Pure America’s Got Talent Season 12 Live Show #2: Power Rankings

So, last night was….a time. As Mel B put it, the show was a rollercoaster. With multiple malfunctions, buzzers, and jokes that were meant to ease the tension but ended up making things even more awkward, the actual performances seemed to be a sideshow to all the malfunctions behind the scenes and antics at the judges’ table. I thought there was no sinking lower than “Judge Cuts #2”, but last night’s s***show might have given it a run for its money as a contender for “Worst Episode of Season 12”. And since, as I said, the response to the acts seems to have taken a backseat to the buzz about all the drama, and the relatively little commentary I have seen on the performances has been pretty negative. Still, seven acts will be going through to the next round tomorrow, so I guess I’ll take a stab at trying to figure out who they might be, starting with…

1. Mandy Harvey: I was expecting a lot more hype about Mandy from people tonight, but unfortunately I think her thunder was stolen by all the craziness that had already happened throughout the night, so by the time it was her turn to perform, I think the audience was just kind of drained and not really excited for anything anymore. Regardless, even if she didn’t exactly bring the house down, she still managed to end the show on a pleasant note and received one of the few overall positive reactions of the evening so I don’t think the sideshow will bring her down. Mandy is the only act I’m 100% sure is automatically advancing tomorrow night, and to be honest I think she’s probably the only one in this Quarter-Final group with a real shot at the grand prize.

2. Johnny Manuel: Okay, so I wouldn’t put MONEY on Johnny getting this much support, but since the general reaction to everyone from here down has been lukewarm to extremely negative I have to go with what I’ve got, and from what I’ve seen, Johnny was one of the only acts to overall please the Facebook crowd (aka the toughest critics but most likely the closest way to see what the general audience at home thinks). I do wonder if having a history in professional entertainment will hurt him in votes, since I think that might have been Bello’s downfall last week, but I’m leaning towards it not being that big of a dealbreaker for voters in comparison to certain aspects of some of the other acts in this episode.

3. Evie Clair: If Evie is not one of the five acts automatically advancing tonight I’m sure she’ll be in the Dunkin’ Save group. Regardless of the method of her safety, I doubt she’s going anywhere this week, moreso because of her story than her performance. Yes, the situation with her father is heartbreaking and I wish him and the family all the best, but her singing was clearly off in some places (though I did like the candle setup and her shaking things up a bit by bringing the piano in). A lot of people seem to recognize this, but I think all the malfunctions in the surrounding acts may have made her look better to the audience by comparison. As for myself, I really wouldn’t mind losing her at this stage, but I doubt that’s happening.

4. Light Balance: I was so sad that these guys didn’t get to perform for the crowd last night, but was so happy we still got to see their act! They definitely won the night for me, especially with that amazing transition to the Wolfman! I think LB got an overall positive reaction based on the act itself, but I’ve seen quite a few people upset over the performance technically not being “live”. I would brush that off, but last week seemed to prove that some viewers have strange motivations for voting (or more accurately, NOT voting) for an act. Since they weren’t forgettable or a trainwreck I’d say they’re probably going to get through, just not not sure whether it’ll be automatically or from the middle zone.

5. Merrick Hanna: Again, not sure whether Merrick is actually going to end up in top five, but I’m confident he’ll at least have a chance at going through tonight. Some have commented that his robot dancing is getting repetitive, and that the production of the act overshadowed his performance this round (I wish they’d put a light on him….LOL). But I think being a child act may be an asset here; many viewers seem to find him cute and charming, and I think he’s gained quite a few fans during his time on the show. But if he does end up in Dunkin’ Save I think he has a pretty good shot at getting it, since he’s one of the internet’s favorite acts of the week.

6. Celine Tam: Buzz about Celine was pretty mum last night, especially considering she’s a Golden Buzzer act and a child singer. I think her running order spot, Mel B’s comment about the song choice, and the continuous comparisons between she and Angelica might put her in a bad spot this week. She seems to have a lot of fans, but it looks like most of the following she’s gained has come from places other than America, which is cool….except AGT voting is banned outside of America. (There are ways of doing it, but I doubt they’re widely known.) I’m going to say she ends up in Dunkin’ Save territory tonight and I’m not sure what happens from there.

7. Pompeyo Family Dogs: After a string of controversial performances, seeing these adorable poodles (I think?) come out and strut their stuff was probably a nice palate cleanser for the audience, and I think that helped them escape some of the criticism they would have faced otherwise (remember: after their Judge Cuts episode people were not happy about them making it to the live shows). I also think their running order spot of second last might help them the way it did Billy & Emily last week.  However, I kind of doubt they’ll move on even if they make the Dunkin’ Save, since it seems like the audience feels more connected to several other acts that performed last night.

8. Eric Jones: I have no idea how the average at-home viewer reacted to Eric’s performance last night. The trick was cool but something we’ve seen a lot of, and instead of being a “showman” he was very casual about it all. I personally found this somewhat refreshing, but I fear it may have made him forgettable to viewers. The internet seems determined to “expose” acts (aka show how they’re done) and a lot of people immediately jumped on Eric for his somewhat sloppy delivery of his trick this week, but it’s hard to tell whether or not the casual viewer would have noticed the little giveaways. The main thing Eric has going for him is that he’s not only the only traditional magician of the week, but of all the live shows (yes, I’m pretty sure we’re getting Tom back as a Wildcard next week, but the general audience doesn’t know that) so he might squeeze through tonight by being an outlier in a sea of musical acts.

9. The Masqueraders: And speaking of acts that people are determined to “expose”……the main storyline of this trio is that they’re finally hitting the big time and living out their dreams after half a century of getting rejected by record companies. However, as some have found, they seem to have recorded and released at least a few songs to moderate success about 50 years ago. I know the show is allowed to tamper with the backstories as much as they want, but if this is true, things just got reaaaaaally awkward. However, I think the vast majority of the AGT audience is unaware of this and are basing their votes solely on what the show airs of the acts. I was actually very impressed with these guys last night. It was clear they were very grateful to be performing together and just overall having a blast. I think they have an okay shot at getting into Dunkin’ Save territory-and maybe even cracking top five-but I have a feeling they’re probably done tonight.

10. Brobots & Mandroidz: I actually enjoyed these guys quite a bit, but the majority of people seemed to either forget they even performed  or view them as the Wal-Mart version of Just Jerk. Like Celine, I think their chances got diminished by performing after an act they’ve been closely compared to (especially since both B&M and Celine have generally been regarded as the “lesser” act when matched up against their respective counterparts). Performing alongside Golden Buzzer Light Balance and viral hit Merrick Hanna probably didn’t help either, and same with their running order. Unfortunately, I just don’t see these guys moving on tonight.

11. Mirror Image: Much like the Masqueraders, Colton and Trent seemed to be having the time of their lives up their on the Dolby stage. For me, this performance wasn’t as “so bad it’s good” as their Judge Cuts one, but I still , and I couldn’t help but be happy for them (and I thought it was sweet of Heidi to hold Simon’s hand away from the buzzer…..only for him to buzz after the performance was finished). I know Reddit and 4chan have a campaign going to get the to the Finale as revenge for Simon putting down other variety acts, but their collective power likely doesn’t hold a candle to that of the average viewing audience, and the vast majority of that crowd seems to despise this act.

12. Demian Aditya: As repetitive as Demian’s act has become, I felt so bad that he was unable to finish his performance last night. His act more than any of the others was overshadowed by all the drama with the judges, and like Light Balance, many viewers are actually blaming him for the technical difficulties. I guess he might pick up a couple sympathy votes, but if he did, I haven’t seen very many. However, I do think after all the craziness with his segment last night he might end up being the Semi-Finals Wildcard.