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PureAGT Season 8 – Top 12 Airing Pushed Back Due to POTUS’ Speech

Just a reminder to everyone to set your DVR’s – according to the official AGT Twitter account, the show will air immediately after the President’s speech tonight at 9/8c:

I recommend setting your DVR’s to record an extra 45 minutes or so, just to be safe, since we don’t know how long this speech will be.  Since I likely won’t be able to post my power rankings until tomorrow, I will be posting a sort of “discussion post” where everyone can chat about the show until I can get my rankings up in the morning.  Enjoy the show everyone! 8-)

September 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!

PureAGT Season 8 – Roster for 2nd Semifinal Airing September 3

Here’s the semifinalists performing next week:

Kenichi Ebina
Jimmy Rose
Marty Brown
Chicago Boyz
D’Angelo & Amanda
John Wing
Timber Brown
Branden James
American Military Spouses Choir
Anna Christine
Kristef Brothers*
Leon Etienne & Romy Low (Howard’s wild card pick)

*pending healing of the injury Kris sustained while rehearsing for this week’s semifinal.

The one major threat I see to Forte’s apparent monopoly on the win this season? Kenichi Ebina. If he can pull off something as cool as what he did in the quarterfinals, I think he’s gonna be a force to be reckoned with.  Other standouts? I’m guessing Jimmy Rose, Timber Brown, D’Angelo & Amanda, and I’m tentatively going to say the Chicago Boyz & Kristef Brothers, who both have injuries to contend with (one of the Chicago Boyz broke his leg in the 3rd quarterfinal, and obviously Kris from Kristef is still recovering from the injury he sustained this week).  As I said in my spoilers post, I think Leon & Romy don’t stand a chance; I also keep forgetting that Anna Christine is even in this competition, and think Marty Brown’s weaknesses are really going to show next to Jimmy Rose, much the same way that Jonathan Allen’s did next to Forte.  And speaking of opera – so help me god, Branden James better NOT make the top 12…most overrated act this season, IMO.

So who do you guys think will be the ones to watch next week? And what do you think of Howard’s wild card pick?

August 28, 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: Who Will Howard & Howie Pick for Their Wild Card?

So we know Heidi & Mel’s wildcard picks (Duo Resonance & Tone the Chiefrocca), and will be seeing them perform next week.  But the question on everyone’s lips seems to be “Who will Howard & Howie pick as their wild card?”

I think it’s worth noting that both Mel & Heidi’s picks were acts that lost in the judges’ choice of their respective rounds – therefore, I think there’s a good chance that Howard & Howie’s picks might also be acts that lost the judges’ choice.  However, I think there’s also a few acts that the judges were hoping would make it further and didn’t – so their picks may be acts that didn’t even make it as far as the judges’ choice.  Hell, they could feasibly even pick acts that didn’t make it past Vegas…and Howie in particular is pretty unpredictable, so he very well may chose something completely out of left field.

I’ve picked a handful of acts that I think stand the best chance of getting picked for the wildcard, as well as allowing write-ins.  Which do you think will get picked? Vote for the three you think are the most likely.

Personally, I would be surprised if Howard picked any act other than the American Hit Men – he had be gunning hard to get a “great rock band” in the finals, and I think he really wanted the Hit Men to be that band.  If he doesn’t pick them, for whatever reason (maybe too many music acts?), I could see him maybe picking Alexanderia…he seemed to think she should have made it further than she did, plus we don’t really have any danger acts in the semifinals.  Howie is a bit more unpredictable – I could see him doing something totally dumb and bringing back Aaralyn & Izzy (ugh), just to be weird; but then again, I think he could possibly bring back Aerial Ice or Alex Magala, to try and get some more unique acts into the finals, since he seems to be the judge that is the most vocal about there being too many singers in the competition this year.

So how did you guys vote? And who do you hope to see winning these wild card spots?

August 22, 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 – Roster for 1st Semifinal Airing August 27

Here’s the semifinalists performing next week:

Innovative Force
Forte
Kristef Brothers
Angela Hoover
Cami Bradley
Collins Key
Taylor Williamson
Jonathan Allen
Dave Fenley
Duo Resonance (Heidi’s wildcard pick)
Tone the Chiefrocca (Mel’s wildcard pick)
Unnannounced act(?)

Ok, I’m confused – given the acts that they announced last night, plus two of the wild card picks, only gives us 10 acts for next week…and we have a total of 24 (20 from the 5 quarterfinal rounds, plus 4 wildcards) in the semifinals.  Either there are two more acts performing next week that just weren’t announced, or we’re going to have one semifinal of 10 acts and another of 14.  Maybe they’re still working out the schedule for next week? It appears as though they were, indeed, still working out the schedule for next week, as Dave announced on his Twitter that he will, indeed, be performing next week. Thanks to Liam for the heads-up.

Anywho – I think the two strongest acts with the best chance of advancing from this group are Forte & Collins Key.  I think Jonathan Allen can kiss any chance he had of advancing beyond the semifinals goodbye, because I think all the opera nuts are gonna put their eggs in one basket to ensure Forte advances.  That’s the one upside to a bunch of singers making it through – now they have to go up against one another, and I have a feeling the folks voting through all the singers from quarterfinals are now going to have to pick and choose who they REALLY want to vote through – so some of these weaker vocalists are gonna drop off.  Tone is just pure fun and I don’t see him advancing (and I plan on doing another post later discussing at length why I think it’s good that he made it through); I think Taylor & Angela are going to have to duke it out for a spot, cause I don’t see both of them making it. Will be interesting to see Duo Resonance & Kristef Brothers competing against each other – I think Kristef may actually come out on top with this one, because they seemed to have learned how to work the crowd while Duo seems to still be struggling with stage presence.

So what do you guys think of this group?

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 Live Show #2 – Power Rankings

Am I the only one who have found the live shows to be rather lackluster thus far? Once again last night, I was left feeling kind of “meh” about some acts that had really thrilled me prior to this point.  There were a few standouts, of course, but it seems like quite a few acts are just getting lost in the shuffle.  Will be interesting to see how things pan out tonight…

1.) Forte - This was a little bit of a gimme, in my opinion, as I had them pegged as advancing to the next round before they even performed – and sure enough, they delivered once more…and thankfully, they seemed to reign in the problem they had in Vegas: now Sean feels more like part of the group, as opposed to a featured soloist.  Love the feeling of a “wall of sound” that I get from them.  I agree with Howie that these guys are top 10 material, for sure.

2.) Tone the Chiefrocca – This really seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it kind of act, but even if you can’t stand this guy, I think you have to admit that his whole schtick is kind of genius: his only ambition is to be a one-hit wonder, and he readily admits it.  You can’t accuse the guy of overreaching given his level of talent, and really, his song is terribly catchy and radio-ready. On top of that, he (and his “hype guy” Colby, who is quickly stealing the show for me) is ridiculously amusing to watch, on and off-stage, and has the right personality to really carry of the “spectacle” of what he’s doing.  I loved their performance last night and I don’t feel even slightly guilty admitting it – it was amusing and it made me smile.  Sure, it’s not classical opera or some ridiculously skilled dance act, but at the end of the day, I was entertained…and I think America was, too :-)

3.) Innovative Force – Was actually quite pleasantly surprised by what this group brought to the table – saw some stunts that I’d never seen before, and they handled them masterfully.  My only complaint is that their act seemed to focus more on the stunting aspect and they seemed to neglect the dancing aspect a bit – this may have been a strategic choice on their part, in order to make more of an impact, but I think they’re going to run out of stunts pretty quickly if they continue at the pace they’re going – I don’t think it would hurt to add a bit more dancing to the act.

4.) Angela Hoover – Found myself a bit on-the-fence about our female impressionist last night – I think her impressions were pretty spot-on and relevant, but I think she picked some “gimmes” to imitate and the end result wasn’t as creative as what we saw from her in the audition rounds.  Was it relevant and cute to impersonate Mel & Heidi, and do it well at that? Sure.  But I almost feel like that’s what people were expecting her to do, as other impressionists have taken aim at the judges in past seasons.  I also thought the Christina Aguilera impersonation was a bit of a freebie – almost every female impressionist seems to do Christina, since her voice is so distinct.  I think Angela will probably make it through tonight, but I’d like to see her challenge herself a bit more in the future – either by trying a few male impressions, or by picking female celebs that are a bit harder to imitate…I’d like to see a good Kardashian impression, or maybe a Kate Middleton.

5.) Marty Brown - Marty blew it last night – period.  He was out-of-tune, lost his stage presence, and overall, he didn’t deliver.  That said – I would not be surprised if he made it through tonight by some miracle, as so many people just seem to love this “good ol’ boy” and are willing to give him another chance.  That song was terrible, but I think the fact that he dedicated it to his dear ol’ dad and was singing to his wife will probably tug on enough heartstrings to get him a decent amount of votes.  If it comes down to him in the judges’ choice? I think the judges pick the other act – but I get the feeling that we’ll be seeing him again in the wild card.

6.) Alexander Magala  – I will say this: the levels of danger this guy goes to never cease to amaze me.  He does do a great job of upping his game each week.  That said – he was a little off his game this week, and his injury may have had something to do with it.  I saw a few trips and slips, and I think the fire element just made it hard to see and appreciate what he was doing.  I worry that tonight may be the end of the road for him, just because there were acts that didn’t struggle as much. If nothing else – he’s far more fun to watch than Brad Byers.

7.) Ciana Pelekai – Ugh, I just cringe when a talented singer just picks the wrong song and ends up falling kind of flat as a result.  Ciana’s got a great voice – unfortunately, the arrangement of this song (and the distracting dancers/backup singers in the background) seemed to serve more to drown out her vocals rather than showcasing them.  It started off well – I thought she sounded great by herself at the beginning – but once the song hit the chorus? Nah.  Another act I could see being asked back for the wild card.

8.) Kid the Wiz – Kid is great at what he does, no doubt.  But I think we’ve seen just about all we’re going to get out of him – I don’t know that I see him being able to do a whole lot more with his act that we haven’t already seen…and he’s still making mistakes.  I don’t know that he’s got the steam to go any further in this competition.

9.) Aquanuts – This went from being cool to being cheesy awfully fast for me – I realize that it takes a tremendous amount of skill to do what they do, but at the same time…I found myself bored with it.  Not sure how America’s gonna feel, but if they were as unamused as I was…yikes.

10.) Brad Byers – Zzzzzzzz.  That’s all I really find myself saying after watching his performances – I mean, what he does is no doubt dangerous, but I find myself just not caring a whole lot because his delivery is so deadpan.  On top of that, I feel like the tricks are getting a little repetitive – it was the tongue on the blowtorch in Vegas, and now the tongue in the fan on the live show.  What’s next, licking a cactus?

11.) Struck Boyz – I just don’t find this group terribly talented – I feel like we’ve got much stronger dancers that aren’t as gimmicky.  It’s as if they saw Bieber and the guys from Jersey Shore doing their thing, and decided they would be a good group of guys to emulate in order to make little girls shriek.  Too bad they don’t have the same effect on grown women…yuck.

12.) Dave Shirley – Not terribly funny or creative…not a whole lot much more I can say.

So who do you think will make it through tonight? And who let you down?

July 31, 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 – Roster for 2nd Live Show Airing July 30

I’m sure Nick will annouce the acts for next week’s show at the end of the results show tonight, but so far we know a few of the acts we’ll be seeing next week:

ciana

Ciana also tweeted that she just arrived in New York a few hours ago, so it looks like all of the week 2 acts are making their way there now…

tone

According to Marty Brown’s Facebook, he also arrived in New York last night; and according to Brad Byers’ website, he will be performing at RCMH next Tuesday.

UPDATED: Here’s the complete roster for next week, announced by Nick at the end of this week’s results show.

Ciana Pelekai (child singer)
Tone the Chiefrocca (rapper)
Marty Brown (country singer)
Brad Byers (sword swallower)
Struck Boyz (child hip-hop group)
Forte (opera trio)
Aquanauts (synchronized swimmers)
Angela Hoover (comedic impressionist)
Alexander Magala (sword-swallowing dancer/aerialist)
Kid the Wiz (hat trick dancer)
Dave Shirley (comedian)
Innovative Force (dance/acrobatics group)

Well, I think it’s safe to say that Forte has one of the 4 spots in the semifinals on lock – and I think Marty Brown probably has one, too.  Will be interesting to see who gets the other two…I’m personally rooting for Tone and maybe Ciana too, but I don’t really feel particularly strongly about this group of acts.  The one interesting act here? Aquanauts, who we did not see at all in Vegas – which tells me that some other act that DID make it through to the live shows had to withdraw.  Hmmm…wonder who it could be.  What do you guys think of next week’s acts?

July 24, 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 Live Show #1 – Power Rankings

Things I learned from last night’s first live show of the season:

1.) I am sick of hearing “Beneath Your Beautiful” & “I Love It”. 

2.) The judges may be regretting putting some of the acts through to the live shows.

3.) There’s a lot of technical kinks with Radio City Music Hall that still need to be worked out. 

Overall, I was left a bit disappointed – with as strong of a group of acts that comprised last night’s show, I had high hopes…but only a few acts actually delivered, and almost everyone seemed to suffer from  nerves.  Guess I can only hope that tonight was just first night jitters – that next week’s live show will come off quite a bit smoother and with fewer gaffes.

So now I’m going to rank the acts we saw last night, from the act that I think is most likely to get through to the act that I think is least likely to get through.  Since four acts are advancing, it’s safe to assume that the four at the top of my list are the ones I see making it through – the 5th place spot is the act that I think will lose the judge’s choice.

1.) Collins Key – I had a feeling this kid would knock his act out of the park once more, and he sure did.  Loved how he made his act very current and relevant by incorporating Twitter into it – he seemed a bit nervous at times, but overall I liked his delivery and think he appeals to a wide demographic, both young and old.  My only concern is that we’ve basically seen the same act from him 3 times in a row now, just tweaked slightly to change things up.  I’m hoping he’s got something new up his sleeve for the next round – because at this rate, I think he’s got a decent chance of winning this whole thing.

2.) Branden James – I knew when they had him going last that he was likely going to benefit from some degree of “pimping” from the judges.  And when he started belting out “You Raise Me Up”, I knew he had probably just secured himself one of the spots in the next round.  I guess I’m just left a little confused as to why Branden is getting such lavish praise – I thought his performance was ok, but nothing exceptionally special; I didn’t think his first audition was anything terribly special, either.  I think we have much stronger male opera singers this season – and I think any of the 3 guys in Forte could put him to shame, vocally.  Personally, I thought “You Raise Me Up” was a bit of a cop-out song – it’s one of those schmaltzy songs that seems to tug at heartstrings and illicit an emotional response from the audience, even if it’s not sung particularly well.  I thought he could have picked something a little more daring to highlight his vocal skills.  I think he’s got one of the spots in the next round, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hope someone edged him out of it – for me, he was just ok last night. 

3.) Kristef Brothers – The unexpected delight of the night for me :-) Thought the comedic pas-de-deux theme of their act was genius – I do think they’re really hit paydirt with their “comedic acrobatics” strategy, as these two were one of the acts I really remembered fondly from last night’s show.  These guys are legitimately talented in what they do - and they’ve got the added benefit of having a great sense of humor about it and not taking themselves too seriously.  I think it’s this combination of skills that could help them edge out a stronger acrobatics act – I think Duo Resonance is technically the strongest acro act this season, but they seem to lack stage presence and personality; I think Kristef, though less technically skilled, could actually edge them out on personality alone.

4.) The American Hit Men – Seems like all of the musical acts last night seemed to suffer from picking the wrong song, and I think the Hit Men did struggle to a degree with “With a Little Help from My Friends”.  While I overall liked their performance and think they should go on, I think they probably would have had a stronger showing with a more uptempo song – maybe “American Woman”? I still think they’re popular enough and entertaining enough to advance, but I think they really need to start focusing on the right songs – so far, they have yet to perform anything that had as strong an impact as “Simple Man” from their inital audition.

5.) Anna Christine – Poor Anna – not only did she suffer from picking the wrong song, but she seemed to suffer from nerves more than any other act and seemed to have some technical difficulties as well.  I’m not sure what it is with Anna and The Animals, but the downtempo version of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’” that she did just never really got off the ground – it was so subdued and quiet, perhaps because she herself admitted that she “couldn’t hear the track very well”.  As much as I do think she deserves to advance, I think she may have done herself in with that song – if she does come back, she needs to pick something that’s more uptempo and can really show off her vocals.

6.) Alexanderia the Great – Her act was impressive – but I don’t know that they really built it up enough so that it really left me on the edge of my seat.  Alex actually has a rather unique problem as an escape artist: she almost makes it look too easy, so that you don’t really pick up on the difficulty of what she’s doing.  Part of the appeal of escape artists like Spencer Horseman last season was that they really drew out the escape – he was always completing the escape just barely in the nick of time, and he really let the suspense build.  Alex does it so quicky & easily that you don’t really have time to get hyped up about it.  If Alex does somehow make it through tonight, I think in the next round she’ll really need to work on building the suspense of her act – holding her breath longer, taking more time to escape, maybe adding a clock or another element of danger to really amp things up. 

7.) Special Head – I think the execution of this trick was so poorly carried out that even poor Nick wasn’t quite sure what to do! As I was discussing with my two right-hand men (Will & jimmbboe) last night, Special Head has sort of hit a plateau for me: we’ve basically seen the same trick from him 3 times now, just dressed up with different props so it looks like a new trick.  And tonight, the trick was so clumsily executed that it wasn’t even impressive – we caught a glimpse of Special Head’s…well, head, after he had supposedly disappeared, and then a confused Nick was wandering out onstage, unsure of whether the trick was actually over or not.  Cut to a video feed of Special Head out on the balcony at RCMH (which looked pre-taped to me), and everything just felt sloppy & haphazard.  However, I did see “Special Head” trending for quite sometime on Twitter – no way to really be sure if that will translate to votes or not, but it did seem like people were talking about him.  I don’t think he deserves to move on to the next round, but that doesn’t mean he won’t…

8.) Fresh Faces – I feel bad putting these cuties so low, but I feel like their act just may have gotten lost in the shuffle last night.  I think the major problem with what they did was that it just felt messy and chaotic – rather than the organized, in-synch group we saw in the audition rounds, we basically got some semblence of a bunch of little girls running around giggling at a slumber party, which I think detracted from some of the really skilled tumbling and stretching moves they were doing.  That dumb “I Love It” song didn’t seem to help matters, either.  Very cute, very talented girls – but I think they suffered from the wrong kind of presentation in their act last night.

9.) Hype – The strangest thing about these guys? They actually seem better with less preparation than with more!!! They only had about 12 hours to come up with their routine for their audition, and it was fantastic; they have beaucoup time to come up with their Vegas and Radio City routines, and both fall flat.  I just don’t get it – I really had high hopes for these guys, and while their two most recent routines have been marginally entertaining, they seem to lack the same inspiration that we saw in their initial audition.  I think they may have blown their chances last night, and may not even have a hope and a prayer of getting asked back for the wild card.  Ack. 

10.) Aaralyn & Izzy – What can I say that I haven’t already said since the audition round? I don’t find them talented, entertaining, or particularly special…but at least now the judges are seeing it, too.  “Stepping in dog poop”? That song maybe had 15 words, repeated 2-3 times…usually inaudibly.  The only thing that I found semi-amusing about the whole act was Aaralyn’s semi-split at the end. For the individuals who think this act is artistic and wildly talented…I’d love to know what real metal artists think of Aaralyn & Izzy.  I’d say we get Ozzy’s take on them, but I’m sure Sharon’s got him on a gag order since she left AGT. 

11.) Tellavision – Another act that I’m glad the judges are finally realizing ain’t that great – I thought there was very little dancing in this number, they relied too heavily on the LCD screens, and the whole thing was just really cheesy and, as Howard put it, “artsy-fartsy”. I feel like we’ve got far stronger dance acts than this one this season, and the LCD screens are really more of a distraction than anything else. 

12.) Kevin Downey Jr. – I just think Kevin got lost in the shuffle – his jokes were only slightly funny, and in the end, none of them were particularly memorable.  I don’t think he was bad, per se – I just don’t think he was anything special. 

So what did you guys think of last night’s acts? And who do you hope to see advancing to the next round?

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 – Roster for First Live Show Airing July 23

As he usually does at the end of the Vegas week finale, Nick announced the 12 acts we’ll be seeing in the first live show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Tuesday night.  They are:

Branden James (opera singer)
Aaralyn & Izzy (kid death metal band)
Special Head (levitator)
Fresh Faces (dance/gymnastics group)
Anna Christine (kid singer/pianist)
Kevin Downey Jr. (stand-up comedian)
The American Hit Men (rock band)
Hype (hip-hop dance group)
Tellavision (LCD screen dance group)
Alexanderia the Great (escape artist)
Kristef Brothers (hand balancing acrobats)
Collins Key (magician)

I don’t know about you guys, but this seems like a really tough first group for the live shows.  Keep in mind that only 4 acts get to go through each week of the live shows – and this particular episode pits several heavy-hitters (like Collins Key, Anna Christine, Special Head, Alexanderia, & the Hit Men) against one another.  I guess my only hope is that some of these stronger acts end up sending some of my least favorites (Aaralyn & Izzy, and Tellavision) home. What do you guys think?

July 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 Vegas Week Rundown – Night #2

Well, the “WTF?” train didn’t leave the station after last night – still more shocking eliminations (and even MORE shocking advances to the live shows) than last night.  I’m now convinced that some acts are just going to be there for the sake of variety and to serve as cannon fodder for the REALLY good acts.

First, let’s get the verdicts out of the way…

Acts that made it to the live shows after performing in Vegas:

(acts with a * next to them did not appear in the audition round – Vegas is the first time we’ve seen them)

Collins Key
Leon Etienne & Romy Low
Brad Byers
Slackwire Sam
Alex Magala
Special Head
Brandon & Savannah
Forte
The American Hit Men
Marty Brown
Dave Fenley
Duo Resonance
Timber Brown
Kristef Brothers
Izzy & Aaralyn
Chloe Channell
2Unique
Ciana Pelekai
Taylor Williamson
John Wing*
Hype
Kid the Wiz
D’Angelo & Amanda
Jonas & Ruby
David Ferman
Rong Niu
Deanna Dellacioppa
Jonathan Allen
Cami Bradley (not shown, but advanced according to Wikipedia)
Selena Mykenzie Gordon (not shown, but advanced according to Wikipedia)

Court’s thoughts: Why the HELL are Aaralyn & Izzy still in this competition??? I find nothing about them talented, entertaining, cute, or unique – in fact, it actually disturbs me a bit that they’re being pushed in this direction musically, and that no one appears to be teaching this child proper vocal technique.  At this rate, she’ll be lucky if she doesn’t have chronic laryngitis by the time she’s 16! I officially dub Aaralyn & Izzy this year’s “Horse”.  Also a little miffed that 2Unique made it through – the DJ is pretty good, but I don’t think the other girl is anything special, nor do I think the act as a whole is worthy of a Vegas show.  Also a bit skeptical that Chloe Channell made it through, despite giving a rather lackluster performance in Vegas.  Gotta say, I’m surprised they took both D’Angelo & Amanda and Ruby & Jonas – not because one is less talented than the other, but because I thought for sure they were going to pit sibling-against-sibling for a slot in the live shows…guess they figured the sibling vs. sibling storyboarding angle could work for the live shows, too.  Beyond the acts that I mentioned, I guess I’m pretty happy with the acts that made it through.

Acts that were cut after performing in Vegas:

Ariann Black*
Naathan Phan
RJ Cantu*
Tavi & Antonio
“Accro” Brandon Rosario*
Travis Pratt
Paul Thomas Mitchell
Lil Demon
Melody Caballeros*
Archbishop Molloy Step Team*
Art Spark*
Skilyr Hicks
Genesis Nava*
Jimmy Failla*
Eric Schwartz*
Megan Piphus
Kennedy Davenport*
Dylan Wilson
Lil Mike & Funny Bone (cut immediately after performing)

Court’s thoughts: First, I feel I must point out the pattern here: most of the acts that weren’t featured from the audition rounds, did not make it to the live shows.  Guess that goes to show that if you don’t get a lot of airtime devoted to you, it’s probably because you won’t be sticking around long, anyway.  Now, a “WTF?!” moment: why were Travis Pratt & Paul Thomas Mitchell cut???  I think the former’s unique voice would have been an asset in the live shows, and the latter also had a unique voice and some genuine songwriting talent.  *sigh* Like Milton Patton, I guess I can only hope that they get called back for the wild card round.  Beyond those two, I think I for the most part agree with the acts that were cut – seemed like some of them really blew it in Vegas (notably Megan Piphus and Skilyr Hicks) while others probably never really stood a chance to begin with (Dylan Wilson and Lil Mike & Funny Bone).  The rest were acts that we didn’t really see much of, anyway, so it didn’t really affect me much to see them cut.

Acts that performed in Vegas (continued from Night #1)

Kid Musicians:

Aaralyn & Izzy
Chloe Channell
Genesis Nava*
Ciana Pelekai

Court’s thoughts: You already know how I feel about Aaralyn & Izzy….grrr.  I thought Chloe Channell actually blew it with her song choice – her performance ended up being kind of blah, and she may have fared better if she had switched songs with Genesis.  I think the only one that knocked it out of the park was Ciana – I was skeptical after seeing her in the audition round, but her rendition of “I’d Rather Go Blind” brought the house down. 

Magicians:

RJ Cantu*
Naathan Phan
Collins Key
Ariann Black*
Leon Etienne & Romy Low

Court’s thoughts: Only one real standout for me - once again, Collins Key aced his performance.  I love that he’s going the route of up-close, more intimate tricks as opposed to these large-scale illusions that so many other acts are going for.  Ariann totally blew it – her trick went wrong and she refused to admit it.  Thought RJ’s trick would have been far more impressive if he had done it with the lights on – it was so damn dark, you could tell he was trying to hide something.  I agree with Howard about Naathan – his magic is good, but his delivery is awkward.  I guess Leon & Romy’s trick was kind of cool, but it also struck me as a little boring. 

Variety acts:

Special Head
Kennedy Davenport*
Megan Piphus
Lil Mike & Funny Bone

Court’s thoughts: This category was a little bit of a dud for me – nobody really seemed to rise to their full potential.  Thought Special Head fared the best, but agreed with the judges that his audition trick was more impressive.  If we’ve seen one dancing/lip syncing drag queen, I feel like we’ve seen them all – so I wasn’t terribly impressed by Kennedy Davenport.  Megan and Lil Mike & Funny Bone both completely blew their Vegas performances – Megan looked downright amateurish trying to sing “ABC” with her puppet, and I don’t know that Lil Mike & Funny Bone even rehearsed at all, since they both seemed to be forgetting their choreography and just wandering around the stage aimlessly.  I think the latter may have wasted their one great song on the audition round and just didn’t have anything else that was equally strong to fall back on…so who knows, maybe they were kind of doomed from the get-go.  But they did seem rather lackadaisical about the whole thing, so I guess I agree with the judges eliminating them immediately after they performed. 

Male singers:

Dave Fenley
Marty Brown
Paul Thomas Mitchell
Jonathan Allen
Travis Pratt

Court’s thoughts: I love Dave Fenley more and more each time I hear him perform – loved his gravelly acoustic take on “These Arms of Mine”.  I agree with the judges that I thought Marty was better in his audition than he was in Vegas – he wasn’t terrible, per se, but I just found myself a bit bored.  Seemed like Paul fumbled a bit with “Sunday Morning”, but I still loved his voice and thought for sure he’d be going to the live shows.  Jonathan Allen definitely improved from his initial audition – seems like he has a lot better control over his voice now.  Poor Travis Pratt – I think he did a commendable job with “Ave Maria”, but the judges just couldn’t seem to get past the fact that he sings like a woman. 

So the roster is set for Radio City Music Hall!!! Who are you most excited to see in the live shows? And who are you sad to see eliminated?

July 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 Vegas Week Rundown – Night #1

Well…let’s just say I’m left a bit surprised by some of the decisions that were made tonight.  The instant decision round seemed to put more acts than ever before (30) straight through to the live shows, they cut one individual instantly that really shocked me, and some of (in my opinion) the stronger acts were forced to perform again in Vegas, while weaker ones made it straight through to the live shows.  In addition, we saw some acts in Vegas that we didn’t get to see in the initial audition rounds – which kind of annoyed me, as it’s hard to predict who’s gonna make it through when I don’t have a full list to choose from :-P I guess I’m still left going “hmmmm” after tonight’s episode, and I can only wonder what tomorrow night’s episode will bring!

A lot happened in tonight’s 2-hour show, so please bear with me as I work through it :-) I may have to post now and finish sometime tomorrow, as I require sleep at some point. I’m gonna start with the “instant decision” acts – those who were either sent straight through to the live shows or sent home without getting to perform in Vegas.  There were 2 acts that made it straight through that I didn’t recognize from the auditions – those are the acts in quotation marks, since I don’t know their names.

Instant Decisions

Acts that made it straight through to the live shows:

Catapult Entertainment
Fresh Faces
Tone the Chiefrocca
Sprice
Anna Christine
Kenichi Ebina
Alexanderia the Great
Mitsi Dancing School
Innovative Force
“Bald guy I didn’t recognize” Dave Shirley
Jimmy Rose
Tummy Talk
Aerial Ice
Kelsey & Bailey
Chicago Boyz
3Penny Chorus & Orchestra
American Military Spouses Choir
University of Virginia Gospel Chorale
Angela Hoover
Jim Meskimen
David “The Cobra Kid” Weathers
Kevin Downey Jr.
Branden James
Struck Boyz
SensEtion
Tellavision
Aerosphere
Spintacular
“Group of adolescents I didn’t recognize” The RobotIx*

Court’s thoughts: I agree with this list, for the most part – if there was one act I thought deserved to make it straight through, it was Aerial Ice; if there were two, it was Aerial Ice and Kenichi…and thankfully, both were on this list.  Also glad to see Alexanderia, Chicago Boyz, Jimmy Rose, and Sprice on this list…and THRILLED to see Tone.  Yay B-O-O-T-Y!!!! Was a little surprised to see both Angela AND Jim Meskimen on this list – I thought for sure they’d only take one impressionist, and it would be Jim.  The only two acts I’m a little perturbed to see on this list are SensEtion & Tellavision – I thought the latter was just terribly cheesy, and the former wasn’t particularly original.  I have to wonder if some of these acts were put straight through because a) the powers that be didn’t think their Vegas week performances would be a huge ratings draw, or b) the judges knew that some of them (like Tone and maybe The Cobra Kid) have acts that can quickly grow old – and thus by sparing us watching them do the same act again and again.  Still think there’s a few cannon fodder acts peppered in, too – somebody’s gotta go home each week, and you may as well deliberately throw some weaker acts in to protect your stronger ones.

Acts that got sent straight home:

Olivia Rox
Yasha & Daniela
Sully Dunn
Milton Patton

Court’s thoughts: Was not surprised by Sully Dunn and Yasha & Daniela being put in this group - I had already kinda predicted they probably had a slim-to-none chance of making it to the live shows.  I think Sully is just too raw for AGT at this point, and Yasha & Daniela would look like amateurs next to D’Angelo & Amanda and Ruby & Jonas.  Was slightly surprised by Olivia Rox, then I rewatched her audition and found that her vocals were not as strong as I initially thought and her performance seemed rather manufactured.  The one name that did surprise me? Milton Patton.  Completely drawing a blank as to why he wasn’t chosen – I think the judges made a big mistake on that one.  My only explanation is that they may be planning on bringing him back for the wild card show, similar to the Bandbaz Brothers last season (instantly cut in Vegas, brought back for wild card).

Acts that performed in Vegas

(acts with an * next to them were not shown in the audition round – this is the first time we’re seeing them)

Danger acts:

Slackwire Sam
Rong Niu
David Ferman
Brad Byers
Alex Magala

Court’s thoughts: Seemed to be some struggles in the danger group – Rong Niu dropped a bowl, Slackwire Sam’s hair caught on fire, and David Ferman seemed to struggle with showmanship once more.  I wouldn’t say Brad did bad, per se; I just think his act tends to gross people out, as opposed to amazing them.  I think Alex probably fared the best last night – his act seemed to impress the judges, and he didn’t have any problems.  I think Sam, David, and Alex will probably make it through to the live shows, given that their acts are so freakin’ dangerous & amazing; unfortunately, I think Rong and Brad are probably goners. 

Music groups:

Forte
Brandon & Savannah
The American Hit Men

Court’s thoughts: My one explanation as to why Forte ended up in this group instead of automatically going through to the live shows? The lineup change.  Hana (the South Korean guy that performed with them in the L.A. audtions) backed out at the last minute, and the remaining two members had to scramble to find a new member – enter Sean.  I’m guessing the judges wanted to make sure this new combination of members was every bit as good as what they saw in the audition round – and honestly, I agree with the judges that Forte might have a bit of a problem now: Sean is so good that he kind of overshadows the other two guys.  In the initial auditions, I don’t think any one member stood out – their sound as a unit was just so pure that you couldn’t really single anyone out.  Now it’s rather like “Forte – featuring Sean! And two other guys.” I still think they’ve got a spot on the live show, but I do think the judges will bring this new development to their attention.  I found Brandon & Savannah to be a bit bland – not sure that they really attacked their cover of “Little Talks” full force.  Liked the American Hit Men, but I don’t know that “House of the Rising Sun” fit them as well as “Simple Man” did.  I think Forte & American Hit Men will move through – not sure about Brandon & Savannah.

Kid acts:

2Unique
Lil Demon
Melody Caballero*
D’Angelo & Amanda
Ruby & Jonas

Court’s thoughts: Thank god I’m not the only one that has been pondering why 2Unique is still in the competition – Howard expressed concern that they weren’t terribly…well, unique.  I just don’t find myself entertained by what they do – it’s rather like watching two girls singing along to a boom box in their living room, to me.  Lil Demon can breakdance every bit as well as some adults we’ve seen.  Wasn’t terribly impressed with Melody’s contortion act – she seemed to struggle with balance and seemed very, very nervous.  Now we come down to the dueling siblings: D’Angelo & Ruby.  Honestly, I think they probably would have put D’Angelo & Amanda in the group that automatically made the live shows – but they couldn’t resist the temptation of a little storyboarding, and probably wanted to show off the drama of sibling vs. sibling in Vegas.  I think D’Angelo & Amanda knocked it out of the park once more with their cha cha – my only complaint is that we just see so much Latin on the show…which is why I think Ruby & Jonas actually had the more daring, creative routine.  We rarely see any of the standard dances (waltz, tango, foxtrot, quickstep, & Viennese waltz) on AGT. They did a tango, but Jonas lost his balance at one point and both he & Ruby toppled to the floor.  They recovered well & kept going, but some tears were shed after the fact that made me feel terrible for the young couple :-( If it’s any consolation, I don’t know that going out there and dancing that tango perfectly would have really mattered – I think the judges probably already had picked D’Angelo & Amanda as the ones to advance.  I’m guessing Lil Demon advances too…and maybe Melody. 

Comedians:

Jimmy Failla*
Eric Schwartz*
Taylor Williamson
John Wing*

Court’s thoughts: Was interesting that 3 of the four acts in this category were acts that didn’t appear in the audition rounds – I had heard a bit of controversy surrounding Jimmy Failla’s act (apparently he wasn’t shown during the audition rounds because Mel B “thought his act was racist”), and had heard that he was actually trying to get his Vegas performance eliminated from last night’s episode because he said the show “duped him”.  So I’m guessing he’s not going to be gracing us with his presence in the live shows – which is fine with me, because I didn’t find him funny.  Liked Eric Schwartz – thought his comparison of Jewishness to hip-hop was clever, but he did seem at times like he was trying too hard.  I had a hard time following Taylor Williamson’s act – I think a lot got cut out, because there is no way the judges should have been laughing as hard as they were at just him standing onstage being awkward.  I liked what I did manage to follow, though.  I found myself just slightly chuckling at John Wing’s act…not laughing, just kind of “hehe”-ing.  I think Taylor’s gonna move on – and I’m on the fence about Eric. 

Dancers:

Archbishop Molloy Step Team*
Art Spark*
Hype
Dylan Wilson
Kid the Wiz

Court’ s thoughts: Was glad to see a step team – too bad I think they looked a little sloppy, and the judges commented that they had performed the same routine at their initial audition.  Was also glad to see a hip-hop group from Indianapolis :-D Before they even said that, I thought to myself “Wait, they look a little familiar.”  I’m guessing that some of the members were part of Destined2B, another hip-hop group from Indy that was on season 4.  I thought their routine was creative, but lacked a lot of content.  Hype seemed to struggle a little – I think they just came across as a bit chaotic & disorganized, which was an unpleasant contrast to how clean & organized they looked in their initial audition.  I don’t remember a whole lot of Dylan’s routine…which makes me uneasy, because it probably means it wasn’t terribly impressive.  Kid the Wiz actually dropped his hat at one point, and I just didn’t find his act as amusing the second time around as it was the first.  I think the only group that’s a lock for the live shows is Hype – even if they were disorganized, I still think they handled this round better than any of the other groups in their category. 

Acrobats:

Tavi & Antonio
“Accro” Brandon Rosario*
Duo Resonance
Timber Brown
Kristef Brothers

Court’s thoughts: I think Tavi & Antonio kind of dropped the ball this round – their routine seemed a bit too artsy and didn’t have enough tricks…and the song was just saccharine-sweet.  I think Brandon Rosario came across a bit cocky, which I can’t understand because I don’t think his pole routine was terribly impressive.  Duo Resonance is, for me, the strongest technically in this category – but they really seem to lack a stage presence, and can come across as boring.  I actually agree a bit with the Kristef Brothers, who remarked backstage that they come across cold “because they’re Russian”.  :-P I think Timber probably fared the best out of this category, as his cowboy-themed routine was a good combination of creativity and skill; I actually found myself enjoying the Kristef Brothers as well, and came to appreciate their humorous approach to acrobatics.  I know Howie didn’t really “get” the humor of the act, but I do think it sets them apart from all of the other acrobats this season.  I think Timber is definitely going to move on, and probably Kristef Brothers as well; Duo Resonance could go either way; and I think the other two acts are toast. 

Female singers:

Deanna Dellacioppa
Skilyr Hicks
Selena Mykenzie Gordon*
Cami Bradley

Court’s thoughts: Had some pleasant surprises and not-so-pleasant surprises in this group.  I’m finding myself starting to dislike Deanna Dellacioppa – the way she freaked out about her background track being too low, and the subsequent way she had a breakdown about it backstage just kind of rubbed me the wrong way.  I get that this “is her dream”, but man – I feel like this chick is always crying and getting caught up in her emotions…even when she’s performing.  I still feel like she’s putting too much effort into her singing, and like Mel said, “it sounds like she just ran a marathon”.  She’s striking me as a bit too high-maintenance for this show.  Poor Skilyr just looked like a deer in the headlights during her entire performance – she did another original song, but to me it sounded a lot like the first original song she did at her initial audition.  Seems like she may not be ready for big audiences.  Selena did ok-to-good, but seemed to have a few notes that fell a bit flat; the big surprise of the category for me was Cami Bradley, who, despite my initial predictions that she would struggle in Vegas, was the only one in her category that knocked her performance out of the park last night: she performed a haunting, sultry version of “Summertime” and played the piano, and was the only one that didn’t seem to let nerves get the best of her.  I think at this point, she’s the only I feel confident saying “She will make the live shows.” The other three are up in the air for me. 

So what did you guys think of the instant decisions? Who are you glad to see headed to the live shows…and who are you sad to see leaving? And what do you think will be the outcome of some of the performances we saw? Keep your eyes peeled for my rundown of night Vegas night #2 later this evening! :-)

July 16, 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!