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The 10 Best Performances of America’s Got Talent Season 12

Before I start this, I wanted to give a quick shout-out to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund GoFundMe campaign. Any massacre is horrific of course but especially with the connection AGT has with the city I thought it’d be good to share.

I’ve thought a lot about what to do with this blog during the off-season. I know I don’t want it to go completely dormant like last year, so I’m going to try to post at least twice per month. One post will be a roundup of any notable alumni updates and the other will vary a bit. For this month I recently grabbed a copy of Mandy Harvey’s book “Sensing the Rhythm” which was released last week, so I’ll get a review of that up once I’ve finished reading it!

For now, let’s get to the top 10 list! Note that I didn’t allow myself to include multiple performances from the same act so I wouldn’t run out of things to say. ūüėõ

10. Preacher Lawson Proves Himself to be a “Driving” Force in the Competition¬†(Auditions)

While I’ve made it clear I didn’t agree with some of the representation of certain act genres we had in the Season 12 live shows, I think Preacher Lawson was definitely the best comedian of all those we saw by miles, so if we could only have one make it through, I’m glad it was him. Most of his performances were on a similar level for me – all around solid, with a couple laugh-out-loud jokes and good personality to make the lesser material palatable. After re-watching each of them, I still think his best performance was his very first audition.

He started by easing into the jokes by answering each question from the judges with a hint of humor, which made a nice segue into the set itself. As the season went on, Preacher slowly began incorporating more and more of his “over-the-top” bits into his performances, culminating in one long joke in the Finals that lasted about 30 seconds (you know the one :P). But here, we don’t get it until late in the act, giving us time to warm up to his style of humor before taking it to the next level with the grandma impression.

This performance was so good that even though it was one of the very first acts shown in the season premiere, it stuck out in my mind through the following weeks of auditions, and by the time we got to Preacher’s next set in the third episode of the Judge Cuts round, I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation to see what he would bring us next.

9. Billy & Emily England Go for a Spin, Game of Thrones-style (Semi-Finals)

Like most danger performers who’ve gone on AGT, Billy & Emily England were certainly one of the more controversial acts of Season 12. Some people loved them, others feared them, and a few thought their act was more suited to a “redneck family reunion” than a primetime TV talent show (Facebook’s words, not mine).

I was concerned early on that the “wow” factor of the extreme roller-skating would wear off a little too quickly, but in a surprise result (at least to me) they avoided Quarter-Finals Dunkin’ Save territory and spun on straight to the Semis. By the time their second live show rolled around, not only had there been many a comment stating they needed to “step it up” but also many questioning their relationship as siblings. I don’t know if the concept for their Semi-Finals performance was an intentional nod to the speculation of incest, but either way, the Game of Thrones-esque set-up added an extra sense of intensity to the act.

Of course, the theme wasn’t the only thing that made this performance epic; Billy and Emily started out somewhat slow, but that helped them build tension and suspense as they kept adding to the danger with each passing trick. They even maintained strong showmanship whenever they had to pause the actual spinning to maintain their balance. It all culminated in one final daring move we hadn’t seen from them in any of their previous AGT showings; Billy tossing Emily off the platform, ending as the victor of the storyline.

8. Sara & Hero are “Walking on Sunshine” at the Beach (Semi-Finals)

Sara & Hero had kind of a rough start to the season, narrowly making it to the Judge Cuts round. But from there, they charmed the judges and viewers enough to make it all the way the 5th place without ever being on the Dunkin’ Save bubble! I really love Sara’s commitment to training dogs using positive reinforcement, and she managed to raise the bar with pretty much every¬†AGT performance.

The Semi-Finals act is the one that I think worked the best. The beach theme was very well-suited to the “girl and her dogs” storyline and it had the biggest variety of tricks we hadn’t seen from them yet. The beginning with the CPR was arguably the best part since it was the only real “story” section of the performance, but the level of the tricks that followed made up for it. (The volleyball stuff was particularly impressive.) None of them went on for too long, and most of the transitions were smooth enough for Hero and Loki to keep up nicely. There were a couple of mistakes but none of the prevented the routine from progressing as it should (I really liked how Sara just kind of rolled with everything). I would have to say this was probably the most uplifting performance of the season, and it was no surprise for them to make the Finals as a result!

7. Colin Cloud Goes Undercover (Semi-Finals)

I feel like illusion-based acts are always at least a little controversial (“it’s not REAL magic”) but mentalism tends to stir up particularly heated debates. A lot of people are convinced there are plants in the audience or the judges are in on the trick (I highly¬†doubt the latter is true, but I know of an instance or two when the host knew what was up). I know how quite a few of the tricks we’ve seen from this genre over the years are done, and there are a variety of different methods the performers have used. I know a lot of people like to make fun of Colin’s label as the “Real-Life Sherlock Holmes” but since the season ended a couple weeks ago I’ve looked up some videos of him online and the claims of forensic studies seem pretty legit and tied to a lot of his tricks. Granted, most of what he did beyond the Judge Cuts round incorporated less of that stuff, but it still helped me understand/appreciate some of his performances (ie. the Quarter-Finals one) more.

I actually almost selected Colin’s Judge Cuts act for his entry on the list, but I decided that while I did like the tricks in that one better, I think his Semi-Finals showing was stronger as an overall performance. Sometimes it’s not only what we’re seeing, but how it’s presented to us. While watching this on the night it aired I was disappointed at first; we’d seen a very similar illusion performed by Tom London earlier in the season, and that hadn’t boded well for his status in the competition. I was so confused. Why would a mentalist who’d shown he could perform all kinds of cool tricks chose to go down the route of doing one that didn’t even involve those skills? (Well, aside from the first bit with Howie’s phone unlock code.)

Just as I was about ready to give up on Colin, the flashback video started. While it didn’t change the essence of the trick, it added a whole new layer to the performance. The amount of effort put behind all those “clues” (especially in the burger place) was very impressive, and the thing with the board at the end was pretty funny (I’d been confused by the seemingly arbitrary “number of possibilities” since the video calling for tweet submissions was posted online a week prior). Suddenly, a disappointingly lackluster performance became one of my favorites of the entire season. Just goes to show that the delivery and presentation of an act can be equally as impactful as the material itself.

6. Merrick Hanna Dances to “I Built a Friend” (Auditions)

Real talk: the Season 12 premiere was probably one of the best AGT audition round episodes I’ve ever seen. Most of the really memorable auditions were shown in those two hours, and they made for a very strong start to the season. One of the acts in this episode that captivated me the most was Merrick Hanna.

I’d seen lots of animation dancing in the past, but rarely any that actually told a story. Merrick chose a great song to use; it wasn’t mainstream (so everyone would associate it with him) and was about a kind an his robot so the dancing really connected to the music well. His acting was also amazing and really sold the performance. In later rounds, we didn’t get this kind of rawness from Merrick (though he was still very good) but I’m glad we at least got to see it once on AGT.

5. Light Balance Stars a Party in the Dolby (Finals)

As the only Golden Buzzer act that didn’t involve singing, I think a lot of the dance and variety fans were really pulling for Light Balance to go far in the competition…and they did! They actually managed to beat all but two of the singing Golden Buzzers, not to mention every other act of the season!

We’ve seen several light-up dance crews over the years, but what I think made Light Balance special was their polished-ness and memorable characters, most noticeably the Abe Lincoln-esque fellow and the Wolfman. They frequently appeared in their performances and the Wolfman in particular gave way to some neat tricks (like the jail cell escape in this act).

The light-up dance acts can get old after awhile, but the trick is to incorporate different levels of movement, character, and tricks to them to keep things from getting stale. That’s exactly what Light Balance gave us this season, and it all culminated in this full-out dance party of a performance.

4. Diavolo Takes Us on a Journey Through Time and Space (Semi-Finals)

Diavolo is a great example of an act utilizing set pieces well without letting them take over the whole show. Their scenery is carefully selected to showcase what the dancers can do, and what I loved about this performance in particular was the variety of things they incorporated into it. They used several set pieces – each in a different way – and the transitions between each segment were seamless which made the whole act flow very naturally. I’m not entirely sure what the “story” of this performance was supposed to be, but I have a feeling it may have been purposefully vague in order to try to get the audience’s minds working to try to come up with their own unique interpretations.

I really don’t know what else to say about this. How does one even describe Diavolo? “Dance troupe” certainly doesn’t cover it, and neither does “acrobatics group”. I guess the best way to explain Diavolo in a nutshell would simply be “art”.

3. Bello Nock Conquerors the “Wheel of Death” (Quarter-Finals)

Bello Nock may be a seasoned professional at daredevil performances (let’s be real, a lot of the variety acts on AGT are) but that didn’t change the fear we all faced when he took a spin on the “Wheel of Death” for us in the Quarter-Finals.

When Sophie – who was at the live shows that week – first told me what Bello’s act was, I was kind of disappointed. It just didn’t seem very exciting. How could spinning on a giant wheel keep people entertained for three minutes? It just seemed like the awe factor would disappear very quickly. Luckily, Bello managed to create enough intrigue and suspense to keep us on our toes for the entire performance. He started by doing some fun tricks inside the wheel, then suddenly made things much more dramatic by climbing onto the outside of it and slowed things down, making it seem like he might fall off.

The tone change came at just the right time; as soon as the first segment was starting to wear out its welcome, a sudden shift in stakes brought the excitement back. Bello wasn’t just entertaining the audience anymore, but making them root for him. He built the tension at just the right pace and ended with a nail-biting but ultimately satisfying conclusion.

I really thought this performance played into the “fan-favorite Wildcard” storyline quite nicely, and was baffled it sent him packing. (I know some viewers have a disdain for danger acts, but remember, this was the same week that resulted in Billy & Emily making the top 5, so I’m still confused about Bello’s elimination.)

2. Mandy Harvey Semi-Finals: “Release Me” (Semi-Finals)

At first, Mandy’s AGT journey seemed oddly familiar…she came out with a ukulele at the end of the second episode, performed an original song, and received a Golden Buzzer. It felt like she was the second coming of Grace VanderWaal, only with a tragic backstory tacked on for good measure, which – fair or not – made me feel more weary than excited.

Her next showing in the Quarter-Finals was quite nice, but it was her Semi-Finals performance that really got me on board the Mandy train. Her first two songs were light, pretty, and overall pleasant, but in this performance, Mandy shed the sweetness (and the ukulele) and got raw. “Release Me” showed a much darker side of Mandy that we hadn’t yet seen, and there seemed to be so much weight behind every note she sang. Without the ukulele, her body language was much more expressive; the decision to sign the lyrics reminded us of her roadblock in life, but also was a way to use her body to express the sentiment behind the music, and her face was also much more expressive than we’d seen in her previous AGT showings.

Everything came together and made for a powerful performance that dramatically stood out from all the other solo singing acts in Season 12, and I really wish she’d saved this for the last week since her actual performance in the Finals felt like the wall that had been torn down in this one had been rebuilt to a degree.

1. Darci Lynne Farmer Helps Edna Doorknocker Serenade Simon (Semi-Finals)

Darci Lynne Farmer was one of the rare AGT acts that combined three very distinct talents, and I think her showing in the Semi-Finals was her best combination of her ventriloquism, comedy, and singing skills.

Right from when she opened the box, it was clear how dedicated Darci was to making Edna seem like a separate being from herself. The speaking voice was clearly distinct from her own, and when it came time for the song she not only had to nail the complexities of the vocal performance (which involved belting) but had to do it in the character’s voice, which she nailed.

Darci’s comedic chops were as strong as ever, not only in the delivery of the material (especially the hilarious meta AGT references) but also in her facial expressions, even when she was doing the ventriloquism. The best example of this was when she was walking over to Simon while singing. Her voice as Edna was passionate, but her own facial expression was clearly reluctant. It takes a lot of skill for someone to perform one way with their voice and the opposite way with their face, and she had it down pat.

I’ve seen a lot of criticism for Darci’s victory, most of it not actually having anything to do with her or the act itself, but for being “too obvious”. While I found it annoying that the champions of both Seasons 11 and 12 felt determined pretty early on and get wanting to be surprised, that’s more on the producers than the actual talent. I think Darci fully deserved her win, being one of those rare acts that can appeal to music fans and variety-lovers alike.

October 5, 2017 I Written By

I'm obssessed with the entertainment industry, especially offbeat and nerdy things as well as those that involve live performance. The only thing I love more than geeking out over the things that entertain me is sharing in my excitement with others who share the same passions. America may have talent, but Canada has an up-and-coming blogger who is ready to take the internet by storm!

Watch AGT Alum Lindsey Stirling’s First Performance on Dancing With the Stars

I’ve been wrapped up in Dancing With the Stars matters for most of the day (in addition to my work life…LOL) but will be back tomorrow with a special piece before the AGT Finals!

I won’t bombard you guys with updates every single week, but I recently mentioned the announcement of AGT Season 5 alumus Lindsey Stirling’s participation in Season 25 of DWTS. Well, tonight was the premiere, and Lindsey and her partner Mark Ballas were fortunate enough to get the pimp spot and their Cha-Cha tied for highest-scored dance of the night! They even showed a bit of her playing her violin at the beginning. Check it out!

For more coverage of Lindsey’s experience in the ballroom, head over to Pure DWTS.

September 18, 2017 I Written By

I'm obssessed with the entertainment industry, especially offbeat and nerdy things as well as those that involve live performance. The only thing I love more than geeking out over the things that entertain me is sharing in my excitement with others who share the same passions. America may have talent, but Canada has an up-and-coming blogger who is ready to take the internet by storm!

An AGT Alum on Dancing With the Stars?

I was planning for my next post to be an analysis of who will make the Finals since the line-up for each Semi-Final had been revealed…or so I thought. They showed a preview for next week at the end of Wednesday’s results show, but since then one act has revealed they were switched from the first week to the second, and two others who I was under the impression were performing on the September 12th episode are actually going to be on the 5th. I’ve updated the Masterpost several time this past week and I know I’m not done yet; there are currently 12 acts “confirmed” to be performing this coming week, and only 9 (10 including the currently unknown Wildcard) for Week #2. If we end up having the confirmed line-up for both shows before Tuesday night’s episode I’d still like to get that post done, but if not, I’ll still have the usual Power Rankings up before the Wednesday shows on the 6th and 13th.

In the meantime, some interesting and exciting news came out a couple days ago. AGT Season 5 contestant Lindsey Stirling has been leaked as one of the celebrities set to compete on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars this fall. Lindsey finished in the Quarter-Finals of her season, but has gone on to become one of AGT‘s most successful alumni, making quite a name for herself in the music world.

For more info on Lindsey’s participation in the show, including her partner and potential dance ability, check out our sister site Pure DWTS. (Also please let me know if you’d like to see more “alumni updates” posts, because I think I’d like to keep blogging during the hiatus between the end of this season and the start of Britain’s Got Talent next year, which I’d also like to start covering on here!)

September 2, 2017 I Written By

I'm obssessed with the entertainment industry, especially offbeat and nerdy things as well as those that involve live performance. The only thing I love more than geeking out over the things that entertain me is sharing in my excitement with others who share the same passions. America may have talent, but Canada has an up-and-coming blogger who is ready to take the internet by storm!

America’s Got Talent Auditions “Best Of” Special and Some Fun Videos!

Hello for the second time this week! I forgot to mention this on Tuesday, but NBC is currently airing an hour-long “Best of Auditions” special featuring acts we’ve seen so far this season. I’m not going to liveblog it, but will be back later to update with a list of who appeared. Take note of these names, because I have a feeling appearing on this special may indicate who’s most likely making it through the next round and moving on to the live shows.

I also wanted to share these fun videos of YouTube star Colleen Ballinger (aka “Miranda Sings”) and AGT Season 11 winner Grace VanderWaal! (They’ve been out for a few weeks but I never got around to posting them here.) Enjoy!

July 13, 2017 I Written By

I'm obssessed with the entertainment industry, especially offbeat and nerdy things as well as those that involve live performance. The only thing I love more than geeking out over the things that entertain me is sharing in my excitement with others who share the same passions. America may have talent, but Canada has an up-and-coming blogger who is ready to take the internet by storm!

America’s Got Talent Season 11

Our apologies on not being able to keep this site up to date the past couple seasons. The day job has kept us pretty busy. We almost posted about Simon Cowell coming on as a judge this season. If you’d ever seen Simon as a judge on Britain’s Got Talent, then you knew he’d be great and he has been great for the show. He brings a great energy to the show.

I’m also excited to share that we have a new writer who’s going to be posting about this season of America’s Got Talent. Her name is Julia and she’s done some work with me on Pure Dancing with the Stars. I think she’ll do a really excellent job.

I’ll just finish off this little intro to us blogging about America’s Got Talent season 11 with how glad I am that the Russian Bar Trio is back on America’s Got Talent. Back in 2008, I posted about how much I love the Russian Bar Trio. I even talked about wanting the Russian Bar Trio back the season after they first performed. Plus, in case you missed it, here were a few of the details of the accident that prevented the Russian Bar Trio from performing on America’s Got Talent. To be clear, the accident didn’t happen on the show. It happened separate from the show and so they got replaced in the live shows.

Needless to say, I’m still a huge fan of the Russian Bar Trio. Christine is fantastic. When she did the double backflip tonight it was just as exciting and incredible as when I first saw them perform. The handstand was pretty incredible as well.

Not sure if I can call them the favorite. I think there are some people that will bore of their act, but I never will. It’s such an incredible talent. Love it.

Anyway, while we wait for Julia to start posting, what do you think of America’s Got Talent season 11?

June 14, 2016 I Written By

PureAGT Season 8 – Finale Power Rankings

So I daresay last night’s performance show changed my mind about who I think is going to win – and when I
called in my votes for the particular act I think deserves to win, I got a busy signal for at least 30 minutes after the show wrapped…so I’ve got my fingers crossed ūüėČ I’m gonna do things in reverse order tonight, just to keep things interesting…

6.) Cami Bradley – Really and truly, if we’re going off of performance alone, it should be Jimmy at the bottom of the board – but something tells me the country nuts are going to get him to at least 5th place.¬† I wouldn’t say Cami did badly last night, per se – I just think she wasn’t as memorable as she possibly could have been.¬† Loved that she repeated “Believe”, which I think is the strongest performance we saw from her all season; not wild about “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, though, as I found it rather sing-songy – and I think Cami does best with songs that are a bit more heartfelt and poignant.¬† Overall, she’s been my biggest surprise of the season – would never have guessed from the brief snippet we saw of her audition that she would be a finalist this season.¬† Glad we got to see her journey on the show ūüôā

5.) Jimmy Rose – Probably the weakest performer of last night – his repeat song was decent, but I’m completely drawing a blank on his 2nd performance…seriously, I can’t remember anything about it.¬† Likely because it wasn’t terribly different than any of the other performances we’ve seen from him all season long.¬† Seems like the judges have also soured a bit on Jimmy, as I can’t remember them offering up any of their usual over-the-top praise – they might have said “it was good!” but I don’t recall them gushing.¬† Not much else to add about Jimmy – I think he’s a good guy, but if I’m being honest, he should have never made it to the finale…he’s just not vocally at the same level as some of the others we’ve seen.

4.) Collins Key – I know people seem to love this kid, but really? He has basically performed the same trick several times, just with the set-up and props changed slightly.¬† I will give him props for his “repeat” trick (which really wasn’t), since he almost got Mel & Heidi to make out on national television; but the delivery did still seem a little clumsy to me, and I’m not sure that I really bought his 2nd trick – the three individuals he “had never met before” seemed to be trying just a little too hard to act surprised when he predicted what they were wearing and what sign they’d be holding.¬† Like the girl from the date trick, I think they were plants, picked out far ahead of time and told to act surprised.¬† Sorry, but the luster has just worn off the rose for me where Collins is concerned – I think he needs to broaden his repertoire of tricks before he can really be a contender.¬† That said – I think his legion of teenage fans will probably pull him to at least 4th place (maybe 3rd, if enough people have jumped off the Forte bandwagon).

3.) Forte – Prior to last night, I thought these guys had the win in the bag – now I’m not sure they can even manage 3rd place.¬† I just think Forte has the unfortunate problem of not being a very diverse act: they sing opera, and that’s about it.¬† Each performance kinda starts to sound the same after the 3rd or 4th time – and that’s unfortunately what happened last night.¬† Yes, they’re fantastic singers – but they kind of bore me now. Neither of their performances last night really struck a chord with me – all I really remember was all of the lights during their repeat performance, and that’s more of a credit to the set designer than anyone else.¬† Great guys, but I’m just not feeling the “$1 million dollar Vegas show” vibe from them anymore.

1/2.) TIE: Kenichi Ebina & Taylor Williamson – Kenichi may have been the most consistent all season, but he kinda choked last night – his “repeat” performance didn’t awe me like it did the first time, and his new performance seemed to lack a whole lot of dance – a lot of time was wasted trying to interact with the other characters.¬† I still think he stands a good chance of winning, but he’s got some stiff competition in Taylor – really the only finalist to knock both of his performances out of the park last night, while everyone else hit some snags.¬† I think the advantage Taylor has over Kenichi is that he peaked at the right time – he’s just gotten better and better each week we’ve seen him, and it all culminated last night.¬† The fact that Howard even tweeted “I think Taylor might win this whole thing” after last night’s show is telling to me, because Howard has been pretty spot-on with his predictions thus far.¬† So I guess my pick for the winner comes down to two choices: the season-long favorite (Kenichi) vs. the dark horse (Taylor).¬† I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping it was the latter ūüėČ

So who is your pick to win it all? And who did you vote for last night?

September 18, 2013 I Written By

Ultrasound specialist by day, entertainment blogger by night - with some amateur dancer, hair & makeup enthusiast, crazy cat lady, recreational chef, and Donnie Wahlberg/Norman Reedus fangirl peppered in to make things interesting ;-) Check out some of my other work over at puredwts.com!

PureAGT Season 8 POLL: Did Catapult “Rip Off” Silhouettes?

Whilst browsing around on YouTube for¬†a clip of Catapult’s performance on last week’s premiere,¬†I noticed something odd: almost every video of them posted had a slew of comments from angry viewers claiming that they had “ripped off” season 6 runner-up Silhouettes.¬† Here’s a video of them to jog your memory:

A few overseas viewers also accused Catapult of copying Attraction, the winner of the most recent season of Britain’s Got Talent:

Now while I agree that all three acts are very similar, I also think that there’s very, very¬†few acts¬†on any of the Talent franchises that are truly original anymore – I think it’s all been done before, and everyone’s just trying to make their mark and somehow put a fresh spin on their act.¬† So to really accuse any of the three of “ripping off” one another? Not really fair, IMO.¬† If you’re going to call out Catapult for copying Silhouettes, then you may as well call out Lightwire Theater from last season for copying Team iLuminate from season 6, and Angela Hoover for copying season 6’s Melissa Villasenor.¬† Almost every act shares some similarities with a previous act.

Truth be told, I was never really wowed by what Silhouettes did – just seemed like a lot of running from place to place making shapes while some schmaltzy song played.¬† What I like about Catapult, though, is that they actually create pictures that move, and tend to tell a story – Silhouettes seemed like they just went with a theme, as opposed to an actual narrative with a beginning, middle, and end.¬† Haven’t really had¬†a chance to compare either of the two to Attraction, beyond the video I posted above, but all three appear to have different strengths & weaknesses.¬† But what do you think?

June 10, 2013 I Written By

Ultrasound specialist by day, entertainment blogger by night - with some amateur dancer, hair & makeup enthusiast, crazy cat lady, recreational chef, and Donnie Wahlberg/Norman Reedus fangirl peppered in to make things interesting ;-) Check out some of my other work over at puredwts.com!

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.

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.