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PureAGT Season 9: Preview of Some Acts with 24 Hours Till the Premiere!

Happy Memorial Day everyone! Hope the weather was as nice in your hometowns as it was in mine – which explains why I didn’t get as much posted this weekend as I would have hoped.  Oops!

We’re less than 24 hours away from the season premiere, and to whet everyone’s appetite, NBC posted 3 clips of some rather interesting acts we’re going to be seeing this season…first up is magician Mad Jack, who has a new and rather disgusting twist on the old “pick a card, any card” trick:

And then there’s Donnie Valentine, who is rocking a perm and a dubious falsetto on his rendition of  The Stylistics’ “You Make Me Feel Brand New”:

Up next is the Kamikaze Fireflies, a danger act that juggles fire…and require Nick’s assistance in doing it:

And just as a bonus…how bout a clip of Nick & Heidi arm wrestling, and Nick making some truly gif-worthy facial expressions?

I’m guessing Donnie Valentine probably made it into the “no” pile for Boot Camp, but I could see The Kamikaze Fireflies and Mad Jack making it through…the latter in particular seems right up Howard’s alley.  What are your thoughts?

 

May 26, 2014 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 9: The “Golden Buzzer”, Boot Camp, and Other Changes???

So according to Hypable, there are quite a few changes that we’re going to be seeing this season on AGT – some of them seem like positives, others…not so much.  Let’s count them down, shall we?

Change #1: Auditions in front of the judges were only held in New York & L.A.

In previous seasons, we’ve gotten to see the judges travel across the country to various cities were auditions were held in order to see the talent onstage – last year, they went to New York, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Chicago, & New Orleans.  This year, initial auditions in front of the producers were held in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, Houston, and my hometown – Indianapolis :-) But those who passed muster at the initial auditions had to fly to New York or L.A. in order to audition for the judges – and I’m just a tad bummed, not only because I would have loved to have seen the judges out & about in my hometown, but I thought the local flavor of some of the audition cities was what made those initial rounds so fun to watch.  We got to see all the mariachi performers in line in San Antonio, all the jazz in New Orleans, the Latin flavor of Miami, etc.  But according to Howie, the fact that the talent from all of those cities funneled into just two really made the live auditions more challenging, since the didn’t have the comfort zone of performing in their hometown.

Change #2: No “Vegas Week” this season – it has been replaced by “Boot Camp”, which was held in front of a live audience at Radio City Music Hall.

In lieu of holding “Vegas Week” in order to determine the Top 48 acts this year, AGT opted to hold a 3-day “Boot Camp” round of auditions in front of both the judges AND a live studio audience in NYC.  It was apparently taped last week.  Despite what the name implies (and the event of the same name from the X-Factor), it sounds basically the same as Vegas Week – just not in Vegas, and with the addition of a live studio audience.  While I rather enjoyed seeing the contestants hanging out in Vegas and in some of my favorite hotels, I guess I don’t particularly mind this new Boot Camp switch-up – I think the addition of a live studio audience may actually influence the judges a bit more to pick acts with more broad-spectrum appeal, as opposed to acts that only they themselves might find appealing.  I kind of wonder if an act like Milton Patton (who seemed wildly popular with viewers last season, but was eliminated in an instant decision in Vegas last year) may have fared better in the Boot Camp format, and if a more polarizing act like Aaralyn & Izzy may not have advanced to the next round if done in front of an audience.

Change #3: There’s something called the “Golden Buzzer”.

Apparently, it’s a one-time “judges’ save” – another buzzer situated on the judges’ table between Heidi & Mel B. that any of the judges can hit in order to save an act that’s about to get eliminated due to the other 3 judges saying “no”.  The catch? It can only be used once per season, per judge, so it encourages the judges to use it only when they feel strongly about an act.  I think as the judge that’s the dissenting opinion most often (and the one that is most likely to like stranger acts that the other 3 judges don’t “get”), Howie is the one that will most likely benefit from this new buzzer - and he allegedly already used it during the initial audition rounds.  I’m a little unclear on when it can be used, though – if it’s only when the other 3 judges say “no”, does that mean it can only be used during the initial auditions, Boot Camp week, or if the act lands in the judges’ choice slots during the live shows? Or can it be used to save an act that would have gotten eliminated regardless, based on the viewers’ votes? Does it expire after a certain round, like the judges’ save on American Idol? And most importantly – will it preclude the judges getting a “wild card” pick at some point? Since the wild card was basically a judges’ save (with a slightly different format), it almost seems redundant to tell them “Ok, you get this golden buzzer in order to save an act that’s about to get eliminated…but you also get a wild card pick later in the season, where you can bring back any eliminated act!” So I guess I’m curious how this whole thing works.

So what do you think of the changes this season? Are they an improvement…or a downgrade? Don’t forget to set your DVR’s to record the premiere, which is only 4 days away!!! 8-)

May 23, 2014 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 9 – Commercial Spots Previewing More Acts

No huge revelations after the extended teaser video they released the other day, but still gives us a glimpse of some of the acts :-)

Looks like Nick is getting used as a guinea pig again, and we’ve got some more opera singers:

Seeing the Asian dance group with the fans on a lot of promo stuff…wonder if they’re going to be a major act this season, or if they just like the visual of all the colorful fans :-P

Not wild about another jump roping act, but the guy at the piano looks intriguing!

Any standouts for your guys so far?

May 22, 2014 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 9 First Look

Hey AGT fans! Glad to be back after a looooong absence :-) Just wrapped up coverage of season 18 over at PureDWTS, and now I’m ready to dive headlong into America’s Got Talent for another summer!

We’re less than a week away from the season premiere, which is next Tuesday, May 27, at 8 PM EST on NBC, and the America’s Got Talent YouTube channel has posted an extended “first look” video with a glimpse into what we’re going to see this season.  Things worth noting: there looks to be another Chinese dance group, another male stripping act, another blacklight dance group, a mysterious “golden buzzer” that the judges can use to save an act, a magician that manages to relieve Heidi of her bra 8-O , and Heidi kissing a pig! Check it out:

Initial thoughts? I’m curious as to how this whole “golden buzzer” thing works, and I wonder if it will somehow preclude there being wild card picks this season since it’s essentially another “judges’ save”.  Also seems like a lot of breakdancers, which is encouraging – aside from Hype last season, we haven’t really had a very strong breakdancing act in awhile.  I also saw a martial arts group peppered in there – could be interesting to have that thrown in the mix.  Overall, a great first impression! What are your thoughts?

 

May 21, 2014 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 Finale – SPOILERS!!! Who Won???

Jee-zass…almost an hour and a half into the show before we get a single result??? And I have to wonder just what the producers were on when they decided it would be a good idea to have Hoda & Kathie Lee be a part of Collins’ trick…oy vey.  On a good day, I find those women irritating – on a crap day like today, I think I’d rather fellate a hot curling iron than listen to them cackle.  8-O And for the love of god, reality tv shows, enough with that silly ass Icona Pop song!!! Read more..

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 – 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 ;-) 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 :-)

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 ;-)

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

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 – Post-Finale Performance Poll: Who Will Win?

We already did this poll after last week’s results – but let’s see if you still feel the same way after tonight’s performances.

I’ll save my opinions for the power rankings in the morning – but let’s just say my mind definitely changed from last week!

September 17, 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 – Finale Live Discussion Post/”Matt Chat”

Since it was such a hit last week with me & the two Matts (hence the nickname), I’ve resurrected the live discussion post – so join us, won’t you? :-) Come chat about the show as it goes on, and see what other readers have to say.  Who did well? Who did bad? Who surprised you??? Won’t you join us? We don’t bite…hard ;-)

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, Top 12 – SPOILERS!!! Who Made it Through to the Finale???

Hmmmm….was anyone else not all that impressed with the Olate Dogs or Terry Fator? I guess it kind of put it in perspective for me that this season really might be one of the strongest we’ve had…because I think almost any of the acts in this year’s top 12 could have beat the two returning champs we saw. Read more..

September 11, 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, Top 12 – Power Rankings

Well, to those of you who didn’t join myself, Matt B. and Matt W. in the live discussion post/”Matt Chat” during the show last night – you missed out on some great discussion :-) And I’m planning on resurrecting the “Matt Chat” for next week’s finale…so plan on joining us, k? ;-)

Overall, last night was a night that the judges seemed to do a LOT of gushing and giving of standing ovations – and I’m not sure they were all deserved.  Seems like the judges have decided who they do and don’t want in the finale, and are critiquing accordingly.  Will be interesting to see who’s still standing when the dust settles tonight…

1.) Forte – As I mentioned in the live discussion post last night, I actually thought last night was one of their weaker performances – that song has just been done to death, and I actually don’t think the arrangement had enough “light and shade” to really showcase the guys’ voices well.  The whole thing just felt a bit “meh…it’s ok” to me.  That said, I think they long ago solidified their place in the finals, and are one of the few remaining acts who can afford to have a bit of a stumble and still make it through safely.

2.) Kenichi Ebina – Another usually top-notch performer that left me feeling a bit “meh” last night.  I get what he was going for – a more emotional, artsy performance – but up until the part with him leaping through the dark with the strobe light, I just felt a bit lost, as he seemed to be a little all-over-the-place with his movements.  Again, another act that long ago secured his place in the finale – but I think if he wants a shot of displacing Forte for the win, he should stick with what has really worked well for him in the past: very cool, fun, upbeat performances that show off his full repertoire of skills.

3.) Kristef Brothers – Highlight of the evening for me, and I think they reached a Kenichi-level of creativity with their performance last night.  An infomercial on how to be a Kristef Brother? HILARIOUS.  And they still did all of their tricks well – color me entertained.  And can I just say how RAD Kris’ dad is? I think I may have to rewatch just the little blurb with him later, cause he had me laughing pretty hard.  I think these guys and Cami have been the biggest surprises of the season for me – I never would have guessed they would make it this far.

4.) Collins Key – *sigh* I was really, really hoping that Collins would both clean up his delivery AND come up with something totally different for the top 12 – and I guess he succeeded, but only minimally.  Yeah, he trimmed down a lot of the confusing fluff from his last trick, and the “pick a bag for me to smash” premise was probably the most innovation we could expect from the type of magic he does; but last night, I saw the “man behind the curtain” a bit, and it detracted from my enjoyment of the trick.  There was just wayyyy too much funny business with the bags – Howard chose bag #2 for him to put Nick’s watch in, but all Collins did was take the 2nd bag and switch it with the first one…the watch was still going in bag #1.  Then when he was “mixing up” the bags, he was really keeping the same bag with Nick’s watch in the same hand the whole time.  Then watch his face when he’s asking Heidi to pick bag 1, bag 2, or bag 3 – he smiles broadly when he says “bag #3″, which to me could have easily been a signal to Mel & Heidi that Nick’s watch was in that bag and they needed to pick the other two.  And really, the bags were never sealed, and Nick’s quite obviously was much larger & heavier than the two cheap ones…so Collins knew the whole time where Nick’s watch was, which enabled him to “coach” the ladies.  Then there was the whole debacle with the time on Howie’s watch – I don’t think Collins considered that Howie’s watch doesn’t have well-defined second marks, and that Mel is sometimes a bit of a dipsh*t, so once again the trick lost its magic a bit when Collins asked if the time “was rounded or not”.  I like the kid, I really do – but each time I see him perform, he loses a little bit more of the magic that made me enjoy him so much the first few times we saw him.  That said, I think he has the teenybopper vote, and should make it through without any problems.  I’m just not confident he can win the whole thing, though.

5.) Jimmy Rose – I think last night was actually my favorite performance we’ve seen from Jimmy – was nice to see him sing something a tad more uptempo.  But the judges just weren’t feeling it – has the luster worn off the rose with their favorite country boy? Or have they just decided he’s not finale material? I just found the whole critique to be rather strange – granted, Jimmy did have a few wobbly notes, but I don’t think it was any worse than any of his other performances…which the judges GUSHED about.  I’m guessing that he still has enough fan support to secure himself a place in the finale…even though I think I’d rather see Cami there.

6.) Taylor Williamson – Taylor just gets funnier and funnier to me, the edgier and more inappropriate his humor gets :-P And I love that Howard & Howie get it and are on board with it – because I feel like both Heidi & Mel have missed the bus at different points, and last night it was Mel’s turn.  I could tell Mel soured on the act the minute the word “racist” passed Taylor’s lips – I remember reading that she demanded that one of the comedians we saw in Vegas not have his audition performance aired because she thought it was racist & offensive, so she’s quite touchy about that particular subject.  I actually didn’t find Taylor’s joke to be particularly offensive – it was pretty darn innocent, as far as “racist” jokes go, and ended up being more ageist than racist, really.  But I could tell Mel had written the act off based on that joke alone – so I’m actually a little glad Howard & Howie managed to keep her from critiquing the act, because I have a feeling she would have torn him a new one.

7.) Catapult Entertainment – I’ll just put it out there: I’m sick to death of Catapult, and I’m totally over the main guy’s preachy attitude and tendency to go for the “schmaltz factor” in order to get his group to advance. Aside from their initial audition (which I still think was their best performance), the one time they DIDN’T go for some sappy storyline, they kind of lost both the judges’ and America’s interest.  Do they really think they’re going to be able to craft an entire Vegas show out of sappy vignettes like the one they did last night? I about wanted to slap the leader in the face when he pulled out the whole “we need to protect our kids from bullies” line and acted like he was doing such a noble thing by announcing that to the world and sharing his group’s performance…as if he was single-handedly going to stop bullying by doing a few shadow puppets.  And mediocre shadow puppets, at that – some of the shapes they were making kinda made me go “Wait, what is that? Is that supposed to be a dog? It’s a crappy-looking dog…oh, I guess it’s a dog.  Whatever.” I’m over the “look at us, we’re so touching and socially-conscious that you simply MUST put us through to the next round!” act.

8.) Cami Bradley – Cami was my 2nd favorite act of the evening – loved her rendition of “Living on a Prayer” and thought she was the only singer last night that really did something fresh and unexpected.  And as I said earlier – she has pleasantly surprised me each round she performs.  That said – I worry she’s going to get lost in the shuffle between all the country fans trying like hell to save Jimmy Rose and all the opera fans duking it out between Forte & Branden James.  I think she DESERVES a spot in the finale, but I’m not sure if she’ll actually GET a spot in the finale…too many sheeple voters that are blinded by Collins, country, & opera.

9.) Branden James – *shrug* I just don’t know what to make of this guy anymore.  He reverted back to his usual “I’m going to sing a touching song that’s been done wayyyy too many times because I know America just eats this sh*t up!” strategy, and gave a schmaltzy, average performance to “Hallelujah”.  And of course – the judges gush.  I give up…but I guess I just hope Forte has enough clout to edge him out of the finals.

10.) Innovative Force – Anyone else find it a bit funny that they had all 3 acrobatic acts basically go back-to-back-to-back at the beginning of the show, as if to force America to see them side-by-side and pick just 1 to go through? I think this likely benefitted Kristef Brothers, but hurt Innovative Force & Chicago Boyz – because both paled in comparison.  Innovative Force are great at what they do – I think their tricks are a lot more cleanly-executed than Chicago Boyz, and their the most “artistic” of the 3 acrobatic acts in the top 12…but I feel like they’re getting a bit repetitive.  Each performance, it’s the same intense, classical music; the same tricks (we saw the “throw the girls around in star formation” trick in their audition); and the same type of costuming.  I just think they’ve run their course on this show, unfortunately.

11.) D’Angelo & Amanda – I’m not sure there was really anything that D’Angelo & Amanda could have done to earn themselves a place in the finale – I feel like America is so country, opera, and Collins-crazy that they just don’t have time to really care about these two very talented dancers.  I was thrilled that they did samba – it’s the “party dance”, and was probably their best bet at making a splash (no pun intended, considering their performance last week) in the top 12.  I thought they did great – they moved big, they added in an interesting new element (dancing around the judges’ table), and had a great energy about them.  I don’t think it will get them into the finale, but I think it was a great way to go out with a bang.

12.) Chicago Boyz – Poor Chicago Boyz.  I don’t think they did terrible, by any means; I just think they had the unfortunate distinction of being really the only act that made very noticeable mistakes last night.  I do applaud them for stepping up the danger level each week (jump-roping a 3-tired pyramid formation??!!), but I think the fact that they lost one of their key stuntmen to a leg injury really crippled them this week – I’m fairly certain I saw his replacement involved in both bungled jump rope tricks I saw. I have enjoyed their journey on the show, but I’m fairly certain we’ve seen the last of the Chicago Boyz :-(

So what are your thoughts on last night’s performances? Who do you think will advance to the finale next week?

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!