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PureAGT Season 8, Semifinal #1 – Power Rankings

NOTE FROM COURT: I’m currently vacationing in Texas, so our reader (and my dear friend) Will has graciously agreed to cover the power rankings in my absence.  Please give him a warm welcome, as its his thoughts from here on out 🙂

Tonight’s episode was definitely strange for me.  In many many cases, the acts just seemed to really crack under the pressure.  For a few other acts, they were really good…but something was off about them.  I really only feel there were one or maybe two acts REALLY knocked it out of the park, a few that did pretty well but not amazing, and the rest seemed to be this shuffle of acts that could go anywhere.  I’m going to say that I’m not very confident in these rankings as it goes further down the list, as after the first 3 or 4, it could go anywhere in my opinion.  And honestly I’m not really 100% on the first 4 either, but enough of me blabbing.  Let’s get down to business! J
1.) Forte – This is pretty much a gimme.  These guys were fantastic, they are consistently blowing the audience and the judges away, and really, I think they’re going to make the finals, no problem.  They have beautiful voices that mesh together perfectly, they are each individually talented, they’re back story is interesting, and not to mention they had the best running order position going last.  Also, like I said above, even the stronger acts tonight seemed to struggle just a little bit.  It was like the planets aligned for them to breeze through tonight (as if they weren’t already, hahaha).  I can’t say I loved the song choice as much, and on maybe one or two occasions one of the voices stuck out a bit too much, but this was definitely the strongest act of the night.  Forte is a shoo-in to make it through, and I’m okay with that!  See ya in the top 12!
2.) Taylor Williamson – I think Taylor definitely stepped up his game this week.  The material was much stronger and his delivery was spot on once again.  Plus, his dorky, likable personality just makes you smile ear to ear. 🙂  The No. 2 pencil joke did totally go over my head, but the rest of the jokes had me laughing heartily and I genuinely enjoyed the entire performance!  The last joke actually had me laugh out loud, which I don’t think a comedian’s done for me personally yet this season.  Comedians have it very, very tough.  Comedians have to be really funny or their jokes are only going to make people chuckle a little and it’s hard to feed off of that to make the rest of the jokes funnier and well-executed.  What I’m saying is, being a comedian can be very awkward.  However, Taylor THRIVES off of the awkward and he EMBRACES it in a way that is extremely appealing and likable.  He takes what is often the Achilles heel for comedians and makes it his biggest asset.  That to me is what makes Taylor so great and why I think he’ll succeed with the audience.  If only one of the comedians make it tonight, then it will definitely be Taylor.  Hopefully he can keep this up next time around!
3/4.) TIE: Collins Key & Dave Fenley – I honestly couldn’t split these two as I could come up with reasons both of them can and probably will make it and why they might just be in a smidge of trouble.  I love Collins, he’s in my top 3 favorite acts, and he’s a REALLY talented guy.  His trick tonight was clever, very different, unique, and original, and executed well.  However, I do feel like this was a tough act to try and squeeze into 90 seconds like he did, and that might have left some audience members not enough time to process what happened or appreciate it.  It came off as a little rushed, even though overall I would say he did a great job.   Despite that, I do think Collins will make it.  He’s still one of the heavy-hitters.  He’s likable, he’s a good looking guy, he’s very talented, and has become one of the more popular acts this season.  I do think he’ll need to step it up in the top 12 if he wants to get through without complications, but I think he’ll learn from tonight.  As for Dave Fenley, I can’t say I particularly loved this performance.  The song choice was maybe a little better than his last go-around, but not by much.  I don’t feel like his performance really went anywhere.  On top of that, once he gets out of a certain range, he starts to lose it.  When he hits lower notes he drops them sometimes, and when he hits higher notes it sounds shrill and tense.  I do really like Dave, but this wasn’t that great to me.  But I didn’t place him here based upon how I felt about this.  Let’s face it, singers are pretty much the “gimme group” of AGT.  They have a highly increased chance of getting somewhere the competition and getting votes simply because they are a singer.  Dave’s got a good voice, is a very humble, lovable guy, and fits that “family man, good ol’ boy” image.   Combine those things together and I think he’ll get a lot of support and votes.  I think both Collins and Dave will make it and I will be a bit surprised if one of them is eliminated.
5.) Catapult Entertainment – I feel odd saying this, but I actually liked this more than the judges and a lot of viewers did.  Did I love it or think it was great?  Well, no.  But I really did appreciate and enjoy the theme and shapes, as they didn’t feel quite as cheesy or mushy as these acts tend to do.  However, in a way I also think that hurt them a little.  They obviously weren’t all the way comfortable with this performance and this story and it showed.  I understood the story but in several places it became hard to follow and truly understand.  I think it still enchanted some people, but many others were just bewildered by this.  Even the judges, who gushed over them last week, seemed to feel very lukewarm about this.  Some of the audience may feel the same, but very few tonight really brought something great to the table.  As a result of that, this stumble may not end their run on the show.  I think they’ll still be able to just make it, especially with 6 of the acts getting to move on as opposed to just 4.  They definitely need to step it up if they make it, however.
6.) Rong Niu, The Amazing Red Panda – Okay…I’m going to state this right now: I LOOOOOOOVE her.  Love, love, love her.  Okay, I’m done.  As great and unique as Red Panda’s act was, part of me worries that viewers just got a little bored by this since she really had to take time to set the bowels properly.  The pay off of seeing them get flipped onto her head may just not have been enough for some people.  Even though this is the first time that many have seen her, a good chunk have seen this.  For a lot of viewers, I feel the shock value and amazement steadily decline the more they watch her.  Since she had no time to prepare, did try to raise the stakes by performing on that extremely dangerous platform, and easily performs one of the most difficult acts, I give her a lot of props and I think she did pretty well tonight.  But like I said, I think a lot of viewers just didn’t get excited by seeing this and didn’t really appreciate it.  That’s why I wouldn’t be surprised if she was eliminated tomorrow.  However, since she is a very unique act that was placed in a sea of unmemorable performances, I still think she’s got a chance.
7.) Cami Bradley – Cami has got one of the most beautiful voices ever, but I think her song choice REALLY let her down tonight, and I think she got lost in the shuffle.  The song itself isn’t bad, and the cover is nice to listen to, but it wasn’t memorable, touching, or something really easy to connect emotionally to, which was one of the biggest reasons Cami’s cover of “Believe” succeeded.  Song choice is crucial, and if you do not pick something that will quickly get the audience’s attention and keep it, you will have a very flat, sleepy performance, even if you have a fantastic voice.  I would like to be wrong here, and I easily could be, but I think this song was so tame that it won’t spur enough excitement or buzz for people to vote for her.  This is particularly important for Cami, since she doesn’t have the backstory of Jimmy Rose, Dave Fenley, Jonathan Allen, ect.  And she isn’t a child like Anna Christine.  There’s nothing there to start with for her that the audience will latch onto.  That’s why she had to pick a great song and perform it beautifully.  Unfortunately only one of these things happened, and I think this puts her in serious trouble.
8.) Jonathan Allen – I predicted this would happen very early on this season.  The very moment Jonathan is put in the same group as Forte, his weaknesses would stick out like a sore thumb.  It also didn’t help that Jonathan really didn’t pick a great song for himself.  Jonathan’s just not ready to hit the high notes he did in this song.  They felt very shaky and weak, and because of that, it took the emotion and power of the song, which were really needed to make this work.  I like Jonathan, I think he’s talented, but it was very evident tonight that he’s just not ready to take this on.  Because America loves singers and he’s got his touching background, I think his chances are better than several others, but I think the charm of Jonathan has really worn thin on the judges and many of the viewers.  The nail in the coffin was the fact that he performed the same night as Forte.
9.) Innovative Force – I just really didn’t know where to stick these girls.  I feel that they may have a chance, but at the same time, I barely remember any of their routine.  I thought their first performance in NYC was exciting, dynamic, and interesting.  Tonight, this felt like a performance that I’ve seen hundreds of times before.  It felt generic.  I hate saying that because I LOVE my Missouri girls, but they were off their game tonight for me.  It would have really benefited them to put more dancing into the routine, as the frequency of the tricks (not to mention the fact that a good chunk of them looked very similar) made this routine feel very stop-and-go to me.  There was no special moment for me that really made me remember this routine or love it.  They might make it through the skin of their teeth, but my forecast for these lovely ladies isn’t good I’m afraid 🙁
10.) Angela Hoover – Angela’s chances were looking pretty decent tonight…until Taylor Williamson performed.  I really think only one comedian will make it to the top 12, and Taylor effectively took that spot tonight in my opinion.  I will say I really like Angela; she’s funny, she’s likable, and I think she stepped up her game tonight.  However, I don’t think she stepped things up enough to get her into the next round.  As great as her Sharon (spot ON), Kourtney Kardashian, and Sofia impressions were, I don’t think they were able to cover up the fact that her material (while better this week) is still weak.   She can make you laugh, but only a hearty chuckle that you can get every day.  That’s what’s eliminated every single comedian that’s been eliminated thus far.  Maybe her chances would have been better if she challenged herself more.  Courtney’s mentioned trying male voices.  I feel that if she works on that and nails it, it can boost the possibilities and her performance itself significantly.  But I fear for AGT, it’s too little too late for Angela.
11.) Tone the Chiefrocca – We all knew Tone wouldn’t make it this week and well, he probably won’t prove us wrong.  He wasn’t able to make it through last time, and against more heavy-hitters tonight, I don’t think he’ll make it this time either.  Nonetheless, I love watching him and the best hype-man on the face of the planet. 🙂  They aren’t meant to be taken that seriously, and honestly, with the oddness of tonight, I appreciated the fact that they gave me a smile and made me enjoy myself for a bit.  They succeed at what they want to do: “BOOTY” is easily one of the catchiest songs I’ve ever heard and it has huge potential to be a true one-hit wonder.  That’s not translated well on AGT obviously, but, I can appreciate a fun, energetic performance that’s pretty much just semifinal-fodder.  Good run while it lasted! 🙂
12.) Duo Resonance – These two are VERY talented at what they do and they really do impress me.  However, they still struggle with showmanship and the box only made things worse in my opinion.  Part of what makes these two great is the shapes they can create TOGETHER and I think the box just got in the way of that.  It halted the progress of the routine, it blocked any emotion that could have came from this, and worst of all, it split up an act that thrives on them acting as one.  Not to mention the fact that the box gave them very little room to create shapes and limited the possibilities even more.  I think Duo Resonance would have struggled tonight regardless, but the box greatly hindering their performance just sealed the deal.  I will be shocked if they make it.
So how did you all feel about it?  These were really tough rankings for me to make.  I would not be surprised if I only got two or three of them correct.  Who do you think should move on?  Who do you think will move on?  How did you feel about the acts as a whole tonight?  Let us know in the comments!  Everyone have a good night! 🙂
August 27, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 – Roster for 1st Semifinal Airing August 27

Here’s the semifinalists performing next week:

Innovative Force
Forte
Kristef Brothers
Angela Hoover
Cami Bradley
Collins Key
Taylor Williamson
Jonathan Allen
Dave Fenley
Duo Resonance (Heidi’s wildcard pick)
Tone the Chiefrocca (Mel’s wildcard pick)
Unnannounced act(?)

Ok, I’m confused – given the acts that they announced last night, plus two of the wild card picks, only gives us 10 acts for next week…and we have a total of 24 (20 from the 5 quarterfinal rounds, plus 4 wildcards) in the semifinals.  Either there are two more acts performing next week that just weren’t announced, or we’re going to have one semifinal of 10 acts and another of 14.  Maybe they’re still working out the schedule for next week? It appears as though they were, indeed, still working out the schedule for next week, as Dave announced on his Twitter that he will, indeed, be performing next week. Thanks to Liam for the heads-up.

Anywho – I think the two strongest acts with the best chance of advancing from this group are Forte & Collins Key.  I think Jonathan Allen can kiss any chance he had of advancing beyond the semifinals goodbye, because I think all the opera nuts are gonna put their eggs in one basket to ensure Forte advances.  That’s the one upside to a bunch of singers making it through – now they have to go up against one another, and I have a feeling the folks voting through all the singers from quarterfinals are now going to have to pick and choose who they REALLY want to vote through – so some of these weaker vocalists are gonna drop off.  Tone is just pure fun and I don’t see him advancing (and I plan on doing another post later discussing at length why I think it’s good that he made it through); I think Taylor & Angela are going to have to duke it out for a spot, cause I don’t see both of them making it. Will be interesting to see Duo Resonance & Kristef Brothers competing against each other – I think Kristef may actually come out on top with this one, because they seemed to have learned how to work the crowd while Duo seems to still be struggling with stage presence.

So what do you guys think of this group?

August 22, 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 #3 – SPOILERS!!! Who Made it Through to the Next Round?

For once, I’m not feeling outraged about the results tonight – I am, however, beginning to get concerned about the number of singers making it through to the semifinals.  And I think Howie and I may be on the same page, because he seemed to subtly (ok, NOT so subtly) insinuate that America “got it wrong” last week…and that we have “such a great variety of acts to share with America!” I don’t know about you, but to me that screams “You idiots shouldn’t have voted Marty through…and stop voting so many other singers through!!!”  Read more..

August 7, 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 #3 – Power Rankings

I think after tonight’s show, my fear that season 8 will turn into a battle of the singers (with only a few other unique acts thrown in) seems to be coming true – and I partially blame the judges, who seemed to lavish over-the-top praise on even the most mediocre singers tonight.  I really hope some of the singers cancel each other out in the semifinals – because if not, I fear this season could get REALLY dull, really quick.

1.) Kenichi Ebina – Most unique and creative act of the night for me, and I love that this guy’s skills extend beyond dancing into martial arts and animation.  I just love watching him! I would say he’s probably the only act from last night that’s a sure thing – if he doesn’t make it through, something is seriously wrong with America.

2.) Chicago Boyz – Best energy of any act of the night, for sure.  Loved that they had some new tricks to show off – they really upped the ante this time – and that they never were sitting still: if they weren’t doing a stunt, they were hyping up the crowd.  And best of all: they looked like they were having the time of their lives out there.  Hopefully America thought so too.

3.) Deanna Dellacioppa – Deanna was better last night than she was at her initial audition and her Vegas performance, I’ll give her that.  But I still don’t think she’s as stellar a vocalist as the judges (and she herself) seem to think she is.  Something about the texture of her voice just bugs me – some of the notes sound thin and choppy, and others come across as too sharp and forceful. On top of that, I just get this diva-ish air from her – the way she gets overdramatic when talking about how she’s always been looked over due to her weight, the freaking out about her backing track in Vegas, the cheesy Beyonce-esque hand gestures during her performance.  You’re not there yet, honey.  However, I think the gushing from the judges (and the fact that she’s one of the only female solo vocalists left in the competition) give her a decent shot of advancing to the next round.  I’d be fine if she didn’t…but I said the same thing about Marty Brown, and I’m still eating crow about that one.

4.) The American Military Spouses Choir – Sometimes I wonder if the judges hear something completely different while in the live audience at Radio City than we the viewers do at home – because I found myself feeling only lukewarm about this performance.  Once again, I felt like there were one or two women doing all the heavy vocal lifting, and those in the backround were only managing to contribute some off-key humming.  I really disliked the arrangement of the song – I could barely tell that it was “Hero”, because of some of the pitch changes they made.  Do these ladies do great work and have a heartwarming backstory? Absolutely.  But do they have the talent to stick around and hang with some of the stronger acts this season? I’m not so sure.  I think their backstory will probably carry them through to the next round (much like Marty Brown’s did last week), but I think they’re probably going to stick out like a sore thumb next to some of the really strong acts in the semifinals.

5.) Jonathan Allen – I’ll admit – Jonathan sounded good last night, save for one dodgy note at the very end of his performance.  But I’m left a bit on-the-fence about him: do we really need a THIRD opera act in the semifinals? Will America put a third opera act into the semifinals? That’s the big question mark of the evening for me.  I actually think Jonathan sounded better than both Deanna & AMSC last night, but I don’t feel like he got as hyped by the judges – probably because they already have opera crushes on Forte and Branden James (who I’m still not all that impressed with). He seems like a good kid with legitimate talent – but if it comes down to him and another act in the judges’ choice (a more appropriate name seems to be the “judges’ cop-out”), I think they’ll pick the other act, simply because we have 2 opera acts already.

6.) Jim Meskimen – He’s another act that did fairly well last night, but I’m just not sure what America is going to make of him.  I definitely think he’s better than Angela Hoover, but I also think he had tougher competition last night than Angela did – and some of his impersonations were only so-so (I didn’t really “get” the Clooney and Woody Allen ones).  My gut feeling is that he’ll probably get lost in the sea of singers from last night, but I think there’s still a slim chance he could advance to the next round…guess we’ll have to wait and see.

7.) Mitsi Dancing School – What they do is really spellbinding to watch – the precision with which they dance is just amazing to me.  But I worry that their routine may have gotten a bit repetitive, and the ease with which they did some of those precise moves may not get appreciated as much as it should by the audience.  Had they thrown in some more acrobatic stuff, I think they would have stood a better chance of making it through – but unfortunately, I think they’re going to end up one of those “pleasant to watch” acts that doesn’t really leave a lasting impression.

8.) Dave “The Cobra Kid” Weathers – I think Howard actually summed up the problem with this act the best: the act depends heavily on the snake, and the snake didn’t deliver.  No doubt cobras are extremely dangerous animals – but I think Dave’s problem last night was that his cobra seemed more in the mood for flight than fight, and kept slithering away…which diminished the dangerous feel of his act.  On top of that, I think the fact that he didn’t really have a specific goal to his act made it feel a bit aimless – in his first audition, the goal was to get the rattlesnake to pop the balloon in his mouth; what was the goal this time? Taunt the snake and then shove it back into a box? I like the guy, but I think his act has hit its plateau on AGT.

9.) Leon Etienne & Romy Low – I think in the struggle to do something cool & unique, Leon & Romy may have confused their audience a bit – which hurt them even though their trick was quite impressive for those who were able to keep up with it.  The whole “deliberately show the audience that we’re faking trick A so that they aren’t paying attention to trick B” scheme would have been genuis, had it been explained better from the get-go – and if they hadn’t wasted so much time trying to distract us with the first trick, I think the act would have been far better received by both the audience and the judges.  I don’t see them making it through tonight, but I could see them asked back for the wild card round.

10.) Brandon & Savannah – I think these two are proof positive that song choice is crucial at this point – and they picked the wrong one, I’m afraid.  I don’t think this song suited either of their voices well, but Savannah in particular sounded off-key and flat to me tonight, which is strange considering that she’s usually the stronger of the two for me.  Overall, unimpresive and forgettable for me last night. 

11.) Kelsey & Bailey – I don’t think Kelsey & Bailey really benefitted too much from the fact that Olate Dogs won last season…and I think they just kind of stick out like a sore thumb as a very mediocre pet trick act.  I agree with Mel that this seemed to get very repetitive and that Bailey seems to have a rather limited repertoire of tricks.  He’s adorable, yes – but I feel like we saw MUCH more impressive stuff from Olate last season.

12.) Aerosphere – Just a big snoozefest for me – too slow-moving and it seemed to take forever to really get started.  I think I only saw one acrobatic trick.  Just…no.

So what are your thoughts on last night’s acts?

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 3rd Live Show Airing August 6

So here’s the list of acts that Nick announced for next week’s live show:

Chicago Boyz (acrobatic group)
Deanna Dellacioppa (singer)
Mitsi Dancing School (Chinese folk dance group)
Brandon & Savannah (band)
Aerosphere (aerial balloon act)
Jim Meskimen (comedic impressionist)
Kenichi Ebina (dancer)
Kelsey & Bailey (dog trick act)
American Military Spouses Choir (choir)
Leon Etienne & Romy Low (illusionist)
Dave “The Cobra Kid” Weathers (snake handler)
Jonathan Allen (opera singer)

First impressions? The heavy hitters in this group are Kenichi, the Chicago Boyz, and Jim Meskimen – those are the 3 that I would guess have the best chance of making it through.  I’m thinking the American Military Spouses Choir is probably going to be toast, as is Mitsi Dancing School and possibly Aerosphere.  I really don’t think we need yet ANOTHER opera act in the semifinals, so I guess I’m kind of hoping that Jonathan Allen doesn’t have the juice to make it through.

What do you guys think?

August 1, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Vegas Week Rundown – Night #2

Well, the “WTF?” train didn’t leave the station after last night – still more shocking eliminations (and even MORE shocking advances to the live shows) than last night.  I’m now convinced that some acts are just going to be there for the sake of variety and to serve as cannon fodder for the REALLY good acts.

First, let’s get the verdicts out of the way…

Acts that made it to the live shows after performing in Vegas:

(acts with a * next to them did not appear in the audition round – Vegas is the first time we’ve seen them)

Collins Key
Leon Etienne & Romy Low
Brad Byers
Slackwire Sam
Alex Magala
Special Head
Brandon & Savannah
Forte
The American Hit Men
Marty Brown
Dave Fenley
Duo Resonance
Timber Brown
Kristef Brothers
Izzy & Aaralyn
Chloe Channell
2Unique
Ciana Pelekai
Taylor Williamson
John Wing*
Hype
Kid the Wiz
D’Angelo & Amanda
Jonas & Ruby
David Ferman
Rong Niu
Deanna Dellacioppa
Jonathan Allen
Cami Bradley (not shown, but advanced according to Wikipedia)
Selena Mykenzie Gordon (not shown, but advanced according to Wikipedia)

Court’s thoughts: Why the HELL are Aaralyn & Izzy still in this competition??? I find nothing about them talented, entertaining, cute, or unique – in fact, it actually disturbs me a bit that they’re being pushed in this direction musically, and that no one appears to be teaching this child proper vocal technique.  At this rate, she’ll be lucky if she doesn’t have chronic laryngitis by the time she’s 16! I officially dub Aaralyn & Izzy this year’s “Horse”.  Also a little miffed that 2Unique made it through – the DJ is pretty good, but I don’t think the other girl is anything special, nor do I think the act as a whole is worthy of a Vegas show.  Also a bit skeptical that Chloe Channell made it through, despite giving a rather lackluster performance in Vegas.  Gotta say, I’m surprised they took both D’Angelo & Amanda and Ruby & Jonas – not because one is less talented than the other, but because I thought for sure they were going to pit sibling-against-sibling for a slot in the live shows…guess they figured the sibling vs. sibling storyboarding angle could work for the live shows, too.  Beyond the acts that I mentioned, I guess I’m pretty happy with the acts that made it through.

Acts that were cut after performing in Vegas:

Ariann Black*
Naathan Phan
RJ Cantu*
Tavi & Antonio
“Accro” Brandon Rosario*
Travis Pratt
Paul Thomas Mitchell
Lil Demon
Melody Caballeros*
Archbishop Molloy Step Team*
Art Spark*
Skilyr Hicks
Genesis Nava*
Jimmy Failla*
Eric Schwartz*
Megan Piphus
Kennedy Davenport*
Dylan Wilson
Lil Mike & Funny Bone (cut immediately after performing)

Court’s thoughts: First, I feel I must point out the pattern here: most of the acts that weren’t featured from the audition rounds, did not make it to the live shows.  Guess that goes to show that if you don’t get a lot of airtime devoted to you, it’s probably because you won’t be sticking around long, anyway.  Now, a “WTF?!” moment: why were Travis Pratt & Paul Thomas Mitchell cut???  I think the former’s unique voice would have been an asset in the live shows, and the latter also had a unique voice and some genuine songwriting talent.  *sigh* Like Milton Patton, I guess I can only hope that they get called back for the wild card round.  Beyond those two, I think I for the most part agree with the acts that were cut – seemed like some of them really blew it in Vegas (notably Megan Piphus and Skilyr Hicks) while others probably never really stood a chance to begin with (Dylan Wilson and Lil Mike & Funny Bone).  The rest were acts that we didn’t really see much of, anyway, so it didn’t really affect me much to see them cut.

Acts that performed in Vegas (continued from Night #1)

Kid Musicians:

Aaralyn & Izzy
Chloe Channell
Genesis Nava*
Ciana Pelekai

Court’s thoughts: You already know how I feel about Aaralyn & Izzy….grrr.  I thought Chloe Channell actually blew it with her song choice – her performance ended up being kind of blah, and she may have fared better if she had switched songs with Genesis.  I think the only one that knocked it out of the park was Ciana – I was skeptical after seeing her in the audition round, but her rendition of “I’d Rather Go Blind” brought the house down. 

Magicians:

RJ Cantu*
Naathan Phan
Collins Key
Ariann Black*
Leon Etienne & Romy Low

Court’s thoughts: Only one real standout for me – once again, Collins Key aced his performance.  I love that he’s going the route of up-close, more intimate tricks as opposed to these large-scale illusions that so many other acts are going for.  Ariann totally blew it – her trick went wrong and she refused to admit it.  Thought RJ’s trick would have been far more impressive if he had done it with the lights on – it was so damn dark, you could tell he was trying to hide something.  I agree with Howard about Naathan – his magic is good, but his delivery is awkward.  I guess Leon & Romy’s trick was kind of cool, but it also struck me as a little boring. 

Variety acts:

Special Head
Kennedy Davenport*
Megan Piphus
Lil Mike & Funny Bone

Court’s thoughts: This category was a little bit of a dud for me – nobody really seemed to rise to their full potential.  Thought Special Head fared the best, but agreed with the judges that his audition trick was more impressive.  If we’ve seen one dancing/lip syncing drag queen, I feel like we’ve seen them all – so I wasn’t terribly impressed by Kennedy Davenport.  Megan and Lil Mike & Funny Bone both completely blew their Vegas performances – Megan looked downright amateurish trying to sing “ABC” with her puppet, and I don’t know that Lil Mike & Funny Bone even rehearsed at all, since they both seemed to be forgetting their choreography and just wandering around the stage aimlessly.  I think the latter may have wasted their one great song on the audition round and just didn’t have anything else that was equally strong to fall back on…so who knows, maybe they were kind of doomed from the get-go.  But they did seem rather lackadaisical about the whole thing, so I guess I agree with the judges eliminating them immediately after they performed. 

Male singers:

Dave Fenley
Marty Brown
Paul Thomas Mitchell
Jonathan Allen
Travis Pratt

Court’s thoughts: I love Dave Fenley more and more each time I hear him perform – loved his gravelly acoustic take on “These Arms of Mine”.  I agree with the judges that I thought Marty was better in his audition than he was in Vegas – he wasn’t terrible, per se, but I just found myself a bit bored.  Seemed like Paul fumbled a bit with “Sunday Morning”, but I still loved his voice and thought for sure he’d be going to the live shows.  Jonathan Allen definitely improved from his initial audition – seems like he has a lot better control over his voice now.  Poor Travis Pratt – I think he did a commendable job with “Ave Maria”, but the judges just couldn’t seem to get past the fact that he sings like a woman. 

So the roster is set for Radio City Music Hall!!! Who are you most excited to see in the live shows? And who are you sad to see eliminated?

July 17, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Vegas Week Predictions – Singers/Classical Singers/Bands/Music Groups

In further preparation for Vegas week, I’ve decided to take a closer look at each of our contestants and gaze into my crystal ball to try & predict who will do well in Vegas and who won’t.  I’ve taken each act and given them one of four verdicts: “a sure thing” for the acts I’m almost positive will make it through to the live shows; “looking likely” for the acts I think will probably make it though to the live shows; “could go either way” for the acts I’m not sure about; and “a long shot” for the acts I don’t think have a very good chance of making it through to the live shows.  Today I’m going to be examining the singers, classical singers, and musical groups from this season.  Let’s get to it, shall we? 🙂

Singers:

*Interesting little thing I noticed: 5 of the acts below made it to Vegas by performing original songs.

Marty Brown: Could go either way. With 3 male country vocalists in Vegas this year, I think at best they’ll take 2 for the live shows – I really don’t see all 3 making it through. I think Milton will make it through based on the fact that he, like Landau from season 6, is such a novelty (in addition to being talented);  which leaves us with Marty vs. Jimmy.  I go back and forth on which one has a better chance of making it – part of me says Marty, because he appeals to an older demographic; part of me says Jimmy, because he’s got a bit more versatility, in that he’s also a songwriter.

Tone the Chiefrocca: Could go either way. I’m a big “B-O-O-T-Y” fan, and I would love, love, LOVE to see this guy make the live shows.  The question is: is “B-O-O-T-Y” every bit as entertaining the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. times we see it performed, as it was the first time? Howard seemed skeptical about Tone performing the same song every time, but Howie was all about it.  I think the song is ridiculously catchy, and I think Tone & his brother are ridiculously fun to watch, so I think they may actually stand a good chance of making it to the live shows – if they can somehow keep the act fresh.

Paul Thomas Mitchell: Looking likely.  He’s got a unique voice, bona fide talent, and seems like he could be a heartthrob-type that young girls would pick up the phone for. I think he’s got more widespread appeal (and natural talent) than Sully, whom I could see him being pitted against for a spot in the live shows.

Deanna DellaCioppa: Looking likely. While I don’t think Deanna is the most talented vocalist this show has ever seen, and I think she has a lot of room for improvement from her initial audition, I think she’ll likely make it through based on the fact that we don’t have any other R&B/soul female vocalists this season, and the judges (minus Mel B) seemed mesmerized by all the crazy notes she was hitting.

Cami Bradley: A long shot. Given that we only saw a very brief clip of Cami, and there are female vocalists in the kids’ category that could probably sing circles around Cami, I doubt we’ll see her lasting past Vegas…if we even see her in Vegas.  She’s not really standing out in my mind, which tells me she may be one of those acts that isn’t even shown in Vegas, and then we just assume she was sent home.

David Fenley: A sure thing. I think he’s probably the most universally-appealing contestant from the singers category this season – he puts a cool spin on popular songs, he knows his way around a guitar, he’s got a unique voice, and he’s got an edge about him.  I don’t see him struggling in Vegas, and he would probably be an easy “yes” for the judges for the live shows.

Lil Mike & Funny Bone: A long shot. I think there’s probably only room for one rapping act this season, and I think Tone probably has that slot on lock…IF they even take a rapping act this season.  While I really like Lil Mike & Funny Bone, I just don’t know that they’re as entertaining and charismatic as Tone, and “Do the Rain Dance” is not as catchy as “B-O-O-T-Y”.  On the flip side, I think “Mike Bone” might actually have some other songs up their sleeve, where as Tone only has one.  I’ll be gleefully happy if both Tone & Mike Bone make it to the live shows – but I’m just not feeling optimistic.

Sully Dunn: A long shot. I’m honestly a bit surprised he made it through to Vegas (and the judges did seem a bit skeptical), so I think he’s got a tough road ahead of him if he wants to stick around.  I don’t know that another song like the one he performed for his audition is gonna cut it – if I were him, I’d go for a cover that fits in well with his punk style (maybe Green Day?) and work on stage presence.  I’m almost kind of hoping he doesn’t make the live shows, for the simple reason that he seems to get really, really nervous in front of big crowds. I could see Howie picking him for the wild card round, though.

Jimmy Rose: Could go either way. As I said above with Marty, I just don’t see them taking more than two male country vocalists this season – and with Milton as kind of a lock, I think the question over who they’re going to pick for the second slot will come down to old school vs. new school: do they want the good ol’ boy who sings covers (Marty), or the vulnerable new guy who writes his own material? I’m actually a bit partial to Jimmy, since I think he has a bit more of a stage presence.

Milton Patton: Looking likely.  Milton’s got a great, unique voice, and on top of that, he’s got a novelty to him that I think will bring in viewers: he’s a black guy that sings country like Brad Paisley.  I think part of Landau’s appeal from a few seasons back and Andrew DeLeon’s from last season was the fact that their voices and the music they sang were not what one would have expected, given their respective appearances.  On top of that, he’s got an easy charm to him, and good looks that will likely appeal to the ladies.  I will be surprised if he doesn’t make it to the live shows.

 

Classical singers:

Forte: A sure thing. Barring a truly horrible performance in Vegas (hell, I think they could probably even get away with bombing completely!), I think these guys will coast through to the live shows easily – the judges seemed to really gush about how great they sounded, and if memory serves, they’re the first opera trio we’ve ever had on the show.  The novelty of them seems to be something that would bring in viewers. If Jackie Evancho was AGT’s answer to Sarah Brightman, then I think Forte may be AGT’s answer to The Three Tenors…the buzz practically writes itself.

Travis Pratt: Looking likely. Of the three solo opera guys we have this season, I think Travis has the best technique and control (although I think any one of the three guys in Forte could sing circles around him), and he has the novelty factor: he can sing opera like a girl, and we don’t have any opera girls this season.  It’s a niche that needs to be filled.  Plus I think viewers will remember him as “the guy who proposed to his girlfriend on national television”.  🙂

Branden James: Could go either way. He seemed a little shaky to me at times, and maybe didn’t have quite the training and control that the Forte guys & Travis did.  But I think he injects an incredible amount of emotion into his performances, and has this lovely, vulnerable quality to him.  I think him making it through to the live shows will likely depend on how many opera acts they decide to take this season – I don’t recall a season where there’s been more than one, but I also can’t remember a season where there have been this many opera acts that made it to Vegas.

Jonathan Allen: A longshot.  Sorry, Jonathan fans – while he comes across quite likeable and has a touching backstory, he still sticks out in my mind as the weakest of the of the classical singers we’ve seen this season.  I think he’s at a bit of a disadvantage just due to his age, as the other guys in this category are older and have had longer to hone their craft. I think he may only have a chance of making it through if one of the other guys really performs poorly – or if Jonathan has gotten a ton of practice in since his initial audition and just brings down the house in Vegas.

Bands/Music Groups:

3Penny Chorus & Orchestra: Looking likelyThey’ve got the capability to perform pop music on a pretty large scale, and can appeal to both an older and a younger generation.  I think they’ve got more polish and more versatility than Mariachi Nuevo Estilo, who also perform pop songs with a twist; my only worry is that they maybe don’t have quite as much stage presence as them, given that all of the musicians are seated. 

Mariachi Nuevo Estilo AVM: Could go either wayI personally found their act a little on the sloppy side, but I can see how they would appeal to a younger audience – they’re singing pop music in an interesting way and dancing along with it in an amusing fashion.  I could see them being one of the standby acts in Vegas – and as long as they don’t completely bomb, I could see them making it through to the live shows. 

American Military Spouses Choir: A long shot. As heartwarming as their story was, I just don’t know that they’ve got enough unique talent to really have a good shot on the live shows – I think the UV Gospel Chorale has stronger voices and a stronger stage presence, and the American Hitmen are every bit as patriotic as the Military Spouses Choir…but have more talent. 

University of Virginia Gospel Chorale: Looking likelyIt’s been awhile since the show has seen a good gospel choir, and I think this one is a real crowd-pleaser: they have these huge voices and exciting choreography that can really turn a performance into an event.  I think it’s something that will translate well into live TV.

Brandon & Savannah: Could go either wayI’m not entirely sure whether these two will get lumped in with the adults, or will be included in the “kid” acts – they’re at an age where they could ostensibly be included in either category. Regardless, I think they’re really marketable and would likely be popular with the Disney crowd…but in the same token, they might be a bit too “bubblegum” to really be taken seriously.  I think they should probably switch to singing covers if they want to be taken seriously.

The American Hit Men: A sure thing. I’ve noticed that Howard tends to really stand his ground when he likes an act (and when he dislikes an act, too), so I think it works in this act’s favor that Howard is a big fan.  They’re the “great rock band” that he had been wanting to find this season, and they really don’t have any competition in that niche. 

212 Green: A sure thing. They’re young, they’re cute, and they’re talented – and there aren’t really any other acts with a similar lineup or sound this season.  I’d say they’re the hipper, more artsy version of Brandon & Savannah – and adults and kids alike will probably love them.

So what are your thoughts on this season’s singers? Who do you think will make it through to the live shows…and who do you think we’ll say goodbye to in Vegas?

July 12, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Vegas Week Roster

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

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

Singers:

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

Classical Singers:

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

Bands/Musical Groups:

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

Dancers:

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

Dance groups:

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

Acrobats:

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

Danger acts:

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

Magicians:

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

Comedians:

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

Novelty acts:

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

Kid Acts:

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

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 Episode #2 Music List – San Antonio/New Orleans Auditions

Here’s the music I could identify from this week’s episode.  Please feel free to request other songs or add any that you might know in the comments section 🙂

“El Jarabe Tapatio (The Mexican Hat Dance)” (judges arrive in San Antonio)
“Diamonds (instrumental)” by RihannaDiamonds (Instrumental) - Karaoke Pop Vol.3 (Travis Pratt intro)
“This Will Be” by Natalie ColeThis Will Be (An Everlasting Love) - Natalie Cole: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 (Travis proposes; montage of good auditions)
“Oye Como Va” by Tito Puente Jr. Oye Como Va (Old School Classic Mix) - Oye Como Va (Remixes)(Jonas & Ruby performance)
“I Like It” by Enrique Iglesias I Like It (feat. Pitbull) - Euphoria (Deluxe Edition)(Jonas & Ruby get 4 yes’s)
“Straight Up” by Brian Setzer Orchestra (D’Angelo & Amanda performance)
“We Come Running” by Youngblood HawkeWe Come Running - Wake Up (D’Angelo & Amanda get 4 yes’s)
“Low” by Flo Rida Low (feat. T-Pain) - Mail On Sunday(covered by Mariachi Nuevo Estilo)
“Sexy & I Know It” by LMFAOSexy and I Know It - Sorry for Party Rocking (Deluxe Version) (covered by Mariachi Nuevo Estilo)
“Bailamos” by Enrique IglesiasBailamos - Enrique (Mariachi gets 4 yes’s)
“God Blessed Texas” by Little Texas God Blessed Texas - Little Texas: Greatest Hits(Pistol Packin’ Paula intro)
“Juggernaut” by Jo Blankenburg Juggernaut - Vendetta - Position Music Orchestral Series Vol. 6(Brad Byers intro)
“Secrets” by OneRepublicSecrets - Waking Up (Collins Key intro & 4 yes’s)
“Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling StonesSympathy for the Devil - Beggars Banquet (New Orleans intro)
“Saving All My Love For You” by Whitney HoustonSaving All My Love for You - Whitney - The Greatest Hits (Megan Piphus performance)
“Best Thing I Never Had” by Beyoncé Best Thing I Never Had - 4(Megan gets 4 yes’s)
“Time to Say Goodbye” by Andrea Bocelli Time to Say Goodbye - Romanza(Jonathan Allen performance)
“A Thousand Years” by Christina PerriA Thousand Years - The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Deluxe Version] (Jonathan gets 4 yes’s)
“Feel Again” by OneRepublicFeel Again - Native (montage of New Orleans contestants waiting to audition)
“Garador’s Flight” by Jo Blankenburg Garador's Flight - Elysium(Alexanderia emerges from underwater)
“Fashion” by Lady Gaga Fashion - Confessions of a Shopaholic (Original Soundtrack) [Bonus Track Version](JC Starbright intro)
“The A-Team (instrumental)” by Ed SheeranThe a Team - + (Deluxe Version) (Paul Thomas Mitchell intro)
Time for Miracles” by Adam Lambert Time for Miracles - 2012 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)(Paul gets 4 yes’s)

 

June 12, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Audition Round Rundown #2 – San Antonio/New Orleans Auditions

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

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

UPDATE: Rundown of New Orleans auditions is up!

San Antonio:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Orleans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 11, 2013 I Written By

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