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PureAGT Season 8 Live Show #2 – Power Rankings

Am I the only one who have found the live shows to be rather lackluster thus far? Once again last night, I was left feeling kind of “meh” about some acts that had really thrilled me prior to this point.  There were a few standouts, of course, but it seems like quite a few acts are just getting lost in the shuffle.  Will be interesting to see how things pan out tonight…

1.) Forte - This was a little bit of a gimme, in my opinion, as I had them pegged as advancing to the next round before they even performed – and sure enough, they delivered once more…and thankfully, they seemed to reign in the problem they had in Vegas: now Sean feels more like part of the group, as opposed to a featured soloist.  Love the feeling of a “wall of sound” that I get from them.  I agree with Howie that these guys are top 10 material, for sure.

2.) Tone the Chiefrocca – This really seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it kind of act, but even if you can’t stand this guy, I think you have to admit that his whole schtick is kind of genius: his only ambition is to be a one-hit wonder, and he readily admits it.  You can’t accuse the guy of overreaching given his level of talent, and really, his song is terribly catchy and radio-ready. On top of that, he (and his “hype guy” Colby, who is quickly stealing the show for me) is ridiculously amusing to watch, on and off-stage, and has the right personality to really carry of the “spectacle” of what he’s doing.  I loved their performance last night and I don’t feel even slightly guilty admitting it – it was amusing and it made me smile.  Sure, it’s not classical opera or some ridiculously skilled dance act, but at the end of the day, I was entertained…and I think America was, too :-)

3.) Innovative Force – Was actually quite pleasantly surprised by what this group brought to the table – saw some stunts that I’d never seen before, and they handled them masterfully.  My only complaint is that their act seemed to focus more on the stunting aspect and they seemed to neglect the dancing aspect a bit – this may have been a strategic choice on their part, in order to make more of an impact, but I think they’re going to run out of stunts pretty quickly if they continue at the pace they’re going – I don’t think it would hurt to add a bit more dancing to the act.

4.) Angela Hoover – Found myself a bit on-the-fence about our female impressionist last night – I think her impressions were pretty spot-on and relevant, but I think she picked some “gimmes” to imitate and the end result wasn’t as creative as what we saw from her in the audition rounds.  Was it relevant and cute to impersonate Mel & Heidi, and do it well at that? Sure.  But I almost feel like that’s what people were expecting her to do, as other impressionists have taken aim at the judges in past seasons.  I also thought the Christina Aguilera impersonation was a bit of a freebie – almost every female impressionist seems to do Christina, since her voice is so distinct.  I think Angela will probably make it through tonight, but I’d like to see her challenge herself a bit more in the future – either by trying a few male impressions, or by picking female celebs that are a bit harder to imitate…I’d like to see a good Kardashian impression, or maybe a Kate Middleton.

5.) Marty Brown - Marty blew it last night – period.  He was out-of-tune, lost his stage presence, and overall, he didn’t deliver.  That said – I would not be surprised if he made it through tonight by some miracle, as so many people just seem to love this “good ol’ boy” and are willing to give him another chance.  That song was terrible, but I think the fact that he dedicated it to his dear ol’ dad and was singing to his wife will probably tug on enough heartstrings to get him a decent amount of votes.  If it comes down to him in the judges’ choice? I think the judges pick the other act – but I get the feeling that we’ll be seeing him again in the wild card.

6.) Alexander Magala  – I will say this: the levels of danger this guy goes to never cease to amaze me.  He does do a great job of upping his game each week.  That said – he was a little off his game this week, and his injury may have had something to do with it.  I saw a few trips and slips, and I think the fire element just made it hard to see and appreciate what he was doing.  I worry that tonight may be the end of the road for him, just because there were acts that didn’t struggle as much. If nothing else – he’s far more fun to watch than Brad Byers.

7.) Ciana Pelekai – Ugh, I just cringe when a talented singer just picks the wrong song and ends up falling kind of flat as a result.  Ciana’s got a great voice – unfortunately, the arrangement of this song (and the distracting dancers/backup singers in the background) seemed to serve more to drown out her vocals rather than showcasing them.  It started off well – I thought she sounded great by herself at the beginning – but once the song hit the chorus? Nah.  Another act I could see being asked back for the wild card.

8.) Kid the Wiz – Kid is great at what he does, no doubt.  But I think we’ve seen just about all we’re going to get out of him – I don’t know that I see him being able to do a whole lot more with his act that we haven’t already seen…and he’s still making mistakes.  I don’t know that he’s got the steam to go any further in this competition.

9.) Aquanuts – This went from being cool to being cheesy awfully fast for me – I realize that it takes a tremendous amount of skill to do what they do, but at the same time…I found myself bored with it.  Not sure how America’s gonna feel, but if they were as unamused as I was…yikes.

10.) Brad Byers – Zzzzzzzz.  That’s all I really find myself saying after watching his performances – I mean, what he does is no doubt dangerous, but I find myself just not caring a whole lot because his delivery is so deadpan.  On top of that, I feel like the tricks are getting a little repetitive – it was the tongue on the blowtorch in Vegas, and now the tongue in the fan on the live show.  What’s next, licking a cactus?

11.) Struck Boyz – I just don’t find this group terribly talented – I feel like we’ve got much stronger dancers that aren’t as gimmicky.  It’s as if they saw Bieber and the guys from Jersey Shore doing their thing, and decided they would be a good group of guys to emulate in order to make little girls shriek.  Too bad they don’t have the same effect on grown women…yuck.

12.) Dave Shirley – Not terribly funny or creative…not a whole lot much more I can say.

So who do you think will make it through tonight? And who let you down?

July 31, 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 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 Vegas Week Rundown – Night #1

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

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

Instant Decisions

Acts that made it straight through to the live shows:

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

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

Acts that got sent straight home:

Olivia Rox
Yasha & Daniela
Sully Dunn
Milton Patton

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

Acts that performed in Vegas

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

Danger acts:

Slackwire Sam
Rong Niu
David Ferman
Brad Byers
Alex Magala

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

Music groups:

Forte
Brandon & Savannah
The American Hit Men

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

Kid acts:

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

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

Comedians:

Jimmy Failla*
Eric Schwartz*
Taylor Williamson
John Wing*

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

Dancers:

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

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

Acrobats:

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

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

Female singers:

Deanna Dellacioppa
Skilyr Hicks
Selena Mykenzie Gordon*
Cami Bradley

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

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

July 16, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Vegas Week Predictions – Novelty/Kid Acts

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

Novelty acts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Kid Acts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Vegas Week Roster

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

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

Singers:

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

Classical Singers:

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

Bands/Musical Groups:

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

Dancers:

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

Dance groups:

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

Acrobats:

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

Danger acts:

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

Magicians:

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

Comedians:

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

Novelty acts:

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

Kid Acts:

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

July 12, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Audition Round Rundown #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 :-P 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 :-P

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 :-P 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? :-P 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!