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PureAGT Season 8 Live Show #2 – Power Rankings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 31, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 – Roster for 2nd Live Show Airing July 30

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

ciana

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

tone

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

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

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

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

July 24, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8, Episode #8, 9, & 10 Music List – Vegas Week

Please bear with me as I compile the Vegas week music list – there was a LOT of it in each episode! And a lot of the orchestral stuff is tripping me up…I promise the music from the second night of Vegas week AND the recap special (there was some new footage in it) will be up by the end of this weekend.  Thanks for sticking with me, guys! 😀

Night #1:

“Too Close” by Alex ClareToo Close - The Lateness of the Hour (opening montage)
“Stars (Hold On)” by Youngblood HawkeStars (Hold On) - Wake Up (contestants arrive in Vegas)
“Feel Again” by OneRepublicFeel Again - Native (Deluxe Version) (instant decision round)
“Hall of Fame” by The Script feat. will.i.amHall of Fame (Original Version) - #3 (Deluxe Version) (instant decision round)
“Violent Running” by Tobias Marberger; only version I could find was on Youtube, 2:22 mark (David Ferman performance)
“In the House – In a Heartbeat” by London Music Works28 Days Later - In the House-In a Heartbeat - The Definitive Horror Music Collection (Brad Byers performance)
“The Third Temple” by Nexus Trix & Oswin McIntosh (Alex Magala performance)
“Falling Angels” by Nexus Trix (Slackwire Sam performance)
“Realm of Power” by Two Steps from Hell Realm of Power - SkyWorld(Rong Niu performance)
“Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno MarsLocked Out of Heaven - Unorthodox Jukebox (singers intro)
“Without You” by AstonWithout You - Aston II (Forte intro)
“The Prayer” by Andrea BocelliThe Prayer - The Best of Andrea Bocelli - Vivere (Bonus Track Version) (cover performed by Forte)
“Home” by Phillip PhillipsHome - The World from the Side of the Moon (Deluxe) (Brandon & Savannah intro)
“Little Talks” by Of Monsters and MenLittle Talks - My Head Is An Animal (cover performed by Brandon & Savannah)
“House of the Rising Sun” by The AnimalsHouse of the Rising Sun - Retrospective (cover by The American Hit Men)
“Brighter Than the Sun” by Colbie CaillatBrighter Than the Sun - All of You (kid acts intro)
“Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley CyrusParty In the U.S.A. - Party In the U.S.A. - Single (cover performed by 2Unique)
“Don’t Stop the Party” by Pitbull feat. TJRDon't Stop the Party (feat. TJR) - Global Warming (Deluxe Version) (Lil Demon performance)
“Blizzard” by Two Steps from HellBlizzard - SkyWorld (Melody Caballeros performance)
“Moves like Jagger” by Maroon 5 Moves Like Jagger (Studio Recording from (D’Angelo & Amanda performance)
“Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre)” by Gotan Project Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre) - Shall We Dance? (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)(Jonas & Ruby performance)
“Bohemian Rhapsody” by QueenBohemian Rhapsody - Classic Queen (Hype performance)
“The Ender (Remix)” by Kid the Wiz; YouTube (Kid the Wiz performance)
“Ghosts N Stuff” by deadmau5 Ghosts N Stuff - Ghosts N Stuff - Single(Dylan Wilson performance)
“If My Heart Had Wings” by Faith Hill If My Heart Had Wings - Breathe(Tavi & Antonio performance)
“Me & You” by NeroMe and You - Welcome Reality (Deluxe Version) (Brandon Rosario performance)
“Too Close” by Alex ClareToo Close - The Lateness of the Hour (Duo Resonance performance)
“The Cowboy in Me” by Tim McGrawThe Cowboy In Me - Tim McGraw: Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 (Timber Brown performance)
“Boom Shack-a-Lak” by Apache IndianBoom Shack-A-Lak - Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (Original Soundtrack) (Kristef Brothers performance)
“Beneath Your Beautiful” by Labrinth feat. Emeli SandeBeneath Your Beautiful (feat. Emeli Sandé) - Beneath Your Beautiful (feat. Emeli Sandé) - Single (Deanna Dellacioppa intro)
“A Thousand Years” by Christina PerriA Thousand Years - The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Deluxe Version] (Skilyr talks with the judges after performing; Selena M. Gordon intro)
“A Broken Wing” by Martina McBrideA Broken Wing - Greatest Hits (cover performed by Selena Gordon)
“Summertime” by Janis Joplin Summertime - Janis Joplin's Greatest Hits (cover performed by Cami Bradley)
“I Won’t Let Go” by Rascal FlattsI Won't Let Go - Nothing Like This (cover performed by Deanna Dellacioppa)

“Best of Auditions” Recap Special:

(NOTE: I did not include songs from clips of auditions that we’ve seen previously – those can be found on the music lists for the auditions.  The only exception was the song performed by The Robotix, since this is the first time we see them.)

“America the Beautiful” America the Beautiful - Patriotic Songs of America(opening montage)
“Miserlou” by Dick DaleMiserlou - Guitar Legend: The Very Best of Dick Dale (judges intro montage)
“God Put a Smile on Your Face” by Mark RonsonGod Put a Smile On Your Face - Version (New Orleans intro)
“Feelin’ Alright” by Joe CockerFeelin' Alright - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Joe Cocker (montage of good auditions)
“Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Santa EsmereldaDon't Let Me Be Misunderstood - Santa Esmeralda - Hits Anthology (San Antonio intro & montage of auditions)
“Heartbreaker” by Pat BenetarHeartbreaker - Pat Benatar: Greatest Hits (cover performed by The Robotix)
“Miss Movin’ On” by Fifth HarmonyMiss Movin' On - Miss Movin' On - Single (montage of San Antonio auditions)
“Marry You” by Bruno MarsMarry You - Doo-Wops & Hooligans (Travis Pratt recap and montage from San Antonio auditions)
“It’s Your Thing” by The Isley BrothersIt's Your Thing - The Ultimate Isley Brothers (Chicago intro)
“Wild Ones” by Flo Rida feat. SiaWild Ones (feat. Sia) - Wild Ones (montage of good Chicago auditions)
“New York State of Mind” by Billy JoelNew York State of Mind - The Essential Billy Joel (New York intro)
“Apache” by the Sugarhill GangApache - The Sugar Hill Records Story (montage of good New York auditions)
“Hollywood Swinging (Wild)” by Kool & the GangHollywood Swinging (Single Version) - The Very Best of Kool & the Gang (Los Angeles intro & montage of auditions)
“I Love It” by Icona PopI Love It (feat. Charli XCX) - Iconic - EP (montage of L.A. auditions)
“Senorita” by BondSeñorita - Classified (Mel & Howard dance)
“Nobody But Me” by The Human BeinzNobody But Me - The Departed (Music from the Motion Picture) (montage of bad auditions)
“War” by Edwin StarrWar - The Very Best of Edwin Starr (montage of bad auditions)
“Puttin’ on the Ritz” by Terry SnyderPuttin' On the Ritz - Ultra-Lounge: Space-Capades, Vol. 3 (montage of bizarre auditions)
“Nero” by Two Steps from HellNero - Archangel (montage of Vegas performances)
“Feel Again” by OneRepublicFeel Again - Native (Deluxe Version) (montage of Vegas performances)
“Violent Running” by Tobias Marberger(see link in Night #1 section) (montage of Vegas danger acts)
“String Quartet #3: Mishima/Closing” by Kronos QuartetString Quartet No. 3 (Mishima): Mishima/Closing - Kronos Quartet Performs Philip Glass (montage of Vegas performances)

July 19, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Vegas Week Rundown – Night #2

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acts that were cut after performing in Vegas:

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

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

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

Kid Musicians:

Aaralyn & Izzy
Chloe Channell
Genesis Nava*
Ciana Pelekai

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

Magicians:

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

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

Variety acts:

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

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

Male singers:

Dave Fenley
Marty Brown
Paul Thomas Mitchell
Jonathan Allen
Travis Pratt

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

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

July 17, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Vegas Week Rundown – Night #1

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

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

Instant Decisions

Acts that made it straight through to the live shows:

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

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

Acts that got sent straight home:

Olivia Rox
Yasha & Daniela
Sully Dunn
Milton Patton

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

Acts that performed in Vegas

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

Danger acts:

Slackwire Sam
Rong Niu
David Ferman
Brad Byers
Alex Magala

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

Music groups:

Forte
Brandon & Savannah
The American Hit Men

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

Kid acts:

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

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

Comedians:

Jimmy Failla*
Eric Schwartz*
Taylor Williamson
John Wing*

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

Dancers:

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

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

Acrobats:

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

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

Female singers:

Deanna Dellacioppa
Skilyr Hicks
Selena Mykenzie Gordon*
Cami Bradley

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

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

July 16, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Vegas Week Predictions – Danger Acts/Magicians/Comedians

Only 24 hours till Vegas! Who’s excited? 🙂 I continue my predictions with my thoughts on the danger acts, magicians, and comedians.  If you haven’t already, check out my analysis of the singers and dancers.

Danger acts:

David “The Cobra Kid” Weathers: Could go either way.  He’s the only animal danger act this season…but how much more can he really do with these snakes?

Brad Byers: Could go either way.  He’s a great sword swallower, but there’s another sword swallower this season that can do other things while swallowing swords.  However, I think Brad probably has the better stage presence.  Which will win the judges over?

Alexanderia the Great: Looking likely.  She’s a novelty, in that she’s a middle-aged mom doing dangerous escapes that we typically only see from young men. She’s also go some flexibility in her act – the escape possibilities are endless.

Slackwire Sam: Could go either way.  It’s a cool and daring act…but is it all he can do? How can he switch things up in Vegas to keep the act fresh?

Omega Force Strength Team: A long shot.  Howie was skeptical about this act from the get-go, and unless they’re flipping cars in Vegas, I think they may fall a bit flat. There’s only so many heavy objects they can lift before it becomes repetitive.

Team Rock: Could go either way.  The only martial arts act this season, but they don’t seem to have a very unified act…it’s just a series of tricks.  Can they create more of a “show”?

David Ferman: A sure thing. He’s this season’s only juggler, and I think he’s got a pretty broad skill set in that respect.  He also knows how to set up an act in order to make it suspenseful.

Alex Magala: Looking likely.  He swallows swords – then proceeds to do other things with the sword down his throat.  I’d say that’s probably pretty impressive in the judges’ eyes.

 

Magicians:

Special Head: A sure thing.  People are still talking about the levitation he did – and he’s got this great mystical persona to carry off tricks well.  He’s unique, and not really like any other magician we’ve had on the show.

Collins Key: Looking likely.  Young, attractive, well-rehearsed kid with cool up-close magic tricks.

Leon Etienne: Could go either way. I doubt we’ll see more than two magicians this year, and I’m having a hard time remembering Leon’s act…other than the fact that it was kind of cheesy.  But we do need some cannon fodder acts, so maybe he has a shot.

Naathan Phan:  A long shot.  I really like this guy, but he basically flubbed his first trick at the auditions and only made it through based on an impromptu trick the judges let him do to redeem himself.  Will he be able to avoid dud tricks in Vegas?

 

Comedians:

Dave Shirley: Could go either way. The LCD screen thing is cool, but I’m not sure how much more he can really do with it.

Angela Hoover: Could go either way.  I would have had her pegged for the live shows…until Jim Meskimen showed up, and he’s unfortunately a better impressionist.  Not sure if we have room for two impressionists this season…but she is the only female in the comedy category, so who knows.

Taylor Williamson:  Looking likely. He’s got this adorably awkward manner about him, and manages to make it work for him in his act.  His comedy is relevant, relatable, and amusing.

Jim Meskimen: A sure thing.  One of the best impressionists the show has ever seen…and I’m sure he’s got a lot more up his sleeve.

Kevin Downey Jr.: Could go either way.  He was amusing, but I felt as though the judges were just chuckling at him, while they belly-laughed for Taylor.

So which acts do you think stand a chance in Vegas?

July 15, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Vegas Week Roster

To help jog everyone’s memory before the first Vegas episode on Tuesday, here’s the list of all the acts we saw make it through to Vegas from the audition rounds – keep in mind that we might not see all of these acts in Vegas, as there’s usually a handful of acts that either don’t come to Vegas (for whatever reason) or just aren’t shown on camera.  There are 86 acts listed here – 38 of them won’t make it to the live show.  I’ve done my best to try and put them into the categories I think they’ll be placed into once they reach Vegas – acts with a * next to them are acts that fit into more than one category, and I’m not positive which one they’ll end up being placed in.  The “kid acts” in particular are a bit ambiguous – not sure what the age cutoff is going to be. 

Also keep in mind that (if we’re following the pattern of previous seasons), these acts will be further divided into “judges favorites” (group A), “stand-by acts” (group B), and “instant decisions” (group C).  The judges favorites are the acts that the judges think have the best chance of making it to the live shows, and will perform the first day of the Vegas rounds; the stand-by acts are the acts that will perform if there are any spots that remain after the judges favorites have performed; and the “instant decision” acts will either get a free pass to the live shows (without having to perform in Vegas), or will get sent home (without having to perform in Vegas). 

Singers:

Marty Brown (country)
Tone the Chiefrocca (rapper)
Paul Thomas Mitchell (acoustic rock)
Deanna DellaCioppa (R&B/soul)
David Fenley (acoustic rock)
Lil Mike & Funny Bone (rappers)
Cami Bradley (country)
Sully Dunn (alternative rock)
Jimmy Rose (country)
Milton Patton (country)

Classical Singers:

Travis Pratt (tenor)
Jonathan Allen (baritone)
Forte (opera trio)
Branden James (tenor)

Bands/Musical Groups:

3Penny Chorus & Orchestra (orchestra)
Mariachi Nuevo Estilo AVM (mariachi)
American Military Spouses Choir (choir)
University of Virginia Gospel Chorale (gospel choir)
Brandon & Savannah (pop rock band)*
The American Hit Men (rock band)
212 Green (pop rock band)

Dancers:

Ron & Liza (ballroom)
Kenichi Ebina (hip-hop/robotics)
Bones & the Machine (bone breaking)
Dylan Wilson (animation/hip hop)

Dance groups:

Catapult Entertainment (silhouette performers)*
The Academy (Irish step dancers)
Hype (hip-hop)
B-Extreme (hip hop/stunts)
Hammerstep (Irish step dancing/hip hop)
The Rock Dance Project (jazz/ballet/modern)
Studio 19 Dance Complex (jazz/ballet)
Tellavision (LCD screen dancers)
Mitsi Dancing School (Chinese folk dancing)
SensEtion (video projection dancers)

Acrobats:

Tristan Jih (aerialist)
Duo Resonance (acrobalance)
Kyle & Darby (cheerleading stunts)*
Kristef Brothers (hand balancing)
Chicago Boyz (jump rope/tumbling)
Innovative Force (dance/acrobatics)*
Aerial Ice (figure skaters/aerialists)
Aerosphere (balloon aerialist)
Tavi & Antonio (aerialists)
Timber Brown (aerial pole)

Danger acts:

David “The Cobra Kid” Weathers (snake handler)
Brad Byers (sword swallower)
Alexanderia the Great (escape artist)
Slackwire Sam (swaypole artist)
Omega Force Strength Team (strongman act)
Team Rock (martial arts)
David Ferman (dangerous juggler)
Alex Magala (sword-swallowing breakdancer)*

Magicians:

Special Head (levitator)
Collins Key (up-close magic)
Leon Etienne (illusionist)
Naathan Phan (escape artist/card tricks)

Comedians:

Dave Shirley (LCD screen comedian)
Angela Hoover (celebrity impressionist)
Taylor Williamson (stand-up comedy)
Jim Meskimen (celebrity impressionist)
Kevin Downey Jr. (stand-up comedy)

Novelty acts:

Kid the Wiz (hat trick artist)*
Megan Piphus (ventriloquist)
Steven “Sprice” Price (Rube Goldberg machines)
Rong Niu (bowl juggler)
Kelsey & Bailey (dog tricks)
Spintacular (basketball tricks)
Tummy Talk (human drum act)
Aquanauts (synchronized swimming)

Kid Acts:

Anna Christine (singer/pianist)
Pacific Boys’ Choir (choir)
Jonas & Ruby (ballroom dancers)
D’Angelo & Amanda (ballroom dancers)
Struck Boyz (hip hop)
Lil Demon (breakdancer)
Sophia Lucia (jazz/ballet)
Izzy & Aaralyn (death metal band)
2Unique (rapper/DJ)
Ciana Pelekani (singer)
Olivia Rox (singer/guitarist)*
Fresh Faces (dancers/gymnasts)
Yasha & Daniela (ballroom dancers)
Chloe Chanel (singer)
Mestizo Ballet Folklorico (mariachi dancers)
Skilyr Hicks (singer)*

July 12, 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 Episode #2 Music List – San Antonio/New Orleans Auditions

Here’s the music I could identify from this week’s episode.  Please feel free to request other songs or add any that you might know in the comments section 🙂

“El Jarabe Tapatio (The Mexican Hat Dance)” (judges arrive in San Antonio)
“Diamonds (instrumental)” by RihannaDiamonds (Instrumental) - Karaoke Pop Vol.3 (Travis Pratt intro)
“This Will Be” by Natalie ColeThis Will Be (An Everlasting Love) - Natalie Cole: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 (Travis proposes; montage of good auditions)
“Oye Como Va” by Tito Puente Jr. Oye Como Va (Old School Classic Mix) - Oye Como Va (Remixes)(Jonas & Ruby performance)
“I Like It” by Enrique Iglesias I Like It (feat. Pitbull) - Euphoria (Deluxe Edition)(Jonas & Ruby get 4 yes’s)
“Straight Up” by Brian Setzer Orchestra (D’Angelo & Amanda performance)
“We Come Running” by Youngblood HawkeWe Come Running - Wake Up (D’Angelo & Amanda get 4 yes’s)
“Low” by Flo Rida Low (feat. T-Pain) - Mail On Sunday(covered by Mariachi Nuevo Estilo)
“Sexy & I Know It” by LMFAOSexy and I Know It - Sorry for Party Rocking (Deluxe Version) (covered by Mariachi Nuevo Estilo)
“Bailamos” by Enrique IglesiasBailamos - Enrique (Mariachi gets 4 yes’s)
“God Blessed Texas” by Little Texas God Blessed Texas - Little Texas: Greatest Hits(Pistol Packin’ Paula intro)
“Juggernaut” by Jo Blankenburg Juggernaut - Vendetta - Position Music Orchestral Series Vol. 6(Brad Byers intro)
“Secrets” by OneRepublicSecrets - Waking Up (Collins Key intro & 4 yes’s)
“Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling StonesSympathy for the Devil - Beggars Banquet (New Orleans intro)
“Saving All My Love For You” by Whitney HoustonSaving All My Love for You - Whitney - The Greatest Hits (Megan Piphus performance)
“Best Thing I Never Had” by Beyoncé Best Thing I Never Had - 4(Megan gets 4 yes’s)
“Time to Say Goodbye” by Andrea Bocelli Time to Say Goodbye - Romanza(Jonathan Allen performance)
“A Thousand Years” by Christina PerriA Thousand Years - The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Deluxe Version] (Jonathan gets 4 yes’s)
“Feel Again” by OneRepublicFeel Again - Native (montage of New Orleans contestants waiting to audition)
“Garador’s Flight” by Jo Blankenburg Garador's Flight - Elysium(Alexanderia emerges from underwater)
“Fashion” by Lady Gaga Fashion - Confessions of a Shopaholic (Original Soundtrack) [Bonus Track Version](JC Starbright intro)
“The A-Team (instrumental)” by Ed SheeranThe a Team - + (Deluxe Version) (Paul Thomas Mitchell intro)
Time for Miracles” by Adam Lambert Time for Miracles - 2012 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)(Paul gets 4 yes’s)

 

June 12, 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 Social Media List

 

For those wanting to follow some of this year’s cast on Twitter (or just looking to find out more about some of them), I’ve compiled this list of links to various social media resources for the judges, hosts, and contestants.  I’m going to do my best to update it after each audition, but I can always use some help – if you locate a contestant’s Twitter, Facebook, website, Instagram, etc. (and I haven’t already posted it), please mention it in the comments and I’ll add it to the list.  I’m also working on an AGT Season 8 Twitter list at our @pureagt account…stay tuned!!!

Judges & Hosts:

Mel BTwitter, website, Facebook, Instagram
Nick CannonTwitter, website, tumblr, Instagram, Facebook
Heidi KlumTwitter, website, Facebook, Instagram
Howie MandelTwitter, website, Facebook
Howard SternTwitter, website

Acts that made it through to Vegas:

The Academywebsite
Marty Brown – Facebook
Catapult EntertainmentTwitter, website, Facebook, YouTube
Angela HooverTwitter, Facebook, myspace
Hypegroup Twitter, Headache Twitter, Hazmat Twitter, Mikey Twitter, tumblr, Mikey YouTube, Hazmat Youtube, Headache YouTube, Facebook
Tristan Jihwebsite, Facebook, Vimeo
Pacific Boys Choirwebsite, Facebook
Dave ShirleyTwitter, website
Special HeadFacebook
David “The Cobra Kid” WeathersFacebook, website, mySpace
Travis Pratt – Twitter, Facebook
Duo Resonance (Nina & Yury) – website, Facebook, YouTube
Ron Garber & Liza SatorovRon Twitter, blog, YouTube, Facebook
Jonas Terleckas & Ruby CastroRuby Twitter
D’Angelo Castro & Amanda CarbajalesD’Angelo Twitter, Amanda Twitter, D’Angelo Facebook, D’Angelo & Amanda Facebook
Mariachi Nuevo Estilo AVMTwitter, Facebook
Brad Byerswebsite, YouTube
Collins Keywebsite, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube
Megan PiphusTwitter, YouTube, website, Instagram
Alexanderia the Greatwebsite, Facebook, blog, YouTube
Slackwire SamYouTube
Paul Thomas MitchellFacebook

 

Acts that got cut:

Chuck from the Bronxwebsite, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube
MiuTwitter, YouTube
Nezbit Blue (alien in lederhosen) – Facebook
Pistol Packin’ Paulawebsite
JC Starbright – website, Twitter

June 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!