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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 this show) 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 other echo this sentiment) the first two Judge Cuts episodes were relatively boring for AGT. However, this guy (and the very brief montage clips of the other magicians) were 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 they’re 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 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 theirs 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!

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?

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

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

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

UPDATE: Rundown of New Orleans auditions is up!

San Antonio:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Orleans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 11, 2013 I Written By

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