Wordspit, the Illest!
Live Wire Theatre
Wordspit, the Illest!
Live Wire Theatre
Anyone who has been watching AGT this season knows the name Turf. He’s the street dancer/contortionist that came to the auditions with an inspiring story, and a pretty unique talent. So far, he has flown through the auditions, Las Vegas, and now, the top 48. Here’s his act from last weeks performances.
Among many, he is the favorite to win. For me, I think he’s interesting. Granted, I get a little sick to my stomach while watching some of his act, just because it hurts me to watch a body move like that. I’m not sure if he’s been my favorite act so far (Donovan and Rebecca, as well as Shanice and Maurice Hayes, are the ones I am rooting for), but I do think he has a chance of winning. However, on the flip side, there are some who wonder, what’s the big deal. On my commentary from last weeks performance, the following comment was left by JP about Turf:
This is probably just me, but I need to know something about one act. What does everyone see in Turf? I don’t get it. They’re overhyping him as this great act, but I don’t see it. I’ve seen this type of act before, and he doesn’t do anything that really impresses me. He’s talented, but I don’t think he’s one of the best acts. There generally seems to be act every season that everyone loves but I don’t get, and this seems to be this season’s act. Based on tonight’s performances, I would say Tom Cotter and Donovan and Rebecca are the only two slam dunk acts in the round. After them, I would like to see two of Hawley Magic, Ben Blaque and Tim Hockenberry advance. Unfortunately, I think Turf is going to take one of those spots even though I just don’t think he was as good as the others. Maybe I’m just missing something with his act, but I just see him as good, but not great. He’s below those five in my mind, and might even be below The All Ways (though I have to admit that I generally like rock music, so they were better to me.)
Can someone answer JP’s question — what is it that everyone sees in Turf? Most comments and articles I have seen on this year’s season of AGT really do praise him, and in a way, that might bias some into thinking he’s better and more unique than he really is. In his critique last week, Howard Stern warned Turf about not letting all of the praise go to his head, because there are some other great dance acts this year (specifically, as Howard mentioned, Unity in Motion). While he appears to have a fairly large fan base now, he still needs to continue putting his best foot forward and keep his current fans, as well as win over those a little more unsure. Is Turf going to be able to step it up, and prove he is more than just a good dancer and deserves to be among the winners of AGT? What do you think of Turf? Feel free to leave your opinions, as well as vote in this poll. I’m interested to see what others think of him.
After a post written about the “The Singing Sisters”, Christina and Ali, from Season 5 of America’s Got Talent resurfaced on our Twitter account, a follower asked for an update on them.
And just for anyone who is unfamiliar with Christina and Ali, here’s a little background on them:
These two beautiful girls from Idaho Falls made it to the top 10 on Season 5 of America’s Got Talent as a singing duo. One of the things that made them stand out is that they both have cystic fibrosis. After the season, they went on a 25-city tour with AGT. Christina has a “huge voice” and Ali is a “vocal Swiss Army knife,” according to their website, and together, were a vocal phenomenon. Here is a video of them on America’s Got Talent:
These girls truly have an amazing story of overcoming such obstacles. Since America’s Got Talent, they have written and produced a song called “Love is Gonna Find You” in 2011 with a Dove Award-winning and Grammy-nominated producer/songwriting team that worked with big names like Kelly Clarkson and Michael Jackson, which was featured in their 5-song EP that was released this past Valentine’s Day. Sadly, their older sister passed away last year, and the girls sang at her funeral. I can’t even imagine how hard that would be!
Christina just finished up her sophomore year of high school, and Ali most recently was taking a break from school at Brigham Young University-Idaho to help promote the EP. One of the seconds on the EP is an anti-bullying song, in honor of a friend who committed suicide in 2009 because of bullying. They have been interviewed by several magazines, including Twist Magazine and Seventeen earlier this year. In the Seventeen article, the girls talked about Cystic Fibrosis, and how it affects their every day life:
Ali: For me personally, I get really worn out and really tired throughout the day. It’s a struggle sometimes to remember all the medicine I have to take. Every time I eat, I have to take pills and I often have to undergo treatments. It’s a lot of time and hard work.
Christina: I always have a lot of treatments to do and I like to hang out with my friends which is hard when I have treatments.
For those unfamiliar with what Cystic Fibrosis is, it’s a genetic disease that affects digestion, weight gain, and the lungs. The lungs have a rally thick and sticky mucus that builds up and can cause infection and a general decline in function of the years. In the Twist Magazine article, the girls said that the disease affects their singing voices at times. The fact that they singing, despite that added challenge, shows what strong and talented girls they are.
These girls have every reason in the world to complain about the life card they’ve been dealt, but they seem to keep going forward with a great attitude, and seem to having a lot of success recently in their music career. I listened to a few of the songs on the EP, and it is a very uplifting, positive album with a good message. I really hope to see more of these two girls, because really, they are great role models of overcoming trials and just being good people over all. They are great examples, especially to young girls everywhere. I’ve obviously never met them, but beyond their incredible voices, seem very sweet. I’d love to talk with these girls someday!
Be sure to check out their website here for updates, pictures, videos, and more. Their album can be downloaded on iTunes here. And, to finish off, here is the music video of their song, Love is Gonna Find You:
Another 12 down. While there were some definite train wrecks tonight, I had a hard time deciding on who I think is going to move on. It seemed like there was going to be a full-on brawl between Howard and Howie after Big Barry’s act! Who were your favorites? Be sure to vote in the poll for tonight, and, as usual, if you want to skip my commentary and go straight to the power rankings, just scroll down a bit.
LionDanceMe: did not remember very well. Definitely different. I didn’t get that “on the edge of my seat” danger feeling, but it was fun to watch for the most part. Howard was right, the audience probably didn’t realize how dangerous it was, because I sure didn’t. I was pleased that they didn’t mess up. It definitely will get old fast. The act needs something new added to it if they want to really progress in the competition. I think Sharon’s martial art/lion act could be interesting. The group leader said that they stepped it up by not falling, but that doesn’t really mean they stepped it up moves-wise.
Turf: This guy had me in awe from the beginning. It’s one of those acts that leaves you just thinking “wait…what just happened?” I loved watching him in the audition stage, and Las Vegas, and I felt the same way tonight. I’ll admit, part of me was a little sick after watching it, but it’s incredible. I have never seen anyone do what Turf does. There wasn’t a lot of extra stuff, beyond the music and lights. Howie was right — there was so much emotion behind what he does, and you can tell he wants to win. I will be very surprised if he doesn’t advance tonight. Actually, I’d be disappointed in America if he doesn’t. He truly is a human Gumbi, and blew away the rest of the acts from tonight.
The All Ways: I really don’t remember these guys. And I’m kind of glad I didn’t. I really, really can’t stand the lead singers voice. The whole act just kind of seemed like noise to me, it didn’t rub me the right way. The lead singer didn’t seem to enunciate the lyrics very well. Maybe it was a bad song choice. They definitely look like rockers, but they didn’t bring the feeling I usually associate with legendary rock bands. It reminded me more of a talent show performance.
Hawley Magic: This was a great magic act during the initial stages of the competition. After the fail-of-a-magic act from last week, I was really crossing my fingers for Hawley Magic. Tonight’s act was an incredible illusion, if you ask me. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it. I really liked them, but who knows what America will think. It was a little bit slow, but a good illusion can’t be rushed, right? They do seem a bit old school, but that didn’t bother me really. Maybe I’m old school myself. I’d like to see them through, but, unfortunately, I don’t think they rank among the top four acts of the night.
LCD – Lisa Clark Dancers: Can I be honest? I wasn’t looking forward to this act. I’m not a huge fan of the dance groups on the show. I’ll be fair though, they are talented. . One thing I don’t like about dancers is when there is a complete disconnect between their faces and the dance, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves. At that, there really wasn’t any wow moment to the dance. It was a little too cutesy, and compared to some of the other dancers in the competition (Turf, namely), they were definitely sub-par. The girl who spoke for the group felt like they were very unique, but I don’t really think so. I’ve seen similar moves by other groups. They won’t be going on.
Aurora Light Painters: I did not enjoy this act, I really thought I was going too, but it was boring. There wasn’t anything about it that left me wanting more. Yes, it is very different, and not a typical act, but it wasn’t very impressive ! They should have done something a lot more exciting, because I’m pretty sure this act sealed their fate: They will be going home. There’s nothing else I really have to say, but I think they should have thought the act through a little bit more.
Danielle Stallings: There are quite a few young singers in this season, aren’t there? She hit some hard notes, but overall, she isn’t my favorite. I’m going to disagree with the judges, I didn’t find her to be that memorable. But I wasn’t a big fan of Edon and he went through, so it might happen with her as well. She seems like a very sweet girl though. She was one of the better acts tonight. But was she good enough to get through? We’ll see.
Donovan & Rebecca: This duo does what the judges ask of everyone, but few seem to actually do: bring something new to every act. Donovan and Rebecca have been my favorite from the beginning. What they do is beautiful. It’s dangerous. It’s flawless. I can’t take my eyes off of the screen when they are performing. During a night where amazing acts were sparse, they shined once again, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
Big Barry: I was surprised when he made it past his audition, and even more surprised when he got past Las Vegas. Now, if he gets past tonight. He doesn’t even sound like he is singing (it sounds more like moans and strains), and I felt like his act was more tall, attractive women dancing around him. This was a joke, and I’m appalled that other more talented singers (um, how about Mary Joyner?) didn’t get through, and he did. Maybe the judges felt there needed to be some comedic relief. It should have been pinned as a comedy act. Howie is full of it. I just wanted him to stop talking, because everything coming out of his mouth was ridiculous. I feel bad for the guy, as Howard and Sharon were a bit ruthless, but if he gets through, I’m done with this show (well, not really. But it would be tempting!)
Tom Cotter: This guy has really had a tough time breaking into the comedy scene, and he deserves some credit for not giving up. Most people would. He was on fire tonight, one joke after another. His jokes were well crafted and he did a good job executing them. The crowd seemed to eat it up, and I think he will definitely go on tonight, and straight to the finals. He’s got a great story, and isn’t that half of what makes an America’s Got Talent star?
Ben Blaque: The act inspired by Hunger Games…okay, I’m kidding. But that is the first thing I thought when I saw Ben Blaque. It might me very nervous when he said he didn’t have all the bugs worked out from his act. His assistant has got to trust him a lot, that’s some scary stuff he’s doing, especially since it is all new to his act! His bow shooter (I know, there is probably a more official name for it), sure was heavy duty. I was holding my breath during the last shot of the act. I would love to see what else he can do; I just hope no one dies if he moves on!
Tim Hockenberry: If someone could win on story alone, he’d be one of the final contenders. But since this is a talent competition…maybe he won’t be. Just kidding. He is so powerful, and one of the best, if not THE best, singers in the competition this year. I love the gritty quality to his voice. He sings with so much emotion, I had chills during the whole act. I actually agree with Howie this time, he could be the winner of this competition. It’s weird, I agree with Howie for once, and totally thought Howard was off his rocker.
So here are the power rankings for tonight. These are who I think America will send on, not necessarily who I want to go through. I actually wouldn’t send Tom Cotter through, just because I’m not a huge fan of comedy, and I’d send Ben Blaque through. But as it stands, I don’t think it will go that way. The results show will be interesting though, as I don’t think it’s going to be completely clear cut who is going to move one.
The Four I Think Will Go On:
2. Tim Hockenberry
3. Donovan and Rebecca
4. Tom Cotter
I Wish You’d Go Through, But I’m Not Sure If You Will:
5. Ben Blaque
6. Hawley Magic
Okay, but Not Good Enough:
7. Danielle Stallings
8. Lisa Clark Dancers
Please, They Are Going Home:
10. The All Ways
11. Aurora Light Painters
12. Big Barry
Since I just got home, I missed the first 45mins of the show… so to help me capture as many of the songs as possible I ask that in the comments before please list any and all songs that you happen to pick up or that I’ve missed, and any songs that you’d like me to specifically find and within twenty-four from the show I’ll update this post with the songs that I was able to catch.
The more songs that you guys are able to find, the more time I will have in finding the songs that you are unable to find.
Thank you so much for your help!
MUSIC FROM THE SECOND QUARTERFINALS PERFORMANCES
The Lisa Clark Dancers
Before she was even a teenager, Bianca Ryan was the first winner of America’s Got Talent six years ago. Because of versatility in music choices and powerful voice, Simon Cowell once said she was “potentially one of the best singers [he has] ever heard in [his life.]” Now, six years later, what is Ryan doing now as a 17 year old?
Well first, lets visit her journey on America’s Got Talent:
(compare first season to the current season..SO much has changed, agreed? Personally, I like the judges and host a lot better now.)
That girl has some serious talent. Probably why she won, right? And the fact that she was 11 is even more incredible. What was I doing at 11? Um, I think I was performing in my 6th grade musical rendition of Tom Sawyer. Not quite the same.
Soon after winning, Ryan produced and released a self-titled album that debuted at #57 on the Billboard Top 200. Although that is the only CD she has released since AGT, she has still kept busy. She has released two EPs and done a little bit of touring.
Currently, Ryan is now 17-years-old and attending a performing arts school in Philadelphia. She is also preparing for a starring role in a feature film titled “We Be Kings.” Ryan has definitely had a good career so far, and is on the road to even more stardom. Quincy Jones, a global music producer, said that he believes Ryan will be “The next revolution in music.”
I really like her. She has genuine talent (unlike a lot of popular musicians that are her same age). I hope to see more of her in the future!
And just for fun, here is one of her most recent songs, “In My Head”.
Last Tuesday night, as the contestants who made it to Vegas searched their names on either the “favorites” or the “stand-by” list, I couldn’t believe it when William Close wasn’t on the list. If you need a refresher on his act, watch this video:
However, as we all soon found out, the Close and his Earth Harp had impressed the judges so much, he was automatically advanced to New York. I enjoyed this act right off and was looking forward to seeing him in the advanced stages of this season. This wind harp is like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and I’d love to see something this different win the competition.
The “Earth Harp” was invented by Close himself back in 1999. Its strings go up to 1,000 feet in length, which makes it the world’s longest stringed instrument. Since its first debut where it was “mounted on one side of a valley with the strings stretehced nearly 1,000 feet to other side,” hundreds of Earth Harp have been installed across the world by Close and MASS Ensemble, including at the Grand Theater of Shanghai and Seattle’s Space Needle. According to a website about the Earth Harp, an Earth Harp installation is:
. . . Celebrates the architecture and landscape of its surroundings. The environment and architecture are transformed by the strings, forever changing the perception of those lucky enough to see the installation.
The Earth Harp and MASS have performed at numerous festivals and performing arts center, such as The Coliseum in Rome for La Notte Bianca, Miami Sleepless Nights, the Kennedy Center, and a permanent installation at Cirque du Soleil’s show in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand.
It’s pretty incredible how the Earth Harp works. The website explains the process as follows:
The Earth Harp is played using violin resin on cotton gloves and musical bows. The performer’s hands are run along the strings to create beautiful cello like tones. The act of rubbing the strings creates a longitudinal compression wave. This vibration is similar to the vibration patterns that produce tones when you run your finger around the edge of a wine glass.
So now that you have a little bit of background on the Earth Harp, how about something about the man behind the masterpiece?
He attended the Art Institute of Chicago where he studied sculpture and sound design. He has worked to closely explore connections between music and architecture. According to his Facebook page, the quote “architecture is frozen in music” inspires his work. In addition to the Earth Harp, he worked with architects to develop two “Symphonic houses”, where essentially, the houses are musical instruments. He has also created more than 100 new musical instruments throughout his career.
I mentioned the “MASS Ensemble” earlier on, which is an acronym for “music architecture sound and sculpture”, which was founded by Close. Many of the performances with the Earth Harp include the MASS ensemble who “work with Closes unique designs to create music based stage shows that push the envelope of the musical experience.”
Here are a few of Close’s performances, the first at Jerusalem’s Festival of Lights, and the second at the Lucidity Festival 2012 in Santa Barbara:
To learn more about William, his work, and the Earth Harp, visit his website here. I look forward to seeing how America takes to this very unique act.
There have been several acrobatic/dance routines this season so far. While my favorite still is the graceful couple, Rebecca and Donovan, Lindsey Norton, a 16-year-old from Oldsmar, Florida, took the stage in Tampa. The longer her act went on, the more impressed I became. I am amazed at how flexible a person can be. Here’s her performance, which drew a standing ovation from the audience.
Norton has been dancing since she was two years old, and when asked by Sharon how much she practices, she said between 15 and 20 hours a week. With that much dedication a week, it’s like a part-time job, and her act was very polished. I loved how Sharon described it:
I can see you’re serious about your craft. You put in time and effort. You’re like a little angel, and you’re a great example for 16-year-olds out there. You’re a beautiful, young girl.
Lindsey has performed a lot since she was little and has won a lot of awards. She represented the US in the International Dance Organization’s World Cup in Poland back in 2010. While participating, she won gold medals in both the Jazz and Modern divisions. Here is one of her performances in 2010 with her company, All American Dance Factory.
It will be interesting to see how far she goes. As I’ve been perusing the comment boards, some people feel like she is better fit for the Cirque du Soleil than AGT, but I think she definitely has what it takes to do well. If all else fails, at least she seems like a good girl that others can look up to. It’s refreshing to see a teenage girl who is dedicated to something she loves and works hard at it.
Less than a week ago, Timothy Poe brought America to tears with his story.
Now, Poe is the one in tears.
In an interview released last night by WFAA-TV, a local news channel for Dallas/Fort Worth, Poe apologized for what his story. Poe had his fiancee, Carrie Morris, by his side throughout the interview. Despite apologizing, Poe did not admit to lying.
I mean, as far as everything I said, I believe it wholeheartedly myself. But I feel like I’m going crazy.
It appears that Poe might soon be claiming insanity caused by service in the military. He said:
I don’t know. I’m thinking, why have I for the last, over two years, believed things have happend to me and they might not have? . . . I don’t feel like I’ve lied. That’s what’s driving me crazy, because I truly thought things have happened to me.
Throughout the interview, Poe still had the stutter that he said he developed as a result of a brain injury while in Afghanistan, a story he is still sticking to. However, this may be fabricated as well. In the first post about Timothy Poe, I mentioned a golf tournament for injured soldiers he participated in a few months ago. However, WFAA-TV also interviewed Donna Cranston, the founder for Defenders of Freedom, an organization that helps wounded and injured troops financially. Cranston claimed that Poe is a liar:
I believe he’s a liar, and I hate to say that. I know we’re not supposed to call people liars, but I believe he’s a liar. I’m not angry for me, but angry that he would slap the brothers and sisters that he served alongside in the face like he has done.
Poe had several bills paid by Defenders of Freedom and also received gas and restaurant gift cards. During an interview she conducted (which can be heard in the video I’ve posted at the end of this post), Poe had no identifiable stutter.
Well, I’m glad that Poe has admitted to some things, but I’m still waiting for the words “I lied” to come out of his mouth. Will that ever happen? Who knows. He did say he will be getting help at a VA hospital though, so that’s one step closer.
A big question swirling around the Internet is . . . Will he participate in America’s Got Talent competition?
According to a Fox News report, he won’t. Anthony Anderson, Jr., manager of Stolen Valor, a Facebook community, told FOX11.com:
I have been told by a very reliable source that Mr. Poe gets eliminated anyways, and very soon, and that is possibly why NBC hasn’t pushed the subject.
Let’s hope this is true, and that NBC will look more carefully into contestant’s back stories in the future. Stolen Valor is a group that “out[s] people who falsely claim military service and/or claim unuthorized medals.” Anderson revealed some of the things they found out:
We have found out that (Poe) only served one month in Afghanistan, and left due to an ear infection.
Fox News also reported that the photo he used for the show was not of him, but Staff Sgt. Norman Bone. TMZ said that Bone is “livid about the misuse of his photoraph, and is consulting the Army legal department to explore his options.” Apparently, Poe apologized for this and blames the show for “pressuring him to produce photographs quickly.”
I must have sent the wrong pictures from my hard drive to ‘AGT’. (Show producers) kept pushing me and pushing me saying ‘You need to put these out. You need to put these out.’ Well I had deleted a lot of photographs because because I wanted nothing to remind me of things that had happened to the past.
A rep from the company behind AGT, Freemantle, has issued an apology statement from Bone and removed the photo from circulation.
Part of me feels bad for this guy. If he truly is suffering from brain damage that has caused him to not be able to discern reality from fiction, then I hope he can find the help he needs. He did serve in the military for several years, and maybe he is suffering from PTSD. On the other hand, it’s hard to believe anything that comes out of his mouth. He seems to put the blame on everyone but himself. Maybe he is just a pathological liar. Either way, hopefully he can resolve his issues and find peace with the situation (and hope that those he has deceived can forgive him.)
Here is news report from WFAA-TV. The raw, unedited interview can be watched here.
With rumors about Tim Poe, the supposed injured soldier who auditioned for AGT on Tuesday night, surfacing around the Internet, everyone is asking the same question: Is it true?
Although Poe has denied allegations, recent information is indicating that Poe is a fraud. Poe’s ex-wife, Kelly Ballard, told the NY Post that Poe was not injured:
There were no combat injuries. I think he developed a ‘feel sorry for me’ stutter.
AGTNews.com also posted some other juicy details from the interview with Ballard about Poe:
“I had him arrested in June 2002 for domestic violence. After that, he vanished to Minnesota. He didn’t help out with our son at all. . . . The whole time I have known him, I have never known him to be enrolled in any college. There is a possibility that he may have an associates degree from before I met him. One hi Facebook page he says he has a Masters Degree in project management.
She also said that he was the lead singer for Crawlspace, a band in Rochester, Minnesota for four years, which totally puts discredits his story about never singing before a speech pathologist suggested it. This photo from the Crawlspace Myspace page supposedly features Poe from his days singing for them (on the left):
So before you think that maybe he just has a disgruntled, angry ex-wife, listen to this: The Associated Press reported the following concerning his military record:
. . . Poe served with the Minnesota Army National Guard from December 2002 through May 2011, working as a supply specialist. Records show he was deployed in Kosovo from Oct. 10, 2007 to July 15, 2008, and then served in Afghanistan for about a month in 2009.
The Associated Press article quoted Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, a spokesperson for the Minnesota National Guard, saying:
Sgt. Poe’s official military records do not indicate that he was injured by a grenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, as he reports. . . . We looked very closely at his record. We did not find something to substantiate what he said.
That sounds pretty legit to me. Poe has talked with TMZ, denying all allegations. Curious about what he said in the interview. Well, TMZ staff said in the article:
Poe tells TMZ, the fact that there is no record of the incident is a common problem — one that Poe says is endemic when it comes to reporting soldiers’ injuries in Afghanistan . . He said he received treatment at a military medical facility in Afghanistan before being transferred to a medical center in Landstuhl, Germany . . . Tim says he plans to sue his ex-wife and several others for telling the media he was lying.
He also did not give TMZ any “hard proof” to back up his story, saying he “can’t release pics or documents for legal reasons.”
Well, if he is lying, he sure can make up a good story. In my opinion, he sounds like he has the makings of a pathological liar. A fake degree, being in a band, and worse of all, faking a war injury?
I’d love to know the truth, but who knows how much work it will take for that to happen. Tim Poe, I’d love to hear from you and see some solid proof. Until then…I’m really doubting his story. And I hope that NBC will look more into the stories of contestants next time around.