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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 – Roster for First Live Show Airing July 23

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

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

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

July 18, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Vegas Week Rundown – Night #1

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

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

Instant Decisions

Acts that made it straight through to the live shows:

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

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

Acts that got sent straight home:

Olivia Rox
Yasha & Daniela
Sully Dunn
Milton Patton

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

Acts that performed in Vegas

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

Danger acts:

Slackwire Sam
Rong Niu
David Ferman
Brad Byers
Alex Magala

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

Music groups:

Forte
Brandon & Savannah
The American Hit Men

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

Kid acts:

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

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

Comedians:

Jimmy Failla*
Eric Schwartz*
Taylor Williamson
John Wing*

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

Dancers:

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

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

Acrobats:

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

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

Female singers:

Deanna Dellacioppa
Skilyr Hicks
Selena Mykenzie Gordon*
Cami Bradley

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

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

July 16, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Vegas Week Predictions – Novelty/Kid Acts

I’m down to my last set of predictions before Vegas week starts airing tonight – be sure to check out my analysis of the singers, dancers & acrobats, and danger acts & comedians to catch up.

Novelty acts:

Kid the Wiz: A long shot.  I don’t know that there’s a whole lot more that he can do with this act – and I have a feeling the novelty of it will wear thin in Vegas.

Megan Piphus: Looking likely.  A young, gorgeous ventriloquist that’s incredibly skilled – she’s a novelty, and that works in her favor.

Steven “Sprice” Price: A sure thing.  Just like they fell in love with the Kinetic King 2 years ago, I think they’ll fall in love with Sprice – plus he’s one of the more grandiose acts, requiring a lot of stage space, which they seem to enjoy.

Rong Niu: Looking likely.  She’s exciting and likeable, and I bet she’s got more up her sleeve that just flipping bowls.

Kelsey & Bailey: Could go either way. It’s a cute act, but it’s no Olate Dogs…and how many more tricks can Bailey do? We may have already seen the best they can do.

Spintacular: Could go either way.  It’s cool that they’re a large family that performs together, and they do have some cool stuff – but I can’t shake the feeling that their act looks too busy when they’re on the stage all at once, and it can distract from all the cool stuff they’re doing.

Tummy Talk: Could go either way.  I guess this is this season’s Horse – an act that people either love or hate.  It’s creative, no doubt, but a tad gross.

Aquanauts: Looking likely. As I mentioned before, they do seem to pick a handful of acts each season that require the judges to venture outside of the regular theater…and this one was pretty cool.

 

Kid Acts:

Anna Christine: A sure thing.  She’s the second coming of Anna Graceman – only better.  Plus they seem to really like kids that can play piano and sing.

Pacific Boys’ Choir: Looking likely.  I don’t know that we’ve ever had an all-boys choir – that uniqueness could be their ticket into the live shows.

Jonas & Ruby: Could go either way.  My gut tells me that they’re probably only going to take one ballroom kid couple this season for the live shows, but I also can’t shake the feeling that they LOVE the fact that they’ve got siblings competing against one another.  If they take 2 couples – I’d say Jonas & Ruby are in.

D’Angelo & Amanda: A sure thing.  If they only take one ballroom act this season, I’d put money on it being D’Angelo & Amanda – they’re the most polished of the kid ballroom couples, and they know how to really perform.

Struck Boyz: Could go either way.  They’re cute, but when you compare them to some of the other adult dance acts? They look a bit weak.  Then again, they seem like they could really appeal to adolescent girls…I just don’t know.

Lil Demon: Looking likely.  If they liked Future Funk in season 5, this kid is right up that alley.  He’s adorable, he’s got mad skills, and there’s not really anyone else like him this season.

Sophia Lucia: Looking likely.  Adorable little girl with an insane amount of dance skill for her age.

Izzy & Aaralyn: A long shot.  As I’ve said since their audition aired – I really think they were put through just because they thought the little girl was kind of unique, and that they’re probably going to get cut pretty quickly once they get to Vegas.  I would be very, very surprised if they got sent to the live shows.

2Unique: A long shot.  Nothing terribly unique (no pun intended) about their act – one girl is singing along rap songs, and the other is fiddling around with a turntable.  I don’t know that the rapper is all that talented, and that the audience can fully appreciate what the DJ is doing.

Ciana Pelekani: Could go either way.  There’s a lot of competition for the young female singers this season, and I think Ciana may have some work to do if she wants to catch up to Olivia & Skilyr vocally.  Then again, she is the only young soul singer this season…who knows.

Olivia Rox: Could go either way.  I think she’s got some big competition in Skilyr, and Mel did seem a bit skeptical about some of her vocal skills.  She’s cute & marketable, but she may have some work to do.

Fresh Faces: Looking likely.  Another adorable dance/gymnastics act, and we don’t have a small group of dancers like this.

Yasha & Daniela: A long shot.  I personally find them to be the weakest of the three ballroom kid couples we’ve seen – I think both D’Angelo & Amanda and Jonas & Ruby have stronger technique and better stage presence…plus I just don’t see them taking three ballroom kid couples to the live shows.

Chloe Chanel: Could go either way.  A good voice, but a bit lacking in stage presence.  She may be one act that just needs another year or two of experience before coming back to try again.

Mestizo Ballet Folklorico: A long shot.  I think they made it through to Vegas based more on cuteness than anything else – the act itself is pretty basic and they probably don’t have a whole lot more they can do in Vegas.

Skilyr Hicks: A sure thing.  A mature-beyond-her-years singer/songwriter/musician that looks like a young Selena Gomez.  Totally marketable.

So there we have it…the last of my predictions before the show tonight.  What do you guys think of the Novelty & Kid acts this year?

I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Vegas Week Roster

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

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

Singers:

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

Classical Singers:

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

Bands/Musical Groups:

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

Dancers:

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

Dance groups:

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

Acrobats:

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

Danger acts:

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

Magicians:

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

Comedians:

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

Novelty acts:

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

Kid Acts:

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

July 12, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Audition Round Rundown #6 – L.A./New Orleans/New York Auditionss

Well, if nothing else, tonight saw the greatest amount of dissent amongst the judges as we’ve seen all season – seems like we had a lot of 3-against-1 situations when it came down to the vote, and Howie was often the lone dissenter.  He also showed up late to the L.A. auditions, and spent an awful lot of time wandering around the venue, pretending to be lost.  He’s special :-)

Gonna go ahead and do the L.A. auditions tonight; look for the New Orleans and New York ones tomorrow.

Los Angeles:

Olivia Rox – age 14
The actSang and played an acoustic cover of Justin Bieber’s “As Long as You Love Me”.
The verdictAll three judges (minus Howie, who was still MIA at that point) said yes, but Mel cautioned her to be careful not to get too crazy when covering a song.
Court’s thoughts: Wow…she had the coolest-sounding, gravelly voice.  It’s what I might have imagined Florence Welch from Florence + The Machine might have sounded like as a teenager.  Loved the fact that she took a pretty lame song and turned it into a cool, edgy one.  But I do agree with Mel a bit – she did seem to really vacillate a lot between barely whispering the song and then belting it out full force.  Maybe tone it down just a bit.  I get the feeling we’re going to see her pitted against Anna Christine for a spot in the live shows.

Ronald Farnham – age 44
The actHe threw toilet plungers at a line of men with no shirts off, hoping to make them stick.
The verdictOnly one plunger actually stuck to its intended target, and Howard, Heidi, & Mel all said no…but they did remark that, had Howie been there, he probably would have said yes.
Court’s thoughts: I think this was nothing more than a case of “Hmmm, I want to be on tv.  What’s the quickest and easiest way to accomplish that goal? I KNOW! I just need to come up with some stupid act for AGT.” It’s acts like these that leave me a bit chagrined to the fact that AGT’s format is a bit of a double-edged sword: it leaves the door open for cool, unique acts to get some exposure, but it also tends to inadvertently invite bozos like this guy to come and just waste time and say they’ve been on national television.

Harry Kurtz – age 62
The actHe was rapping…about something.  Lord knows what.
The verdict: 3 no’s.
Court’s thoughts: Just another time-killer.

Mr. Television
The act: A guy telling corny puns behind a tv screen.
The verdictNo X 3.
Court’s thoughts: Was tonight the night of the bad pun? They seemed to be everywhere I turned.  Ack.

Tummy Talk – ages 26-31
The actThree guys rhythmically slapping a shirtless sumo wrestler as if he were a drum.
The verdictHoward wasn’t feeling it and said no, but the other 3 said yes.
Court’s thoughts: As ridiculous as this act sounds on paper, I actually found it pretty entertaining.  I get the feeling the guys doing the slapping probably have some sort of drumming experience, because they were actually creating some pretty complex patterns and rhythms – it sounded cool, even if it was the sound of hands slapping against jiggly flesh.  :-P I guess I just kind of feel sorry for the guy being slapped, although he didn’t look too much worse for the wear after it was all over.  A little red, maybe, but not upset.  I doubt these guys will make it to the live shows, but I don’t mid watching them one more time in Vegas.

Fresh Faces
The act5 adolescent girls doing a dance/gymnastics routine to “Die Young” by Ke$ha.
The verdictJudges loved it and said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: I was actually really impressed with how in sync these girls were – add to that the fact that they were doing some pretty tough shows of flexibility, and I wouldn’t mind seeing them perform again in Vegas.  Very cute girls, very cute act, very AGT-friendly.

Jim Meskimen
The actHe’s an impressionist that imitated Robert DeNiro, Robin Williams, and Ricky Gervais.
The verdictJudges praised how spot-on the impressions were and said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: I think Angela Hoover just met her biggest competition this season – and unfortunately for her, I think this guy is better.  I think what put him ahead for me was that he really seemed to embrace the mannerisms of the celebs he was imitating – he was pulling faces like DeNiro and flailing around like Robin Williams.  Angela’s good, but I think this guy is GREAT.  I could totally see him in the live shows.

“Sword-Swallowing Breakdancer”Alex Magala
The act: A guy swallowed a sword, then proceeded to breakdance while it was still down his throat.
The verdictJudges loved the danger factor – he’s through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: It was a bit odd for me – I don’t know that the sword swallowing part was significantly improved by the dancing, and vice-versa.  It just seemed like a “I’m gonna swallow a sword before I dance just so I can say I was thinking out of the box and being creative”.  That said, this guy actually seemed like a pretty good dancer – except that he was maybe moving a bit too cautiously due to the sword in his throat.  Not sure if I really think this one is live show-worthy…

“Aerial/Skating act”Aerial Ice
The actTwo couples performing pairs figure skating lifts & tricks, while a third couple did aerial work suspended above the “ice rink”.
The verdictJudges were blown away, especially by the fact that AGT has never had an ice skating act before.  They’re through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: My favorite audition of the night – this really was a genius act.  Sure, we’ve had aerialists and acrobats and couples doing lifts – but none of them were doing it while wearing skates.  Loved the combination of artistry and technique, and I really want them to make it to the live shows.

SenSetion
The actThey’re another “lights out” dance act that incorporates dancing with images projected onto blocks.
The verdictHeidi said it made her bored and said no.  Howard wanted more dance, but along with Mel & Howie, ended up saying yes to put them through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: *sigh* Ok, the whole “let’s dance in the dark with lasers!” act is getting a bit tired for me.  It was cool when Fighting Gravity did it in season 5; it was still kind of neat when Team iLuminate did it in season 6; it was getting a little old when Lightwire Theater did it last season; and now? I’m not sure America really wants another dance/optics act.  It was cool and fun to watch, no doubt – but I do agree with Howard that there could have been more dancing, and that they really need to work on their act a bit more.  They have a good idea; they just need to really flesh it out more.  Unless they blow the judges out of the water in Vegas, I don’t see them moving onto the live rounds.

New Orleans:

Yasha & Daniela – ages 9 & 8
The act: They’re ballroom dancing kids that performed a samba/jive medley to “Shake Senora” by Pitbull and “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner.
The verdict: Judges thought they were adorable and put them through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Ok, here’s another opinion of mine that probably won’t be popular: I actually thought these two were kind of sloppy compared to D’Angelo & Amanda and Jonas & Ruby. Very cute, and good stage presence, but I don’t think their skill level is up to snuff with what the Castros are doing this season. And I still think that only one ballroom act is going to make it through to the live shows this season – and my money’s on D’Angelo & Amanda.

Aerosphere
The act:A girl in an aerial balloon floated over the audience, do all sorts of twists & turns.
The verdict: Judges praised her uniqueness and said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: We only got to see a brief clip, so I’m not sure if she did more than what was shown, but it just seemed to me like she’s another aerialist…just doing the same stuff while hanging from a balloon. It was cool, but I don’t know that the balloon made it particularly special.

Jimmy Rose – age 32, from Pikeville, KY
The act: Jimmy played the guitar and sang an original song called “Coal Keeps the Lights On”.
The verdict: Judges were amazed at his talent and said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: What a beautiful, vulnerable performance. This year is quickly becoming the year of the original song, and I thought this one was fantastic – loved how he incorporated his coal mining background into his music. I also loved his voice – it was a little shaky at times, but it’s the kind of country vocal that is sought after by so many and I feel like this guy is a natural. At this point, I’d actually pick Jimmy over Marty Brown for the live shows – I feel like Jimmy’s a bit more organic and has more of a natural talent.

Abel Marillo – age 50
The act: Yet another “homemade instrument” act.
The verdict: No’s across the board.
Court’s thoughts: Not only am I kind of over the whole “hey, let’s make instruments out of household items!” act, but it seemed like half this guy’s instruments didn’t even really work.

Captain Explosion – age 65
The act: He exploded a box…while he was inside of it.
The verdict: Judges were split – Howie & Mel said yes, Howard & Heidi said no. No Vegas for him.
Court’s thoughts: Was it kind of cool that he managed to survive an explosion? Sure. But I’m not really sure that there was any way this could have been parlayed into an entire Vegas show – what would he do? Just sit in random objects and explode them and then wave at the audience? Cool that he does this, but I think this is better as a one-time thing.

Chloe Chanel – age 11, from Pensacola, FL
The act: Chloe sang “All American Girl” by Carrie Underwood.
The verdict: Judges praised her voice and put her through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: I think this girl’s got a very natural, god-given singing voice. Definitely nice to listen to. But I feel like she really has no stage presence whatsoever – she just seemed to stand there, eerily staring at the audience, as she sang. If she wants to get past Vegas, I think she’s going to have to learn to move a bit more naturally onstage – she’s got a great personality offstage, so why not use it when she’s performing?

New York:

Megan Amigo – age 21
The act: She’s a self-described contortionist/belly dancer…and she’s a tad kooky.
The verdict: Judges liked her contortions, but found the belly dancing “corny”. Howie was a yes, the rest were a no.
Court’s thoughts: I admire her optimistic attitude and some of the creative contorting she was doing – but the kooky vibe and equally kooky music were lost on me.

Johnny Jetpack
The act: A puppeteering act where a little boy puppet got swallowed by a giant squirrel puppet.
The verdict: Do you even need to ask?
Court’s thoughts: If I had seen a puppet show like this when I was a kid, I would have been scarred for life.

Distraxion
The act: A “human puppet” and contortion act.
The verdict: I think the judges were having a hard time taking this one seriously, and it was an obvious no.
Court’s thoughts: Again…how do people dream this stuff up???

“Speed ice sculpting group”
The act: Ice sculptors with chain saws that carved ice really, really fast.
The verdict: No.
Court’s thoughts: I actually thought this was kind of cool (no pun intended), and may have fared better if they had put a twist on it like David Garabaldi & His CMYK’s last season.

“Girl Making Animal Noises”
The act: An attractive blonde that was making some alarmingly spot-on animal noises – pigs, donkeys, dogs, etc.
The verdict: No, no, no, no.
Court’s thoughts: Does she get a lot of dates with this act? :-P

212 Green – ages 14-22, from Harlem, NY
The act: A band that performed a rock/soul cover of Adele’s “Rumour Has It”.
The verdict: Judges (especially Mel B, who saw some of herself in the kids) loved them and put them through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: What a talented, gorgeous group of kids. I know the lead singer was talking about how tough it was growing up biracial and looking different than everyone else, but both she and her sister and brother? STUNNING. And they’ve got this very bohemian, artsy vibe about them – they seem to be a group that fuses different styles together well. Loved the rap section the brother did in the middle, loved the fact that the girls were evoking a sort of Motown girl group-vibe with the choreography they were doing at the mics. One group I’m excited to see in the live show :-)

Al Harris – age 64, from Long Island, NY
The act: The second “corny pun” comedy act of the evening.
The verdict: No’s across the board – but the judges did seem to get a good chuckle out of it.
Court’s thoughts: I was irritated with this guy at first – the puns were corny, and it got old fast. But then, as I watched the judges try in vain to get this guy off the stage, and he just kept going…then I started to laugh. Gotta admire his persistence :-P Normally I have no use for bad acts, but this one did make me grin a bit.

So who were your favorite acts from last night’s episode? Tune in tonight for the last audition show of the season before Vegas!!!

July 9, 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!