relevant, cool.”

Aiming for the $1 million top prize, Merrick is shown with backstage host Tyra Banks, the Inglewood-born actress and model, in which he holds his breath for the judge’s decision on who would advance.

During through the East Coast airing, Merrick tweeted: “I’m still holding my breath. #TyraBanks”

Tuesday’s show was the fourth and final “Judge Cuts” in which seven of 20 acts are chosen for next week’s live shows.

Guest judge Seal, the English singer-songwriter once married to judge Heidi Klum, used the season’s last “Golden Buzzer” to automatically advance singer Johnny Manuel.

“That meant out of the remaining 19 acts, the regular panelists could only choose six more to go on to the next round, with everyone else getting eliminated,” Gossip Cop said. “Cowell, Mel B, Howie Mandel and Heidi Klum ultimately chose Air Force singing group In The Stairwell, the Pompeyo Family Dogs, gospel choir Greater Works, …Hanna, young dancing duo Artyon and Paige and singer Kechi.”

Other Golden Buzzer acts were singers Mandy Harvey, Angelina Green and Christian Guardino, ventriloquist Darci Lynn Farmer and visual dance group Light Balance.

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