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Pure AGT Season 12 Live Show #5: Power Rankings

LAST SEMI-FINAL OF THE SEASON! I have to admit, even with how messy Season 12 has been, I’m actually pretty sad it’s almost over…but in the meantime, I’m going to try to get up a post on here every day from now until the Finale! I’m also considering covering Britain’s Got Talent on here next spring (I think?) as well as actually doing a write-up about the Christmas special if they do one this year. In addition to this, I want to include more stuff on here about AGT alumni and what they’re up to-there’s been a few I’ve heard a lot from since their time on the show-but I’m not sure how much interest there’d be for all that. None of this would be as frequent as what I’m doing now (until BGT starts).

But for now, I know you’re all here for the Power Rankings. This week is particularly hard to predict because there wasn’t one act that seemed to blow everyone out of the water, and very few really dropped the ball. Also, the show started an hour later than usual, and the late end time-especially we’re now into the school year and a lot of kids and parents are on stricter weeknight schedules-could have affected voting patterns. Also, based on last night alone there really doesn’t seem to be a frontrunner in this group, though I definitely think some will benefit from being one of the “stars” of their Quarter-Final.

1. Mandy Harvey: I think this is the first time all season I’ve put someone who performed in the middle of the show at the top of the Power Rankings, but she headlined her Quarter-Final and her spot in the running order this week was probably the best one she could have gotten; performing at the change of the hour meant she was likely the last act seen by people who tuned out at the usual time, but late enough in the show to still be well-remembered by the end for those sticking around the whole night. Her package might actually have been more of a selling point than the song itself, but it was still a very solid performance (loved the inclusion of sign language!) and just enough of a departure from her previous songs with the ukulele to be different without losing the essence that made people drawn to her in the first place.

2. Angelica Hale: Color me shocked that the judges actually criticized her a bit last night-I thought she was pretty much untouchable in that regard by this point-but this was still a nice way to end off the night. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with Angelica since Celine also performed last night, and as I’ve mentioned are often compared very closely by fans of the show. I think Angelica still has a bit of an edge with her story and POSSIBLY the pimp spot (but again, we don’t know if that provided as much of a boost as it usually does). Either way, I don’t see her going home tonight because she’s definitely in the top 6 and there’s no way she’d lose a Dunkin’ Save unless Mandy was one of her opponents.

3. Light Balance: I suppose these guys are my best guess for the third automatic spot tonight, since pretty much everyone seems to like them (even if it’s debatable whether or not performing second last will actually help this week). Their main competition is Diavolo, and I doubt we’re getting both in the finals since it seems like voters-especially this late in the game-tend to be more emotionally attached to (and inclined to vote for) individual performers or pairs than larger groups. However, I still think one of the dance groups will make the Finale and I think LB has the clear edge because their appeal is more “universal” (more on that below).

4. In the Stairwell: This might be surprising since I just said groups tend to be disadvantaged on this show at this point (and I’ll probably do a write-up about that sometime between now and next week) but I think the main reason for this is because it’s much more difficult for the audience to connect to them in comparison to a solo performer. However, the constant reminders of ITS’s military service probably remedies this issue. While I could have done without the name-dropping of a national tragedy (I want them out tonight for that alone) the Armed Forces mean a lot to many people, especially in America. Even though I thought the performance itself was probably one of the weaker ones of the night, ITS filled a niche of the episode as the only singing group, and that + military background will probably be enough to get them into Dunkin’ Save territory. Keep in mind the order of this list is based on who I think got the most Tuesday night votes, so while I’m expecting to see them on the bubble, they’ll probably be the act to lose out since I get the feeling the majority of their voting base is not part of the online crowd.

5. Celine Tam: I was originally going to have Celine as an immediate elimination, but she seemed to take less heat from being on the same show as Angelica than I thought, and now I’m thinking there might even be room for both girls in next week’s Finale. Like Angelica, she got a pretty positive response from the judges, with only a few minor critiques. I have a feeling as long as Celine manages to stay above the abyss (AKA the bottom 5) she’ll probably get through to the Finals.

6. Colin Cloud: I’m gonna try not to get my hopes up, because he was in the Dunkin’ Save last round and had the historically worst running order spot a reality contestant can have last night, but…….HOLY S*** WAS THAT NOT THE BIGGEST STEP UP WE’VE SEEN THIS SEASON? Yes, as usual the trick was “exposed” 10 seconds after it aired, but the whole presentation of this was NEXT LEVEL. It started off slow, and once the “magic” part happened I thought it was just a re-hash of what Tom London did back in Judge Cuts, but the flashback footage put this performance over the top. I LOVED seeing the reactions to it, both from the judges and online. Colin stood out with this performance, especially as the sole non-singing/dancing act of the night, and I think it just might have been enough to get him into Dunkin’ Save territory again. Maybe. I mean, if Eric could go second last week and still end up there, so can Colin, right? Right? (Please!!!!!)

7. Kechi: After her whole segment I penciled her in for top 3, but then a funny thing happened. When I poked around the interwebs to get a feel of who people were liking (and not liking)…I barely saw Kechi’s name at all. And this is about someone who I believe has gotten the pimp spot for all three of her previous performances, and a decent one near the end last night. She might still wind up in the Dunkin’ Save or even top 3, but it seems she could possibly be a victim of the “Singer Massacre of the Semi-Finals” when a bunch of the singers who were madly hyped in the Quarters suddenly disappear the next round.

8. Diavolo: This was THE performance of the night for me, and cemented my belief that despite what Laverne Cox said back in Judge Cuts, this is the most “Vegas” act of the whole season. However, three things make me think they’re probably goners tonight. 1) Competition against Light Balance (which I already explained). 2) The West Coast airing of the episode suddenly cutting back to Pompeyo halfway through their performance (seriously, WTF? Not cool, technicians!). and 3) Their act just being kinda divisive overall. It was very abstract and circus-esque, which seemed to be strongly appealing for some viewers (myself included) and a total turn-off to others. I hate to say it, but I have a feeling they’re done tonight. 🙁

9. Merrick Hanna: I love Merrick, but last night’s performance seemed to emphasize gimmicks (the giant robot) and tricks (the “flying”) more than what we love him for best-awesome animation dancing. I have a feeling a lot of these additions were producer-driven, but that probably wouldn’t have swayed voters either way. Again, really sad to say it but I think we’re losing Merrick tonight as well. 🙁

10. Christian Guardino: I actually really love listening to Christian sing, and hope he has a long and successful career after this, but while he did have a package custom-designed to tug at the heartstrings, his song was pretty forgettable (remember what I said last week about having to have those “money notes” in order for the audience to remember you?). His running order also wasn’t that great, and I’ve hardly seen any buzz about him since the show, so I’d be very surprised to even see him in the Dunkin’ Save tonight.

11. Pompeyo Family Dogs: Semi-Final Wildcard acts are pretty much fodder no matter how you slice it, but even if they had been voted through last time I’d probably still rank them at the bottom this week…I love their creativity, but the dogs were pretty much unrecognizable and were off their game for at least half of the performance. Besides that, the tricks themselves were pretty much the same ones we’ve seen in their other acts. And to top it all off, they were coming off the heels of fan-favorite Sara & Hero’s amazing beach performance last week. I really hope the daughter doesn’t cry again when they get eliminated tonight. 🙁

September 13, 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!

America’s Got Talent Season 12 Quarter-Finals Show 1: Act Lineup

We’re just days away from the start of the Season 12 live shows, and I have to admit I’m pretty relieved we’re past the messy and questionable Judge Cuts portion of the season. After last night’s “Road to the Finals” episode, the AGT twitter page released a preview of next week’s performers.

There’s been a bit of confusion as to who is actually on next week’s roster. Eleven acts have been confirmed by pretty much every source, and they are:

Angelica Hale (child singer who received Chris Hardwick’s Golden Buzzer)
Artyon & Paige (child dance duo who Simone red-buzzed during the audition round)
Billy & Emily England (roller-skating siblings who previously competed on Britain’s Got Talent)
Christian Guardino (teen singer who received Howie’s Golden Buzzer)
Darci Lynne Farmer (child ventriloquist who received Mel’s Golden Buzzer)
In the Stairwell (military a capella group)
Just Jerk (South Korean hip-hop dance crew)
Preacher Lawson (the only stand-up comedian to make it past Judge Cuts this season)
Puddles Pity Party (singing sad clown)
The Singing Trump (singing/dancing Donald Trump impersonator)
Yoli Mayor (singer)

There has also been some speculation that Kechi is also part of this episode’s lineup, as she appeared for a split second in one of the previews, but I think that was simply an editing error since there seems to be no evidence pointing to her being on. Seeing as we have singing acts taking up 18 of 36 spots in the live shows (which makes exactly half of the remaining acts singers unless we have a Wildcard singer, which I’m highly doubting) and there are already seven (over 1/3) of them confirmed for Tuesday’s show, I’m assuming they’re going to spread them out somewhat evenly over the three Quarter-Finals episodes which would mean no Kechi next week.

Speaking of spreading things out evenly, note that we have three out of nine Golden Buzzers up this week, and I assume that’s how it will be in each group this round. We also have three Wildcards that as of this posting have yet to be announced, and I’m guessing they might be spread out evenly as well, which would make one per Quarter-Finals episode. Last year they actually had an episode with one, another with two, and then one with zero, so I guess they’re not guaranteed to have them spread out evenly, but the empty spot for Tuesday’s show probably means we’re getting one this week. And the Wildcard hype this season is so strong I have a feeling they might give us one each week to keep the speculation and buzz going. Now, none of the remaining magic acts are performing next week, so I’m expecting a magician Wildcard to take up that last spot (I have to assume there will be at least one magic act as a Wildcard). Not sure who it will be, especially since after the results this week there are even more acts to add to the “potential Wildcard” list, but I still think Tom London has a good chance, as well as Henry Richardson, Jeki Yoo, and maybe even Will Tsai.

The Quarter-Finals are generally when we say goodbye to most of the “fodder” acts, so it’s usually pretty straightforward and easy to tell who will advance and who will be eliminated. Darci and Angelica are locks to sail through this round (they’re actually the current top two favorites to win the whole thing over on Goldderby) and Singing Trump and Artyon & Paige are very likely to be sent packing, with In the Stairwell most likely joining them. Preacher, Just Jerk, and Puddles will probably end up advancing, whether it be from Tuesday night votes, the Dunkin’ Save, or the Judges’ Choice.

Which means the last acts moving forward are probably going to be two of Christian, Yoli, Billy & Emily, and whatever magician ends up on this episode. On paper Christian may seem like a lock, with his inspiring backstory and Golden Buzzer under his belt, but a lot of people have already seemed to forget about him. It’s tough to call where he’ll end up on Wednesday but think he’ll probably be a Dunkin’ Save candidate unless they put him on at the end up the show and/or really play up the “almost going blind” thing in his package. I doubt either Billy & Emily or Yoli will be in the top five and if they’re in the Dunkin’ Save zone I think they might be on thin ice. I have a feeling unless the Wildcard magician bombs they’ll end up in DS territory at worst, since there is quite the crowd for magicians on this show and everyone loves a good redemption arc.

So I guess my preliminary predictions for next week’s “winners” are:

Angelica Hale
Christian Guardino
Darci Lynne Farmer
Just Jerk
Preacher Lawson
Puddles Pity Party
*Wildcard*

Let me know you’re thoughts and I’ll be back soon when I will FINALLY give my rundown on the current pre-live show format!

August 10, 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 Judges Cuts 3 and 4: Power Rankings

It’s funny: while these last two groups for Judge Cuts were noticeably stronger than the first and second, I found myself disagreeing with quite a few of the choices and I actually think most of the acts that made it through aren’t as likely to make it to the end (potential Wildcards notwithstanding). I really wish we could trade some of these acts for the rejected ones but today I’m going to get right to it and save the ranting about the results and overall format of the auditions and Judge Cuts rounds for a few days from now. Remember, this list starts with who I THINK will get the farthest in the competition and goes down from there; I’ll share my opinions on each act of course but the order they’re in is reflective of how I’m predicting the general audience will react to them, not necessarily how much I’ve personally enjoyed them.

1. Diavolo: I didn’t understand Laverne’s comment about not seeing how they’d fit into the Vegas scene, because truth be told out of every act this season I think this is probably the one that is best suited to carry a full Vegas show. There are several strong dance groups this season, but Diavolo is the one I’m thinking will provide the most variety and is the most likely to keep the audience on their toes. I fear a lot of the other dance groups (and non-dance acts, come to think of it) are going to grow stale pretty quickly if they can’t step it up, but I don’t have that worry with Diavolo, which is why I think they have a good shot at the Finals.

2. Merrick Hanna: Okay…so…awkward moment there with that Golden Buzzer prediction, huh? (Seriously though, why did Seal press it in such an odd fashion for a fairly basic pop singer?) Anyway, despite not getting the coveted GB, I think Merrick is probably going to do well in the competition. He’s built up quite the following in his short time on AGT so far, and he seems to be someone a lot of people in the anti-singer brigade have really latched onto. I definitely think he’ll get past the Quarter-Finals but my concern is that his act might start to feel tired after that. His dancing mainly seems to be robotic-style, and there are only so many ways that can be kept fresh after several performances. I think the trick here is going to be heartstring-pulling (in his dancing, not his pre-performance packages). If he can keep telling stories like he did back in his audition, he might have a decent shot at the Finals.

3. Preacher Lawson: Being the only comedian left this season, Preacher essentially has an entire sub-market of the AGT audience all to himself right now. He’s also another performer the fans itching to support something other than vocal talents seem to have really taken to, not to mention the general viewing audience. There was a little backlash towards his Judge Cuts routine for ablest material, but even some of those detractors seemed more mixed than totally negative (they seemed to like that the person with a disability in question got a happy ending). Of course, most comedy is going to be somewhat controversial (and really, the backlash for Preacher was NOTHING compared to that of the political jokes from Lori Mae last season) but if Preacher can continue t deliver routines that will entertain more people than not, I could see him making it far.

4. Kechi Okwuchi: I’m kind of torn as to whether or not Kechi will make it all the way to the end. She has a pleasant voice, but what most people remember about her is her backstory. Now it is a powerful one, but we have so many this season that they may not be enough to take a person far. Also, someone on Reddit today pointed out that while AGT has more than its fair share of tragic backstories, it’s generally the people with the most memorable personalities that go far. Now, I’m absolutely positive that we’re going to have at least a couple people with sad backstories make it to the Finale, but the people that do are probably going to have more than that to fall back on. As I said, Kechi’s voice is great, but there are stronger in the competition, and she hasn’t really gotten to show a lot of personality so far. If she can show her fun side, I think she has a shot at making it to the end.

5. DaNell Daymon & Greater Works: I was originally going to put this group a little lower on the list, but then I remembered what happened when another singing group that I barely paid attention to that had an emotional backstory competed last season: they made the Finals. Greater Works seemed to strike a chord with a lot of people, so I’m not making the mistake of sleeping on them like I did Linkin’ Bridge.

6. Celine Tam: Celine is an interesting case because she’s someone I could see going very, very far…in another season. I think this live show group not only has the most singing acts we’ve ever had, but the most child singing acts we’ve ever had, and I’m already seeing people closely comparing some of them. Celine’s “counterpart” in this regard seems to be fellow 9-year-old Judge Cuts Golden Buzzer recipient singer (of presumably Asian heritage, no less) Angelica Hale. And I think those comparisons are exactly what is going to be her downfall in the competition, because most of the comparisons I’ve seen between the two have been in Angelica’s favor; people seem to prefer her =”powerhouse”-style voice over Celine’s more childlike one (which actually bothers me because those people probably don’t realize that the way Angelica sings is probably damaging to her still-developing vocal chords as such a young singer, but unfortunately that’s an issue that’s also been in previous seasons that I doubt is going to go away any time soon). It also won’t help that Angelica’s Quarter-Final is before Celine’s, so I’m sure when she inevitably passes through her first live show with flying colors that Celine will have some hard expectations to match when her turn comes. I still think she’ll probably make it to the Semi-Finals, but I’m doubting her chances at getting the last week at this point.

7. Johnny Manuel: As I mentioned in my last point, the amount of singers this season is probably going to become a roadblock for a lot of the acts that fall under that category. I presume it’s going to be like last season when most of them made it through the first round of live shows pretty easily but then saw a mass exodus in the Semi-Finals, with many early favorites not even making it to Dunkin’ Save territory. I was talking to some other AGT fans on twitter last night about the Golden Buzzer singers alone, and many of those people couldn’t even remember them all. While Johnny obviously wasn’t one of them since we’d just seen him receive his from Seal, I barely remembered him from the auditions until they reminded us of his backstory (and even then I didn’t remember what song he performed the first time). It seems like his story of his failed music career is pretty controversial within the AGT fandom, with some finding his presence in the competition unfair because of it, but if he’s going to compete I’m glad it’s out in the open and not hidden from the audience (Brian Justin Crum, anyone?). At this point, I feel like he might become somewhat forgettable like some of the other singers have seemed to, but I think he’ll probably make it to the Semi-Finals and miiiiiight have a shot at squeezing into the Finale.

8. Billy & Emily England: These two seem to be pretty polarizing in several ways. Some dislike the fact they’ve already competed on a Got Talent show, but again, I appreciate that the show is being open about that instead of sweeping it under the rug (Laura Bretan, anyone?). However, most of the people who don’t like them seem to find their performances and general demeanor overly sexual (I don’t find them or the act I’m about to mention to be that way, but I find it weird that these two are getting tons of accusations of incest and Junior and Emily aren’t). If I had to guess, I’d say they’re probably gone next week but if they can squeeze into the Dunkin’ Save zone I think they miiiiiiiight have a shot at the Judges’ Save depending on who’s there with them.

9. In the Stairwell: I was pleasantly surprised to see these guys make the live shows, but I think they’re most likely goners next week unless maybe they really play up the military angle. (American audiences do love their veterans!) Either way, they’ve already made it farther than I thought they would, so I’m going to enjoy them for however long they last!

10. Mike Yung: Mike is one of the singers I think a lot of people have kind of forgotten about. I actually enjoy his voice more than most others this season, but there seems to be a trend of older singers being eliminated early in the live shows, and I have a feeling this might be the case with Mike. I guess he could POSSIBLY make the Semi-Finals, but I HIGHLY doubt he’s going all the way to the Finale.

11. Pompeyo Family Dogs: I love these dogs and this family so much, but it’s clear a lot of others feel differently. Many people were disappointed by some of last night’s results, and this act took a lot of the heat from that. I would love to see them at least make it to the Semi-Finals, but that seems kind of unlikely right now.

12. Brobots & Mandriods: I really like these guys, and if they were on a season with less dance acts I think they could make it somewhat far. However, they’re going to up against giants like Diavolo and Light Balance and I don’t think they’re going to be able to grab viewers in the same way those acts might. From the looks of it, it seems likely that they’ll be in the same Quarter-Final as one of those two groups and I fear that might spell the end for our Brobots and Mandroidz.

13. Oscar Hernandez: Okay, I LOVE this guy, and he was one of the acts I thought really stepped up his game in the Judge Cuts. However, he’s another performer that took a lot of heat for the decisions made in his JC episode, and it doesn’t look like a lot of people have him as their favorite right now. I’d love if he could somehow make it to the Semi-Finals, but yeah, I’m doubting that’s actually going to happen.

14. Artyon & Paige: I think these two are great and would love to see them stick together as a duo for a long, long time. However, I was quite confused when they announced they’d advanced over some of the other acts last night, and it seems a heck of a lot of others agreed with me. Judging by who else is in their live show next week (which I’ll be talking more about in the next few days) I’d be shocked if they even made it to Dunkin’ Save territory.

What do you think of this group of live show acts and their chances to do well?

August 9, 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 AGT Season 12 Auditions Episode 1: Live Bog

Hey all! I’m back! I took some time off but will be covering the entirety of Season 12, and am looking forward to it! So far the format and judges have remained the same from last year, but now we have America’s Next Top Model‘s own Tyra Banks as our new host! I’m especially interested to see how she does.

I’ve decided to change up the format over here a bit. Looking over my posts from last season, I’m feeling like the audition ones were very awkward and disjointed, so this time I’m going to try liveblogging these episodes instead! So check back throughout the episode for updates!

I enjoyed the chicken act, but I feel like the novelty might wear off soon, and I definitely don’t see it advancing past the next round. I LOVED the comedian, though, and it would certainly be nice to see a contender from that world this year.

Oh great, a singer with an inspiring backstory. She seems like a nice girl, but I’d prefer the bulk of the vocalists stick to The Voice or the soon-to-be-revamped Idol. Okay, she’s pretty good…why are they stopping her? Glad they’re giving her another shot, and Tyra helping her “let her hair down” was cute. Aaaaand nailed it! No surprise. Based on this edit, I see her easily making the live shows.

Ooo, an escape artist! Haven’t seen one of those on the show in awhile! Nice to see Tyra playing along, but the judges don’t seem that into it. Four X’s…and a costume change? Okay, that part was actually pretty neat, and Simon and Mel retract their X’s into yes’s! Unfortunately, Howie and Heidi do not, meaning he’s out. Nice to see Tyra doing a good job with the “comforting” part of this show so far, both with this act and he montage of other rejects that is now following it.

A brother-sister Salsa duo! Much like with the singers, I’d prefer the dancers stick to the designated dance shows for the most part, especially now that we have two mainstream dance competition shows in So You Think You Can Dance and World of Dance (I also love Dancing With the Stars, but that’s an entirely different can of worms.)

These two are good, but again, I think this act would have been better suited for World of Dance. Then again, the routine we saw mostly consisted of spinning, so that might not have gone over as well over there. But of course they go through on here.

I wonder what this next guy is going to do? Oh, he’s our first magician of the season! Nice intro, with a very impressive trick to boot! (I’m with Mel B on my brain having to “catch up” in order to understand what was going on!) Unanimously through, and I bet he makes it to the live shows too!

Oh dear. A Trump impersonator? He’s pretty good, but I think I’m hoping he gets rejected. I don’t want to see politics mixed into this show, and when they did get brought up last season the response was naturally pretty divisive.

HE’S SINGING BRUNO MARS???? Okay, I might actually be on board with this now. He’s through, but I don’t see him making it to the live shows.

Next up is…a dance about a suicidal robot? Pretty neat, actually. This kid is actually a very good physical storyteller. I wonder if he sang the song as well? Either way, I’m glad he got through, since this was very creative and an example of a dance performance that probably wouldn’t suit SYTYCD or WOD.

And now we have a sad silent clown named Puddles. This guy is already reminding me of Tape Face from last season. Hmmm….

Oh, turns out he’s a singer! And a pretty good one at that! Glad he went in a different direction than I was expecting. Even Simon-who is known to be afraid of clowns-loves it, and he gets four yes’s!

Another escape act! Hopefully this goes over better than the one we saw earlier tonight. Apparently it has high stakes-like, life-threatening stakes. It’s one of those ones where it looks like he didn’t escape in time, but then turned into one of the people “saving” him from the danger. Great job from him, and of course he advances!

Okay, so it’s 9:52 pm, we’re talking about the “X” buzzers, and we’ve seen in the “coming up” clips that Mel hits her Golden Buzzer tonight. This must be the lucky girl. And she’s a ventriloquist! A SINGING one at that! Much like Merrick (the robot dancing boy) I’m okay with this kind of vocalist act on this show, because it’s one that doesn’t belong on your typical televised signing competition.

And there’s the Golden Buzzer! Well deserved! Great example of the type of act this show was made for. The only downside is it means we won’t be seeing this adorable duo again for awhile, since the Golden Buzzer sends an act straight to the Quarter-Finals in the live show round!

Thanks for dropping in here tonight, and if you’re sticking around for the World of Dance series premiere, head on over to our sister site Pure World of Dance to check out their liveblog!

May 30, 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 9, Episode #2 – Audition Round Run-Down

Two more hours of auditions in the can, and I feel like we’re starting to see the season take shape. Seems like there’s a lot fewer singers this year, and the ones we do have aren’t all that impressive – that actually makes me happy, because I feel like we lost some really unique acts last seasons because so many singers got pushed through. Also pleased that the audition rounds seem to be focusing more on the good acts than the bad ones, and even the bad ones we’ve seen have often gotten at least one yes. So far…digging this season 🙂

Willis Clan – ages 3-21
The act: 12 siblings (all with names starting in “J”) that played instruments, danced, and sang a cover of “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music.
The verdict: 4 yes’s, and much gushing about what a good-looking family they area.
Court’s thoughts: Was it cute to see all 12 of them up there doing their thing? Sure. But if we’re being honest, only about 4 or 5 of the older siblings were actually doing anything that actually added to the performance – the rest of the little ones were basically just there to look cute. Which is ok, I guess – that’s just part of the package of their act. Although I think the oldest, Jessica, has enough talent on her own that she could ditch the family act and have success as a solo country artist.

David & Leeman – ages 27 & 29, from Los Angeles
The act: A duo of magicians that used “pressure phrenology” to impair Howie’s ability to read and had him try to read words off of cards.
The verdict: 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: I think I said this quite a bit last season, but I’ll say it again: I can know how a magic trick was done and still be able to appreciate it based on the delivery, creativity, and overall performance. And that’s the case with these two – I think I figured out the trick (notice how the camera never really got a good, long look at the cards), but I still really enjoyed the performance because the trick was something we haven’t seen before. Kinda liked how they blended just a little bit of comedy into their routine as well – they came across as cool & likeable. Definitely like them – hope they stick around and continue to do clever stuff like this in the coming rounds.

Julia Goodwin – age 15
The act: Sang a jazz-tinged cover of Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind”.
The verdict: 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: She’s got a very unique quality to her voice and doesn’t “oversing”, but I did hear a few off-notes and I think she could work on her stage presence. Hoping she can sparkle a bit more in the coming rounds.

Sean & Luke – ages 17 & 18
The act: Two best friends that did a hip-hop/tap dance routine to “Bust a Move” and “Humpty Dance”.
The verdict: Heidi, Mel, & Howie were all yes’s, but Howard didn’t think they really needed to see the act again and said “no”.
Court’s thoughts: Not the strongest dance act we’ve seen so far, but I did enjoy it and think it’s a welcome respite from the hoards of ballroom, jazz, contemporary, and hip-hop acts we see every year. Tap is something different, and I like different. Kinda wished they had focused in a bit more on the tap and done less hip-hop, though – found the tap sections to be far more impressive than the hip-hop. Would love to see them do something that’s more “hardcore tap” – maybe something Fred Astaire-inspired.

Unnamed martial arts group
The act: A group performing various martial arts moves with various weapons.
The verdict: Not shown, but the judges seemed to respond positively to the act (even when one of the guys wiffed a trick and fell on his ass).
Court’s thoughts: Kinda wish we had gotten to see more of this act – I’ve been craving a good martial arts act (the last one we had was Kung Fu Heroes back in season 5, and Kenichi only did a little bit of martial arts). But since they weren’t really heavily featured, I’m guessing they probably won’t show up again.

Unnamed martial arts trick duo
The act: Two guys in yellow gi’s doing fingertip pushups and balancing on their stomach on a sword.
The verdict: Not shown.
Court’s thoughts: Kind of cool, but probably not much more they could do – and certainly not enough for a Vegas show.

Kevin Taylor
The act: A guy who punched the windows out of car doors.
The verdict: Not shown – but Heidi the wet blanket said the act “didn’t make her feel good”, so I’m guessing no.
Court’s thoughts: Could have been a good strongman act if he had done a bit more – but probably a little too one-dimensional for this competition.

Grand Master Qi Feilong – age 48
The act: He’s a “kung fu master” and “energy healer” who tried to stop the second hand on a wall clock using his “energy”, and cutting two sets of chopsticks in half with a $10 bill. He also made Nick kick him in the “crunch” (his translator’s word for “crotch”).
The verdict: Mel & Howie said yes; Howard & Heidi said no.
Court’s thoughts: I was kind of left wondering if this was another act in the same vein as Dustin’s Dojo – just a complete joke. But after watching it a few times – I don’t think it was 😛 Something about how batsh*t crazy this guy was going onstage was entertaining – I found myself laughing – but the tricks were just “meh”, it was chaotic, and I could barely understand a word he was saying.

Real Encounter – ages 23-47
The act: A group of motocross, freestyle, and BMX riders doing flips & stunts.
The verdict: 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: Before I get into my thoughts, a bit of peek behind the curtain: according to the gang over at the AGT Afterbuzz show, not all of the audience actually gets to go outside to watch acts like this – the Afterbuzz crew was part of the group that didn’t get to go outside. I think they may have also mentioned that the judges giving their verdict actually happened the NEXT DAY after they actually performed. Kind of interesting. But anyway! They were pretty good, but I feel like we’ve seen stronger motocross/biking stunt acts in previous seasons – I think there was one called the “Rad Dads” that I recall being a lot more organized and clean with their tricks. Maybe these guys just got a mediocre edit, maybe they just aren’t as strong as we’ve seen before…guess I’ll hold off judgement till I see them again.

Slam
The act: A trampoline basketball-dunking act.
The verdict: 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: Definitely something interesting – thankfully, they aren’t cheesy like Spintacular from last season. Hopefully they’re able to do a bit more than just creatively dunking basketballs, though.

Flight Crew Jump Rope
The act: A synchronized trick jump-roping group.
The verdict: Through to the next round.
Court’s thoughts: NO. NO. NO!!! I usually don’t have a strong negative reaction to most acts, but I cannot tell you how truly OVER jump-roping acts I am. I think they’re cheesy, and the ones we’ve had seem to have fouled up their routines on multiple occasions. And the main guy doing all the talking for this group? Yeah, he was also part of the Summerwind Skippers from a few seasons ago, and he was part of the crew Saltare on America’s Best Dance Crew a few years ago. So we can probably expect a lot of the same cheesy choreography, and the same mistakes being made. Ugh. Please, AGT – stop trying to make jump roping acts happen. And set a damn limit on how many times one person can return with a different group and audition repeatedly.

XPogo Stunt Team
The act: 4 dudes on pogo sticks jumping really high and doing a bunch of tricks and flips.
The verdict: 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: Another act you don’t see everyday. Was impressed with the height they were getting on their jumps…wonder what else they can do.

Unnamed rapping kid
The act: A cute young boy rapping to “It Takes Two”.
The verdict: Not shown, but he seemed popular.
Court’s thoughts: He was cute and seemed to have a good flow, but I’m a bit leery of kid rapping acts after the nonsense that was 2Unique last season.

Dom the Bom’s Triple Threat – age 8
The act: A set of 8-year-old triplets that do various card-throwing tricks, such as throwing cards long distances and cutting pieces of celery with thrown cards.
The verdict: Judges all said yes.
Court’s thoughts: I think I saw more arguments about this act than any other act on last night’s show. The sticking point: would this act have still made it through if it were adults throwing cards instead of kids? I’m guessing probably not (assuming the adults and kids had the same level of skill), but once again, it’s about “packaging”: part of the appeal of their act is that you don’t expect to see kids doing it. It’s a novelty thing. Let’s say you’re going to see a country singing act – which of these sounds more interesting: a regular ol’ guy from Kentucky, or a Japanese guy that barely speaks English? Once again – NOVELTY. I may have to do a post on that aspect later. Also got a few tweets saying “Would you really pay to see that act in Vegas?” And my answer? No, probably not, but if they eliminated every single act in the first round that they didn’t think could hack it as a Vegas show, then they’d probably only be left with a handful of acts and the show could be cut down to 2 weeks. 🙂 I feel like I need to do a post on that, too! But anyway – I was amused by the act, although according to the Afterbuzz group (who was in the live audience), we the viewers apparently saw a very kind edit of the act…apparently the little boy was having some issues with cutting the celery and it took him a few tries to get it right (which was conveniently edited out). I’m guessing they probably won’t make it past the next round, but I think they’re a mildly-amusing filler act.

Series of unnamed bad magicians
The act(s): A montage of various mediocre-to-bad magic acts doing everything from escaping from a series of leather straps to doing a quick switch, and taking Heidi’s bra off.
The verdict(s): All no’s.
Court’s thoughts: All seemed to suffer from the problem of awkward delivery…although I do have to give props to the guy who managed to get Heidi’s bra off 😛

Mad Jack – age 42
The act: A “pick a card” act where the chosen card magically appeared between Mad Jack’s buttcheeks.
The verdict: It was a no, but I think the judges did get a kick out of it.
Court’s thoughts: Props for creativity, but I’m not sure they could base an entire act on gross-out magic tricks.

Miguel Dakota – age 21, from Monument, CO
The act: He played guitar and sang an acoustic version of “Too Close” by Alex Clare.
The verdict: The judges all gushed about his good looks and gave him a yes.
Court’s thoughts: *sigh* Ok, he was decent – but I feel like they just heaped praise upon him because he was a good-looking guy with a semi-sad backstory that had kind of a John-Mayer-meets-One-Direction vibe to him. But I guess they needed a heartthrob this season – and they’ve decided it’s going to be Miguel. I guess I just hope that, if we’re going to be seeing him for awhile, he’ll at least pick some better songs and work on his vocals a bit more…heard some dicey notes in there.

Abigail Baird – age 33
The act: She does aerial silks in front of a screen, and tells a story with her movements.
The verdict: 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: Kind of on the fence about this one. I enjoyed it and thought it was clever, but take away the screen, and you’ve got just kind of an average aerialist. I couldn’t help but compare her to Blue Journey, who I think would still be a great dance act even without the screen – not sure I could say the same about Abigail. Will be interested to see what she does in the coming rounds.

Unnammed ballroom dance group
The act: A group of teen ballroom dancers, reminiscent of the Miami All-Stars.
The verdict: Not shown, but Howard & Howie loved them.
Court’s thoughts: Didn’t really get to see much, but they looked decent.

John & Andrew – ages 21 & 41
The act: A same-sex salsa dancing duo
The verdict: 4 enthusiastic yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: Probably my favorite act of the night – and John is right: Andrew can follow better than most girls I know! Loved the speed, the precision, the energy, and the way they partnered – it felt less like the sexy, flirtatious partnering you typically see in salsa pairings, and more like two guys just dancing their hearts out with an occasional assist from one another. I think they were smart to go that route – while attitudes are changing in our society, I worry that the same god-fearin’ folk that kept voting Jimmy Rose & Marty Brown through last year would balk at an act that had two men looking lovingly at one another. I think with the spin (no pun intended) that they put on their performance, they actually stand a decent chance of appealing to a wide cross-section of the viewing audience. Excited to see what else we might get from them!

So those are my thoughts. Who were your favorite and least-favorite acts from last night’s show?

June 4, 2014 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 9, Episode #1 – Audition Round Run-Down

I apologize that this has taken so long – apparently a 9-month absence made me forget just how LONG a 2-hour show is, and how many acts we really see!

Just FYI, for anyone looking for the music from last nights show – my full list is here.

Adrian Romoff – age 9, from Atlanta, GA
The act: Played “Flight of the Bumblebee” and “Symphony No. 1 in E Flat Major” on the piano.
The verdict: Howard was dubious about whether or not the boy was actually playing the piano after the first song, so he offered to play a second one. Howard was sold, and he got 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: I may be in the minority here, as I saw quite a few people on Twitter mentioning that they found Adrian “annoying”, but I love precocious kids that are articulate and wise beyond their years…probably because I was the same way at that age 😛 I got a kick at how he was calmly and confidently (and wittily!) conversing with the judges. The piano-playing was good, of course, although I found the arrangements of both pieces he played to be a bit too “busy” – would have liked something a bit simpler and less electronic-sounding, so I could really appreciate his skill.

The Famtastix
The act:: A group of grown siblings (2 brothers, 4 sisters)that clogged to “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge.
The verdict: They’re through to the next round.
Court’s thoughts: Kind of over clogging acts (they all start to look rather similar after awhile), but this one wasn’t bad.

Richard & Ashlee
The act: A male-female duo of classical dancers turned circus performers that did a series of lifts to “Too Close” by Alex Clare.
The verdict: Through to the next round.
Court’s thoughts: Gonna be hard to trump the Kristef Brothers in my book. The little we saw was ok – but I hope their next performance is more entertaining.

Tic & Tac Entertainment
The act: An “acrobatic breakdance comedy group” that did a series of flips, tricks, and breakdance moves to “Happy” by Pharell.
The verdict: Through to the next round.
Court’s thoughts: Visually, they reminded me of The Chicago Boyz from last season, wearing leftover Team USA sweaters from the Olympics in Sochi 😛 But I think they could potentially be a more well-rounded version of the Chicago Boyz – they seem like they’re able to do a lot more.

3 unnamed comedians
The act: Three very unfunny comedians that preceded Dan Naturman.
The verdict: Fairly certain none of them made it through, judging by all the buzzing that was going on.
Court’s thoughts: Who told any of these 3 guys that it was a good idea to try out for AGT??? None of them even sounded prepared.

Dan Naturman – age 44, from New York City
The act: A stand-up comedian that hit on such topics as marriage, Game of Thrones, and people lying on the Internet.
The verdict:: He got yes’s from all 4 judges (even Heidi), and he’s through to the next round.
Court’s thoughts: At first, I found his delivery a bit jarring – could have been nerves, but he started off in a somewhat rushed, rapid-fire rhythm in an accent that can best be described as James Cagney meets Gilbert Godfried 😛 But about 20 seconds in, he settled into a good rhythm, and it flowed well. Loved the material – tackled timeless topics, while giving it more of a current spin. Could be this season’s Taylor Williamson, methinks.

Rokardy – age 49, from Cuba
The act: He’s a hand-balancer that managed to balance on a narrow stand high enough above the stage that he actually was hidden behind the judges’ X’s, then climbed down and landed in a split. Brought along his son Carlos, who assisted by throwing him pieces of the stand, which he assembled as he climbed it.
The verdict: 4 yes’s. And Howard wants to make a movie about Carlos. 😛
Court’s thoughts: Anyone else find it just a bit odd that Rokardy didn’t introduce Carlos as his son right off the bat? Just was a bit funny to me that he started off by saying “This is my assistant” and it wasn’t until much later that he was like “Oh yeah, he’s my son.” Weird little nitpick, and I’m probably the only one that honed in on it 😛 But anyway!!! A hand-balancer that is possibly more skilled than the Kristef Brothers…but I don’t know that he’s got the variety or the showmanship that made them so appealing. Hope he’s got some other tricks up his sleeve. Looks fan-freaking-tastic for pushing 50!!!

Donnie Valentine – from Champaign, IL
The act: He sang a cover of “You Make Me Feel Brand New” in a painful falsetto.
The verdict: 4 very quick X’s…quite possibly the quickest anyone’s ever gotten them, according to Howard.
Court’s thoughts: This dude is like an unholy trinity of creepy: bizarre at-home perm, eyes that don’t blink nearly enough, and pants that make him look like he’s about to swashbuckle. Yikes.

Juli Moody
The act: I guess it was some sort of strong woman act – she did some squats with Nick on her back.
The verdict: I’m assuming no – even though it took awhile (because the judges were enjoying watching Nick look uncomfortable on her back), most of the judges buzzed her.
Court’s thoughts: Had she gotten a bit more creative with this and not just relied on squatting Nick, I think she might have actually had something…we don’t see too many StrongWoman acts. But alas, no.

Bald Man Bongos
The act: 4 bald dudes smacking each other in the head in rhythm. Basically, last season’s Tummy Talk, just tweaked slightly.
The verdict: Howie was the only one that didn’t buzz – and he briefly joined the group onstage. But we won’t see them in Boot Camp.
Court’s thoughts: Tummy Talk wasn’t that great of an act, so why did someone feel the need to rehash it? Just DUMB.

Unnamed hula hooping act
The act: A middle-aged woman in a red flapper costume hula-hoooping…awkwardly.
The verdict: It’s a no – although the act improved dramatically when Nick joined her onstage to share his hula hoop skills 😛
Court’s thoughts: The way this woman moved is how I would imagine an ostrich trying to hula hoop would look.

Unnamed kick-line dance group
The act: From the very brief clip we saw, they appear to be an all-female jazz dance group – that does kick lines.
The verdict: Not shown – although they seem pretty good, and Mel looked impressed.
Court’s thoughts: Was part of the rapid-fire montage of acts right before Mighty Atom, so we only saw a few seconds. Looked decent, though.

Unnamed knife-throwing act
The act: A male-female knife-throwing duo.
The verdict: Not shown.
Court’s thoughts: Looked like a pretty garden-variety knife-throwing act…nothing too special.

Unnamed ping pong act
The act: A girl hitting a ping pong ball into a guys mouth…and him spitting it back out. Repeat.
The verdict: Unknown – but I have a hard time believing this one made it through, given how bored the judges looked.
Court’s thoughts: Just…why???

Unnamed bell-ringing musician
The act: A snazzy-dress middle-aged woman playing “Like A Virgin” with hand bells.
The verdict: Yet another unknown…but the judges looked very unimpressed.
Court’s thoughts: She looked like a top-selling Avon lady circa 1987. And probably watches a lot of Wheel of Fortune in her spare time.

Mike Greenstein, aka “Mighty Atom Jr.” – age 93
The act: He’s a strongman that pulled a station wagon carrying 3 people WITH HIS TEETH.
The verdict: 3 yes’s, and 1 no from Howard, who thought he act “needed more showmanship”.
Court’s thoughts: First off, I just thought he was the most adorable thing we’ve seen on the show so far – loved how he chomped his teeth like Iceman from Top Gun, and referred to his “84-year-old kid brother”. Clearly this man did not get the memo that he is 93 years old 😛 Thought the act was impressive, but not sure there’s a whole lot else he can do with it…but I’m glad he’s had this opportunity to show America that you don’t have to sit around and do nothing after you retire!

Acte II – ages 32 & 29, from New Orleans
The act: A female opera duo that sang “The Flower Duet”.
The verdict: 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts:: I don’t particularly like opera, but I enjoyed this – I can’t recall another time on AGT that we’ve had a female opera duo or group. So I find this act intriguing 🙂 I know a lot of folks on Twitter were of the opinion “Whatever, they’re no Forte!!!” but I really think the two are apples & oranges – they’re just different from Forte. Not sure how many more opera duets are written for two females – “The Flower Duet” was the only one I was familiar with – but I’m hoping these two can sing things other than just opera. It sounds like they can – they seemed to indicate that they like singing more contemporary music, too.

Unnamed J-setting dance group
The act: A group of drag queens in gold costumes performing “J-setting”, a style of dance inspired by the 8-counts typically done in cheerleading.
The verdict: Unknown – Mel & Heidi seemed to be enjoying it, Howie buzzed them but didn’t say anything, and Howard was a big fat “NO!”
Court’s thoughts: I’m actually a big fan of J-setting, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea…so I doubt it would make a very good Vegas show :-/

Unnamed male hip-hop dancer
The act: A young Asian man doing a pretty impressive sequence of spins and turns incorporated into turfing, jooking, and some other hip-hop styles.
The verdict: 3 yes’s, and one no from Howard.
Court’s thoughts: I was impressed by what I saw, and I don’t think we’ve had a really impressive street dancer since Turf back in season 6. I’m ready for another good solo hip-hop dancer!

Unnamed female singing group
The act: A group of 4 young ladies singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”.
The verdict: Howard liked it, but the other 3 didn’t…so probably didn’t make it, but not shown for sure.
Court’s thoughts: Sounded kinda off-key, from the short blurb I saw.

Unnamed band
The act: 4 young, decently good-looking guys with guitars – we didn’t actually get to see them perform.
The verdict: Howie & Heidi liked it, but Howard didn’t…but again, no verdict actually shown.
Court’s thoughts: All these unknown decisions are gonna drive me nuts when it comes time to compile my Boot Camp week list later this season. Grrrr…

Dustin’s Dojo – ages 30 & 35, from Indianapolis
The act: Two guys performing a comedic parody of what it’s like to attend karate school, complete with punches, board breaking, and high kicks.
The verdict: Mel & Heidi (particularly Heidi) didn’t think it was funny at all, but Howard and Howie loved it and gave it two yes’s…when the girls said “no”, Howard invoked his one-time Golden Buzzer privileges and sent them through to the next round.
Court’s thoughts: I already talked about this act a bit in my poll post from earlier today (if you haven’t already, tell us what you thought about Dustin’s Dojo!), but I’m in the camp that loved it – thought it was pretty clever and an a pretty apt parody of what happens in martial arts school. I’ve noticed that the act seems to be more popular with men than with women, maybe owing to the slapstick nature of the act. Probably won’t make it past the next round, but I’m ok with it right now – just a fun, space-filling act.

Unnamed female dance group
The act: Another all-female dance group doing vaguely jazzy, hip-hopping stuff.
The verdict: By the positive response from the judges and their happy squeals as they left the stage, I’m gonna venture a guess that they made it through.
Court’s thoughts: Gettin’ real tired of this no-names, short clips sh*t…

Unnamed male stepping group
The act: A group of steppers, who also through in some acrobatic moves in between stepping moves.
The verdict: They made it through.
Court’s thoughts:Glad to see another stepping group – the one we saw last season got very little attention, and was kinda lame. Hope this one makes it further!

Unnammed male hip-hop/acrobatic dance group
The act: 7 young men doing a combination of hip-hop and acrobatic tricks.
The verdict: Through to the next round.
Court’s thoughts: Loved the cute little guy with the locks they had up front – reminds me of the cute lil guy from Chicago Boyz last year 😛

Blue Journey – ages 18 & 33
The act: A contemporary dance duo that incorporated a projection screen into their routine, along with elements of silhouettes & video technology.
The verdict: Despite an awkward initial interview, the performance pleased the judges and they got 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: On paper, I probably should have hated this routine – it had several elements I’m tired of seeing on AGT: silhouettes, LCD screens, animations, and blacklight effect incorporated into dance routines. But it was so well-put-together that I couldn’t help but enjoy it – both the dancers were technically strong, as was the choreography itself and the overall staging. Looking forward to seeing what else they have to bring to the table.

Larry the Mime (Nick in disguise)
The act: A fairly terrible French mime act, complete with poorly-executed invisible box, invisible rope, and more.
The verdict: 4 resounding no’s from the judges, and one very sad-looking mime who launched into a diatribe shortly thereafter.
Court’s thoughts: I honestly feel a bit stupid that I didn’t realize sooner that it was Nick underneath that makeup – but with as kooky as some of the acts have gotten in recent years, I didn’t think it was completely off-the-wall to have a disgruntled mime on the show. So touché, Nick…touché 😉

Jaycob Curlee – from Daphne, AL
The act: He sang and played an acoustic version of “Waiting on the World to Change”.
The verdict: 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: It was pretty good – nothing terribly special, though. Kind of your garden-variety guy with a guitar and a soft voice trying to be John Mayer. I have a feeling America will feel for his sad backstory, though, and he’ll likely last much longer than he should, a la Jimmy Rose. Yes, I’m cynical. 😛

So those were my thoughts on the acts we saw last night…what are yours? Do you have an early favorites?

May 28, 2014 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 – Roster for 2nd Live Show Airing July 30

I’m sure Nick will annouce the acts for next week’s show at the end of the results show tonight, but so far we know a few of the acts we’ll be seeing next week:

ciana

Ciana also tweeted that she just arrived in New York a few hours ago, so it looks like all of the week 2 acts are making their way there now…

tone

According to Marty Brown’s Facebook, he also arrived in New York last night; and according to Brad Byers’ website, he will be performing at RCMH next Tuesday.

UPDATED: Here’s the complete roster for next week, announced by Nick at the end of this week’s results show.

Ciana Pelekai (child singer)
Tone the Chiefrocca (rapper)
Marty Brown (country singer)
Brad Byers (sword swallower)
Struck Boyz (child hip-hop group)
Forte (opera trio)
Aquanauts (synchronized swimmers)
Angela Hoover (comedic impressionist)
Alexander Magala (sword-swallowing dancer/aerialist)
Kid the Wiz (hat trick dancer)
Dave Shirley (comedian)
Innovative Force (dance/acrobatics group)

Well, I think it’s safe to say that Forte has one of the 4 spots in the semifinals on lock – and I think Marty Brown probably has one, too.  Will be interesting to see who gets the other two…I’m personally rooting for Tone and maybe Ciana too, but I don’t really feel particularly strongly about this group of acts.  The one interesting act here? Aquanauts, who we did not see at all in Vegas – which tells me that some other act that DID make it through to the live shows had to withdraw.  Hmmm…wonder who it could be.  What do you guys think of next week’s acts?

July 24, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Live Show #1 – Power Rankings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Audition Round Rundown #4 – New York/L.A. Auditions

Well, as I told jimmbboe on Twitter – looks like they made up for last week’s lack of bad auditions by loading this week’s episode up with them 🙁 And boy were there some weird ones…

…in addition to that, this week was the first time where the judges put an act through to Vegas that made me go “REALLY?! Them???” But my beloved Heidi made up for the snafu by giving the most adorable pronunciation of the word “mediocre” that I’ve ever heard…sounded like “meaty okah”.  🙂

New York auditions are up now; look for the L.A. audition rundown later today 🙂

New York:

Struck Boyz – ages 8-11, from Staten Island, NY
The act: They did a hip-hop dance to “As Long As You Love Me” by Justin Bieber.
The verdict: Judges loved their attack and commitment to the dance and gave them 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: Yeah, they were pretty good for all being adolescent boys – they seemed to stay in sync really well, and had a good stage presence.  But it felt to me like they were just kind of regurgitating choreography they had been given, and the choreography wasn’t particularly unique or at a high skill-level…and it was to BIEBER.  Guess I’m just getting a bit tired of young boys throwing on a tank top and a Bieber song and getting the little girlies to scream for them as they gyrate – I respond to bona fide talent, not gimmicky Bieber impersonations.  I thought these guys were adorable, but I think once they get to Vegas and the judges see them up against some of the other dance acts this season, they’ll likely pale in comparison.

B-Extreme
The act: Three breakdancers doing a series of tricks and rolls over and around one another.
The verdict: Judges put them through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: We only saw a brief clip of these guys, but they did seem very talented – they seem to know breaking really well.  But here’s their problem: they’re up against another crew of 3 hip-hop guys (Hype) that know breaking, too…and a slew of other styles, and they arguably have the better stage presence, too.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw these guys and Hype pitted against one another in Vegas…with the latter advancing.

Kristef Brothers – ages 24 & 26, from Las Vegas
The act: They’re 2nd generation “hand balancers” – they basically do an acrobalance act that is based primarily on hand-to-hand holds. They also felt the need to doff their clothes for their performance.
The verdict: All Heidi could muster was an “Mmmm, mmmm, MMMM! It’s a yes for me!”…before they even voted 😛 The other 3 said yes as well, though, and we’ll see them in Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: No doubt these guys have talent – they were doing some seriously cool stuff out there.  But once again, I found myself comparing them unfavorably to another acrobalance act this season: Duo Resonance, whom we saw in San Antonio in episode 2.  I feel like Duo Resonance had a more polished performance, and were doing tricks with a higher level of difficulty; however, I do think Kristef had a bit more stage presence, and seemed to engage the audience more.  My only gripe? The stripping down to undies towards the end seemed a bit odd (and unnecessary) to me.  Once again, I can already see Vegas week shaping up in my head – and I see these two going toe-to-toe with Duo Resonance for a spot in the live shows.

Aneya Marie – age 25
The act: She’s a singing mime…yeeeeah.
The verdict: Buzzes and “no’s” galore.  She also managed to insult the audience’s intelligence when they booed her.
Court’s thoughts: This lady seemed crazier than a bag of cats – I think the fact that she even made any noise pretty much precluded her referring to herself as a “mime”, and she kept insisting that audiences in Europe “loved her”.  This is one of those acts that I have to wonder if they really do know how bad they are…and they’ll just do anything to get on television.

“Dudes Jousting on Unicycles” The Flying Slovenski Brothers
The act: Self-explanatory – two guys riding around on unicycles, trying to knock each other off with lances.
The verdict: No’s and buzzes all around.
Court’s thoughts: This seems like something a bunch of engineering majors might do in college for fun…but it’s no million-dollar act.

“Guys Rapping About Elephants”The Jolley Brothers
The act: They were two guys…singing what I can only assume was an original song about “dropping it like an elephant elevator” (apparently I’m really deaf…).
The verdict: Ummm…no.
Court’s thoughts: It was no “B-O-O-T-Y”.

“Lady with a Cat Riding Around in a Car”
The act: A lady dressed in what looked like an Elvira costume…with a cat riding around her in a little car.
The verdict: Judges didn’t get it and said no to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: That poor cat looked as bewildered and confused as I did, trying to figure out what this act was about.

“Couple Wearing Chicken Costumes”A Tall Order
The act: A guy & a girl dancing around in chicken costumes.
The verdict: No…duh.
Court’s thoughts: It just blows my mind sometimes with the acts people come up with…and sometime’s that’s not a good thing.

Hammerstep – ages 18-30, from Brooklyn, NY
The act: They performed and Irish step dancing/hip-hop fusion dance to an edgy song while wearing gas masks.
The verdict: Judges loved the creative fusion of the two styles and praised the group’s high skill level.  4 yes’s to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Upon hearing that they were fusing hip-hop with step dancing, I thought for sure they were gonna bomb.  But this was actually pretty cool to watch – you can tell that everyone in the group has received pretty extensive Irish step dancing training, but have also taken up hip-hop and effectively found a way to mesh the two styles together.  This is the 2nd Irish step dancing group we’ve seen this season (the first being The Academy from episode 1), and I’d put money on it that Hammerstep is the one we’ll see advancing to the live shows.

Bones and the Machine
The act: They performed a “bone-breaking” hip-hop routine with all sorts of contortions and eerie-looking tricks.
The verdict: Judges put them through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Nice to see another “bone-breakin'” hip hop act since Turf last season – and I liked that they found a way to incorporate partnering as well.

The Rock Dance Project – from Philadelphia, PA
The act: A ballet/jazz/modern fusion dance group that was doing some lifts and other artistic steps.
The verdict: They’re through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: I really wished they had showed more of this act, because the little I saw was just STUNNING.  Lots of pas des deux work, gorgeous pirouttes, and crazy jumps.  If the judges can embrace the true artistry of what they’re doing, I think we’ll see them in the live shows.

Leon Etienne – from Utica, NY
The
act: He’s an illusionist that made a girl appear in an empty box, then managed to do a quick switch out with her while he was chained to a board; he also managed to predict a card picked by Nick, and had the card appear on his female assistant’s leotard when Nick squirted her with a squirt gun.
The verdict: Judges gave him 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: He’s got some serious magic skills, but I found myself thinking that his overall presentation was just a bit frantic and discombobulated.  Seemed like he was trying to fit as many tricks into one audition as possible, and as a result, he seemed to rush from trick to trick, and fumbled a bit over his delivery. He seemed to lack a bit of the finesse and stage presence we saw from Special Head and Collins Key.  Will be interesting to see how he’ll measure up to the other magicians in Vegas.

“11-year-old breakdancer”Lil Demon
The act: Adorable 11-year-old boy who was doing all sorts of breakdancing tricks.
The verdict: We’ll see him in Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: He’s definitely one of the stronger kid dancers we’ve seen this season, but I worry about his versatility.  He may be a great breakdancer, but we may be seeing the same thing from him over & over.

“Jazz dancers in colorful costumes”Studio 19 Dance Complex
The act: Jazz/ballet dancers in rainbow-colored costumes, doing a jazz/ballet-type dance.
The verdict: Judges loved it and put them through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Wasn’t wild about the costumes, but I thought the dancing looked good.  Will be interested to see what they bring to Vegas.

Sophia Lucia – age 10, from San Diego, CA
The act: She’s a jazz dancer that performed a solo routine with a mind-blowing number of pirouttes and other turns.
The verdict: She’s through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: If Sophia looks familiar, it’s because she’s been just about everywhere on dance TV – she’s been on Dance Moms, and most recently, she performed on Dancing with the Stars as the current world record holder for the number of pirouttes done in succession…and she also appeared in Jacoby Jones’ freestyle during this season’s finale of DWTS.  I think she’s adorable and an amazing dancer – but I wonder if she’ll be versatile enough for the judges.  A lot of her routines seem to hinge around her ability to do an insane number of turns and spins.  Can she branch out she show more of her other dance skills?

Isaiah “Izzy” O’Neal & Aaralyn O’Neal – ages 9 & 6
The act: Izzy played the drums while Aaralyn sang a death metal song called “Zombie Skin”.
The verdict: Mel said no, citing the fact that the little girl’s voice sounded like it was going to give out; the other 3 judges said yes.
Court’s thoughts: Ok, I agree with Mel on this one: what were the other 3 judges thinking??? While I think it’s amusing to see an adorable little girl singing death metal in a growling voice, I don’t think it’s particularly “talented” or could comprise an entire Vegas show.  I really just think these two are probably Vegas cannon fodder.

The Virginia State University Gospel Chorale – from Petersburg, VA
The act: They’re a gospel choir that sang a rousing number with choreography.
The verdict: Judges loved them and said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Methinks the American Military Spouses Choir just got some staunch competition – THIS is what I wish I had heard from them last week.  This group is polished, energetic, and has the performance quality and all-around talent that I had wanted to see from the other group last week.  Loved the fact that those not singing lead weren’t just swaying & humming in the background – their voices were like a wall of harmonious sound, and their choreography made them seem like they had a pulse.  Very engaging; very much an act I’d like to see in the  live shows.

Los Angeles:

Chris Antes
The act: He’s an “oral sculptor” – translation: he shapes gum in his mouth.  He tried to make a dolphin & a snail out of two pieces of gum.
The verdict: It was a pretty loose definition of a snail and a dolphin…and the judges weren’t buying it.  No’s all around.
Court’s thoughts: If nothing else, he was a convivial guy – seemed nice enough.  He just had a talent that really wasn’t a talent 😛

Sunflower State
The act: They’re a folk music 4-some that performed an original song.
The verdict: The judges commented that it wasn’t a particularly good original song and said no to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Meh…just MEH.

Brandon & Savannah – ages 15 & 13, from Boca Raton, FL
The act: They’re a brother-sister team that sang an original song called “All the Runaways” with their band.
The verdict: Heidi, Howard, & Howie all loved the song, while Mel didn’t think it was great – but they all agreed that Brandon & Savannah had talent and said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Now while I think Paul Thomas Mitchell and Tone the Chiefrocca still jointly hold the title for “best original song this season”, I actually did enjoy this song – was catchy and suited the duo well. Both Brandon and Savannah have great voices and great stage presence, and they seem like they’re very marketable – especially to the Disney crowd. I think we’ll see them in the live shows.

Taylor Williamson – age 26, from San Diego, CA
The act: He’s an “awkward comedian” that mused on such topics as Chinese food, grandparents, and duvets.
The verdict: Judges loved his unique brand of humor and put him through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Loved this guy – loved his awkward delivery, and the way he worked in little mini-jokes even when he was just conversing with the judges. He reminded me a lot of that Jacob guy from last season (comedian whose last name I can’t remember), but less droll. He’s the first real competition I’ve seen for Angela Hoover so far this season – and I think there’s a good chance that both will make it to the live shows.

Jacob Calle
The act: He’s a self-described “party stunt man” that did a trick where he swallowed a string and then pulled it out of his stomach through his skin, and then tried to blow bubbles…with an emperor scorpion in his mouth.
The verdict: Judges said no.
Court’s thoughts: What a disjointed and pointless mess. He could have actually had a good act, after leading off with the string trick, but the bubbles & scorpion bit? Total hot mess. I think the fact that the scorpion stung him and left him with a bleeding lip just added insult to injury…or injury to insult…whatever.

Johnny Tong – from Burbank, CA
The act: He lights his own farts on fire, with and assist from his…well, assistant.
The verdict: Judges said no…and then Johnny proceeded to beg and plead and shuffle cards onto his crotch in an effort to appease Heidi. Nick had to remove him from the stage with a stick.
Court’s thoughts: Ok, I’ll admit: I did have to chuckle and the fart-lighting. But Nick did too, so I must be at least semi-normal 😛 But I wouldn’t pay $70 to see it in Vegas, and something about this guy seemed…chemically-dependent.

Shawn McMaster
The act: He had Nick pick a card out of a stack, and then proceeded to strip down to a leotard…which had the card Nick picked printed on the front.
The verdict: It’s a no to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: It could have been a cool trick – if the delivery hadn’t been so lame.

Naathan Phan
The act: He attempted to escape from a straight jacket, while singing “I Want to Break Free”. Then he did a trick where he had the judges pick a card, then shoved the entire deck in his mouth, wiggled most of the cards out, and produced the card they picked…folded in quarters inside his mouth.
The verdict: Heidi & Howard buzzed him, but Howie & Mel liked his initial act. After Heidi gave him the opportunity to perform a different trick, he redeemed himself with the card trick and won over Heidi & Howard to move on to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Maybe it was the fact that he looked Asian but had a wicked Scottish accent, maybe it was the fact that he sang as he escaped the straight jacket, maybe it was the cool card-in-the-mouth trick that he did on-the-fly – whatever it was, I thought this guy was fascinating. If he can avoid the pitfalls of tricks that fall flat, I think he could be great on the live shows.

Forte – ages 22-33, from Puerto Rico, South Korea, and New York
The act: Fernando, Hana, & Josh are 3 guys that met online only days prior to actually performing “Dominus Requiem” as an opera trio.
The verdict: Judges were spellbound and gave an emphatic yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Who said Craigslist was only for selling furniture and arranging illicit rendezvous? 😛 I think these guys seriously hit the jackpot in finding each other – the way their voices blended together, I would have believed it if they had told me they had been singing together for years. Just this gorgeous, harmonious wall of sound. I think the classical singers category just got a lot more competitive – because I’d put money on it that Forte will make the live shows.

Now let’s hear your thoughts on this week’s auditions! Who are you most excited to see again?

June 26, 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!