Free America's Got Talent Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on America's Got Talent sent straight to your email? Join hundreds of other AGT fans who subscribe to Pure AGT for FREE!

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 :-P 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!!! :-D

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???
Read more..

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 – Power Rankings

Once again, I apologize that these are so late – as some of you know, I also blog for PureDWTS, and today was the announcement of the new cast…which means heavy traffic and a lot of guarding the site for trolls! It was also a long, busy day at work, and I didn’t have much of a chance to sit down and actually think about last night’s show until now…but rest assured, I did not forget about you guys ;-)

Overall, I think last night was a much stronger semifinal than last week’s, although we had already kind of predicted that based on what acts performed this week.  I think I’m most interested to see if America puts through TWO country singers into the top 12 – I’m hoping they only put through one, but I’m bracing myself for the unfortunate event that we get two.  Other than that, I’m fairly confident that Kenichi, Chicago Boyz, & Anna will make it through without any problems.

1.) Kenichi Ebina – Just…wow.  I think the thing I love most about Kenichi’s act is that I’m always at a bit of a loss how to explain it to those who haven’t seen it, because it’s always so unique.  Loved the “living video game” theme he had going during the quarterfinals, and I loved the “duel with the mirror” he did last night.  Of all the acts in last night’s semifinal, he’s the one that I could really see creating a successful 90-minute live show in Vegas.  I think Forte has got some serious competition in Kenichi for the win this season…

2.) Chicago Boyz – I would have never guessed that they were performing without one of their strongest members, because this routine was INSANELY good.  One thing I really enjoy about Chicago Boyz is that they really do up their game each & every week – I think the jump roping with the 3 guys stacked on top of each other was absolutely genius, and the synchronized jump roping and tricks they were doing with it were really impressive.  I think they proved last night that they are, indeed, contenders, and could even snag a spot in the finale.

3.) Kristef Brothers – Another act that showed no signs of stopping despite an injury. If you had told me during their audition that these guys would be contenders for the top 12, I would have probably thought you were nuts – but these guys seem to have cracked into a niche that we really haven’t seen on the show: they’re skilled acrobats that are really, really funny.  As predicted, I think they succeeded where Duo Resonance failed because they were able to really endear themselves to their audience.  I think they may struggle in the top 12, but I think they ought to make it through tonight without any problems.

4.) Anna Christine – I think Anna recovered nicely from her stutter in the quarterfinals – I feel like “Wild Horses” suited her much better than “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and ditching the piano and focusing entirely on her vocals was a wise choice.  I think she ought to make it through tonight without any issues, but once she makes it to the top 12 – I fear she may pale in comparison to Cami Bradley, who has a more mature, controlled quality to her voice and a better stage presence.

5.) Jimmy Rose – Hmmm.  Another song from Jimmy Rose that I’m not really wild about – although to be honest, I was really wild about Marty’s song choice, either.  I guess I was hoping that, rather than just performing a country song, he and Marty would take a more mainstream song and give it a country twist; that is one area where I have to give Marty credit over Jimmy – he did a more mainstream song for his initial audition, where Jimmy has been straight country all the way.  However, I think Jimmy must be raking in the votes, because there’s a reason they put him last…and I have a feeling if it came down to it, the judges would rather have Jimmy in the top 12 than Marty.  Guess we’ll have to see how things pan out…

6/7.) TIE: D’Angelo & Amanda and Marty Brown – This one’s hard for me to call, because I can’t decide whether we’re going to end up with (god forbid) TWO country singers in the top 12.  My gut says no, but stranger things have happened, and Marty did improve last night. Is the voting audience persistent enough to vote 2 country singers through? If not, then I think D’Angelo & Amanda might have a decent shot at making it through to the top 12 – while their performance last night wasn’t their best, I daresay it was still much stronger than others we saw last night, and probably quite of few of last week’s acts, too.  I think the problem they had was that they wanted to “step up their game” and didn’t quite know how – loved the water, but I kind of agree with Mel that the routine had been a bit boring up until the water portion…just a lot of dips and displays of flexibility from Amanda.  If it comes down to these two acts in the judges’ choice – I’m definitely interested to see who would come out on top.  I think the judges might put D’Angelo & Amanda through because they already have so many singers, but who knows…they’ve made their fair share of dumb choices this season.

8.) Leon Etienne & Romy Low – Admittedly, I actually enjoyed their act tonight.  I liked that they did work on the areas that the judges criticized in their first performance – mainly the trick taking too long and being too confusing.  Doing rapid-fire, simple tricks was definitely a smart move.  For what its worth, I think Howard’s wild card pick actually ended up being the most successful – but last night was a much stronger semifinal than last week, and I’m not sure they can overcome some of the stronger acts to nab a spot.  Kinda sucks, but I think they probably would have stood a decent shot of advancing if they performed last week instead of this week.

9.) Timber Brown – *sigh* Poor Timber – I think he had a bit of a misstep last night, in that he did an act that seemed to take a lot longer to get to the good part and he fumbled a little with the rope.  I know Timber’s got a lot of tricks up his sleeve – a friend from work actually remembered seeing him in Peep Show in Vegas a few years back, and was saying that she remembered him climbing all sorts of crazy stuff, spinning on ropes, doing backflips, etc.  I think he unfortunately just picked a trick that really didn’t translate well to TV – I think it would have fit in perfectly with one of the Cirque shows like Le Reve with the water (D’Angelo & Amanda’s would be perfect for Le Reve as well), but it was hard to appreciate the art and difficulty of it through the television.  I don’t think his act was bad, but I do worry that he got lost in the shuffle.

10.) Branden James – The one week I actually enjoy the song Branden sings, is the week he will likely get sent home :-P “Alone” is probably one of my top 10 favorite songs of all time, so I think that alone kind of colored my opinion of his performance – I actually enjoyed it.  But I do agree that he had a few wobbly, off-key spots, and he wasn’t as strong this week has he’s been in previous weeks.  I daresay he’s a real longshot to make it to the next round – especially if the audience still has Forte on the brain like I think they do.  If he advances, he’s toast – Forte can sing circles around him.

11.) American Military Spouses Choir – These poor ladies – I think their weaknesses as a choir really showed through last night, and made them realize that they were maybe a bit out of their element amongst some of the other acts.  Once again, it seemed to be the same 3-4 women carrying the bulk of the singing weight, while the others swayed & hummed in the background – and for once, the “leading ladies” seemed to struggle a bit themselves, and once again I didn’t particularly enjoy the arrangement of their song.  I have to wonder if the absence of one of their lead singers (who had given birth the previous week) really hurt them.  I also kind of appreciate that Howie seemed to reinforce the point that these ladies should be judged by their TALENT, and not their sappy backstory – I think there’s been far too much sappy backstory-driven judging AND voting this season, and it’s resulted in some weaker acts making it through over stronger ones.  I don’t see them making it through tonight, but I do commend them for the work they do.

12.) John Wing – Not terrible, but not terribly funny, either.  Most of his jokes just made me give a small smile, as opposed to the laughing out loud I did to Taylor’s comedy last week.  I think John is just so droll that you really have to have the right, dry sense of humor in order to really appreciate (and remember) him – and he really was just a non-event for me last night.

So with only 1.5 hours till showtime – what are your predictions? :-)

 

I Written By

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

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

Here’s the semifinalists performing next week:

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

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

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

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

August 28, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8, Live Show #1 – SPOILERS!!! Who Made it Through to the Next Round?

Well, that was a rather odd first live results show, if I do say so – one musical act (performing a song that has already worn out its welcome on AGT this season), followed by two groups of three acts where NOBODY made it through, one group of three where two made it through, and a final group of three where one made it through instantly and the judges picked from the remaining two.  The whole rhythm of tonight’s show just felt really…awkward to me.  Just like last night’s show.  I think they may still be playing with the format a bit to see what works and what doesn’t… Read more..

July 24, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Live Show #1 – Power Rankings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 – Roster for First Live Show Airing July 23

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

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

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

July 18, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Vegas Week Rundown – Night #1

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

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

Instant Decisions

Acts that made it straight through to the live shows:

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

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

Acts that got sent straight home:

Olivia Rox
Yasha & Daniela
Sully Dunn
Milton Patton

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

Acts that performed in Vegas

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

Danger acts:

Slackwire Sam
Rong Niu
David Ferman
Brad Byers
Alex Magala

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

Music groups:

Forte
Brandon & Savannah
The American Hit Men

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

Kid acts:

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

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

Comedians:

Jimmy Failla*
Eric Schwartz*
Taylor Williamson
John Wing*

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

Dancers:

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

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

Acrobats:

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

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

Female singers:

Deanna Dellacioppa
Skilyr Hicks
Selena Mykenzie Gordon*
Cami Bradley

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

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

July 16, 2013 I Written By

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