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The 10 Best Performances of America’s Got Talent Season 12

Before I start this, I wanted to give a quick shout-out to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund GoFundMe campaign. Any massacre is horrific of course but especially with the connection AGT has with the city I thought it’d be good to share.

I’ve thought a lot about what to do with this blog during the off-season. I know I don’t want it to go completely dormant like last year, so I’m going to try to post at least twice per month. One post will be a roundup of any notable alumni updates and the other will vary a bit. For this month I recently grabbed a copy of Mandy Harvey’s book “Sensing the Rhythm” which was released last week, so I’ll get a review of that up once I’ve finished reading it!

For now, let’s get to the top 10 list! Note that I didn’t allow myself to include multiple performances from the same act so I wouldn’t run out of things to say. ūüėõ

10. Preacher Lawson Proves Himself to be a “Driving” Force in the Competition¬†(Auditions)

While I’ve made it clear I didn’t agree with some of the representation of certain act genres we had in the Season 12 live shows, I think Preacher Lawson was definitely the best comedian of all those we saw by miles, so if we could only have one make it through, I’m glad it was him. Most of his performances were on a similar level for me – all around solid, with a couple laugh-out-loud jokes and good personality to make the lesser material palatable. After re-watching each of them, I still think his best performance was his very first audition.

He started by easing into the jokes by answering each question from the judges with a hint of humor, which made a nice segue into the set itself. As the season went on, Preacher slowly began incorporating more and more of his “over-the-top” bits into his performances, culminating in one long joke in the Finals that lasted about 30 seconds (you know the one :P). But here, we don’t get it until late in the act, giving us time to warm up to his style of humor before taking it to the next level with the grandma impression.

This performance was so good that even though it was one of the very first acts shown in the season premiere, it stuck out in my mind through the following weeks of auditions, and by the time we got to Preacher’s next set in the third episode of the Judge Cuts round, I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation to see what he would bring us next.

9. Billy & Emily England Go for a Spin, Game of Thrones-style (Semi-Finals)

Like most danger performers who’ve gone on AGT, Billy & Emily England were certainly one of the more controversial acts of Season 12. Some people loved them, others feared them, and a few thought their act was more suited to a “redneck family reunion” than a primetime TV talent show (Facebook’s words, not mine).

I was concerned early on that the “wow” factor of the extreme roller-skating would wear off a little too quickly, but in a surprise result (at least to me) they avoided Quarter-Finals Dunkin’ Save territory and spun on straight to the Semis. By the time their second live show rolled around, not only had there been many a comment stating they needed to “step it up” but also many questioning their relationship as siblings. I don’t know if the concept for their Semi-Finals performance was an intentional nod to the speculation of incest, but either way, the Game of Thrones-esque set-up added an extra sense of intensity to the act.

Of course, the theme wasn’t the only thing that made this performance epic; Billy and Emily started out somewhat slow, but that helped them build tension and suspense as they kept adding to the danger with each passing trick. They even maintained strong showmanship whenever they had to pause the actual spinning to maintain their balance. It all culminated in one final daring move we hadn’t seen from them in any of their previous AGT showings; Billy tossing Emily off the platform, ending as the victor of the storyline.

8. Sara & Hero are “Walking on Sunshine” at the Beach (Semi-Finals)

Sara & Hero had kind of a rough start to the season, narrowly making it to the Judge Cuts round. But from there, they charmed the judges and viewers enough to make it all the way the 5th place without ever being on the Dunkin’ Save bubble! I really love Sara’s commitment to training dogs using positive reinforcement, and she managed to raise the bar with pretty much every¬†AGT performance.

The Semi-Finals act is the one that I think worked the best. The beach theme was very well-suited to the “girl and her dogs” storyline and it had the biggest variety of tricks we hadn’t seen from them yet. The beginning with the CPR was arguably the best part since it was the only real “story” section of the performance, but the level of the tricks that followed made up for it. (The volleyball stuff was particularly impressive.) None of them went on for too long, and most of the transitions were smooth enough for Hero and Loki to keep up nicely. There were a couple of mistakes but none of the prevented the routine from progressing as it should (I really liked how Sara just kind of rolled with everything). I would have to say this was probably the most uplifting performance of the season, and it was no surprise for them to make the Finals as a result!

7. Colin Cloud Goes Undercover (Semi-Finals)

I feel like illusion-based acts are always at least a little controversial (“it’s not REAL magic”) but mentalism tends to stir up particularly heated debates. A lot of people are convinced there are plants in the audience or the judges are in on the trick (I highly¬†doubt the latter is true, but I know of an instance or two when the host knew what was up). I know how quite a few of the tricks we’ve seen from this genre over the years are done, and there are a variety of different methods the performers have used. I know a lot of people like to make fun of Colin’s label as the “Real-Life Sherlock Holmes” but since the season ended a couple weeks ago I’ve looked up some videos of him online and the claims of forensic studies seem pretty legit and tied to a lot of his tricks. Granted, most of what he did beyond the Judge Cuts round incorporated less of that stuff, but it still helped me understand/appreciate some of his performances (ie. the Quarter-Finals one) more.

I actually almost selected Colin’s Judge Cuts act for his entry on the list, but I decided that while I did like the tricks in that one better, I think his Semi-Finals showing was stronger as an overall performance. Sometimes it’s not only what we’re seeing, but how it’s presented to us. While watching this on the night it aired I was disappointed at first; we’d seen a very similar illusion performed by Tom London earlier in the season, and that hadn’t boded well for his status in the competition. I was so confused. Why would a mentalist who’d shown he could perform all kinds of cool tricks chose to go down the route of doing one that didn’t even involve those skills? (Well, aside from the first bit with Howie’s phone unlock code.)

Just as I was about ready to give up on Colin, the flashback video started. While it didn’t change the essence of the trick, it added a whole new layer to the performance. The amount of effort put behind all those “clues” (especially in the burger place) was very impressive, and the thing with the board at the end was pretty funny (I’d been confused by the seemingly arbitrary “number of possibilities” since the video calling for tweet submissions was posted online a week prior). Suddenly, a disappointingly lackluster performance became one of my favorites of the entire season. Just goes to show that the delivery and presentation of an act can be equally as impactful as the material itself.

6. Merrick Hanna Dances to “I Built a Friend” (Auditions)

Real talk: the Season 12 premiere was probably one of the best AGT audition round episodes I’ve ever seen. Most of the really memorable auditions were shown in those two hours, and they made for a very strong start to the season. One of the acts in this episode that captivated me the most was Merrick Hanna.

I’d seen lots of animation dancing in the past, but rarely any that actually told a story. Merrick chose a great song to use; it wasn’t mainstream (so everyone would associate it with him) and was about a kind an his robot so the dancing really connected to the music well. His acting was also amazing and really sold the performance. In later rounds, we didn’t get this kind of rawness from Merrick (though he was still very good) but I’m glad we at least got to see it once on AGT.

5. Light Balance Stars a Party in the Dolby (Finals)

As the only Golden Buzzer act that didn’t involve singing, I think a lot of the dance and variety fans were really pulling for Light Balance to go far in the competition…and they did! They actually managed to beat all but two of the singing Golden Buzzers, not to mention every other act of the season!

We’ve seen several light-up dance crews over the years, but what I think made Light Balance special was their polished-ness and memorable characters, most noticeably the Abe Lincoln-esque fellow and the Wolfman. They frequently appeared in their performances and the Wolfman in particular gave way to some neat tricks (like the jail cell escape in this act).

The light-up dance acts can get old after awhile, but the trick is to incorporate different levels of movement, character, and tricks to them to keep things from getting stale. That’s exactly what Light Balance gave us this season, and it all culminated in this full-out dance party of a performance.

4. Diavolo Takes Us on a Journey Through Time and Space (Semi-Finals)

Diavolo is a great example of an act utilizing set pieces well without letting them take over the whole show. Their scenery is carefully selected to showcase what the dancers can do, and what I loved about this performance in particular was the variety of things they incorporated into it. They used several set pieces – each in a different way – and the transitions between each segment were seamless which made the whole act flow very naturally. I’m not entirely sure what the “story” of this performance was supposed to be, but I have a feeling it may have been purposefully vague in order to try to get the audience’s minds working to try to come up with their own unique interpretations.

I really don’t know what else to say about this. How does one even describe Diavolo? “Dance troupe” certainly doesn’t cover it, and neither does “acrobatics group”. I guess the best way to explain Diavolo in a nutshell would simply be “art”.

3. Bello Nock Conquerors the “Wheel of Death” (Quarter-Finals)

Bello Nock may be a seasoned professional at daredevil performances (let’s be real, a lot of the variety acts on AGT are) but that didn’t change the fear we all faced when he took a spin on the “Wheel of Death” for us in the Quarter-Finals.

When Sophie – who was at the live shows that week – first told me what Bello’s act was, I was kind of disappointed. It just didn’t seem very exciting. How could spinning on a giant wheel keep people entertained for three minutes? It just seemed like the awe factor would disappear very quickly. Luckily, Bello managed to create enough intrigue and suspense to keep us on our toes for the entire performance. He started by doing some fun tricks inside the wheel, then suddenly made things much more dramatic by climbing onto the outside of it and slowed things down, making it seem like he might fall off.

The tone change came at just the right time; as soon as the first segment was starting to wear out its welcome, a sudden shift in stakes brought the excitement back. Bello wasn’t just entertaining the audience anymore, but making them root for him. He built the tension at just the right pace and ended with a nail-biting but ultimately satisfying conclusion.

I really thought this performance played into the “fan-favorite Wildcard” storyline quite nicely, and was baffled it sent him packing. (I know some viewers have a disdain for danger acts, but remember, this was the same week that resulted in Billy & Emily making the top 5, so I’m still confused about Bello’s elimination.)

2. Mandy Harvey Semi-Finals: “Release Me” (Semi-Finals)

At first, Mandy’s AGT journey seemed oddly familiar…she came out with a ukulele at the end of the second episode, performed an original song, and received a Golden Buzzer. It felt like she was the second coming of Grace VanderWaal, only with a tragic backstory tacked on for good measure, which – fair or not – made me feel more weary than excited.

Her next showing in the Quarter-Finals was quite nice, but it was her Semi-Finals performance that really got me on board the Mandy train. Her first two songs were light, pretty, and overall pleasant, but in this performance, Mandy shed the sweetness (and the ukulele) and got raw. “Release Me” showed a much darker side of Mandy that we hadn’t yet seen, and there seemed to be so much weight behind every note she sang. Without the ukulele, her body language was much more expressive; the decision to sign the lyrics reminded us of her roadblock in life, but also was a way to use her body to express the sentiment behind the music, and her face was also much more expressive than we’d seen in her previous AGT showings.

Everything came together and made for a powerful performance that dramatically stood out from all the other solo singing acts in Season 12, and I really wish she’d saved this for the last week since her actual performance in the Finals felt like the wall that had been torn down in this one had been rebuilt to a degree.

1. Darci Lynne Farmer Helps Edna Doorknocker Serenade Simon (Semi-Finals)

Darci Lynne Farmer was one of the rare AGT acts that combined three very distinct talents, and I think her showing in the Semi-Finals was her best combination of her ventriloquism, comedy, and singing skills.

Right from when she opened the box, it was clear how dedicated Darci was to making Edna seem like a separate being from herself. The speaking voice was clearly distinct from her own, and when it came time for the song she not only had to nail the complexities of the vocal performance (which involved belting) but had to do it in the character’s voice, which she nailed.

Darci’s comedic chops were as strong as ever, not only in the delivery of the material (especially the hilarious meta AGT references) but also in her facial expressions, even when she was doing the ventriloquism. The best example of this was when she was walking over to Simon while singing. Her voice as Edna was passionate, but her own facial expression was clearly reluctant. It takes a lot of skill for someone to perform one way with their voice and the opposite way with their face, and she had it down pat.

I’ve seen a lot of criticism for Darci’s victory, most of it not actually having anything to do with her or the act itself, but for being “too obvious”. While I found it annoying that the champions of both Seasons 11 and 12 felt determined pretty early on and get wanting to be surprised, that’s more on the producers than the actual talent. I think Darci fully deserved her win, being one of those rare acts that can appeal to music fans and variety-lovers alike.

October 5, 2017 I Written By

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

AGT Season 12 Finale Guest Performers and Ellen Show Roundup

Hooray! We finally have a press release for tomorrow night’s show! Guest performers include Kelly Clarkson, Shania Twain, Derek Hough, James Arthur, Kevin Nealon, Terry Fator, and Jeff Dunham.

Usually they have the celebrities perform with the acts. I think it’s a no-brainer that Terry and Jeff will probably be doing something with Darci. I think Kelly will probably perform with Angelica, James with Chase, and maybe Kevin with Preacher. Maybe Shania or one of the other singers will provide musical accompaniment for one of the dance groups. I really don’t know where Derek Hough is going to fit into all this but I’m excited to find out! Maybe he can dance with Sara & Hero? ūüėõ

We’ve also had an abundance of AGT-related appearances on Ellen in the past couple weeks. First, Heidi was on with Billy & Emily, then Celine sang on the show after her elimination, and this week Grace showed up! Check out the clips below:

September 19, 2017 I Written By

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

HI HI! IT’S TY-TY! Pure AGT Season 12 Live Show #4: Power Rankings

Yay, I’m getting this up before the eleventh hour for once!

This first group of Semi-Finalists was clearly the weaker one on paper, but some of them really upped their game, and I think tonight turned out to be the best live show of the season yet since the first Quarter-Final. I’m noticing there seems to be a fine line that the acts have to toe at this point in the game; they have to keep upping their game with new elements to each successive performance, but by now they’ve all built a “brand” for themselves that the audience recognizes and by changing things up they risk alienating the fanbase they’ve built this far on the show. I think this is why we’ve often seen (and will likely continue to see) singing acts leave en masse during this round; most of them just don’t have the freedom to play around with their act like the variety performers do. With that in mind, let’s see how the votes seem to be falling this week……

1. Darci Lynne Farmer: With the only act of the season that caters to singing and variety fans alike, it’s no wonder Darci is the odds-on favorite to win the grand prize. Even though she seems to be relegated to the “comedy bit followed by a song” format, I like how she combined the two tonight, as opposed to her previous performance when the song started and the connection with the puppet character dropped a bit. Ventriloquism has actually proven to be the mos successful variety act on AGT, with two representatives in the winner circle from the genre. And in two weeks, we’ll get to see if Darci can be the third member of that exclusive club.

2. Sara & Hero:¬†Remember when everyone was ripping the judges a new one for letting them advance through the Judge Cuts and now their Semi-Final performance has been getting the most love from viewers on social media (other than Darci of course)? Clearly they’re well liked if they were in the top 5 of their Quarter-Final episode; I guess I just underestimated how much support they’ve been getting. It’s certainly not undeserved-I think they’ve stepped up their game more than most others have at this point-I think I’m just surprised that one dog act was cut immediately without even getting a shot at the Dunkin’ Save and the other is likely going to sail into the Finale without ever being on the bubble.

3. Preacher Lawson: The shade was real tonight on AGT. Of ¬†course, everyone is talking about Darci lampooning the parade of old ladies who flirted with Simon earlier this season, but I think Preacher took the cake for me with his “HI HI! IT’S TY-TY!” moment in his set (if you don’t know what that was referencing, click on any AGT YouTube channel video from this season and skip to the end until you get a Tyra bumper). Preacher’s style of comedy may not be for everyone, but like last round, being the only one of his genre is probably going to give him a boost. And his personality is just so infectious it’s hard not to root for him. If he doesn’t make top 3 tomorrow night, I think he’s probably a lock to get the Dunkin’ Save.

4. Mike Yung: His performance felt quite stagnant tonight, without a lot of range in expression or tone. It felt like a less powerful version of what the Masqueraders did two weeks ago, and we all know how that ended for them. However, Mike still seems to be a favorite of quite a few people, and he did get the pimp spot this week, which could indicate that he’s been getting a lot of audience support (though I do think that may actually have hurt him a bit, since he had to follow frontrunner Darci). In the end, I’m going to guess Dunkin’ Save territory for him tomorrow night.

5.¬†Chase Goehring: I thought Chase would be close to a lock to advance to the Finals, but I think he might have fallen under the radar this week. Nothing about his segment was particularly memorable, which is arguably more dangerous than being outright bad. Luckily, I think he’s gained enough devoted followers to get enough votes to be in Dunkin’ Save territory.

6. Evie Clair: Evie definitely seemed less nervous this time around, and her confidence came through in her performance. I think being the only act left to incorporate a “live” piano might also help people remember her. Still, I think it’s her story carrying her through the most, and, while absolutely heartbreaking, I really don’t want it to be the main reason she makes the Finale.

7. Johnny Manuel: Johnny got some mixed reviews last night, and it seems like he could be one of the singer casualties of the week. He has his fans-as well as those who appreciated the choice to perform an original song-behind him. However, the judges were pretty hard on him, his running order spot was meh, and the hype surrounding him has died down considerably (I don’t even remember them mentioning him-or, come to think of it, anyone else but Darci-getting the Golden Buzzer tonight). I think at best he has a shot at sneaking into Dunkin’ Save territory.

8. Billy & Emily England: They were actually one of my favorite parts of the episode-I could tell they made a strong effort to show us some tricks we hadn’t seen before-but it seems many viewers have grown tired of the spinning in circles thing, even with the new stuff. Having been top 5 after their last performance they might make it into Dunkin’ Save territory, but I think their only hope of moving forward is the Judges’ Save, if they even get that chance.

9. Eric Jones: Eric without a doubt improved over his previous performance, but I think his “casual” delivery is really going to hurt him this time. The trick was great, but he faded into the woodwork because of his lack of stage presence compared to most of the other acts in this group.

10. Danell Daymon & Greater Works: I liked this performance, but I’m looking around Facebook and Twitter and it doesn’t seem like a lot of people agree with me….

11. Yoli Mayor: There seems to be a trend with singing performances on reality shows. Those who go for the high notes and belting get over-the-top praise, and those who go for something in the lower register are deemed lesser performers or are just plain forgotten about. I think the latter type of song is more suited to Yoli’s voice, but it’s not what the viewers for these kinds of shows tend to remember. She managed to hang on by a thread in the Quarter-Finals, but I don’t see her having that luck tonight.

September 6, 2017 I Written By

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

Pure America’s Got Talent Season 12 Live Show #2: Power Rankings

So, last night was….a time. As Mel B put it, the show was a rollercoaster. With multiple malfunctions, buzzers, and jokes that were meant to ease the tension but ended up making things even more awkward, the actual performances seemed to be a sideshow to all the malfunctions behind the scenes and antics at the judges’ table. I thought there was no sinking lower than “Judge Cuts #2”, but last night’s s***show might have given it a run for its money as a contender for “Worst Episode of Season 12”. And since, as I said, the response to the acts seems to have taken a backseat to the buzz about all the drama, and the relatively little commentary I have seen on the performances has been pretty negative. Still, seven acts will be going through to the next round tomorrow, so I guess I’ll take a stab at trying to figure out who they might be, starting with…

1. Mandy Harvey: I was expecting a lot more hype about Mandy from people tonight, but unfortunately I think her thunder was stolen by all the craziness that had already happened throughout the night, so by the time it was her turn to perform, I think the audience was just kind of drained and not really excited for anything anymore. Regardless, even if she didn’t exactly bring the house down, she still managed to end the show on a pleasant note and received one of the few overall positive reactions of the evening so I don’t think the sideshow will bring her down. Mandy is the only act I’m 100% sure is automatically advancing tomorrow night, and to be honest I think she’s probably the only one in this Quarter-Final group with a real shot at the grand prize.

2. Johnny Manuel: Okay, so I wouldn’t put MONEY on Johnny getting this much support, but since the general reaction to everyone from here down has been lukewarm to extremely negative I have to go with what I’ve got, and from what I’ve seen, Johnny was one of the only acts to overall please the Facebook crowd (aka the toughest critics but most likely the closest way to see what the general audience at home thinks). I do wonder if having a history in professional entertainment will hurt him in votes, since I think that might have been Bello’s downfall last week, but I’m leaning towards it not being that big of a dealbreaker for voters in comparison to certain aspects of some of the other acts in this episode.

3. Evie Clair:¬†If Evie is not one of the five acts automatically advancing tonight I’m sure she’ll be in the Dunkin’ Save group. Regardless of the method of her safety, I doubt she’s going anywhere this week, moreso because of her story than her performance. Yes, the situation with her father is heartbreaking and I wish him and the family all the best, but her singing was clearly off in some places (though I did like the candle setup and her shaking things up a bit by bringing the piano in). A lot of people seem to recognize this, but I think all the malfunctions in the surrounding acts may have made her look better to the audience by comparison. As for myself, I really wouldn’t mind losing her at this stage, but I doubt that’s happening.

4. Light Balance: I was so sad that these guys didn’t get to perform for the crowd last night, but was so happy we still got to see their act! They definitely won the night for me, especially with that amazing transition to the Wolfman! I think LB got an overall positive reaction based on the act itself, but I’ve seen quite a few people upset over the performance technically not being “live”. I would brush that off, but last week seemed to prove that some viewers have strange motivations for voting (or more accurately, NOT voting) for an act. Since they weren’t forgettable or a trainwreck I’d say they’re probably going to get through, just not not sure whether it’ll be automatically or from the middle zone.

5. Merrick Hanna: Again, not sure whether Merrick is actually going to end up in top five, but I’m confident he’ll at least have a chance at going through tonight. Some have commented that his robot dancing is getting repetitive, and that the production of the act overshadowed his performance this round (I wish they’d put a light on him….LOL). But I think being a child act may be an asset here; many viewers seem to find him cute and charming, and I think he’s gained quite a few fans during his time on the show. But if he does end up in Dunkin’ Save I think he has a pretty good shot at getting it, since he’s one of the internet’s favorite acts of the week.

6. Celine Tam: Buzz about Celine was pretty mum last night, especially considering she’s a Golden Buzzer act and a child singer. I think her running order spot, Mel B’s comment about the song choice, and the continuous comparisons between she and Angelica might put her in a bad spot this week. She seems to have a lot of fans, but it looks like most of the following she’s gained has come from places other than America, which is cool….except AGT voting is banned outside of America. (There are ways of doing it, but I doubt they’re widely known.) I’m going to say she ends up in Dunkin’ Save territory tonight and I’m not sure what happens from there.

7. Pompeyo Family Dogs: After a string of controversial performances, seeing these adorable poodles (I think?) come out and strut their stuff was probably a nice palate cleanser for the audience, and I think that helped them escape some of the criticism they would have faced otherwise (remember: after their Judge Cuts episode people were not happy about them making it to the live shows). I also think their running order spot of second last might help them the way it did Billy & Emily last week. ¬†However, I kind of doubt they’ll move on even if they make the Dunkin’ Save, since it seems like the audience feels more connected to several other acts that performed last night.

8. Eric Jones: I have no idea how the average at-home viewer reacted to Eric’s performance last night. The trick was cool but something we’ve seen a lot of, and instead of being a “showman” he was very casual about it all. I personally found this somewhat refreshing, but I fear it may have made him forgettable to viewers. The internet seems determined to “expose” acts (aka show how they’re done) and a lot of people immediately jumped on Eric for his somewhat sloppy delivery of his trick this week, but it’s hard to tell whether or not the casual viewer would have noticed the little giveaways. The main thing Eric has going for him is that he’s not only the only traditional magician of the week, but of all the live shows (yes, I’m pretty sure we’re getting Tom back as a Wildcard next week, but the general audience doesn’t know that) so he might squeeze through tonight by being an outlier in a sea of musical acts.

9. The Masqueraders: And speaking of acts that people are determined to “expose”……the main storyline of this trio is that they’re finally hitting the big time and living out their dreams after half a century of getting rejected by record companies. However, as some have found, they seem to have recorded and released at least a few songs to moderate success about 50 years ago. I know the show is allowed to tamper with the backstories as much as they want, but if this is true, things just got reaaaaaally awkward. However, I think the vast majority of the AGT audience is unaware of this and are basing their votes solely on what the show airs of the acts. I was actually very impressed with these guys last night. It was clear they were very grateful to be performing together and just overall having a blast. I think they have an okay shot at getting into Dunkin’ Save territory-and maybe even cracking top five-but I have a feeling they’re probably done tonight.

10. Brobots & Mandroidz: I actually enjoyed these guys quite a bit, but the majority of people seemed to either forget they even performed ¬†or view them as the Wal-Mart version of Just Jerk. Like Celine, I think their chances got diminished by performing after an act they’ve been closely compared to (especially since both B&M and Celine have generally been regarded as the “lesser” act when matched up against their respective counterparts). Performing alongside Golden Buzzer Light Balance and viral hit Merrick Hanna probably didn’t help either, and same with their running order. Unfortunately, I just don’t see these guys moving on tonight.

11. Mirror Image: Much like the Masqueraders, Colton and Trent seemed to be having the time of their lives up their on the Dolby stage. For me, this performance wasn’t as “so bad it’s good” as their Judge Cuts one, but I still¬†, and I couldn’t help but be happy for them (and I thought it was sweet of Heidi to hold Simon’s hand away from the buzzer…..only for him to buzz after the performance was finished). I know Reddit and 4chan have a campaign going to get the to the Finale as revenge for Simon putting down other variety acts, but their collective power likely doesn’t hold a candle to that of the average viewing audience, and the vast majority of that crowd seems to despise this act.

12. Demian Aditya: As repetitive as Demian’s act has become, I felt so bad that he was unable to finish his performance last night. His act more than any of the others was overshadowed by all the drama with the judges, and like Light Balance, many viewers are actually blaming him for the technical difficulties. I guess he might pick up a couple sympathy votes, but if he did, I haven’t seen very many. However, I do think after all the craziness with his segment last night he might end up being the Semi-Finals Wildcard.

August 23, 2017 I Written By

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

Pure America’s Got Talent Season 12 Live Show #1: Power Rankings

The Quarter-Finals have FINALLY started (this is actually the latest the first live show of the season has ever been scheduled) which means the fate of the performers is now in the audience’s hands…well, mostly. We’ve still got the Judges’ Choice at the end of the Wednesday episodes (plus the red buzzers are still in effect, but, well, they might not always leave the impression the judges are hoping for) but the rest of the outcome is up to us. Who will move on from our first group of hopefuls? Here’s the vibe I’m getting from the audience right now. (And remember, this is based on the general reactions I’ve seen from viewers, and not a ranking of my personal opinions on the quality of the acts.)

1. Darci Lynne: I have to say I was a little disappointed that it seems like there’s going to be a set formula for all of Darci’s AGT performances, since having watched her on YouTube I know she is capable of a lot different things with her ventriloquism. I did enjoy her new puppet last night, and I think bringing the adorable Oscar the Mouse on showed good vocal range in both speaking and singing, as well as more of her natural chemistry with her little friends (and those coming after her about “stolen material” can either shut it or call out everyone in the cast for the same thing, since when it comes down to it pretty much every act on this show has taken inspiration from somewhere else). This performance made me realize I think I prefer her banter with the puppets more than the songs, although her closed-mouth singing ability is definitely impressive. I would love to see an act where she’s just doing a comedy routine with a character for a few minutes, but it seems the focus is going to continue to be on the singing. Either way, it doesn’t really matter since she’s still a lock for the Finals and one of the top contenders for the grand prize.

2. Angelica Hale:¬†Looking at the comments around this internet, this was probably the least-objectionable performance of the night. Even I, someone who usually has a problem with Angelica’s unhealthy style of singing, thought this performance was appropriate for her. I think both she and Darci are locks for this week’s top 5 (aka the “do not pass go, do not campaign for the Dunkin’ Save” group) but I have Angelica below her because the anti-singer brigade seems to have warmed to Darci’s multi-talent act more than Angelica’s straight-up vocal performances. I wouldn’t say she’s a 100% lock for the Finals quite yet, but I still think she’s one of the three acts in the live shows with the best chance of winning.

3. Bello Nock:¬†This was the act that won the night for me, and Bello certainly seems to have a lot of people rooting for him. Last night I posted a rant about the Golden Buzzers, and one of my major complaints was that there seems to be little purpose in having them if they’re just going to be used for acts that would easily pass through Judge Cuts anyway. However, I’ve thought about that and I think their main function as of now is for the judges (and host) to select acts to be “hyped up” throughout the season. The “marquee” performers, if you will. It doesn’t work with every Golden Buzzer act, but it’s worth noting in both of the previous seasons Golden Buzzers have been present, the winners have been Golden Buzzed. And if the GB’s are a way to get people invested in an act by billing them as the “stars” of the season, Wildcards are a way to get them invested by billing acts as the season’s “underdogs”. The audience loves when an act proves the judges (I think Simon in particular) wrong, and when an act gets “robbed” in Judge Cuts, there is nothing more satisfying then seeing them return and kill it in the live shows. This, coupled with an act that stood out in a sea of singers this week, is why Bello is likely to pass through tonight. Yes, there were a few complaints about him “stealing the idea from the circus” (like other acts don’t “steal” from famous singers/pop culture/YouTube?) but I don’t think that’s going to have any major negative effect on his chances this round. Since Bello doesn’t have much competition in his genre, if he keeps up the variety and high performance quality I could see him as a contender for the Finale.

4. Preacher Lawson: Speaking of contestants with virtually no competition in their genre, we have Preacher. As the “last comic standing” this season, Preacher will stand out in pretty much any group they put him in. The response to comedians is never universally positive, since everyone has a different sense of humor, and some simply aren’t fans of stand-up. However, in Preacher’s case I saw many more fans than detractors last night, and when I looked at the “I voted” posts, I saw more from him than most other acts. I figure at worst he’ll be in the Dunkin’ Save group, but my first guess would be top 5 of the week.

5. Puddles Pity Party: I had a hard time settling on who to put in the last “home free” spot, and to be honest whenever I picture tonight’s episode I see Puddles in Dunkin’ Save territory. But he’s here because I really can’t tell who would beat him in votes besides the four I already talked about. His act seemed to get a mixed response, mostly regarding the song choice of “Royals” which I found surprising given that people were BEGGING him to do that one (it’s his most viewed video on YouTube). But yeah, his segment seemed to be one of the ones that generated the most BUZZ last night (HAHA GET IT?) and I think that will help him in the end (as I said earlier, the audience loves to prove Simon wrong). If he does end up as an option for the Dunkin’ Save I think he’s pretty likely to win that vote, seeing as the act that gets it tends to be whichever is the most internet-friendly of the three (Puddles has a big following on YouTube). Either way, I honestly can’t imagine this week’s performance being his last on AGT.

6. Christian Guardino: I’m kind of surprised at how little I’ve heard about Christian since last night, him being a Golden Buzzer and all, but I guess when 8/9 of the GB’s go to singers, some are bound to get lost in the shuffle. Also not helping is the fact that both songs he’s performed on the show have been done by someone else this season (Yoli did “Make it Rain” as her second audition song, and Darci performed “Who’s Loving You” last night). I like his down-to-Earth personality-as I’ve seen several people mention, unlike some of the others he doesn’t seem like someone trained from a young age fro stardom, which is refreshing-but the vibe I’m getting is that a lot of people just sort of forgot about him by the end of the show. His story might help him, but he wasn’t the only act to have one last night so that might be kind of a wash. I guess Christian could realistically end up anywhere tonight, but I’m gonna leave him here in Dunkin’ Save territory for now.

7. Just Jerk:¬†I’m not really sure what the general consensus regarding this group is after last night. Most people I saw mildly enjoyed them and sent them a few votes. Being the only dance troupe of the week might have helped them a bit, but it’s hard to tell how much. I doubt they’re making top 5 tonight (though I would love it if they did!) but I think they might have a shot at the Dunkin’ Save/Judges’ Choice (most likely the latter).

8. Billy & Emily: I think the most common reaction to these two was “amazing talent, but not something I’d pay to see a full show of”. I think after three performances we may have seen the limit of their abilities, but I’ve seen some people send them votes for the sake of variety (mainly those who don’t want the Semi-Finals to consist mainly of singing acts). I’d be surprised if they got through automatically, but Dunkin’ Save/Judges Choice seems to be a potential position for them to be in tonight (again, most likely the latter).

9. Yoli Mayor: Despite the mixed reviews from the judges (and my general disdain for pop singers on AGT) I actually enjoyed her performance last night, but her mixed comments plus her lack of pre-live show hype (8 singers-including three of the ones in this week’s group-got a Golden Buzzer, but she did not, and she doesn’t have a fun persona like Puddles or even Singing Tump) puts her in a tough position. I think she will ultimately be eliminated tonight,¬†just not sure whether it will be automatically or a loss of the Judges’ Choice.

10. The Singing Trump: I was originally going to have him lower, but I actually saw more people vote for him than several others so he’s here. I think having him be on this week was poorly timed (even though the AGT producers had no way of knowing what would happen over the weekend) and some of the judges’ comments also seemed to be a viewer turn-off. I guess he’d have a shot at the Judges’ Choice if put in that position, but I don’t even think he’s going to make it that far.

11. In the Stairwell: I really like these guys, but I had to disagree with everyone saying how this was their best performance yet. They seemed to be out of tune quite a bit and had a running order position that tends to get an act lost in the shuffle by the end of the night. I didn’t see very many people voting for them, but I may be underestimating the military vote. I think they’re probably goners tonight but for auditioning on a dare, they haven’t done half bad in the competition by making it this far!

12. Artyon & Paige: These two were at the bottom of my previous Power Rankings, and here they are again. But this time, I don’t want to see them go! Their act is definitely one that has improved exponentially with every performance they’ve given us. I was shocked at how well they could hang with the other last night! Unfortunately, not a lot of people seemed to agree with me, and I didn’t see very much voting support from them, so I predict their AGT journey ends here. But I’ve seen some commentary from people in the dance world, and if what they say is to be believed, Artyon and Paige have a very bright future in their craft. Way to go!

August 16, 2017 I Written By

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

Pure America’s Got Talent Judge Cuts Rounds 1 and 2: Power Rankings

We’re onto the Judge Cuts episodes of Season 12, which means a bit of a format change on this blog! For this round (and probably the rest of the season) I’ll be listing which acts I think are most to least likely to continue on past the next round in the weekly “Power Rankings”. Since this is Judge Cuts and there aren’t any Results Shows yet, I’m only going to include the acts that were sent through to the live shows, though in the near future I’ll be doing a post noting any acts I think could potentially end up being one of the Wildcards.

Another change I’m going to try to implement on this blog is to make a strong effort to focus on the talent and performances of the contestants instead of their backstories, since a lot of other articles I’ve seen lately have been doing the opposite. So right now, my plan is to only discuss backstories if they are relevant to the actual acts the competitors are performing.

And, of course, like last year, please keep in mind that the order the acts appear on this list reflects what I think the majority of the audience will think, not necessarily my own personal opinions.

With all that said…

1. Angelica Hale: Charming child? Check. Tragic backstory? Check. Powerful voice? Check. If you have any of these things going for you, you are likely going to get a lot of the focus this season, and since Angelica has all three down pat, I think it’s safe to say she’ll be sticking around for awhile. The fact that she got a Golden Buzzer also helps her case, as I’m sure we’ll be reminded of that moment whenever she performs in the live shows. Right now I’m predicting her to make it to the Finale, and she’s probably one of the top 5 most likely to take it home at this point.

2. Puddles Pity Party: Okay, so he’s not a cute kid, and his “tragic backstory” was more for comedic effect than to rise any real sympathy from people, but he has a great voice, and also already has a supportive following on YouTube. But I think the main thing Puddles has going for himself right now is that he seems to be the only real “oddball” we’ve seen so far this season. I’ve noticed a lot of the people that tend to go for the off-the-wall acts rallying their support behind him (and this crowd mostly consists of people who are generally opposed to singers competing on AGT) and he even seems to appeal to people who enjoy the more “standard” acts as well. I don’t think he’ll win, but I think he has a good shot at making it to the Finale. Puddles may be another drop in the sea of singers, but in a season that looks to be dominated by underage contestants with tragic backstories, I’ll take any variety I can get.

3. Colin Cloud:¬†In my personal opinion (and I’ve seen many others echo this sentiment) the first two Judge Cuts episodes were relatively boring for AGT. However, this guy (along with Puddles and the very brief montage with clips of the other magicians) was the saving grace of the second night. I’ve seen people comment they know how some of the mentalist tricks are done, but as we saw last week, with magic, presentation is half the battle, and I think Colin has mastered that aspect more than any of the other magicians this season. For that reason, I see him going pretty far. I’m guessing he at least makes it past the first round of live shows, and he might even have a shot at the Finale if he can keep changing things up enough to keep the audience interested.

4. Yoli Mayor: Here’s where I start to get a little fuzzy in my predictions, because starting with Yoli most of the acts for the rest of this list kind of fall into the “meh” category for me, but I’m not entirely sure how others are going to feel about them. Yoli has an amazing voice going for her-though I think she was over-singing quite a bit in her latest performance-as well as a backstory a lot of people can relate to. I’m just not sure if either of those things will be enough to sustain her longevity in the competition all the way to the Finals, because her beautiful voice is one in a sea of many this season, and her story, while relateable, might get lost among some of the more gut-wrenching ones (ie. the ones involving some kind of illness). I think she’ll probably make it past the Quarterfinals but I’m feeling like she might be a Semifinals elimination unless she manages to really stand out from the crowd.

5. Evie Clair: Evie is similar to several other acts this season, Yoli included, but as a singer alone, she’s one of the less memorable ones in my opinion. On voice alone I don’t think she holds a candle to the likes of people like Angelica, Yoli, and Christian. Also, unlike two out of three of that group, she didn’t get a Golden Buzzer, which gives all the singers who did a leg up on her. What will probably make her stand out in others’ minds is her father’s illness, which is currently looking to be terminal. I hate to say it, but I think her standing in the competition might hinge on how her dad fares, and just how much focus in Evie’s segments is on her family’s journey in facing it.

6.¬†Demian Aditya: So far, this has been the only “danger act” to advance to the live shows, and I think Demian might benefit in votes from the lack of competition. However, if he wants to make it to the end, he needs to start changing up his act, because I’ve seen a lot of comments on how similar his “role switcheroo” act in the Judge Cuts was to the trick he did back in his audition. Basically, I think his chances of sticking around will hinge on how many other danger acts end up in the live shows (which, judging by the mass exodus of most of the ones we’ve seen so far, isn’t looking to be a lot right now).

7. Just Jerk Dance Crew: This was my favorite act of the first Judge Cuts show and, like Demian, I think being one of the few acts of their kind this season is probably going to be a bit of an asset. The thing is, a lot of the dance crews tend to get cut early during the live shows, and we already have another one that got much more buzz and fanfare being Tyra’s Golden Buzzer, plus I’m pretty sure Diavolo is going to make it through next week and they’re a very innovative act. I don’t see JJ beating either of those two groups unless they pull out something AMAZING in the near future (or they play up their story a lot more, since right now they seem to be much more matter-of-fact when discussing their situation than most of the other contestants). Right now, they’re a solid act, but you need to be more than “solid” to win the AGT million.

8. Eric Jones: I found Eric’s performance last week good, but kind of forgettable. However, he’s one of only a few magicians in the live shows so far, and has a sad backstory that does somewhat tie into his craft so I think he could last another round. Not much else to say right now.

9.¬†Chase Goehring: Okay, I’ll be honest, I found Chase completely forgettable both times we saw him (did they even air his full audition?) and the only reason he’s not lower on this list is because he got a Golden Buzzer. He wasn’t really bad or anything, but what worries me is that despite getting the GB, I barely heard any talk of him from fans once the show was over. All that fanfare leading to such a relatively small response is not a good sign, and at this point I’m questioning if he’ll even get through the first round of live shows.

10. Sara and Hero: I was thinking these two were going to get eliminated in JC after their first audition, since the judges clearly had mixed opinions on it, but I’m glad they turned it around and managed to make the cut because I don’t have much hope in most of the other animal acts this season except the family with the poodles. Speaking of the poodles, I think they could be Sara and Hero’s downfall going forward because while Sara changed up the act enough to keep it fresh for this round, there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to go from here, and I fear we may have already seen the best tricks Hero can do. With the poodles I just feel like there’s so much more they’re going to be able to do to impress voters, especially with their flashier set-up and all. Even if the poodles don’t make the live shows, I doubt Sara and Hero are getting anywhere near the Finale, but I think they maaaaaaay have a shot at the Semi-Finals depending on who else is in their first live show.

11. The Masqueraders: I was happy to see these guys get through, and was pleasantly surprised to see that quite a few others were rooting pretty hard for them! They definitely fill the country niche this season, but I worry they might get lost among acts with more fanfare surrounding them, especially since their style of singing is more “chilled out” while others have really been focusing on belting as many notes as possible. I think their story of getting another chance to live their dream could help them a bit, but again, there are quite a few more memorable backstories this season so the impact of their’s might not take them as far.

12. Singing Trump: I actually thought he stepped up his game quite a bit in the Judge Cuts, and I think I would have also sent him through. However, there is a big problem with getting political on this show. As we saw last season with teenage comedian Lori Mae, taking a clear political stance alienates half your audience right off the bat, but I think Singing Trump’s approach of not taking a stance may be even more harmful in the voting department; Trump supporters will see his act as a disrespectful way of making fun of him, while Trump opposers are just sick of seeing him everywhere, an probably watch AGT as an escape from his media dominance. I’m just not sure where his voters are going to come from, and for that reason I think he might be out pretty quickly. Right now, I think he at best has a chance of being one of the acts vying for a “save” in his Quarter-Finals results show and we’ll see how it goes from there.

13: Mirror Image: And now we’re getting into the acts I’m actually shocked made the cut…unlike most people, I actually enjoy the antics of these two (though I wish both them AND the Quiddlers had advanced) but even I’m well aware that if they were put into a stronger group for Judge Cuts they wouldn’t have made it through (but the general unevenness of the Judge Cuts round is a post for another day). I’m pretty sure they’re going to get buzzed by Simon again in the live shows, and I don’t think that will bode well for their votes. I did see a small amount of passionate support for them, so I guess depending on who else ends up in their Quarter-Finals show they might have a shot at being one of the acts up for Dunkin’ Save, but even if they are I honestly don’t see them advancing past the first round of live shows.

14: Junior and Emily: This is the one act so far I don’t think even has a decent shot at making it to the Dunkin’ Save zone. They’re great at what they do…they just don’t do much. I can appreciate the difficulty of their craft, but after the initial amazement there’s not much else to their performances. They have an inspirational backstory, but again, it’s one of the more forgettable ones, so I don’t think it’s going to do much for them. Unless these two really step up their game and add some variety to their performance, I don’t see them moving forward.

That’s it for now, but I’ll be back soon with some more thoughts on how the show is being produced this season and how I think it could be improved. Plus I’ll be doing some more Power Rankings next week (which looks infinitely better than either of the first two Judge Cuts episodes) and when Judge Cuts are over I might do a special edition for all of the Golden Buzzers!

July 27, 2017 I Written By

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

Pure America’s Got Talent Season 12 Auditions Episode 2: Live Blog

It’s time for another fun night of AGT auditions, and I’m back to liveblog for you all! Reminder that I’ll be updating this post throughout the episode with my running commentary, so keep checking back every now and then!

Looks like we’re starting things out with an animal act! What an adorable dog! And apparently she can count too…or maybe not. Oh dear…

Took a little time to get started, but little Mia seems to have found her groove! I especially loved the flashcard trick! Congrats to them for getting through, but I do wonder where they’ll be able to go from here. So for it just seems like a cool party trick, albeit a pretty impressive one.

“Architectural movement”? Sounds pretty cool! I like their name, “Diablo”. I’m very¬†excited to see this one!
EDIT: The¬†group’s name is actually “Diavolo, not “Diablo”. Oops!

I’m in awe with what they’re able to do on a moving platform like that. Really hoping they make it to the live shows because I can only imagine what they could do with a full set and lighting arrangement!

Oh great, a singer with a guitar. Never seen THAT before. Pretty generic until the breakdown, which was actually pretty impressive. Somehow I have a feeling this guy wasn’t the only singer-songwriter to audition this season, after the Great Grace VanderWaal hype train of last summer.

Montage of dancing couples. They look pretty good, but the very fact that they got relegated to this montage tells me most of them won’t make the live shows.

Okay, so is this doll bit part of the act or does this guy have a REAL¬†dance partner who’s going to come out on stage soon?

Oh it’s supposed to be a joke. Okay. Whatever. I’m kind of split here. I agree with Howie and Mel that it was humorous, but I wouldn’t put it through. It was funny once, but the novelty would have worn off quickly.

WTF SIMON ACTUALLY BUZZED A COUPLE OF DANCING KIDS??? I mean, I don’t want to see a bunch of run-of-the-mill dance acts on this show either, but they did pretty well and seemed to be having the time of their lives! Yay for the other judges sending them through, and also for making sure “Barbie Girl” stays in Simon’s head for the next week! HA!

Ooo, a hot science teacher? I’m here for it! And I LOVE the idea of a science-themed Vegas show! There are a lot of ways this could go; I’m excited to see what he does!

The opposite of helium? Hilarious results! And now an onstage explosion? Well, sort of. A foam-like substance will do just fine! Ah, THERE’S the onstage explosion! Wow, this is another act I really hope to see on a grander scale in the live shows. Just incredible. (And wait, he was on Big Brother? I’ll have to check out some clips of him on there.)

European¬†roller skaters! Apparently they were also on Britain’s Got Talent, hmmmm. I’ll have to look into that. But this is certainly a pretty cool act! Definitely worthy of making it through, but I hope they add some variety to their movement in future performances, rather than just spinning around in one small area.

This Angelica girl needs to go on The Voice in a few years, because if she’s this good at age 9 I can’t imagine how amazing she’ll be by the time she’s old enough to audition over there!

Guessing these two brothers are going to do a “strongman” act or something? Oh, I guess it’s a….hammerhead act? I don’t get it. I think it’s supposed to be balancing?

“That’s what I like about this show: you’re not gonna see this anywhere else!” I agree with Simon’s sentiment, but I’m honestly not sure whether or not I’d send this one through.

Oh, it’s the Sherlock Holmes-esque act! This one was posted on YouTube a few days ago; I think the TV audience is going to like it! (On another note, I have to start posting these “sneak peek” auditions here on the blog!)

One more act to go and it’s a singer with a ukelele. Now, they haven’t previewed a Golden Buzzer for tonight but Simon was giving her a lot of praise…

Okay, most of you will probably disagree with this, but while I was amazed by her story and how she can still speak and sing so well despite losing her hearing (and that was such a great song too!)…I wouldn’t have given her the Golden Buzzer, and I’m really tired of it going to singers more often than not. (I also might have ukulele fatigue after last season. ūüėõ But hopefully I’ll be able to get over that because I know that attitude isn’t fair to Mandy.) Now I definitely would have sent her through to Judge Cuts (and probably the Live Shows from there) but it’s very annoying how singers on this show are treated like the be-all and end-all, while the more unique acts are often passed over from praise that high.

Anyway, I’m going to try to put up a few posts throughout the week about the acts we’ve seen so far. Let me know how you felt about tonight’s show in the comments, and I’ll see you soon!

June 6, 2017 I Written By

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