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AGT Blast to the Past: Lindsey Stirling – Now a YouTube Sensation

Remember the hip-hop violinist from AGT Season 5? She made it to the quarter-finals where she was ultimately eliminated. However, that wasn’t the end for her.

Before I get into that though, here is her Top 48 performance from Season 5.

This probably wasn’t my favorite performance, but it was pretty cool. However, leaving America’s Got Talent early in the competition ended up being a good thing for her. Devin Graham, a cinemetographer, approached Stirling about making a YouTube video with him, and from there, her career took off. The YouTube channel she started in 2007 took off after that video debuted, and has done very well since then. As of this month, she has over 100 million views, and her music has been on Last FM and Pandora. In addition, it is anticipated that she will release a CD later this year.

In an article written about her in BYU Magazine, where she is currently an undergrad, Stirling made this interesting statement after she posted her first video on 2011 on YouTube:

My music quadrupled in sales overnight. YouTube did more for me than America’s Got Talent. I realized there’s something to this.

This shows just how powerful YouTube is. I think it’s pretty cool that she was able to find a lot of success, even though she didn’t make it to the finals of AGT. It sounds like that was the catalyst for her career, but that YouTube is really what helped her become popular. Has anyone heard of any other former AGT contestants that were YouTube sensations as well?

The article also provided some interesting insight into what she’s been up to, as well as how she almost missed out on learning the violin. Apparently, her older sister wanted to play an instrument, and so Stirling wanted to as well. All her parents had was a trumpet, but she really wanted to play a violin. So they let her, although they could only afford for one 15 minute lesson a week, which some of the teachers scoffed at, believing there was no way she could learn. She obviously proved them wrong!

Her videos feature her in a variety of situations and places, including in Africa and New Zealand. I spent some time watching some of her videos tonight, and I have to say, I’m very impressed. They are so much fun, and this girl has some serious talent. I’ve never seen a violinist like her! I posted a few of her videos below, including the one filmed in Africa. It was the first time many of the people in the video had seen a violin. Whenever her album gets released, I think I will purchase it. She seems to be very successful, and is also on track to graduate from Brigham Young University with a degree in therapeutic recreation in 2013.


 

July 31, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is a journalism student at Brigham Young University in her senior year. She is originally from Littleton, Colorado, and hopes to move back there after graduation. Reality television is her favorite to watch, and has enjoyed writing about America's Got Talent and A Chance to Dance. She is a stay-at-home-mom who enjoys writing (especially blogs), cooking and sewing (while spending far too much time on Pinterest finding inspiration) and being outside with her husband and son.

America’s Got Talent Blast from the Past: Michael Grimm

Now let’s take a look at Season Five’s winner, Michael Grimm.

If a little a refresher about his tenure on America’s Got Talent is needed, here is his audition that sent him straight to Vegas. I have to admit, just like Piers Morgan says in this clip, I wasn’t expecting much when I first saw him, but boy, I was blown away when he started playing and singing. He definitely deserved advancing to the next round.

And here Grimm is during the finale (singing “When a Man Loves a Woman”. Love that song.)

There was some debate as to whether Grimm should have beat out Jackie Evancho, he was charming and seemed like an overall nice guy. I had no qualms with him winning. Personally, I found it quite touching that a portion of the winnings went to his grandparents, whose home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

So what has Grimm been up to since winning? Well, his self-titled album was released in March of 2011, which made it to #13 on both the US Pop Music Charts and the Billboard Top 200. Not too shabby. Toward the end of 2011, Grimm opened for Stevie Nicks autumn tour.

After doing some research, it seems as if Grimm is doing just fine. I mean, I couldn’t find any juicy gossip…but that’s probably a good thing, right?  Last November, he had a two week gig with his own show at the Flamingo in Las Vegas, and starting in April of this year, he became a permanent headliner at the Ovation Room in Las Vegas.

Grimm’s grandparent’s home was recently finished, which was an exciting moment for him. I’m glad that he is a man of his word and was able to do that for them.

I don’t know, I just like seeing people remain successful after winning a competition like this. What I like even more is when it doesn’t go to the winner’s head, and I don’t see any evidence of that happening to Grimm. What was your opinion on him? Have you bought his most recent album?

July 28, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is a journalism student at Brigham Young University in her senior year. She is originally from Littleton, Colorado, and hopes to move back there after graduation. Reality television is her favorite to watch, and has enjoyed writing about America's Got Talent and A Chance to Dance. She is a stay-at-home-mom who enjoys writing (especially blogs), cooking and sewing (while spending far too much time on Pinterest finding inspiration) and being outside with her husband and son.

Rumor: Is Sharon Osbourne leaving AGT?

While trolling the internet earlier today, one article from BuddyTV caught my attention. In fact it caught my attention so much that I had to look for the tweets in question myself:

From the Howard Stern Show:


#AGT update: @ isn’t sure if he’ll do another season and says Sharon Osbourne may not come back unless she gets more money #H100
@sternshow
Stern Show

Then again, Sharon had to respond:


My darling @, money is not the reason I’m not returning to @, it’s because…
@MrsSOsbourne
Sharon Osbourne

According to the article this is all news to NBC:

This potential news seems surprising for NBC, as Entertainment Chair Robert Greenblatt said, “This is coming out of context and sort of spontaneously, and we don’t even know what’s going on. And it’s probably much ado about nothing.” Greenblatt had no other comments on the matter at the time.

What do you think? Should Sharon leave? And if she does… who would you like to see replace her?

July 26, 2012 I Written By

America’s Got Talent Season 7: Fourth Quarterfinals Top Four!

Wow, Katie’s on a roll this season. From her Power Rankings and Poll she correctly predicted the acts that were moving on to the Semi Finals.
1. William Close
2. Joe Castillo
3. Olate Dogs
4. Eric Dittleman

In a change from the Third Quarterfinals where I thought the talent was largely underwhelming, the Fourth Quarterfinals turned out to be one of the more difficult evenings when it came to talent. Sure there were low points and there were high points but there were a lot of high points in last night’s performances and I for one only knew of two acts that I thought stood a strong chance of making it through to the Semi-Finals but the other two were relatively up in the air.

After watching all the acts again below are my thoughts as to whom is a legitimate “Million Dollar Act” and how far I would like to see them go in the competition.
1. William Close – Earth Harp
This one I think is a no brainer. He’s not only a musician, but he’s an engineer and an artist. Granted the instrument is he most known for right now is the “Earth Harp”, however we did get a glimpse of other instruments that he has created. He expanded his act to include a vocalist and those other instruments, now just imagine what he could do if he built an entire orchestra? He mentioned in the package that his love is building his instruments and yes the “Earth Harp” is thus far the biggest draw and that will always be the biggest draw… but if he starts integrating more instruments to show just what else he has come up with and do it well I see no issues with him headlining a show in Vegas with or without the “Million Dollar” prize… he can do it.

2. Olate Dogs
This act was just non stop trick after trick after trick. Granted once in a while there would be one dog that just wouldn’t do the trick and it wasn’t until a second try that it would… but for the most part this was non-stop fun. Though I had a funny inclination that this is set up to be a bit of a circus act as a opposed to a Las Vegas act. Not that it couldn’t be… but how much more can it grow? If this act can grow into something larger and “Vegas worthy” I say they would stand a chance to making it beyond the Semi-Finals. However… as much as I love the act, I am not entirely convinced.

3. Eric Dittleman
This is an act that would wow you over and over again… but how long until you are ready for the next bit? Thus far he has done a little bit of mind reading and a little bit of predicting where else can he go? This strikes me as an act that is meant more for the little intimate settings as opposed to the large Las Vegas stage. To me… even though I would love to see him on the stage, I don’t think it would suit at all… it is just too difficult, but that’s just me. I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes it past the Semi-Finals, but honestly I’m not convinced that it would be a good fit.

4. Joe Castillo
If memory serves this is not the first time that a sand artist has come across the AGT stage, but this is the first time that one was able to capture the attention of the audience and judges with his images and storytelling. Very much like Eric, I am not convinced that this is a strong large Las Vegas stage act… this is something I would love to see in a more intimate setting, not only that most Las Vegas shows are at least an hour long. I love what he can do within a couple of minutes but could that actually translate into something over the course of an hour? It’s hard to say.

Since there is a Wild Card show two weeks after the Olympics, below is are the eight acts that didn’t make it through tonight.

July 25, 2012 I Written By

AGT Final Top 48 Performances Commentary – 7/24/2012

I think that many of the best were saved for the last. There were quite of a few acts I really enjoyed, and I’m at a loss for who I think is absolutely staying. I guess it comes down to separating the really good acts, from the spectacular ones. I like to think that my predictions are usually pretty accurate, but tonight, I’m not so sure if I’ll be guessing the correct ones. With that, here’s my thoughts and power rankings on tonight’s performances:

David “The Bullet” Smith: This act was interesting in the auditions. Definitely dangerous. But I always have wondered, what more can he do? Sure he can fly through the air, but there’s only so much you can do with that. I felt like the cheerleaders were a little ridiculous, and the fireworks just were there to make the act seem cooler, but in the end, it was pretty much the same act we saw when he auditioned. I do not think he should go forward after tonight.  The cannon cam was pretty neat though.

All That!: They were cool, but not as good as some of the other dance acts, which, as we’ve been told time and time again, is the hardest category this year. I like the shirt colors. They looked like they were having a lot of fun up there though. I did enjoy them but we will see how they fare against some other acts tonight. It sounded like this was going to be a tough night to be performing in.

Ulysses:  I was shocked when he got through initially, and I’m going to be even more shocked if he gets through tonight. He’s a nice guy…but that’s not what this show is about. I think the triple X’s from the Judges says it all. And the dancers? It’s like they were trying to take away from his badness.

Joe Castillo, Sand Artist: What this man does is very powerful, and he does it with such zest.  I’ve been excited to see his performance tonight, and I wasn’t let down. I loved the images he created, and I feel like the possibilities are endless for his act. This act is something that should be appreciated, and I hope people who do appreciate it will take the time to call in and vote.

Eric & Olivia: An any other night of the Top 48, I think they would have had a good chance. However, tonight, the competition was tough, as I already mentioned. Olivia has a good voice, there is no denying that, but I really don’t think they will get through to the next round. Even though they were good, there were even better performances tonight that I think will push them out of the competiion.

Eric Dittelman: It blows my mind how he does this. My husband is convinced he has an ear piece in his ear, but I feel like they would have discovered that by now. Who knows. I love it though, and I’m curious to see what else he can do. It seems like it could be a bit repetitive after awhile, but I do like how he switched it up tonight with the mock “Deal or No Deal”. I’m not sure how he did it. It seemed more like he predicted the future though, rather than reading their minds. My friend suggested that maybe he gave the case to the most attractive girl, betting that Howie would pick her in the end. I really hope he goes through.

Horse: I’m sorry, but I hate this act. Ever since I first saw it, I was disgusted. I don’t think he deserved to even make it to the initial auditions. This isn’t a talent, no matter how much he, or the judges, want to believe it. Acts like this just get through to get a rise out of the audience, that I am sure. Maybe I’m missing something, but could someone please tell me what the allure of this act is?

Lindsey Norton: Here’s the thing — I really like her. I think she’s an excellent dancer. However, I’m not sure if I want her to go through. There are SO many dance acts in this competition, and quite a few seem similar to this. The audience seemed to love her though, and maybe what she does is different from everyone else. It was very beautiful, and she has a great presence about her.

Olate Dogs: Well, Britain’s Got Talent just had a dog act win, maybe AGT will too. I think this act is so much fun, and definitely sets it self apart from the other groups. I was watching the show with quite a few family members tonight, and everyone, from my nephew who is almost 2, to my grandparents, were loving it. I’d love to see something so different from the typical singing/musical act win this year, and I think the Olate Dogs could be major contenders in the competition.

Sebastien “El Charro de Oro”: There is sure an abundance of younger kids in the Top 48 this year, hasn’t there? I think this was one of my favorites though, probably because he’s so dang cute. I kind of felt like I was being serenaded in a Mexican restaurant, but that’s okay, because I love when that happens! He has a great voice. I thought the rose at the end was rather classy though. My grandma commented that this little boy sounded like a full grown man — I have to agree. He definitely has an old soul, as Howie said. Was he the best of the night? I don’t think so. But he was adorable!

Unity in Motion: I really, really loved these girls. I feel like dance fans will have difficulty voting between them and Lindsay Norton tonight. They are definitely one of the best dance acts in the competition, and I hope they go through.

William Close:  Another home run act for the night. I love the instruments and vocals that were added to the performance. It was just an over all awesome act. It’s so different from a typical musical instrument act, and he seems to do with it such class and precision. He got a standing ovation, from the audience and the judges. I imagine that it takes a lot of time and talent to play the earth harp. It seems like the judges have already deemed him the winner, what does everyone think?

Staying:

1. William Close

2. Joe Castillo

I could see any of these staying:

3. Eric Dittelman

4. Olate Dogs

5. Unity in Motion

6. Lindsey Norton

I think they are going home, but it could be a surprise: 

7. Sebastien

8. All That!

9. Eric and Olivia

10. David “The Bullet” Smith

Definitely Leaving: 

11. Horse

12. Ulysses

July 24, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is a journalism student at Brigham Young University in her senior year. She is originally from Littleton, Colorado, and hopes to move back there after graduation. Reality television is her favorite to watch, and has enjoyed writing about America's Got Talent and A Chance to Dance. She is a stay-at-home-mom who enjoys writing (especially blogs), cooking and sewing (while spending far too much time on Pinterest finding inspiration) and being outside with her husband and son.

Which Four Acts Will Advance From The Last Top 48 AGT Performances?

I Written By

Katie Clark is a journalism student at Brigham Young University in her senior year. She is originally from Littleton, Colorado, and hopes to move back there after graduation. Reality television is her favorite to watch, and has enjoyed writing about America's Got Talent and A Chance to Dance. She is a stay-at-home-mom who enjoys writing (especially blogs), cooking and sewing (while spending far too much time on Pinterest finding inspiration) and being outside with her husband and son.

America’s Got Talent Season 7: Fourth Quarterfinals Music List

David “The Bullet” Smith

All That
- Ram Jam: Black Betty Black Betty - The Very Best of Ram Jam

Ulysses Singer
- “American Bandstand Tune”

Joe Castillo

Sebastien “El Charro de Oro”

Eric Dittelman

William Close
- The Who: Love Reign O’er Me Love Reign O'er Me - Quadrophenia (Remastered)

Unity in Motion
- Requiem for a dream

Eric & Olivia
- Taio Cruz: Dynamite Dynamite - Rokstarr

Olate Dogs

Lindsey Norton

Horse

I Written By

America’s Got Talent Blast from the Past: Neal E. Boyd

“The Michael Phelps of the Competition”. This is the title judge Piers Morgan gave  Usually when I hear the word opera, I tune out (is that bad?) So, Boyd wasn’t necessarily my favorite from the season or winner of America’s Got Talent, but that doesn’t discredit his talent at all. The man has an amazing voice. Nonetheless, the following clip of him singing “Somewhere” is definitely my favorite from the season:


He sure knows how to put emotion into his performances, eh?

As I said, I’m not big into opera, but it wasn’t difficult to find out what has been keeping Boyd busy since his time on AGT. I was a little bit surprised, as his most recent endeavor has very little to do with music but more on that later.

Boyd released his first CD a little more than six months after his AGT victory in 2009 and made it into the Billboard Top 200 for awhile. His most notable performances have been for President Obama, and former president’s George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. While dealing with his musical career, Boyd remains the co-owner of an insurance agency and the Vice President of sales for a company called Voluntary Benefit Services.

But what he is most recently up to? Well, Boyd has gotten into politics. Although he dropped out of the election for the Missouri House seat in order to get himself healthier, he recently announced that he is running as the Republican candidate for 149th district in Missouri. In addition, Boyd has lost over 65 pounds and ready for the election.

Successful musical career, weight-loss advocate, owner of an insurance company, and now politician? What’s Boyd going to do next? Only time will tell, but he doesn’t seem to forget where he came from and how lucky he is to be where he is:

My voice has opened the doors to a lot of avenues that a normal little African-American, Southeast Missouri, poor boy never would have gotten to see. It’s a pretty great little American dream story. 1

1. Boyd, Neal. “The Sunday Interview: Neal E. Boyd is raising his voice.” By Lucas Presson. Southeast Missourian. 2011. <http://www.semissourian.com/story/1764132.html>

July 20, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is a journalism student at Brigham Young University in her senior year. She is originally from Littleton, Colorado, and hopes to move back there after graduation. Reality television is her favorite to watch, and has enjoyed writing about America's Got Talent and A Chance to Dance. She is a stay-at-home-mom who enjoys writing (especially blogs), cooking and sewing (while spending far too much time on Pinterest finding inspiration) and being outside with her husband and son.

America’s Got Talent Season 7: Third Quarterfinals Top Four!

Once again, it would appear that both Katie’s Power Rankings and the Poll from last night coincide with the results of today’s elimination results:
1. Light Wire Theater
2. Jacob Williams
3. The Untouchables
4. All Wheel Sports

After watching the performances again, it felt like the acts as a whole was rather underwhelming in comparison to the previous week’s quarterfinals episodes. From the above I do see potential for the coveted “Million Dollar Act”, below are my thoughts as to how far the above acts could go in this series.

Read more..

July 18, 2012 I Written By

AGT Top 48 Quarter Final Performances Night 3 Commentary

This was a weird night. There were some home run acts, and some definite strike outs. At times, I felt like quite a few of the contestants took a step in the wrong direction. As I’m going back through my commentary and deciding on the power rankings, I honestly forgot about a few of the acts by the end of the night. And unlike most nights where I can’t agree with anything that Howie Mandel says, I agreed with just about everything. And Sharon was driving me crazy. I felt like a lot of her comments were way out there. I think there were some definite winners though, but it is not as clear cut as some other nights. Be sure to cast your vote for who you think will stay here, and, as always, let me know if you agree with my power rankings.

The Untouchables: As a dance group, you’ve got to be good this year, and continually deliver new, fresh ideas. Unlike many of the dance numbers this year, The Untouchables do this each time. Even just considering the fact that these kids are so young, they are pretty incredible, but I feel like they blew a lot of other dance acts out of the water. I’m not usually a big dance fan, but this group won me over. They have SO much enthusiasm and genuine talent. It was captivating, and I loved watching them. I hope that people remember to vote for them, because being the first group performing, they may be forgotten by the time everyone else performs.

Mike Price Rock Star Juggler: I didn’t remember Mike Price, but when I saw that he was a juggling act, I wasn’t super excited. I’ve seen many juggling acts in my life time. However, I have definitely never seen anyone do what Mike Price has done. While what he did was pretty col, I’m not sure I want him to go on. His act doesn’t seem as polished as it could have been. He, unfortunately, messed up a few times, which made me worry for the girl who had gasoline on her as he juggled over her. I agree with Sharon, he started out great, but really, it went down hill from there. The best part was the guy who came out with the fire extinguisher. It’s a fun act, but there was just something a little off about it.

Inspire the Fire: This group impressed me during the auditions (enough to write a post about them, at least). However, tonight my opinion was the opposite. They just seemed…off. The dancing wasn’t that great, nor was the vocals. I love what this group stands for, but it was just too amateur tonight. Even though I usually don’t agree with Howie, I felt like it was cheesy, and a “$125 act.” Compared to what we saw earlier with The Untouchables, it wasn’t even in the realm of a million dollar act. I feel bad saying this, but I have to be honest. They weren’t that great — even to the point where I wonder if they threw it on purpose.

Christin Sandu: Just the description of his act had me nervous! What he does is definitely a risk. I liked how he started out, and of course, who wouldn’t be impressed with his balancing act. So with that, it killed me that his tower collapsed. My heart broke for him, because he seems like a very genuine person. The act wasn’t that different from what I remember his audition being, but my memory might be rusty. Unfortunately, the fall sealed his fate, and I think he will be going home. I can’t imagine how devastated he must have felt. Because, as Sharon said, he should be proud he made it this far. There’s obviously something else much better in the cards for him ahead.

Elusive: As with many of the acts tonight, I was impressed in the beginning, but by the end, I wasn’t feeling it. The walking down the stairs with his hand was cool, but besides that, I remember seeing moves like this at my high school prom. I don’t have much to say about this act, but beyond the walking on the stairs with his hand, I wasn’t impressed. As many husband said after the act, there was no “wow” moment. He is inspirational because of his challenges, but I don’t think it’s enough to get him through. I would like to see a dance off between him and Turf, but I don’t know if we’ll have a chance to see that. I liked his dancing better than Turf, but that’s because Turf’s moves were kind of creepy at times. We’ll see.

Jake Wesley Rogers: I honestly have no recollection of his audition, or being in Las Vegas. For one thing, what is up with his style? When my niece looked at the TV, she said “what is up with his hair?!” He has an okay voice, but I was not a fan of the song choice. I didn’t find him entertaining, and compared to some of the other young singers in the competition, he really didn’t compare. Sorry, Jake, but I do not think this was a good performance. He seemed like he was mad at the world. I would be too though, if I had hair like that. If I had an X, I would have pressed it. Okay, that was a little harsh, he seems like a nice kid. But I just didn’t like him.

All Wheel Sports: Don’t hate me for saying this, but there act did seem a bit busy at times, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it! It was hard for me to concentrate on one single element at a time. They do some awesome things, and I think the most amazing thing is how they did all of that on such a small stage. There was an awesome danger aspect to this act, that’s for sure. Definitely one of the best acts of the night, that’s for sure. I hope they get through so we can see what else they have to offer! Howie made a good point, us viewers at home weren’t able to get the big picture of what this act was about, but after hearing the audience go wild for them, I have to believe they were even more incredible in real life.

Wordspit and the Illest: Well, this group appears to be a fan favorite. I was even a fan when I first heard them. Was it a mistake for them to do an original song, versus one that the audience would know and recognize? I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder. It was a bold move, that’s for sure. I know that a lot of people like them because they are “original”, but I just didn’t tonight. But most seemed to really enjoy them, and compared to some of the other acts, they did well.

Jacob Williams: He’s awkward. He’s nerdy. And he’s hilarious. I was laughing so much as I watched his act this evening. The comedians are really on fire this year. Jacob’s jokes are totally different from Tom Cotter’s, which I think will help him in the long run. I really hope he gets through, because he really is a neat comedian. There’s something about an awkward comedian that I love. I think that awkwardness is what makes his act even more stellar, and I agree with Howie (wow, the second time in one night?!), best act of the night!

All Beef Patty: I’ll be upfront, I can’t stand drag. But even with those personal feelings aside, tonight wasn’t All Beef’s best night. It wasn’t that fun of a performance, and to me, his All Beef’s voice sounds like something is stuck in his (her?) throat. I could see this being a great act on a smaller stage in Vegas, but as a head liner? I don’t think so. I don’t think this is an act that main stream America is going to vote for.

Spencer Horsman: This act was very disappointing. I was expecting to see Spencer, wriggling out of the steel straight jacket, and barely escaping those deadly-looking spikes. Instead, as the judges mentioned, we saw him behind a screen. We didn’t even get to see him escape; for all we know, he had help back there. It was boring, and not up to his usual intense escapes. I wish he had done something that the audience could see, because he definitely took a nose dive into loser’s circle tonight. It’s definitely unfortunate.

Light Wire Theater: This. Was. Amazing. I was left speechless after watching it. What a great way to end a mediocre night. What they do is incredible and spectacular. This was by far my favorite act of the night, and is something I would pay for my family and me to see in Vegas. There’s not much I can say to describe this act, except I hope they go to the very end. This act has got to take so much time to get it perfect, and perfect it was. Just in case you missed it, here is a link to the video of tonight’s performance.

Definitely Staying:

1. Light Wire Theater

2. Jacob Williams

3. The Untouchables

Could Go Either Way:

4. Wordspit and the Illest

5. All Wheel Sports

I’d Be Surprised if They Stay:
 6. Elusive

7.  All Beef Patty

8. Jake Wesley Rogers

9. Inspire the Fire

Going Home For Sure:

10. Spencer Horsman

11. Mike Price

12. Christin Sandu

July 17, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is a journalism student at Brigham Young University in her senior year. She is originally from Littleton, Colorado, and hopes to move back there after graduation. Reality television is her favorite to watch, and has enjoyed writing about America's Got Talent and A Chance to Dance. She is a stay-at-home-mom who enjoys writing (especially blogs), cooking and sewing (while spending far too much time on Pinterest finding inspiration) and being outside with her husband and son.