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Pure AGT Season 12 Auditions Episode 1: Live Bog

Hey all! I’m back! I took some time off but will be covering the entirety of Season 12, and am looking forward to it! So far the format and judges have remained the same from last year, but now we have America’s Next Top Model‘s own Tyra Banks as our new host! I’m especially interested to see how she does.

I’ve decided to change up the format over here a bit. Looking over my posts from last season, I’m feeling like the audition ones were very awkward and disjointed, so this time I’m going to try liveblogging these episodes instead! So check back throughout the episode for updates!

I enjoyed the chicken act, but I feel like the novelty might wear off soon, and I definitely don’t see it advancing past the next round. I LOVED the comedian, though, and it would certainly be nice to see a contender from that world this year.

Oh great, a singer with an inspiring backstory. She seems like a nice girl, but I’d prefer the bulk of the vocalists stick to The Voice or the soon-to-be-revamped Idol. Okay, she’s pretty good…why are they stopping her? Glad they’re giving her another shot, and Tyra helping her “let her hair down” was cute. Aaaaand nailed it! No surprise. Based on this edit, I see her easily making the live shows.

Ooo, an escape artist! Haven’t seen one of those on the show in awhile! Nice to see Tyra playing along, but the judges don’t seem that into it. Four X’s…and a costume change? Okay, that part was actually pretty neat, and Simon and Mel retract their X’s into yes’s! Unfortunately, Howie and Heidi do not, meaning he’s out. Nice to see Tyra doing a good job with the “comforting” part of this show so far, both with this act and he montage of other rejects that is now following it.

A brother-sister Salsa duo! Much like with the singers, I’d prefer the dancers stick to the designated dance shows for the most part, especially now that we have two mainstream dance competition shows in So You Think You Can Dance and World of Dance (I also love Dancing With the Stars, but that’s an entirely different can of worms.)

These two are good, but again, I think this act would have been better suited for World of Dance. Then again, the routine we saw mostly consisted of spinning, so that might not have gone over as well over there. But of course they go through on here.

I wonder what this next guy is going to do? Oh, he’s our first magician of the season! Nice intro, with a very impressive trick to boot! (I’m with Mel B on my brain having to “catch up” in order to understand what was going on!) Unanimously through, and I bet he makes it to the live shows too!

Oh dear. A Trump impersonator? He’s pretty good, but I think I’m hoping he gets rejected. I don’t want to see politics mixed into this show, and when they did get brought up last season the response was naturally pretty divisive.

HE’S SINGING BRUNO MARS???? Okay, I might actually be on board with this now. He’s through, but I don’t see him making it to the live shows.

Next up is…a dance about a suicidal robot? Pretty neat, actually. This kid is actually a very good physical storyteller. I wonder if he sang the song as well? Either way, I’m glad he got through, since this was very creative and an example of a dance performance that probably wouldn’t suit SYTYCD or WOD.

And now we have a sad silent clown named Puddles. This guy is already reminding me of Tape Face from last season. Hmmm….

Oh, turns out he’s a singer! And a pretty good one at that! Glad he went in a different direction than I was expecting. Even Simon-who is known to be afraid of clowns-loves it, and he gets four yes’s!

Another escape act! Hopefully this goes over better than the one we saw earlier tonight. Apparently it has high stakes-like, life-threatening stakes. It’s one of those ones where it looks like he didn’t escape in time, but then turned into one of the people “saving” him from the danger. Great job from him, and of course he advances!

Okay, so it’s 9:52 pm, we’re talking about the “X” buzzers, and we’ve seen in the “coming up” clips that Mel hits her Golden Buzzer tonight. This must be the lucky girl. And she’s a ventriloquist! A SINGING one at that! Much like Merrick (the robot dancing boy) I’m okay with this kind of vocalist act on this show, because it’s one that doesn’t belong on your typical televised signing competition.

And there’s the Golden Buzzer! Well deserved! Great example of the type of act this show was made for. The only downside is it means we won’t be seeing this adorable duo again for awhile, since the Golden Buzzer sends an act straight to the Quarter-Finals in the live show round!

Thanks for dropping in here tonight, and if you’re sticking around for the World of Dance series premiere, head on over to our sister site Pure World of Dance to check out their liveblog!

May 30, 2017 I Written By

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

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 😛 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 😛

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 8, Top 12 – Power Rankings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 11, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 – Top 12 Live Discussion Post

You don’t have to wait until I post my power rankings in order to discuss the show – go ahead and do it here, live 🙂 Tell us what you think – which acts performed well tonight? Which acts stunk? Which acts surprised you the most? Who do you think is going through to the finale?  TELL US!!! 😀

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 Top 12 Airing September 10

Just in case you’ve forgotten in the last week or so ;-), here are the 12 acts competing for a spot in the finals next week:

Collins Key
Catapult Entertainment
Cami Bradley
Taylor Williamson
Innovative Force
Forte
Branden James
Chicago Boyz
Kristef Brothers
Jimmy Rose
Kenichi Ebina
D’Angelo & Amanda

Looking at this list – sh*t just got real.  Only four are going to advance to the finale…and I think Forte & Kenichi are a lock, regardless of how well they actually perform, and Collins probably is as well (thanks to his teenybopper following).  That basically leaves one spot open – I think the Chicago Boyz deserve it, but I think the judges may really try to shove Catapult down our throats.  I think Branden James is gonna get eaten alive, and everyone else is basically just going to be filler entertainment in between the heavy-hitters.  Will be an interesting show, for sure. What do you guys think?

September 4, 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, Semifinal #2 – SPOILERS!!! Who Made it Through to the Next Round?

Anyone else totally OVER the judges’ choice and how they continually cop out on actually making a choice? I think they’ve only not done the dreaded 2-2 split twice this season – once for Chicago Boyz in quarterfinal #3, and once for Catapult in last week’s semifinal.  Why even have a judges’ choice when they’re just gonna throw it right back to America???
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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 Audition Round Rundown #6 – L.A./New Orleans/New York Auditionss

Well, if nothing else, tonight saw the greatest amount of dissent amongst the judges as we’ve seen all season – seems like we had a lot of 3-against-1 situations when it came down to the vote, and Howie was often the lone dissenter.  He also showed up late to the L.A. auditions, and spent an awful lot of time wandering around the venue, pretending to be lost.  He’s special 🙂

Gonna go ahead and do the L.A. auditions tonight; look for the New Orleans and New York ones tomorrow.

Los Angeles:

Olivia Rox – age 14
The actSang and played an acoustic cover of Justin Bieber’s “As Long as You Love Me”.
The verdictAll three judges (minus Howie, who was still MIA at that point) said yes, but Mel cautioned her to be careful not to get too crazy when covering a song.
Court’s thoughts: Wow…she had the coolest-sounding, gravelly voice.  It’s what I might have imagined Florence Welch from Florence + The Machine might have sounded like as a teenager.  Loved the fact that she took a pretty lame song and turned it into a cool, edgy one.  But I do agree with Mel a bit – she did seem to really vacillate a lot between barely whispering the song and then belting it out full force.  Maybe tone it down just a bit.  I get the feeling we’re going to see her pitted against Anna Christine for a spot in the live shows.

Ronald Farnham – age 44
The actHe threw toilet plungers at a line of men with no shirts off, hoping to make them stick.
The verdictOnly one plunger actually stuck to its intended target, and Howard, Heidi, & Mel all said no…but they did remark that, had Howie been there, he probably would have said yes.
Court’s thoughts: I think this was nothing more than a case of “Hmmm, I want to be on tv.  What’s the quickest and easiest way to accomplish that goal? I KNOW! I just need to come up with some stupid act for AGT.” It’s acts like these that leave me a bit chagrined to the fact that AGT’s format is a bit of a double-edged sword: it leaves the door open for cool, unique acts to get some exposure, but it also tends to inadvertently invite bozos like this guy to come and just waste time and say they’ve been on national television.

Harry Kurtz – age 62
The actHe was rapping…about something.  Lord knows what.
The verdict: 3 no’s.
Court’s thoughts: Just another time-killer.

Mr. Television
The act: A guy telling corny puns behind a tv screen.
The verdictNo X 3.
Court’s thoughts: Was tonight the night of the bad pun? They seemed to be everywhere I turned.  Ack.

Tummy Talk – ages 26-31
The actThree guys rhythmically slapping a shirtless sumo wrestler as if he were a drum.
The verdictHoward wasn’t feeling it and said no, but the other 3 said yes.
Court’s thoughts: As ridiculous as this act sounds on paper, I actually found it pretty entertaining.  I get the feeling the guys doing the slapping probably have some sort of drumming experience, because they were actually creating some pretty complex patterns and rhythms – it sounded cool, even if it was the sound of hands slapping against jiggly flesh.  😛 I guess I just kind of feel sorry for the guy being slapped, although he didn’t look too much worse for the wear after it was all over.  A little red, maybe, but not upset.  I doubt these guys will make it to the live shows, but I don’t mid watching them one more time in Vegas.

Fresh Faces
The act5 adolescent girls doing a dance/gymnastics routine to “Die Young” by Ke$ha.
The verdictJudges loved it and said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: I was actually really impressed with how in sync these girls were – add to that the fact that they were doing some pretty tough shows of flexibility, and I wouldn’t mind seeing them perform again in Vegas.  Very cute girls, very cute act, very AGT-friendly.

Jim Meskimen
The actHe’s an impressionist that imitated Robert DeNiro, Robin Williams, and Ricky Gervais.
The verdictJudges praised how spot-on the impressions were and said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: I think Angela Hoover just met her biggest competition this season – and unfortunately for her, I think this guy is better.  I think what put him ahead for me was that he really seemed to embrace the mannerisms of the celebs he was imitating – he was pulling faces like DeNiro and flailing around like Robin Williams.  Angela’s good, but I think this guy is GREAT.  I could totally see him in the live shows.

“Sword-Swallowing Breakdancer”Alex Magala
The act: A guy swallowed a sword, then proceeded to breakdance while it was still down his throat.
The verdictJudges loved the danger factor – he’s through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: It was a bit odd for me – I don’t know that the sword swallowing part was significantly improved by the dancing, and vice-versa.  It just seemed like a “I’m gonna swallow a sword before I dance just so I can say I was thinking out of the box and being creative”.  That said, this guy actually seemed like a pretty good dancer – except that he was maybe moving a bit too cautiously due to the sword in his throat.  Not sure if I really think this one is live show-worthy…

“Aerial/Skating act”Aerial Ice
The actTwo couples performing pairs figure skating lifts & tricks, while a third couple did aerial work suspended above the “ice rink”.
The verdictJudges were blown away, especially by the fact that AGT has never had an ice skating act before.  They’re through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: My favorite audition of the night – this really was a genius act.  Sure, we’ve had aerialists and acrobats and couples doing lifts – but none of them were doing it while wearing skates.  Loved the combination of artistry and technique, and I really want them to make it to the live shows.

SenSetion
The actThey’re another “lights out” dance act that incorporates dancing with images projected onto blocks.
The verdictHeidi said it made her bored and said no.  Howard wanted more dance, but along with Mel & Howie, ended up saying yes to put them through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: *sigh* Ok, the whole “let’s dance in the dark with lasers!” act is getting a bit tired for me.  It was cool when Fighting Gravity did it in season 5; it was still kind of neat when Team iLuminate did it in season 6; it was getting a little old when Lightwire Theater did it last season; and now? I’m not sure America really wants another dance/optics act.  It was cool and fun to watch, no doubt – but I do agree with Howard that there could have been more dancing, and that they really need to work on their act a bit more.  They have a good idea; they just need to really flesh it out more.  Unless they blow the judges out of the water in Vegas, I don’t see them moving onto the live rounds.

New Orleans:

Yasha & Daniela – ages 9 & 8
The act: They’re ballroom dancing kids that performed a samba/jive medley to “Shake Senora” by Pitbull and “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner.
The verdict: Judges thought they were adorable and put them through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Ok, here’s another opinion of mine that probably won’t be popular: I actually thought these two were kind of sloppy compared to D’Angelo & Amanda and Jonas & Ruby. Very cute, and good stage presence, but I don’t think their skill level is up to snuff with what the Castros are doing this season. And I still think that only one ballroom act is going to make it through to the live shows this season – and my money’s on D’Angelo & Amanda.

Aerosphere
The act:A girl in an aerial balloon floated over the audience, do all sorts of twists & turns.
The verdict: Judges praised her uniqueness and said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: We only got to see a brief clip, so I’m not sure if she did more than what was shown, but it just seemed to me like she’s another aerialist…just doing the same stuff while hanging from a balloon. It was cool, but I don’t know that the balloon made it particularly special.

Jimmy Rose – age 32, from Pikeville, KY
The act: Jimmy played the guitar and sang an original song called “Coal Keeps the Lights On”.
The verdict: Judges were amazed at his talent and said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: What a beautiful, vulnerable performance. This year is quickly becoming the year of the original song, and I thought this one was fantastic – loved how he incorporated his coal mining background into his music. I also loved his voice – it was a little shaky at times, but it’s the kind of country vocal that is sought after by so many and I feel like this guy is a natural. At this point, I’d actually pick Jimmy over Marty Brown for the live shows – I feel like Jimmy’s a bit more organic and has more of a natural talent.

Abel Marillo – age 50
The act: Yet another “homemade instrument” act.
The verdict: No’s across the board.
Court’s thoughts: Not only am I kind of over the whole “hey, let’s make instruments out of household items!” act, but it seemed like half this guy’s instruments didn’t even really work.

Captain Explosion – age 65
The act: He exploded a box…while he was inside of it.
The verdict: Judges were split – Howie & Mel said yes, Howard & Heidi said no. No Vegas for him.
Court’s thoughts: Was it kind of cool that he managed to survive an explosion? Sure. But I’m not really sure that there was any way this could have been parlayed into an entire Vegas show – what would he do? Just sit in random objects and explode them and then wave at the audience? Cool that he does this, but I think this is better as a one-time thing.

Chloe Chanel – age 11, from Pensacola, FL
The act: Chloe sang “All American Girl” by Carrie Underwood.
The verdict: Judges praised her voice and put her through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: I think this girl’s got a very natural, god-given singing voice. Definitely nice to listen to. But I feel like she really has no stage presence whatsoever – she just seemed to stand there, eerily staring at the audience, as she sang. If she wants to get past Vegas, I think she’s going to have to learn to move a bit more naturally onstage – she’s got a great personality offstage, so why not use it when she’s performing?

New York:

Megan Amigo – age 21
The act: She’s a self-described contortionist/belly dancer…and she’s a tad kooky.
The verdict: Judges liked her contortions, but found the belly dancing “corny”. Howie was a yes, the rest were a no.
Court’s thoughts: I admire her optimistic attitude and some of the creative contorting she was doing – but the kooky vibe and equally kooky music were lost on me.

Johnny Jetpack
The act: A puppeteering act where a little boy puppet got swallowed by a giant squirrel puppet.
The verdict: Do you even need to ask?
Court’s thoughts: If I had seen a puppet show like this when I was a kid, I would have been scarred for life.

Distraxion
The act: A “human puppet” and contortion act.
The verdict: I think the judges were having a hard time taking this one seriously, and it was an obvious no.
Court’s thoughts: Again…how do people dream this stuff up???

“Speed ice sculpting group”
The act: Ice sculptors with chain saws that carved ice really, really fast.
The verdict: No.
Court’s thoughts: I actually thought this was kind of cool (no pun intended), and may have fared better if they had put a twist on it like David Garabaldi & His CMYK’s last season.

“Girl Making Animal Noises”
The act: An attractive blonde that was making some alarmingly spot-on animal noises – pigs, donkeys, dogs, etc.
The verdict: No, no, no, no.
Court’s thoughts: Does she get a lot of dates with this act? 😛

212 Green – ages 14-22, from Harlem, NY
The act: A band that performed a rock/soul cover of Adele’s “Rumour Has It”.
The verdict: Judges (especially Mel B, who saw some of herself in the kids) loved them and put them through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: What a talented, gorgeous group of kids. I know the lead singer was talking about how tough it was growing up biracial and looking different than everyone else, but both she and her sister and brother? STUNNING. And they’ve got this very bohemian, artsy vibe about them – they seem to be a group that fuses different styles together well. Loved the rap section the brother did in the middle, loved the fact that the girls were evoking a sort of Motown girl group-vibe with the choreography they were doing at the mics. One group I’m excited to see in the live show 🙂

Al Harris – age 64, from Long Island, NY
The act: The second “corny pun” comedy act of the evening.
The verdict: No’s across the board – but the judges did seem to get a good chuckle out of it.
Court’s thoughts: I was irritated with this guy at first – the puns were corny, and it got old fast. But then, as I watched the judges try in vain to get this guy off the stage, and he just kept going…then I started to laugh. Gotta admire his persistence 😛 Normally I have no use for bad acts, but this one did make me grin a bit.

So who were your favorite acts from last night’s episode? Tune in tonight for the last audition show of the season before Vegas!!!

July 9, 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 Audition Round Rundown #2 – San Antonio/New Orleans Auditions

Howard really wasn’t kidding when he said the level of talent in San Antonio was high! Loved tonight’s episode even more than last week’s – and I thought last week was a VERY strong episode.  This could really be the best season of AGT yet.  Loved the fact that this episode was predominantly great acts that got 4 yes’s, and only a few bad acts.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good trainwreck – but outstanding talent vs. hot messes? I’m gonna always pick the former.  And I can usually be pretty easily swayed by some strong ballroom dancers, too 😉

This week saw the judges dissenting a bit more than last week, but for the most part, when one of them thinks an act is great – they ALL think the act is great.  I think it’s a testament to how well they get along – or how great the talent is!

UPDATE: Rundown of New Orleans auditions is up!

San Antonio:

Travis Pratt – 32 years old, from Tipton, GA
The actHe sang an operatic aria in what sounded like an astoundingly high key for a man.
The verdictHowie couldn’t believe he didn’t lip sync, and asked if he “had swallowed Jackie Evancho”.  Howard called him a “freak – but I mean that in the best way possible!” All 4 judges said yes to Vegas – and Travis proposed to his girlfriend (who had urged him to audition) live onstage.  🙂
Court’s thoughts: When I saw this guy make his way onto the stage, I of course thought he would be singing some smooth R&B song – he had that suave, slick look to him.  So you can imagine my surprise when he starts belting out an aria like a soprano! And I think what impressed me the most is that he managed to stay in-key the whole time – I thought for sure his voice was going to crack hitting notes that high, but he hit ’em like a pro.  I could see him making it through to the live shows without many problems, for the simple reason that he’s set himself apart from any other male classical singers they might find this season: he’s a guy that can sing in a female register.

Duo Resonance (Yury Kuznetsov & Nina Chubrikova)
The act: They did acrobalance – doing some gravity-defying tricks while using each other’s body weight to counterbalance.
The verdictAll 4 judges said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: There seems to be 1 good acrobatic couple just about every season – but man, these two may be the prettiest I’ve seen.  Loved some of the poses they were doing, and I felt like they were more artistic than the couple we saw last season (their name escapes me – but it was a dark-haired guy from Europe and a blonde from Australia, and they were in insanely good shape).  I think their best bet is going for themed performances each time – maybe try to tell a story or tailor their tricks to a certain song.  Otherwise, I think this could get a bit repetitive.

Ron Garber & Liza Satorov
The actThey’re ballroom dancers that did a Latin dance with some fast spins and cool dips.
The verdictThey made it to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: As I mentioned last week, I always get a little flustered when they only show us a brief clip of an act that made it through to Vegas, because it doesn’t leave me with a whole lot to go off of in my commentary – and usually forces me to go hunt down their names elsewhere.  However, I liked the dance these two did, and they seem to have a good chemistry on the floor.  But in light of what else we saw in San Antonio – I’m wondering if the adult ballroom acts are going to be taking a sort of backseat to the youngin’s this season.

Jonas Terleckas & Ruby Castro – ages 10 & 9
The actA Latin ballroom act – they did a cha-cha to “Oye Como Va”.
The verdict: Howie remembers Ruby from The Untouchables last season, and all 4 judges give them a yes.
Court’s thoughts: Gotta hand it to Manny & Lori Castro – they’ve practically made a career out of getting acts on AGT, as this is will be the 3rd year in a row that they’ve made it to Vegas…and they’ll likely make it even further, again.  For those who have no idea what I’m talking about – Manny is the cute little Columbian guy from Miami with the thick accent that was the leader of the Miami All-Stars in season 6, and the director of The Untouchables in season 7, and now he’s brought his kids to audition for season 8.  Ruby is he & Lori’s daughter, and she’s so stinking cute I could die…I love precocious kids, and this little gal has got sass to spare.  And she’s a great dancer! Jonas is good too, but I can see certain areas where he still has some growing to do in his dancing.  I’m on the fence about these two making it to the live shows – part of me thinks they’re gonna pit these two against Ruby’s brother & his partner in Vegas, and only take one act (and I think it’s probably going to be her brother).  But another part of me thinks that the powers that be probably dig the “first ever sibling vs. sibling competition on AGT!” and might take them both.  Guess we’ll have to wait and see!

D’Angelo Castro & Amanda Carbajales – ages 12 & 13
The actThey’re Latin ballroom dancers, too – and did a humorous jive to “Straight Up” by the Brian Setzer Orchestra.
The verdictHoward can’t resist playing matchmaker, and ask them if they’re “romantically involved” – they adorably relate the story of them being “boyfriend & girlfriend” when they were 9, but they broke up “like 4 times” and it confused D’Angelo.  All 4 judges think they’re great and put them through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: D’Angelo is another precocious kid that I just get a real kick out of  – and he’s got some serious skills, as does Amanda: they actually won the first (and only) season of Paula Abdul’s ill-fated Live to Dance back in 2011.  Plus, D’Angelo is Manny & Lori’s son – and he was part of The Untouchables last season.  Honestly, if there’s any dance act this season that I could see making it all the way to the finale – it might be these two.  They’re already seasonsed pros at 12 & 13, and are charismatic beyond their years! I think they have all the skill of Anna & Patryck from season 5 – but they’ve got double the amount of stage presence.  Love watching them!

Mariachi Nuevo Estilo AVM – ages 18-29
The actThey’re a mariachi band that performed a mash-up of “Low” by Flo Rida & “Sexy & I Know It” by LMFAO…with a mariachi twist.
The verdictHoward, who admitted at the beginning of the episode that he “hates mariachi bands”, even loved this act – all 4 judges said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: It’s kind of a neat concept – we’ve had bluegrass bands covering top 40 stuff, and now we’ve got mariachi bands covering current stuff.  Admittedly, I’m kind of with Howard – mariachi music is something that I can only really tolerate in small doses at low volumes (blame my next door neighbors, who love to blast mariachi while working on their cars outside), and the opening of their performance (when they did “Low”) sounded all sorts of cacophonous to me.  But once they segued into “Sexy & I Know It”, it became more pleasant to listen to, and I started to enjoy it more.  I think they’re probably going to have to expand their horizons a bit in order to stick around – tackle some slow stuff, too, and maybe some more rock-tinged songs.

Pistol Packin’ Paula – age 48
The act: She’s a wild west act that shoots & twirls pistols and used a bullwhip to chop a rolled-up piece of paper out of Nick’s mouth.
The verdictHeidi & Mel buzzed her pretty quickly, and they gave her no’s along with Howie.  Howard actually enjoyed it, though, and seemed to indicate that he would’ve given her a yes.
Court’s thoughts: This had the potential to be a good act – similar to the western act from season 6 – but it was just disorganized and all over the place.  The fact that she came out shooting pistols (and had half the auditorium jumping out of their seats and hitting the floor) probably set everyone on edge a bit, and then it was just a random smattering of her hollering, shooting, and doing some impressive gun twirling.  The bullwhip trick was cool, but I just got the feeling that she probably didn’t have a whole lot of other tricks to add beyond that.  Maybe if she polishes up the act a bit more, she can come back in a later season.

Brad Byers – age 53, from Idaho
The actHe swallowed 9 swords simultaneously, with a fluoroscope on-hand to show an internal view of his esophagus.  He then twisted the swords 360 degrees, while they were still down his throat.
The verdictMel was the sole “no”, stating that watching him “made her want to throw up”.  Howie, Howard, and Heidi all said yes, though.
Court’s thoughts: LOVED the fact that he had the fluoroscope there to prove that he was actually swallowing the swords – none of the previous sword-swallowing/sideshow acts we’ve seen have done that.  Also thought the sword twisting was a nice…err, twist. 😛 But once again, as I usually say with every danger act we see: how much more is he going to be able to do with this?

Collins Key – age 16
The actHe’s an up-close magician that managed to teleport a dollar that Howie gave him into a sealed bag of popcorn that Mel was holding.
The verdictAll 4 judges loved it, and praised him for enduring ridicule and continuing to practice his magic.  We’ll see him in Vegas!
Court’s thoughts: I’m guessing the PureAGT search engine is probably going to be filled with “how did Collins Key teleport the dollar?” queries within the next 24 hours, just like they did with Special Ed’s levitation last week 😛 I’m half-tempted to do a “how did the magicians do that???” post in the next few weeks, since I know a thing or two about magic.  But anyway – great trick, with a great set-up.  I find myself more & more impressed by the magicians who really put thought into how to set up their tricks – the premise of it, the props, even their dialogue & hand gestures.  And I thought Collins really took a big risk by doing up-close magic – even though it’s on a smaller scale, you leave yourself far more vulnerable to mistakes being caught, so everything has to be perfect.  I’m thinking Collins could beat out some of the other magicians this season who operate on a larger scale – we haven’t had a good “up close” magician in awhile.

New Orleans:

Megan Piphus – 20 years old, from Nashville, TN
The act: She’s a ventriloquist that performed with a puppet of a little girl named Monica and a cat named Princess.  Monica sang a little bit of Whitney Houston’s “Saving All My Love”, while Princess sang an operatic aria.
The verdict: All 4 judges commended not only her singing voice, but her ability to throw her singing voice as a ventrioquist.  She’s going to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: This girl smashed every stereotype I had in my head for ventriloquists – she’s young, she’s gorgeous, and she’s got an exceptional singing voice – that she can throw with ease, and you don’t see her lips moving AT ALL.  I was also really impressed with her ability to throw her voice while still reacting believably to her puppets – part of the challenge of ventrioloquism is not only the voice-throwing, but also all the multitasking you have to do when it comes to moving your puppets and acting as if they’re the ones actually doing the talking.  My only worry for her in this competition is that her material is a little bland – if she can come up with more of a narrative (like Todd Oliver did last season) as opposed to just having her puppets talk, I think she can go far.

Jonathan Allen – 20 years old, from Lawrenceburg, TN
The act: He’s a sort of baritone opera singer that sang “Time to Say Goodbye”.
The verdict: All the judges loved him and said yes to Vegas – and praised him for overcoming the adversity of being rejected by his parents for being gay.
Court’s thoughts: If Travis Pratt’s appeal is that he’s a guy that can sing opera like a girl, Jonathan’s appeal is that he’s got an exceptionally rich male voice for opera singing, and he’s got the emotion to put behind it.  Thought he maybe got a little thin in his lower register, which could use some work, but the high note at the end was fantastic.

Alexanderia the Great – 51 years old, from Medway, MA
The act: She’s an escape artist that had to free herself from handcuffs, leg shackles, and a long chain with padlocks wrapped around her body – from underwater, after EXHALING before jumping in.
The verdict: Judges started fearing for her life around the 1 minute mark, but cheered with joy and said “yes!!!” to Vegas when she emerged at 1:36.
Court’s thoughts: Love the fact that she’s a middle-aged mom that’s doing something that’s typically only done by younger men – and I can’t believe she was able to hold her breath that long while struggling to remove the handcuffs & shackles & chains.  But as I say with every danger act: “How much more is she going to be able to do?” Spencer Horseman did a great job last season of changing up the parameters of his escapes – I think Alexandria is going to have to do the same to avoid getting repetitive & boring.

JC Starbright – 59 years old
The act: He’s a flamboyantly-dressed songwriter that performed an original song about AGT – and forgot some of the words…to the song HE wrote.
The verdict: All 4 judges buzzed – and all 4 judges said “no” to Vegas. Upon hearing that JC wants to be “the next Lady Gaga”, Howie dubbed him “Lady Guy-Guy”…a title I feel the need to point out that he first gave to Daniel Joseph Baker in season 6 🙂
Court’s thoughts: He was a special guy…perhaps too special for AGT.  But as always, I LOVE it when Nick decides to play along, and lol’d when he joined JC for the encore 😛

Andrew Ward – 34 years old
The act: He came out dressed in a voodoo-y type suit, and attempted to give a dramatic reading of a ghost story.
The verdict: Everyone except Heidi said no.
Court’s thoughts: Maybe a more cerebral audience would have appreciated Andrew’s storytelling more – but on a big stage like AGT, where everyone wants instant gratification, it just took took too long.

Sam Johnson (aka Slackwire Sam) – 34 years old
The act: He’s a “swaypole” artist – which means he climbs 80 feet in the air, climbs to the top of a flimsy vertical pole that’s bending and twisting in the wind, and does a handstand.
The verdict: All four judges were amazed and put him through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: I kind of loved that this guy came out on stage acting rather eccentric – wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and a stovepipe hat, and telling everyone that he was “going to do a handstand…but not where you think.” Just made it that much more amazing when he actually pulled off that feat.  But once again, I’m left wondering: how much more can he do? Does he only do swaypole? If so, how is he going to make it fresh each time he performs? Does he do anything else besides swaypole? With the danger category shaping up to be possibly the most competitive this season,  I don’t think any of them can afford to be a one-trick pony.

Paul Thomas Mitchell – 19 years old, from Memphis, TN
The act: Paul’s a singer-songwriter that performed an original song called “My Life” while playing the guitar.
The verdict: All 4 judges loved both his voice and his song – and the emotion he put behind it.  Heidi even went so far as to say “John Mayer better watch out!!!”
Court’s thoughts: If I were Marty Brown, I’d be worried – because this kid just made the singers category much more competitive.  He impressed me more than any other act tonight.  He’s got this breathy, unique voice that reminds me a bit of James Morrison, and the song he wrote?! You can’t teach songwriting talent, and this kid has IT.  Echoing Heidi backstage, “If he put out a CD tomorrow, I’d buy it.” Really rooting for this kid now – I’m hoping he either has a bunch of great original material up his sleeve, or can do really great, cool covers of other artist’s songs.

So who were your favorites and least favorites from last night’s show? 🙂

June 11, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 First Look – New Preview from NBC

Quick update – new video posted on the America’s Got Talent YouTube page, with more quick previews of the acts themselves:

I see a few ballroom couples, some breakdancers, some dogs doing tricks, another guy playing janitorial equipment as musical instruments (ugh), some gladiators (or Spartans…?) flexing their pecs, some more cloggers, a ventriloquist, some acrobats doing silhouettes, a magician or two, and some guy playing with a rattlesnake (probably the same one mentioned in the San Antonio audition post).  Looks like a good variety of acts! I also think Mel B’s antics and Heidi’s misinterpretations of the English language have the potential to inject some much-needed comedy into this season 🙂 Less than 24 hours till showtime!

June 3, 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!