I’m starting to feel like a broken record, but I’ll say it once more for good measure: THERE ARE WAYYYY TOO MANY SINGERS IN THE SEMIFINALS ALREADY!!! Oh, and the judges as a unit are total wusses when it comes to the judges’ choice vote – may as well get rid of that, too, and just let America pick it, since that’s the way it’s panning out more often than not. Read more..
Anyone else besides me think they could have just skipped the first hour of last night’s show and not really missed out on anything good? The first five acts really didn’t do much for me – I think I even mentioned on Twitter that the show this week was shaping up to be a big disappointment.
Luckily, the second half of the show brough some much stronger performances – not necessarily GREAT performances (I really only think one act knocked it out of the park last night), but pretty good ones. I still think this quarterfinal was one of the weaker ones – someone like Tone the Chiefrocca would have made it through without any problems if he was on last night, I think.
1.) Jimmy Rose – Ok, let me get this off my chest: I’m all opera’d out and I’m all country’d out (likely due to all the ado about the opera and country acts), so it’s hard for me to really get enthusiastic about really any of the acts in this category at the moment. I think Jimmy did pretty well – definitely better than Marty did in his quarterfinal, but like Mel I wasn’t really wowed by his song choice. I don’t think it was one that really fit the twang of his voice well. But America just seems to go crazy for their country boys, so I’m fully expecting that he’s going to make it through tonight. Will be interesting to see he & Marty go head to head – I still think Jimmy is the more talented of the two, but I think Marty might be the more popular.
2.) Cami Bradley – My favorite act of the night, and the only one that I think really delivered and exceeded expectations. Love, love, LOVED the arrangement of “Believe” and the conviction with which she sang it – what really impresses me about her voice is that she has an incredible amount of control when she’s singing softly. Incredibly hard to do (often moreso than singing really loudly), and she handled it beautifully. I have to laugh when I think of how much I underestimated how she’d do in Vegas and then she was really the only female vocalist that didn’t somehow bungle her performance. I think she flies under the radar because she’s so shy – but then she pulls out performances like this and just blindside people. I may not be wild about how many singers are making it through to the semifinals, but I can get behind Cami – she’s the real deal.
3.) Timber Brown - Admittedly, I kind of went “Uh-oh, what’s this?” when I saw him come out with that suspended planet-shaped thingie instead of his usual pole. But I think the gamble worked out in his favor – he was pulling some pretty impressive, high-speed tricks on that thing. And I think it was Timber’s performance that really woke the show up – he had 4 rather ho-hum acts before him, and I was almost to the point of changing the channel when he came bursting onto the stage. Glad he was able to salvage the show!
4.) Aerial Ice – I had really high hopes for Aerial Ice, based on their initial performance – but I think their larger set this time around may have been a bit detrimental to their performance, as they seemed to get lost in it. Their stunts are amazing, no doubt – but I feel like the large set made them lose some cohesiveness, as it felt more like 3 separate couples doing stunts on their own, as opposed to a unified act. Regardless, I still think that what they do is unique enough that they’ll advance to the semifinals.
5.) TIE: David Ferman & Taylor Williamson – Two guys that I really like, but also two guys who seemed to struggle last night…and the funny thing is, they seem to have the opposite problem: David has the content, but not the delivery…Taylor has the delivery, but not the content. God love David, he seems like a really good kid with a lot of crazy, cool ideas in his head…and some cojones grandes to carry off these crazy stunts he dreams up. But his delivery is just so…bland. He comes off as robotic and stiff, and seems to rush his delivery – and the trick itself was over so quickly that it was hard to appreciate the difficulty of what he was doing. If I were him, I’d get on YouTube and watch videos of Landon Swank from two seasons ago – kid had this butter-smooth delivery that really brought his tricks to life. Taylor, on the other hand, delivers his jokes with such endearing awkwardness that you find yourself laughing and smiling along with him…even if the joke isn’t particularly funny. And that was his major struggle last night – his material was only mildly funny, and not nearly as strong as we’ve seen from him previously. I think one of these guys will end up joining Aerial Ice in the judges’ choice – I just can’t decide which one.
7.) 3Penny Chorus & Orchestra – Repeat after me: song choice is EVERYTHING. And they unfortunately seemed to choose the wrong one – I thought that silly Taylor Swift song just came across as juvenile and annoying. Truth be told, I wasn’t wild about “Call Me Maybe”, but their delivery of it was novel enough that I enjoyed it. I didn’t get the same vibe this time around – I just found myself saying “this is silly”. I also don’t think they benefitted much from going first, especially since the first half of the show was overall much weaker than the 2nd half – I think they might get lost in the shuffle of the weak first hour acts and not get as many votes as they probably should.
8.) Chloe Channell – Sweet, adorable girl, no doubt – but I just think she’s got a lot of maturing to do in her singing before she really becomes a force to be reckoned with. I also think she’s picked the wrong songs two times in a row now – neither her song in Vegas nor her song last night seemed to serve her well. I also think she just lacks a bit of stage presence…she doesn’t seem to know how to emote with her face, and just seems to pace back and forth as she’s singing. Very bright future ahead of her – but I just think it may have been too early for her to make the leap to a show like AGT.
9.) The Robotix - I feel a bit bad for this group – they came into the competition at a bit of a disadvantage, since we didn’t get to see them perform in the audition round or Vegas…so right off the bat, they had to impress the viewers, since they came in with little to no fanbase. Then they tried to tackle a song that was wayyyy too big for them – and I agree with Howard: the drummer was the raddest, most interesting member of the group to watch, and the rest of the group was just kind of there. Like Chloe, I think they may have just attempted AGT when they weren’t quite ready.
10.) SensEtion – A slight improvement from their initial audition, but all in all, they’re still just another “dancing in the dark” act looking to ride the coattails of Fighting Gravity, Team iLuminate, Lightwire Theater, etc. I still don’t think they’re doing enough dancing in their performances – and the graphics they’re using seem a bit rudimentary and generic…like some kid playing around with Windows Movie Maker. Just not enough to cut it, at this point.
11.) Champions Forever – I thought this act was a bit cheesy the first time we saw them…and I found them even cheesier this time. It got repetitive really quickly, even if what they were doing was actually quite difficult; there’s only so many times I can watch a group on unicycles ride around in circles onstage. Not much more to add – just not enough content at this point in the competition.
12.) Tummy Talk – Oy…the great Tummy Talk debate. People seem to really hate this act, which is why I have them at the bottom – I don’t see any way they could possibly make it through tonight. But I actually don’t mind this act too much…is it borderline icky? Sure, but so are a lot of the danger acts we’ve seen. I actually thought they were pretty creative with their drumming last night, and you can tell these guys do have somewhat of a percussion background. Let’s put it this way: I’d take them over Aaralyn & Izzy any day.
So what did you guys think of last night’s performances? And who do you want to see in the semifinals?
Here’s the list of acts performing in next week’s live show:
3Penny Chorus & Orchestra (orchestral group)
The Robotix (band)
Aerial Ice (figure skating/aerial group)
Cami Bradley (singer)
David Ferman (dangerous juggler)
Jimmy Rose (country singer)
Champions Forever (aka Spintacular) (basketball trick group)
SensEtion (video screen dance group)
Taylor Williamson (comedian)
Timber Brown (aerial pole)
Chloe Channell (child country singer)
Tummy Talk (clapping percussion group)
I think the one really heavy-hitter here is Aerial Ice – unless they somehow really bomb (doubtful), I see them making it to the semifinals without much of a struggle. I think Jimmy Rose is probably pretty likely to go through as well, cause America just LOVES their twangy country boys…at least Jimmy seems to have far more natural talent than Marty Brown. Would love for Taylor Williamson to make it through – I think he’s the funniest comedian we have this season; really like Timber Brown as well, so hopefully he has something good up his sleeve. I’m kind of lukewarm about the rest. What do you guys think?
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)
Leon Etienne & Romy Low
Brandon & Savannah
The American Hit Men
Izzy & Aaralyn
Kid the Wiz
D’Angelo & Amanda
Jonas & Ruby
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:
Tavi & Antonio
“Accro” Brandon Rosario*
Paul Thomas Mitchell
Archbishop Molloy Step Team*
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)
Aaralyn & Izzy
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.
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.
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.
Paul Thomas Mitchell
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?