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PureAGT Season 9, Episode #2 – Audition Round Run-Down

Two more hours of auditions in the can, and I feel like we’re starting to see the season take shape. Seems like there’s a lot fewer singers this year, and the ones we do have aren’t all that impressive – that actually makes me happy, because I feel like we lost some really unique acts last seasons because so many singers got pushed through. Also pleased that the audition rounds seem to be focusing more on the good acts than the bad ones, and even the bad ones we’ve seen have often gotten at least one yes. So far…digging this season :-)

Willis Clan – ages 3-21
The act: 12 siblings (all with names starting in “J”) that played instruments, danced, and sang a cover of “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music.
The verdict: 4 yes’s, and much gushing about what a good-looking family they area.
Court’s thoughts: Was it cute to see all 12 of them up there doing their thing? Sure. But if we’re being honest, only about 4 or 5 of the older siblings were actually doing anything that actually added to the performance – the rest of the little ones were basically just there to look cute. Which is ok, I guess – that’s just part of the package of their act. Although I think the oldest, Jessica, has enough talent on her own that she could ditch the family act and have success as a solo country artist.

David & Leeman – ages 27 & 29, from Los Angeles
The act: A duo of magicians that used “pressure phrenology” to impair Howie’s ability to read and had him try to read words off of cards.
The verdict: 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: I think I said this quite a bit last season, but I’ll say it again: I can know how a magic trick was done and still be able to appreciate it based on the delivery, creativity, and overall performance. And that’s the case with these two – I think I figured out the trick (notice how the camera never really got a good, long look at the cards), but I still really enjoyed the performance because the trick was something we haven’t seen before. Kinda liked how they blended just a little bit of comedy into their routine as well – they came across as cool & likeable. Definitely like them – hope they stick around and continue to do clever stuff like this in the coming rounds.

Julia Goodwin – age 15
The act: Sang a jazz-tinged cover of Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind”.
The verdict: 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: She’s got a very unique quality to her voice and doesn’t “oversing”, but I did hear a few off-notes and I think she could work on her stage presence. Hoping she can sparkle a bit more in the coming rounds.

Sean & Luke – ages 17 & 18
The act: Two best friends that did a hip-hop/tap dance routine to “Bust a Move” and “Humpty Dance”.
The verdict: Heidi, Mel, & Howie were all yes’s, but Howard didn’t think they really needed to see the act again and said “no”.
Court’s thoughts: Not the strongest dance act we’ve seen so far, but I did enjoy it and think it’s a welcome respite from the hoards of ballroom, jazz, contemporary, and hip-hop acts we see every year. Tap is something different, and I like different. Kinda wished they had focused in a bit more on the tap and done less hip-hop, though – found the tap sections to be far more impressive than the hip-hop. Would love to see them do something that’s more “hardcore tap” – maybe something Fred Astaire-inspired.

Unnamed martial arts group
The act: A group performing various martial arts moves with various weapons.
The verdict: Not shown, but the judges seemed to respond positively to the act (even when one of the guys wiffed a trick and fell on his ass).
Court’s thoughts: Kinda wish we had gotten to see more of this act – I’ve been craving a good martial arts act (the last one we had was Kung Fu Heroes back in season 5, and Kenichi only did a little bit of martial arts). But since they weren’t really heavily featured, I’m guessing they probably won’t show up again.

Unnamed martial arts trick duo
The act: Two guys in yellow gi’s doing fingertip pushups and balancing on their stomach on a sword.
The verdict: Not shown.
Court’s thoughts: Kind of cool, but probably not much more they could do – and certainly not enough for a Vegas show.

Kevin Taylor
The act: A guy who punched the windows out of car doors.
The verdict: Not shown – but Heidi the wet blanket said the act “didn’t make her feel good”, so I’m guessing no.
Court’s thoughts: Could have been a good strongman act if he had done a bit more – but probably a little too one-dimensional for this competition.

Grand Master Qi Feilong – age 48
The act: He’s a “kung fu master” and “energy healer” who tried to stop the second hand on a wall clock using his “energy”, and cutting two sets of chopsticks in half with a $10 bill. He also made Nick kick him in the “crunch” (his translator’s word for “crotch”).
The verdict: Mel & Howie said yes; Howard & Heidi said no.
Court’s thoughts: I was kind of left wondering if this was another act in the same vein as Dustin’s Dojo – just a complete joke. But after watching it a few times – I don’t think it was :-P Something about how batsh*t crazy this guy was going onstage was entertaining – I found myself laughing – but the tricks were just “meh”, it was chaotic, and I could barely understand a word he was saying.

Real Encounter – ages 23-47
The act: A group of motocross, freestyle, and BMX riders doing flips & stunts.
The verdict: 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: Before I get into my thoughts, a bit of peek behind the curtain: according to the gang over at the AGT Afterbuzz show, not all of the audience actually gets to go outside to watch acts like this – the Afterbuzz crew was part of the group that didn’t get to go outside. I think they may have also mentioned that the judges giving their verdict actually happened the NEXT DAY after they actually performed. Kind of interesting. But anyway! They were pretty good, but I feel like we’ve seen stronger motocross/biking stunt acts in previous seasons – I think there was one called the “Rad Dads” that I recall being a lot more organized and clean with their tricks. Maybe these guys just got a mediocre edit, maybe they just aren’t as strong as we’ve seen before…guess I’ll hold off judgement till I see them again.

Slam
The act: A trampoline basketball-dunking act.
The verdict: 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: Definitely something interesting – thankfully, they aren’t cheesy like Spintacular from last season. Hopefully they’re able to do a bit more than just creatively dunking basketballs, though.

Flight Crew Jump Rope
The act: A synchronized trick jump-roping group.
The verdict: Through to the next round.
Court’s thoughts: NO. NO. NO!!! I usually don’t have a strong negative reaction to most acts, but I cannot tell you how truly OVER jump-roping acts I am. I think they’re cheesy, and the ones we’ve had seem to have fouled up their routines on multiple occasions. And the main guy doing all the talking for this group? Yeah, he was also part of the Summerwind Skippers from a few seasons ago, and he was part of the crew Saltare on America’s Best Dance Crew a few years ago. So we can probably expect a lot of the same cheesy choreography, and the same mistakes being made. Ugh. Please, AGT – stop trying to make jump roping acts happen. And set a damn limit on how many times one person can return with a different group and audition repeatedly.

XPogo Stunt Team
The act: 4 dudes on pogo sticks jumping really high and doing a bunch of tricks and flips.
The verdict: 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: Another act you don’t see everyday. Was impressed with the height they were getting on their jumps…wonder what else they can do.

Unnamed rapping kid
The act: A cute young boy rapping to “It Takes Two”.
The verdict: Not shown, but he seemed popular.
Court’s thoughts: He was cute and seemed to have a good flow, but I’m a bit leery of kid rapping acts after the nonsense that was 2Unique last season.

Dom the Bom’s Triple Threat – age 8
The act: A set of 8-year-old triplets that do various card-throwing tricks, such as throwing cards long distances and cutting pieces of celery with thrown cards.
The verdict: Judges all said yes.
Court’s thoughts: I think I saw more arguments about this act than any other act on last night’s show. The sticking point: would this act have still made it through if it were adults throwing cards instead of kids? I’m guessing probably not (assuming the adults and kids had the same level of skill), but once again, it’s about “packaging”: part of the appeal of their act is that you don’t expect to see kids doing it. It’s a novelty thing. Let’s say you’re going to see a country singing act – which of these sounds more interesting: a regular ol’ guy from Kentucky, or a Japanese guy that barely speaks English? Once again – NOVELTY. I may have to do a post on that aspect later. Also got a few tweets saying “Would you really pay to see that act in Vegas?” And my answer? No, probably not, but if they eliminated every single act in the first round that they didn’t think could hack it as a Vegas show, then they’d probably only be left with a handful of acts and the show could be cut down to 2 weeks. :-) I feel like I need to do a post on that, too! But anyway – I was amused by the act, although according to the Afterbuzz group (who was in the live audience), we the viewers apparently saw a very kind edit of the act…apparently the little boy was having some issues with cutting the celery and it took him a few tries to get it right (which was conveniently edited out). I’m guessing they probably won’t make it past the next round, but I think they’re a mildly-amusing filler act.

Series of unnamed bad magicians
The act(s): A montage of various mediocre-to-bad magic acts doing everything from escaping from a series of leather straps to doing a quick switch, and taking Heidi’s bra off.
The verdict(s): All no’s.
Court’s thoughts: All seemed to suffer from the problem of awkward delivery…although I do have to give props to the guy who managed to get Heidi’s bra off :-P

Mad Jack – age 42
The act: A “pick a card” act where the chosen card magically appeared between Mad Jack’s buttcheeks.
The verdict: It was a no, but I think the judges did get a kick out of it.
Court’s thoughts: Props for creativity, but I’m not sure they could base an entire act on gross-out magic tricks.

Miguel Dakota – age 21, from Monument, CO
The act: He played guitar and sang an acoustic version of “Too Close” by Alex Clare.
The verdict: The judges all gushed about his good looks and gave him a yes.
Court’s thoughts: *sigh* Ok, he was decent – but I feel like they just heaped praise upon him because he was a good-looking guy with a semi-sad backstory that had kind of a John-Mayer-meets-One-Direction vibe to him. But I guess they needed a heartthrob this season – and they’ve decided it’s going to be Miguel. I guess I just hope that, if we’re going to be seeing him for awhile, he’ll at least pick some better songs and work on his vocals a bit more…heard some dicey notes in there.

Abigail Baird – age 33
The act: She does aerial silks in front of a screen, and tells a story with her movements.
The verdict: 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: Kind of on the fence about this one. I enjoyed it and thought it was clever, but take away the screen, and you’ve got just kind of an average aerialist. I couldn’t help but compare her to Blue Journey, who I think would still be a great dance act even without the screen – not sure I could say the same about Abigail. Will be interested to see what she does in the coming rounds.

Unnammed ballroom dance group
The act: A group of teen ballroom dancers, reminiscent of the Miami All-Stars.
The verdict: Not shown, but Howard & Howie loved them.
Court’s thoughts: Didn’t really get to see much, but they looked decent.

John & Andrew – ages 21 & 41
The act: A same-sex salsa dancing duo
The verdict: 4 enthusiastic yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: Probably my favorite act of the night – and John is right: Andrew can follow better than most girls I know! Loved the speed, the precision, the energy, and the way they partnered – it felt less like the sexy, flirtatious partnering you typically see in salsa pairings, and more like two guys just dancing their hearts out with an occasional assist from one another. I think they were smart to go that route – while attitudes are changing in our society, I worry that the same god-fearin’ folk that kept voting Jimmy Rose & Marty Brown through last year would balk at an act that had two men looking lovingly at one another. I think with the spin (no pun intended) that they put on their performance, they actually stand a decent chance of appealing to a wide cross-section of the viewing audience. Excited to see what else we might get from them!

So those are my thoughts. Who were your favorite and least-favorite acts from last night’s show?

June 4, 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, Episode #2 Music List

You know the drill – if you want to add a song I don’t have here, or want to request I hunt down a song you heard during the show, utilize the comments section :-)

“Summer” by Calvin Harris (recap of last week’s show; opening montage)

“Hoe-Down” by Aaron Copland (montage of crew setting up, acts backstage, & judges arriving)

“C’mon Get Happy” by The Partridge Family (Willis Clan intro)

“My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music (cover performed by the Willis Clan)

“Compass” by Lady Antebellum (Willis Clan gets 4 yes’s)

“Puttin’ On the Ritz” by Terry Snyder & The All-Stars (Howie is hyper)

“Good Times” by Chic (David & Leeman get 4 yes’s)

“Hit Me with Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar (montage of good auditions)

“New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel (cover performed by Julia Goodwin)

“Your Song” by Ellie Goulding (Julia gets 4 yes’s)

“Apache” by The Sugarhill Gang (montage of dancers backstage; Sean & Luke intro and 3 yes’s)

“Bust a Move” by Young MC (Sean & Luke performance)

“Humpty Dance” by Digital Underground (Sean & Luke performance)

“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor (montage of martial arts acts; Qi Feilong intro & rejection)

“Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones (Real Encounter intro)

“Are You Gonna Go My Way?” by Lenny Kravitz (Real Encounter performance)

“Jump” by The Pointer Sisters (Real Encounter gets 4 yes’s; montage of good “jumping” auditions)

“It Takes Two” by DJ EZ Rock & Rob Base (kid rapper performance)

“Kids in America” by Kim Wilde (montage of kid acts backstage; Dom the Bom 4 yes’s)

“I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow (Dom the Bom performance)

“This Magic Moment” by The Drifters (montage of bad magicians)

“Takin’ Care of Business” by Bachman Turner Overdrive Mad Jack finishes his card trick and gets rejected)

“I Feel Pretty” by Julie Andrews (montage of acts primping backstage)

“Too Close” by Alex Clare (cover performed by Miguel)

“The Story of My Life” by One Direction (Miguel gets 4 yes’s)

“Halo” by Beyonce (Abigail Baird intro & 4 yes’s)

“Intro” by the xx (Abigail Baird performance)

“Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars (unnamed teen ballroom group performance)

“Can’t Smile Without You” by Barry Manilow (Howard & Howie love each other)

“Bang Bang” by Joe Cuba (John & Andrew intro & 4 yes’s; closing montage)

June 3, 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 – Soap Star Nadia Bjorlin Auditions as Part of a Trio

Today we have a guest post from a good friend of mine, Nathan, who informed me the other day that Nadia Bjorlin, one of his favorite soap stars, actually tried out for AGT this season with her brothers.  Allow Nathan to enlighten us…

Days of Our Lives alumni Nadia Bjorlin has apparently auditioned for this season’s America’s Got Talent. She and her brothers will be performing as a trio. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t thrilled when I first heard the news, but once I got a feel for the show this past Monday, I’m more than okay with it. For those who are unfamiliar with Nadia, well, you’ve come to the right place, as I’m a big fan of hers.

She portrayed the once popular character of Chloe Lane on Days from 1999-2005, and then again in 2007-2011, and has since made occasional cameos. The fact that Nadia is making the leap to singing from acting isn’t too farfetched as her character was an opera singer. In fact, if you want a taste of what you might hear from her, here are a few clips of Nadia as Chloe singing in different episodes of Days of Our Lives.

Clip #1 Chloe Sings at Grandpa Shawn’s Funeral

I still remember this episode very well, as it was the last episode before I left home for trade school in Washington State. I think this shines a great light on Nadia’s ‘pretty voice’. As you can hear, Nadia’s voice is geared towards classical music. And I think she truly shines in this clip.

Clip #2 Chloe and Brady sing ‘Sound of Music’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1E_VmUeNkIQ

*swoon* the wonderful year of 2001 (as a Days fan, anyway). I have to go on a side note for a second here and just talk about how Days was it’s finest in the years in 2000-2001, and it was the character of Chloe that got me hooked on Days in the first place. But this year, it was a great year in the writing department. These writers knew how to write for their younger set and Chloe was at her peak in her popularity. Anyways, while I was on Team Philip and Chloe, as a fan of the show, PERIOD, I loved this scene. It is portraying young, teen love at its cutest, sugary and finest. No rolling around in the hay, or catfights, just innocent kids singing to each other. And for the Brady and Chloe fans, this is probably one of the top moments for that couple (next to their wedding). And can I just vent for a second and tell any readers who are also Days viewers and started watching in 2007 or afterwards, THIS IS THE REAL CHLOE LANE. NOT THE WOMAN YOU KNOW TODAY. *okay, venting over*

Again, Nadia’s vocals are portrayed as sweet and classical. And I can tell you she is an incredibly sweet person, as I met her a few years ago at the Emmys. What about the Trio? Focusing on classical music, here is a montage of what they have done in the past:

So you know what to expect and can understand that I think she has a pretty solid chance of making it past the audition stage. Now I won’t say just yet that she’ll win the whole thing, but I do hope that viewers will get to strike a liking to Nadia and her brothers’ music. I also wonder if they will mention her career on Days and the fact that she turned down an offer from Julliard to join the show? Or perhaps NBC viewers might recognize her immediately. Regardless, I wish Nadia and her brothers the best and hope they go far!

I’d love to hear your take on Nadia and how good her chances are. If you want to follow her on Twitter, she can be found at @RealNadiaB.

Break a leg, Nadia, Ulf and Jean Paul! :-D

May 31, 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 – New Extended Promo Video

Just a quick little ditty – a cute extended promo that the AGT YouTube channel just posted. Look for an appearance by Larry the Mime, Nick as a magician, and Nick as a kung fu fighter :-)

May 29, 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, Episode #1 – Audition Round Run-Down

I apologize that this has taken so long – apparently a 9-month absence made me forget just how LONG a 2-hour show is, and how many acts we really see!

Just FYI, for anyone looking for the music from last nights show – my full list is here.

Adrian Romoff – age 9, from Atlanta, GA
The act: Played “Flight of the Bumblebee” and “Symphony No. 1 in E Flat Major” on the piano.
The verdict: Howard was dubious about whether or not the boy was actually playing the piano after the first song, so he offered to play a second one. Howard was sold, and he got 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: I may be in the minority here, as I saw quite a few people on Twitter mentioning that they found Adrian “annoying”, but I love precocious kids that are articulate and wise beyond their years…probably because I was the same way at that age :-P I got a kick at how he was calmly and confidently (and wittily!) conversing with the judges. The piano-playing was good, of course, although I found the arrangements of both pieces he played to be a bit too “busy” – would have liked something a bit simpler and less electronic-sounding, so I could really appreciate his skill.

The Famtastix
The act:: A group of grown siblings (2 brothers, 4 sisters)that clogged to “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge.
The verdict: They’re through to the next round.
Court’s thoughts: Kind of over clogging acts (they all start to look rather similar after awhile), but this one wasn’t bad.

Richard & Ashlee
The act: A male-female duo of classical dancers turned circus performers that did a series of lifts to “Too Close” by Alex Clare.
The verdict: Through to the next round.
Court’s thoughts: Gonna be hard to trump the Kristef Brothers in my book. The little we saw was ok – but I hope their next performance is more entertaining.

Tic & Tac Entertainment
The act: An “acrobatic breakdance comedy group” that did a series of flips, tricks, and breakdance moves to “Happy” by Pharell.
The verdict: Through to the next round.
Court’s thoughts: Visually, they reminded me of The Chicago Boyz from last season, wearing leftover Team USA sweaters from the Olympics in Sochi :-P But I think they could potentially be a more well-rounded version of the Chicago Boyz – they seem like they’re able to do a lot more.

3 unnamed comedians
The act: Three very unfunny comedians that preceded Dan Naturman.
The verdict: Fairly certain none of them made it through, judging by all the buzzing that was going on.
Court’s thoughts: Who told any of these 3 guys that it was a good idea to try out for AGT??? None of them even sounded prepared.

Dan Naturman – age 44, from New York City
The act: A stand-up comedian that hit on such topics as marriage, Game of Thrones, and people lying on the Internet.
The verdict:: He got yes’s from all 4 judges (even Heidi), and he’s through to the next round.
Court’s thoughts: At first, I found his delivery a bit jarring – could have been nerves, but he started off in a somewhat rushed, rapid-fire rhythm in an accent that can best be described as James Cagney meets Gilbert Godfried :-P But about 20 seconds in, he settled into a good rhythm, and it flowed well. Loved the material – tackled timeless topics, while giving it more of a current spin. Could be this season’s Taylor Williamson, methinks.

Rokardy – age 49, from Cuba
The act: He’s a hand-balancer that managed to balance on a narrow stand high enough above the stage that he actually was hidden behind the judges’ X’s, then climbed down and landed in a split. Brought along his son Carlos, who assisted by throwing him pieces of the stand, which he assembled as he climbed it.
The verdict: 4 yes’s. And Howard wants to make a movie about Carlos. :-P
Court’s thoughts: Anyone else find it just a bit odd that Rokardy didn’t introduce Carlos as his son right off the bat? Just was a bit funny to me that he started off by saying “This is my assistant” and it wasn’t until much later that he was like “Oh yeah, he’s my son.” Weird little nitpick, and I’m probably the only one that honed in on it :-P But anyway!!! A hand-balancer that is possibly more skilled than the Kristef Brothers…but I don’t know that he’s got the variety or the showmanship that made them so appealing. Hope he’s got some other tricks up his sleeve. Looks fan-freaking-tastic for pushing 50!!!

Donnie Valentine – from Champaign, IL
The act: He sang a cover of “You Make Me Feel Brand New” in a painful falsetto.
The verdict: 4 very quick X’s…quite possibly the quickest anyone’s ever gotten them, according to Howard.
Court’s thoughts: This dude is like an unholy trinity of creepy: bizarre at-home perm, eyes that don’t blink nearly enough, and pants that make him look like he’s about to swashbuckle. Yikes.

Juli Moody
The act: I guess it was some sort of strong woman act – she did some squats with Nick on her back.
The verdict: I’m assuming no – even though it took awhile (because the judges were enjoying watching Nick look uncomfortable on her back), most of the judges buzzed her.
Court’s thoughts: Had she gotten a bit more creative with this and not just relied on squatting Nick, I think she might have actually had something…we don’t see too many StrongWoman acts. But alas, no.

Bald Man Bongos
The act: 4 bald dudes smacking each other in the head in rhythm. Basically, last season’s Tummy Talk, just tweaked slightly.
The verdict: Howie was the only one that didn’t buzz – and he briefly joined the group onstage. But we won’t see them in Boot Camp.
Court’s thoughts: Tummy Talk wasn’t that great of an act, so why did someone feel the need to rehash it? Just DUMB.

Unnamed hula hooping act
The act: A middle-aged woman in a red flapper costume hula-hoooping…awkwardly.
The verdict: It’s a no – although the act improved dramatically when Nick joined her onstage to share his hula hoop skills :-P
Court’s thoughts: The way this woman moved is how I would imagine an ostrich trying to hula hoop would look.

Unnamed kick-line dance group
The act: From the very brief clip we saw, they appear to be an all-female jazz dance group – that does kick lines.
The verdict: Not shown – although they seem pretty good, and Mel looked impressed.
Court’s thoughts: Was part of the rapid-fire montage of acts right before Mighty Atom, so we only saw a few seconds. Looked decent, though.

Unnamed knife-throwing act
The act: A male-female knife-throwing duo.
The verdict: Not shown.
Court’s thoughts: Looked like a pretty garden-variety knife-throwing act…nothing too special.

Unnamed ping pong act
The act: A girl hitting a ping pong ball into a guys mouth…and him spitting it back out. Repeat.
The verdict: Unknown – but I have a hard time believing this one made it through, given how bored the judges looked.
Court’s thoughts: Just…why???

Unnamed bell-ringing musician
The act: A snazzy-dress middle-aged woman playing “Like A Virgin” with hand bells.
The verdict: Yet another unknown…but the judges looked very unimpressed.
Court’s thoughts: She looked like a top-selling Avon lady circa 1987. And probably watches a lot of Wheel of Fortune in her spare time.

Mike Greenstein, aka “Mighty Atom Jr.” – age 93
The act: He’s a strongman that pulled a station wagon carrying 3 people WITH HIS TEETH.
The verdict: 3 yes’s, and 1 no from Howard, who thought he act “needed more showmanship”.
Court’s thoughts: First off, I just thought he was the most adorable thing we’ve seen on the show so far – loved how he chomped his teeth like Iceman from Top Gun, and referred to his “84-year-old kid brother”. Clearly this man did not get the memo that he is 93 years old :-P Thought the act was impressive, but not sure there’s a whole lot else he can do with it…but I’m glad he’s had this opportunity to show America that you don’t have to sit around and do nothing after you retire!

Acte II – ages 32 & 29, from New Orleans
The act: A female opera duo that sang “The Flower Duet”.
The verdict: 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts:: I don’t particularly like opera, but I enjoyed this – I can’t recall another time on AGT that we’ve had a female opera duo or group. So I find this act intriguing :-) I know a lot of folks on Twitter were of the opinion “Whatever, they’re no Forte!!!” but I really think the two are apples & oranges – they’re just different from Forte. Not sure how many more opera duets are written for two females – “The Flower Duet” was the only one I was familiar with – but I’m hoping these two can sing things other than just opera. It sounds like they can – they seemed to indicate that they like singing more contemporary music, too.

Unnamed J-setting dance group
The act: A group of drag queens in gold costumes performing “J-setting”, a style of dance inspired by the 8-counts typically done in cheerleading.
The verdict: Unknown – Mel & Heidi seemed to be enjoying it, Howie buzzed them but didn’t say anything, and Howard was a big fat “NO!”
Court’s thoughts: I’m actually a big fan of J-setting, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea…so I doubt it would make a very good Vegas show :-/

Unnamed male hip-hop dancer
The act: A young Asian man doing a pretty impressive sequence of spins and turns incorporated into turfing, jooking, and some other hip-hop styles.
The verdict: 3 yes’s, and one no from Howard.
Court’s thoughts: I was impressed by what I saw, and I don’t think we’ve had a really impressive street dancer since Turf back in season 6. I’m ready for another good solo hip-hop dancer!

Unnamed female singing group
The act: A group of 4 young ladies singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”.
The verdict: Howard liked it, but the other 3 didn’t…so probably didn’t make it, but not shown for sure.
Court’s thoughts: Sounded kinda off-key, from the short blurb I saw.

Unnamed band
The act: 4 young, decently good-looking guys with guitars – we didn’t actually get to see them perform.
The verdict: Howie & Heidi liked it, but Howard didn’t…but again, no verdict actually shown.
Court’s thoughts: All these unknown decisions are gonna drive me nuts when it comes time to compile my Boot Camp week list later this season. Grrrr…

Dustin’s Dojo – ages 30 & 35, from Indianapolis
The act: Two guys performing a comedic parody of what it’s like to attend karate school, complete with punches, board breaking, and high kicks.
The verdict: Mel & Heidi (particularly Heidi) didn’t think it was funny at all, but Howard and Howie loved it and gave it two yes’s…when the girls said “no”, Howard invoked his one-time Golden Buzzer privileges and sent them through to the next round.
Court’s thoughts: I already talked about this act a bit in my poll post from earlier today (if you haven’t already, tell us what you thought about Dustin’s Dojo!), but I’m in the camp that loved it – thought it was pretty clever and an a pretty apt parody of what happens in martial arts school. I’ve noticed that the act seems to be more popular with men than with women, maybe owing to the slapstick nature of the act. Probably won’t make it past the next round, but I’m ok with it right now – just a fun, space-filling act.

Unnamed female dance group
The act: Another all-female dance group doing vaguely jazzy, hip-hopping stuff.
The verdict: By the positive response from the judges and their happy squeals as they left the stage, I’m gonna venture a guess that they made it through.
Court’s thoughts: Gettin’ real tired of this no-names, short clips sh*t…

Unnamed male stepping group
The act: A group of steppers, who also through in some acrobatic moves in between stepping moves.
The verdict: They made it through.
Court’s thoughts:Glad to see another stepping group – the one we saw last season got very little attention, and was kinda lame. Hope this one makes it further!

Unnammed male hip-hop/acrobatic dance group
The act: 7 young men doing a combination of hip-hop and acrobatic tricks.
The verdict: Through to the next round.
Court’s thoughts: Loved the cute little guy with the locks they had up front – reminds me of the cute lil guy from Chicago Boyz last year :-P

Blue Journey – ages 18 & 33
The act: A contemporary dance duo that incorporated a projection screen into their routine, along with elements of silhouettes & video technology.
The verdict: Despite an awkward initial interview, the performance pleased the judges and they got 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: On paper, I probably should have hated this routine – it had several elements I’m tired of seeing on AGT: silhouettes, LCD screens, animations, and blacklight effect incorporated into dance routines. But it was so well-put-together that I couldn’t help but enjoy it – both the dancers were technically strong, as was the choreography itself and the overall staging. Looking forward to seeing what else they have to bring to the table.

Larry the Mime (Nick in disguise)
The act: A fairly terrible French mime act, complete with poorly-executed invisible box, invisible rope, and more.
The verdict: 4 resounding no’s from the judges, and one very sad-looking mime who launched into a diatribe shortly thereafter.
Court’s thoughts: I honestly feel a bit stupid that I didn’t realize sooner that it was Nick underneath that makeup – but with as kooky as some of the acts have gotten in recent years, I didn’t think it was completely off-the-wall to have a disgruntled mime on the show. So touché, Nick…touché ;-)

Jaycob Curlee – from Daphne, AL
The act: He sang and played an acoustic version of “Waiting on the World to Change”.
The verdict: 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: It was pretty good – nothing terribly special, though. Kind of your garden-variety guy with a guitar and a soft voice trying to be John Mayer. I have a feeling America will feel for his sad backstory, though, and he’ll likely last much longer than he should, a la Jimmy Rose. Yes, I’m cynical. :-P

So those were my thoughts on the acts we saw last night…what are yours? Do you have an early favorites?

May 28, 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 Episode #1 POLL: What Do You Think of Dustin’s Dojo?

So it looks like we already have a candidate for “most polarizing act this season” – and we’re only one episode into the season! For those of you still catching up (or who need a refresher – funny how things can fade from memory during a two-hour show!), here’s a clip of the act in question – Dustin’s Dojo, a comedy/martial arts act that prompted Howard to use his Golden Buzzer after Heidi & Mel panned the act:

Judging from the mixed reactions I saw from the judges, the audience, and Twitter, this definitely seems like one of those acts that people seem to really love or hate – I personally loved it, just because I thought it was a creative spin on the comedy acts we usually see on AGT, and it fights right in-line with the stupid humor that I enjoy.  A few friends on Twitter thought it was “dumb” and “didn’t find it funny at all”; Mama Spence (my mother) was on the fence about it – got a few chuckles from her, but she acknowledged that it was “pretty stupid” and not really worthy of a Vegas show; the bf popped by after work to eat some dinner leftovers and was laughing his ass off at it.  So what did YOU think of it?

In the end, whether people love or hate this act, I doubt it’s going to make a huge impact on the competition – they probably won’t make it past the next round (because I don’t see Heidi changing her mind about it – Mel might be more impressionable), and they’re just a silly, space-filling act that’s easily expendable in order to ensure that the really talented acts make it thought.  I do find myself entertained by it, though – it’s like a giant parody of every single low-budget commercial I’ve ever seen for a strip mall karate school, mixed in with bits of Napoleon Dynamite and starring two dorky engineers from Purdue that thought learning martial arts would help them get girls :-P

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, Episode #1 Music List

Here’s the list I was able to compile for tonight’s episode – feel free to add any that are missing in the comments section :-) My rundown of tonight’s show should (hopefully) be up some time tomorrow night…stay tuned!

 

“School’s Out”  by Alice Cooper (opening montage)

“A Sky Full of Stars”  by Coldplay (montage of auditioners arriving & backstage; judges arrive)

“Carmen Suite No. 2 – Habanera” by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Adrian Romoff & other contestants talk to the camera)

“Flight of the Bumblebee” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (Adrian’s first song)

“No. 1 in E Flat Major” by Mozart (Adrian’s second song)

“1812 Overture (Finale)” by Tchaikovsky (Adrian Gets 4 yes’s)

“Take Me Home” by Cash Cash feat. Bebe Rexha  (montage of good auditions)

“We Are Family” by Sister Sledge (family clogging group performance)

“Too Close” by Alex Clare (acrobatic duo performance)

“Happy” by Pharell (acrobatic/breakdance/comedy group performance)

“I Surrender Dear” by Terry Snyder & The All Stars (montage of bad comedians; Dan Naturman intro)

“It’s Your Thing” by The Isley Brothers (Dan gets 4 yes’s)

“Oye Como Va” by Santana (Rokardy intro/4 yes’s)

“Black Sun” by James Dooley feat. Celldweller (Rokardy performance)

“You Raise Me Up” by Celtic Thunder & Paul Byrom (Donnie Valentine intro)

“You Make Me Feel Brand New” by The Stylistics (cover performed by Donnie Valentine)

“Reunited” by Peaches & Herb (Donnie gets 4 no’s; judges glad to be back together; montage of bad auditions

“Stars & Stripes Forever” by Americana Ensemble (hula hooping act)

“William Tell Overture” by Rossini (montage of acts getting buzzed)

“Brahms Lullaby” by Johannes Brahms (everybody’s tired; Mel tells a bedtime story)

“Mystified” by James Dooley (Mike Greenstein/”Mighty Atom Jr.” prepares to pull car)

“Captain Universe” by Two Steps from Hell (Mighty Atom Jr. pulls car with his teeth; gets 4 yes’s)

“Gonna Fly Now” by Bill Conti (Mighty Atom Jr. succeeds in pulling car)

“Summer” by Calvin Harris (judges ride to venue; judges arrive)

“Wannabe” by The Spice Girls (montage of female acts backstage; Acte II intro & 4 yes’s

“The Flower Duet” by Leo Delibes (Acte II performance)

“We Go Together” from Grease (Howard is the dissenting judge)

“Bus Rider” by John Swihart (Dustin’s Dojo intro)

“You’re the Best” by Joe “Bean” Esposito (Howard hits the Golden Buzzer for Dustin’s Dojo)

“Find You” by Zedd feat. Matthew Koma & Miriam Bryant (montage of good dance acts)

“Street Spirit (Fade Out)” by Radiohead (Blue Journey performance)

“Lights” by Ellie Goulding (Blue Journey gets 4 yes’s)

“Motivo Di Giorgia” by Gianfranco Plenizio (Larry the Mime intro)

“I Gotcha” by Joe Tex (Nick’s deception is revealed)

“Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer (cover performed by Jaycob Curlee

“You Found Me” by The Fray (Jaycob Curlee 4 yes’s; closing montage)

May 27, 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: 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!