Free America's Got Talent Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on America's Got Talent sent straight to your email? Join hundreds of other AGT fans who subscribe to Pure AGT for FREE!

The Holiday Season has Begun! – AGT Alumni Update

We’re at that point in the America’s Got Talent offseason where we’re past the excitement and hype of the previous season, but are still waiting for buzz on the upcoming competition. Auditions for the upcoming season are going on, but there hasn’t been much news to come out of them yet. I have heard about a couple of possible recruits, but I’m waiting until a few more names get thrown out there before a do a whole post on them.

Britain’s Got Talent is in a similar “lull” phase right now, but I’m sure news on that show will pick up soon since it’s return is closer than that of AGT. In the meantime, we still have the Royal Variety Performance (that actually almost got cancelled but thankfully the show went on) to look forward to. The show was filmed last week and will be televised in December/January depending on the country (as per tradition, it’ll air here in Canada at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s, but I’ll make sure to watch and review the show on here well beforehand while it’s still relevant. :P).

I was really hoping to see another AGT Christmas special this year, but there are still plenty of opportunities to see franchise favorites grace our television screens this holiday season!

Angelica Hale performed in last week’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, singing “Girl on Fire” on the Sprout float. Check it out!

You can see reigning champ Darci Lynne Farmer in the A Very Pentatonix Chrismas special airing tonight (November 27) on NBC at 10/9c. Here’s a little preview of what’s in store:

|Finally, Season 5’s Lindsey Stirling‘s Warmer in the Winter tour is still going on for the next few weeks, but if you aren’t able to catch a show in person, tomorrow night’s performance (November 28) will be streamed live on Twitter at 10/9c. I’d also like to congratulate Lindsey on a fantastic run on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars. The season ended last week and she finished as Runner-Up. On the last night they showed clips of the contestant’s highs and lows in life, and Lindsey’s featured the infamous AGT clip of Piers and Sharon telling her she’d never make it as a violinist.  I’ve included that video below as well as a compilation of the dances she performed on the show (she may have even bust out the violin at some point!). 😛

November 27, 2017 I Written By

I’m obssessed with the entertainment industry, especially offbeat and nerdy things as well as those that involve live performance. The only thing I love more than geeking out over the things that entertain me is sharing in my excitement with others who share the same passions. America may have talent, but Canada has an up-and-coming blogger who is ready to take the internet by storm!

The 10 Best Performances of America’s Got Talent Season 12

Before I start this, I wanted to give a quick shout-out to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund GoFundMe campaign. Any massacre is horrific of course but especially with the connection AGT has with the city I thought it’d be good to share.

I’ve thought a lot about what to do with this blog during the off-season. I know I don’t want it to go completely dormant like last year, so I’m going to try to post at least twice per month. One post will be a roundup of any notable alumni updates and the other will vary a bit. For this month I recently grabbed a copy of Mandy Harvey’s book “Sensing the Rhythm” which was released last week, so I’ll get a review of that up once I’ve finished reading it!

For now, let’s get to the top 10 list! Note that I didn’t allow myself to include multiple performances from the same act so I wouldn’t run out of things to say. 😛

10. Preacher Lawson Proves Himself to be a “Driving” Force in the Competition (Auditions)

While I’ve made it clear I didn’t agree with some of the representation of certain act genres we had in the Season 12 live shows, I think Preacher Lawson was definitely the best comedian of all those we saw by miles, so if we could only have one make it through, I’m glad it was him. Most of his performances were on a similar level for me – all around solid, with a couple laugh-out-loud jokes and good personality to make the lesser material palatable. After re-watching each of them, I still think his best performance was his very first audition.

He started by easing into the jokes by answering each question from the judges with a hint of humor, which made a nice segue into the set itself. As the season went on, Preacher slowly began incorporating more and more of his “over-the-top” bits into his performances, culminating in one long joke in the Finals that lasted about 30 seconds (you know the one :P). But here, we don’t get it until late in the act, giving us time to warm up to his style of humor before taking it to the next level with the grandma impression.

This performance was so good that even though it was one of the very first acts shown in the season premiere, it stuck out in my mind through the following weeks of auditions, and by the time we got to Preacher’s next set in the third episode of the Judge Cuts round, I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation to see what he would bring us next.

9. Billy & Emily England Go for a Spin, Game of Thrones-style (Semi-Finals)

Like most danger performers who’ve gone on AGT, Billy & Emily England were certainly one of the more controversial acts of Season 12. Some people loved them, others feared them, and a few thought their act was more suited to a “redneck family reunion” than a primetime TV talent show (Facebook’s words, not mine).

I was concerned early on that the “wow” factor of the extreme roller-skating would wear off a little too quickly, but in a surprise result (at least to me) they avoided Quarter-Finals Dunkin’ Save territory and spun on straight to the Semis. By the time their second live show rolled around, not only had there been many a comment stating they needed to “step it up” but also many questioning their relationship as siblings. I don’t know if the concept for their Semi-Finals performance was an intentional nod to the speculation of incest, but either way, the Game of Thrones-esque set-up added an extra sense of intensity to the act.

Of course, the theme wasn’t the only thing that made this performance epic; Billy and Emily started out somewhat slow, but that helped them build tension and suspense as they kept adding to the danger with each passing trick. They even maintained strong showmanship whenever they had to pause the actual spinning to maintain their balance. It all culminated in one final daring move we hadn’t seen from them in any of their previous AGT showings; Billy tossing Emily off the platform, ending as the victor of the storyline.

8. Sara & Hero are “Walking on Sunshine” at the Beach (Semi-Finals)

Sara & Hero had kind of a rough start to the season, narrowly making it to the Judge Cuts round. But from there, they charmed the judges and viewers enough to make it all the way the 5th place without ever being on the Dunkin’ Save bubble! I really love Sara’s commitment to training dogs using positive reinforcement, and she managed to raise the bar with pretty much every AGT performance.

The Semi-Finals act is the one that I think worked the best. The beach theme was very well-suited to the “girl and her dogs” storyline and it had the biggest variety of tricks we hadn’t seen from them yet. The beginning with the CPR was arguably the best part since it was the only real “story” section of the performance, but the level of the tricks that followed made up for it. (The volleyball stuff was particularly impressive.) None of them went on for too long, and most of the transitions were smooth enough for Hero and Loki to keep up nicely. There were a couple of mistakes but none of the prevented the routine from progressing as it should (I really liked how Sara just kind of rolled with everything). I would have to say this was probably the most uplifting performance of the season, and it was no surprise for them to make the Finals as a result!

7. Colin Cloud Goes Undercover (Semi-Finals)

I feel like illusion-based acts are always at least a little controversial (“it’s not REAL magic”) but mentalism tends to stir up particularly heated debates. A lot of people are convinced there are plants in the audience or the judges are in on the trick (I highly doubt the latter is true, but I know of an instance or two when the host knew what was up). I know how quite a few of the tricks we’ve seen from this genre over the years are done, and there are a variety of different methods the performers have used. I know a lot of people like to make fun of Colin’s label as the “Real-Life Sherlock Holmes” but since the season ended a couple weeks ago I’ve looked up some videos of him online and the claims of forensic studies seem pretty legit and tied to a lot of his tricks. Granted, most of what he did beyond the Judge Cuts round incorporated less of that stuff, but it still helped me understand/appreciate some of his performances (ie. the Quarter-Finals one) more.

I actually almost selected Colin’s Judge Cuts act for his entry on the list, but I decided that while I did like the tricks in that one better, I think his Semi-Finals showing was stronger as an overall performance. Sometimes it’s not only what we’re seeing, but how it’s presented to us. While watching this on the night it aired I was disappointed at first; we’d seen a very similar illusion performed by Tom London earlier in the season, and that hadn’t boded well for his status in the competition. I was so confused. Why would a mentalist who’d shown he could perform all kinds of cool tricks chose to go down the route of doing one that didn’t even involve those skills? (Well, aside from the first bit with Howie’s phone unlock code.)

Just as I was about ready to give up on Colin, the flashback video started. While it didn’t change the essence of the trick, it added a whole new layer to the performance. The amount of effort put behind all those “clues” (especially in the burger place) was very impressive, and the thing with the board at the end was pretty funny (I’d been confused by the seemingly arbitrary “number of possibilities” since the video calling for tweet submissions was posted online a week prior). Suddenly, a disappointingly lackluster performance became one of my favorites of the entire season. Just goes to show that the delivery and presentation of an act can be equally as impactful as the material itself.

6. Merrick Hanna Dances to “I Built a Friend” (Auditions)

Real talk: the Season 12 premiere was probably one of the best AGT audition round episodes I’ve ever seen. Most of the really memorable auditions were shown in those two hours, and they made for a very strong start to the season. One of the acts in this episode that captivated me the most was Merrick Hanna.

I’d seen lots of animation dancing in the past, but rarely any that actually told a story. Merrick chose a great song to use; it wasn’t mainstream (so everyone would associate it with him) and was about a kind an his robot so the dancing really connected to the music well. His acting was also amazing and really sold the performance. In later rounds, we didn’t get this kind of rawness from Merrick (though he was still very good) but I’m glad we at least got to see it once on AGT.

5. Light Balance Stars a Party in the Dolby (Finals)

As the only Golden Buzzer act that didn’t involve singing, I think a lot of the dance and variety fans were really pulling for Light Balance to go far in the competition…and they did! They actually managed to beat all but two of the singing Golden Buzzers, not to mention every other act of the season!

We’ve seen several light-up dance crews over the years, but what I think made Light Balance special was their polished-ness and memorable characters, most noticeably the Abe Lincoln-esque fellow and the Wolfman. They frequently appeared in their performances and the Wolfman in particular gave way to some neat tricks (like the jail cell escape in this act).

The light-up dance acts can get old after awhile, but the trick is to incorporate different levels of movement, character, and tricks to them to keep things from getting stale. That’s exactly what Light Balance gave us this season, and it all culminated in this full-out dance party of a performance.

4. Diavolo Takes Us on a Journey Through Time and Space (Semi-Finals)

Diavolo is a great example of an act utilizing set pieces well without letting them take over the whole show. Their scenery is carefully selected to showcase what the dancers can do, and what I loved about this performance in particular was the variety of things they incorporated into it. They used several set pieces – each in a different way – and the transitions between each segment were seamless which made the whole act flow very naturally. I’m not entirely sure what the “story” of this performance was supposed to be, but I have a feeling it may have been purposefully vague in order to try to get the audience’s minds working to try to come up with their own unique interpretations.

I really don’t know what else to say about this. How does one even describe Diavolo? “Dance troupe” certainly doesn’t cover it, and neither does “acrobatics group”. I guess the best way to explain Diavolo in a nutshell would simply be “art”.

3. Bello Nock Conquerors the “Wheel of Death” (Quarter-Finals)

Bello Nock may be a seasoned professional at daredevil performances (let’s be real, a lot of the variety acts on AGT are) but that didn’t change the fear we all faced when he took a spin on the “Wheel of Death” for us in the Quarter-Finals.

When Sophie – who was at the live shows that week – first told me what Bello’s act was, I was kind of disappointed. It just didn’t seem very exciting. How could spinning on a giant wheel keep people entertained for three minutes? It just seemed like the awe factor would disappear very quickly. Luckily, Bello managed to create enough intrigue and suspense to keep us on our toes for the entire performance. He started by doing some fun tricks inside the wheel, then suddenly made things much more dramatic by climbing onto the outside of it and slowed things down, making it seem like he might fall off.

The tone change came at just the right time; as soon as the first segment was starting to wear out its welcome, a sudden shift in stakes brought the excitement back. Bello wasn’t just entertaining the audience anymore, but making them root for him. He built the tension at just the right pace and ended with a nail-biting but ultimately satisfying conclusion.

I really thought this performance played into the “fan-favorite Wildcard” storyline quite nicely, and was baffled it sent him packing. (I know some viewers have a disdain for danger acts, but remember, this was the same week that resulted in Billy & Emily making the top 5, so I’m still confused about Bello’s elimination.)

2. Mandy Harvey Semi-Finals: “Release Me” (Semi-Finals)

At first, Mandy’s AGT journey seemed oddly familiar…she came out with a ukulele at the end of the second episode, performed an original song, and received a Golden Buzzer. It felt like she was the second coming of Grace VanderWaal, only with a tragic backstory tacked on for good measure, which – fair or not – made me feel more weary than excited.

Her next showing in the Quarter-Finals was quite nice, but it was her Semi-Finals performance that really got me on board the Mandy train. Her first two songs were light, pretty, and overall pleasant, but in this performance, Mandy shed the sweetness (and the ukulele) and got raw. “Release Me” showed a much darker side of Mandy that we hadn’t yet seen, and there seemed to be so much weight behind every note she sang. Without the ukulele, her body language was much more expressive; the decision to sign the lyrics reminded us of her roadblock in life, but also was a way to use her body to express the sentiment behind the music, and her face was also much more expressive than we’d seen in her previous AGT showings.

Everything came together and made for a powerful performance that dramatically stood out from all the other solo singing acts in Season 12, and I really wish she’d saved this for the last week since her actual performance in the Finals felt like the wall that had been torn down in this one had been rebuilt to a degree.

1. Darci Lynne Farmer Helps Edna Doorknocker Serenade Simon (Semi-Finals)

Darci Lynne Farmer was one of the rare AGT acts that combined three very distinct talents, and I think her showing in the Semi-Finals was her best combination of her ventriloquism, comedy, and singing skills.

Right from when she opened the box, it was clear how dedicated Darci was to making Edna seem like a separate being from herself. The speaking voice was clearly distinct from her own, and when it came time for the song she not only had to nail the complexities of the vocal performance (which involved belting) but had to do it in the character’s voice, which she nailed.

Darci’s comedic chops were as strong as ever, not only in the delivery of the material (especially the hilarious meta AGT references) but also in her facial expressions, even when she was doing the ventriloquism. The best example of this was when she was walking over to Simon while singing. Her voice as Edna was passionate, but her own facial expression was clearly reluctant. It takes a lot of skill for someone to perform one way with their voice and the opposite way with their face, and she had it down pat.

I’ve seen a lot of criticism for Darci’s victory, most of it not actually having anything to do with her or the act itself, but for being “too obvious”. While I found it annoying that the champions of both Seasons 11 and 12 felt determined pretty early on and get wanting to be surprised, that’s more on the producers than the actual talent. I think Darci fully deserved her win, being one of those rare acts that can appeal to music fans and variety-lovers alike.

October 5, 2017 I Written By

I’m obssessed with the entertainment industry, especially offbeat and nerdy things as well as those that involve live performance. The only thing I love more than geeking out over the things that entertain me is sharing in my excitement with others who share the same passions. America may have talent, but Canada has an up-and-coming blogger who is ready to take the internet by storm!

America’s Got Talent Season 12 Champion Crowned, Vegas Show Line-Up Announced, and an Interesting Observation…

A huge CONGRATULATIONS to the newly-crowned America’s Got Talent Season 12 champion, Darci Lynne Farmer! Check out the Access Hollywood interviews from last night and this morning below! (Love how Terry Fator pops in to congratulate Darci!)

Darci will be headlining this year’s AGT Live! On Stage show in Las Vegas this November 3-4. The pre-sale for tickets is happening now with the code TALENT. Darci will be joined in the show by Season 12 runner-up Angelica Hale, third place finisher Light Balance, and top 10 finalist Preacher Lawson.

Can’t make it to Vegas? Tomorrow I’ll be doing a roundup of other upcoming performances from some of the Season 12 contestants, in addition to a countdown of what I thought were the very best performances of the season. But for now, something has come to my attention I think might make for some interesting discussion. Right after the Season 11 finale last year, Sophie (who you may remember from the livestream we did together last week) posted the following theory on Reddit:

Now, ventriloquism – let alone singing ventriloquism – is not the most common talent. Yes, it’s the second-most common winner category on AGT, but we haven’t had nearly as many ventriloquists on the show as, say, singers or magicians. I think the rarity of it might be the reason people tend to latch onto the ventriloquist acts on AGT, since it’s one of those skills we don’t see many other places in mainstream entertainment. Still, Sophie correctly predicting such a niche act winning Season 12 (before auditions for the season even started) makes me wonder if this “10 year cycle” theory may prove to be true. Let’s look at the winners from Seasons 3-10 to see what might be in store for the next eight years! (And yes, at this rate I do think the show has a good chance of sticking around for that long. Ratings were UP this season; that almost never happens in television these days!)

Season 3: Neal E. Boyd (Pop Opera Singer)
Season 4: Kevin Skinner (Country Singer)
Season 5: Michael Grimm (Singer-Guitarist)
Season 6: Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. (Jazz Singer)
Season 7: Olate Dogs (Dog Act)
Season 8: Kenichi Ebina (Dancing Mime)
Season 9: Mat Franco (Magician)
Season 10: Paul Zerdin (Ventriloquist)

If the pattern continues, it looks like we’re in for a few more years of singers winning, which I’ve kind of been expecting anyway, since so many people are itching to sing for Simon and possibly get signed by SYCO. I think as long as he’s on the judging panel, there will continue to be a lot of singing acts who audition for AGT. At least it’s looking like they’ll come from different genres for the most part. 😛

After that we’d have a dog/animal act win, which would also make sense; Sara & Hero were one of the biggest underdog acts (hehe) going into the live shows this season and they made it all the way to 5th place. And then we’d have a really unique and “out there” winner, followed by another magic act (I seriously can’t believe we’ve only had one win the show so far) and then a fourth ventriloquist champ (I guess by that time the cries of “ventriloquists always win!” will have died down).

Of course, this is all speculation, but it’s kind of an eerie coincidence Season 12 played out just like Sophie said it would! What sort of acts do you think we’ll be getting on AGT in the coming years, and which types do you think the audience might get behind to win?

September 21, 2017 I Written By

I’m obssessed with the entertainment industry, especially offbeat and nerdy things as well as those that involve live performance. The only thing I love more than geeking out over the things that entertain me is sharing in my excitement with others who share the same passions. America may have talent, but Canada has an up-and-coming blogger who is ready to take the internet by storm!

How to Win America’s Got Talent Season 12

So I may have stolen this idea from dwtsfun on tumblr….. 😛 Even though there are a few clear frontrunners in this group of Finalists, we have seen some upsets on this show before, so even some of the biggest long-shots might still have the ability to pull it out. (Probably not, but it’s technically possible. :P) So this post is going to be the advice I would give to each of the 10 acts we have left in order to give them the best possible chance at winning.

Darci Lynne Farmer: Darci has been the odds-on favorite to win all season, but that means she has even more pressure than the others to deliver. In order to stay ahead of the pack, she’ll have to do something to really put herself over the top. So far, she’s proven she can do a variety of voices, as well as sing and do comedy while switching “characters” on a dime. For this last performance, I think she should add another element to things like she has each time. I would think either two puppets (or maybe a two-headed puppet if that’s physically impossible…LOL) or something extremely impressive for a ventriloquist to do. I know she can sing opera and yodel with her mouth closed, so probably one of those. But whatever it is, it’ll have to be EPICLY impressive.

Mandy Harvey: Like Darci, she has followed an upward path throughout the season, with each performance being more polished than the one before, and each song feeling distinct enough to feel like something new while still fitting in with her “brand”. Last week she even signed the lyrics. I think in order to win, Mandy will have to do something even more powerful than that. I’m thinking something dedicated to the Deaf community, but not sure what that could be (and as a member of that circle, she’d probably have a better idea than I would!).

Light Balance: Being a group will probably give them somewhat of a disadvantage, but they made it this far without ever being in danger, so maybe they have more dedicated fans than I thought! In order to have a shot at the title, they’ll need to go bigger. Adding more characters/lights to really fill the stage or telling an epic story would definitely help their final act be a step up from their previous ones. My favorite thing they’ve done all season is still that transition into the Wolfman segment in the Quarter-Finals, so if they can pull out more tricks like that tonight I think they’ll really wow the viewers.

Chase Goehring: In comparison to Mandy, who’s songs are memorable and distinct from one other, most of Chase’s pieces so far have sounded the same to me. The only one that’s stood out was “Acapella”, which I think was the very first one he did. That song had a lot of rapping in it, and I know that’s something the audience has been waiting for more of from him, so let’s hope we get more of it tonight! Apparently, he’s written a brand new song specifically for tonight’s show, so hopefully he’s listened to the feedback from the judges and his fans and pulls out something special that stands out as his best performance of the season.

Sara & Hero: Definitely the most improved act of the season BY FAR and I have no doubt they’re going to be at their very best tonight. They’ve become an unexpected crowd favorite, so if they add in new tricks like they have been and do another fun storyline I’m sure people will love this last performance. My one note for them would be to polish things up a little more; there were a few times last week when tricks went wrong (though they recovered exceptionally well) and I’m not sure that’s going to go over so well on a night with such prestige as the Finals.

Evie Clair: I’m going to preface this one by saying I don’t want her to actually do this,  but this post is about how to win the show and unfortunately I think this is the only way she’ll have a shot. She needs to play up her father’s death as much as possible. Talk about him in the package, shed some tears, dedicate the song to him the whole shebang. Like I’ve said before, I truly hope this isn’t exploited by the show and that she can use this an a method of catharsis and a source of positivity in her life, but to be honest I think it’s the only scenario that might lead to her pulling out the win.

Kechi: My “advice” to her would be the same as Evie: crank the backstory up to an 11. Dedicate the song to the lives lost in the plane crash, involve their families in some way if you can, you know the drill. That’s pretty much the only way she’ll have a shot at winning.

Angelica Hale: Again, I hate this “advice” because it’s really not healthy for her, but this is about how to win, not how to please Julia the Pure AGT blogger. Angelica’s best path to victory would involve choosing a powerhouse “diva” anthem with as much belting as possible (I warned you this wouldn’t be healthy for a 10-year-old). It’d preferably be a big emotional number, since she has to compete with the mother of all inspirational backstories. (And who’s would that be? That’s up to you, reader. :P)

Diavolo: I’m really not sure what advice I’d give to them, since their performance last week was one of the best things I’ve seen all season and they still ended up in the Judges’ Save. I suppose I’d suggest doing another big, multi-layered spectacle, but this time have the theme be emotionally resonant or just easier for the audience to understand. I really don’t like how the acts have to play down to the lowest common denominator sometimes (and I do think the reason some really good acts have gone home or been in danger was because the general audience just “didn’t get it” which is a real shame).

Preacher Lawson: This last one is just going to be something I personally want to see from him, because I doubt he can win. (Though to be honest, I doubt most of these acts have a real shot at this point.) What I really want to see Preacher do is get up there and roast AGT. Maybe not to the level you’d see on, say, Reddit, but I think it’d be really fun for him to tease the judges like he did Tyra last week, or make fun of the abundance of singing acts. 😛

What do YOU think the acts need to do in order to win Season 12 of America’s Got Talent?

September 19, 2017 I Written By

I’m obssessed with the entertainment industry, especially offbeat and nerdy things as well as those that involve live performance. The only thing I love more than geeking out over the things that entertain me is sharing in my excitement with others who share the same passions. America may have talent, but Canada has an up-and-coming blogger who is ready to take the internet by storm!

Pre-Show Predictions for the AGT Season 12 Final Placements

I’ve been mulling over this pretty much since the second Wednesday’s results show ended, but today something clicked in my mind and I now feel confident enough to set my pre-show predictions.

Bottom 5 (6th-10th Place) in alphabetical order: Chase Goehring, Diavolo, Evie Clair*, Kechi, Sara & Hero
Four of these acts were on the bubble in the Semi-Finals, which usually points to a lower finish in the Finals. And I have a bad feeling Sara & Hero are suddenly going to face backlash for being “undeserving” of the Finals seeing as their act is less precise and polished than most of the others, even though everyone was in love with them two weeks ago. 🙁

5th Place: Light Balance
They’re one of the most popular acts of the season, but I don’t think they have quite as much momentum as the four above them since they haven’t really changed their performances up much (given how much backlash similar acts have gotten in the past, I’m surprised they’ve remained unscathed this long). They’re also a group, which has proven to be a bit of a detriment in recent seasons.
* If they play up Evie’s father’s death and put her at or close to the end of the show, I see her possibly taking this spot and Light Balance being bumped down to Bottom 5.

4th Place: Angelica Hale
Angelica’s journey reminds me of that of Brian Justin Crum last year; a singer re-imagining various songs and having strong momentum throughout the season only to lose a bit of steam towards the end. Angelica took a bit of a step back in the Semi-Finals while Mandy and Darci continued to up the bar, and since I don’t see three female singers making the top 3, it seems like Angelica might be the one bumped back a bit.

3rd Place: Preacher Lawson
It seems Preacher may have more support than I was thinking he did; apparently he’s the go-to act for people who don’t want a singer of any kind to support. I guess this makes sense, since comedians on AGT have often placed very high without winning.

2nd Place: Mandy Harvey
Mandy has upped her game every single week this season. While some thought she was fading into the background, she showed everyone she was still in it when she gave a dark, powerful performance in the Semi-Finals. I think with three female cover singers (and that’s not even including Darci) in the Finals, Mandy’s original music will stand out in contrast and in the end will probably result in a nice high placement for her.

1st Place: Darci Lynne Farmer
While I don’t think this is a done deal like many seem to (remember, everyone thought Grace would steamroll the competition and then the top 3 ended up being less than 1% apart from each other) Darci is the clear frontrunner at the moment, and what I think will keep her there is her ability to build on her act and change it up. I’ve been watching a lot of her clips on YouTube lately and she can do so many things with her voice that we still haven’t seen on AGT, so there are several avenues she could go down – opera, yodelling, etc. – to up the ante even further than she already has been and keep herself ahead of the rest of the pack in this last week.

September 16, 2017 I Written By

I’m obssessed with the entertainment industry, especially offbeat and nerdy things as well as those that involve live performance. The only thing I love more than geeking out over the things that entertain me is sharing in my excitement with others who share the same passions. America may have talent, but Canada has an up-and-coming blogger who is ready to take the internet by storm!

Pure AGT Season 12 Finale Breakdown AND a Surprise Announcement!

Hey readers! Gonna try something different later this week! I’m going to attempt a live discussion chat with fellow AGT fan Sophie sometimes this weekend. Not sure when we’re going to do it yet, but even if it’s at an odd time we plan to record it so you can watch later! We also want to take questions/discussion topics from Pure AGT readers, so please send those in ASAP! Sophie has actually had the pleasure of attending several AGT live shows over the past few seasons (including this year’s first Quarter-Final) so I’m sure she’d love to dish on those experiences! Leave your questions and topics in the comment section, and we’ll update you on this little project soon! 🙂

In the meantime, I’m gonna continue this posting streak with a little look at the Finale! While I think the overall quality of Season 12’s talent has been a bit below par (in the live shows, anyway; it might have been stronger had some of the Judge Cuts choices been more diverse) I think we’re left with a pretty solid lineup. The AGT Season 12 Finalists are:

Angelica Hale
Chase Goehring
Darci Lynne Farmer
Diavolo
Evie Clair
Kechi Okwuhi
Light Balance
Mandy Harvey
Preacher Lawson
Sara & Hero

While I believe this is the most singing acts we’ve ever seen in an AGT Finale, only three of them are cover (or “karaoke”) singers (most of the others were cut in the Semi-Finals, as predicted). We also have two singer-songwriters and Darci, who I consider more of a variety act. While the complete lack of magic creates a giant void that I’m sure will be felt during next week’s shows (I tried to get Colin there I really did) all of the variety acts fall under categories that weren’t represented during last year’s Finals. Darci is fighting to bring home a third win for the ventriloquism community, Preacher is representing for the stand-up world, and I can’t even remember the last time an animal act made it this far. Perhaps most surprisingly of all is the fact that both of this season’s artistic dance groups managed to survive this week’s slaughterhouse of a Semi-Final (I think this was the first time I was actually happy to see an act in the Dunkin’ Save, since I was convinced Diavolo was automatically toast after the crap I heard about Tuesday night) in sharp contrast to last season which saw zero dance acts advance beyond the Quarters.

Once again, we seem to have a pretty obvious 12-year-old winner, but performing what is probably the most multi-layered act of the season Darci does deserve it. If someone were to play spoiler to this it’d probably be Mandy, who also has gotten a lot of fanfare throughout the summer. I thought Angelica might’ve had a shot to overtake both of them but after last night I’m thinking that’s not very likely. But I’ll get more into THAT in a few days, along with some polls!

September 14, 2017 I Written By

I’m obssessed with the entertainment industry, especially offbeat and nerdy things as well as those that involve live performance. The only thing I love more than geeking out over the things that entertain me is sharing in my excitement with others who share the same passions. America may have talent, but Canada has an up-and-coming blogger who is ready to take the internet by storm!

HI HI! IT’S TY-TY! Pure AGT Season 12 Live Show #4: Power Rankings

Yay, I’m getting this up before the eleventh hour for once!

This first group of Semi-Finalists was clearly the weaker one on paper, but some of them really upped their game, and I think tonight turned out to be the best live show of the season yet since the first Quarter-Final. I’m noticing there seems to be a fine line that the acts have to toe at this point in the game; they have to keep upping their game with new elements to each successive performance, but by now they’ve all built a “brand” for themselves that the audience recognizes and by changing things up they risk alienating the fanbase they’ve built this far on the show. I think this is why we’ve often seen (and will likely continue to see) singing acts leave en masse during this round; most of them just don’t have the freedom to play around with their act like the variety performers do. With that in mind, let’s see how the votes seem to be falling this week……

1. Darci Lynne Farmer: With the only act of the season that caters to singing and variety fans alike, it’s no wonder Darci is the odds-on favorite to win the grand prize. Even though she seems to be relegated to the “comedy bit followed by a song” format, I like how she combined the two tonight, as opposed to her previous performance when the song started and the connection with the puppet character dropped a bit. Ventriloquism has actually proven to be the mos successful variety act on AGT, with two representatives in the winner circle from the genre. And in two weeks, we’ll get to see if Darci can be the third member of that exclusive club.

2. Sara & Hero: Remember when everyone was ripping the judges a new one for letting them advance through the Judge Cuts and now their Semi-Final performance has been getting the most love from viewers on social media (other than Darci of course)? Clearly they’re well liked if they were in the top 5 of their Quarter-Final episode; I guess I just underestimated how much support they’ve been getting. It’s certainly not undeserved-I think they’ve stepped up their game more than most others have at this point-I think I’m just surprised that one dog act was cut immediately without even getting a shot at the Dunkin’ Save and the other is likely going to sail into the Finale without ever being on the bubble.

3. Preacher Lawson: The shade was real tonight on AGT. Of  course, everyone is talking about Darci lampooning the parade of old ladies who flirted with Simon earlier this season, but I think Preacher took the cake for me with his “HI HI! IT’S TY-TY!” moment in his set (if you don’t know what that was referencing, click on any AGT YouTube channel video from this season and skip to the end until you get a Tyra bumper). Preacher’s style of comedy may not be for everyone, but like last round, being the only one of his genre is probably going to give him a boost. And his personality is just so infectious it’s hard not to root for him. If he doesn’t make top 3 tomorrow night, I think he’s probably a lock to get the Dunkin’ Save.

4. Mike Yung: His performance felt quite stagnant tonight, without a lot of range in expression or tone. It felt like a less powerful version of what the Masqueraders did two weeks ago, and we all know how that ended for them. However, Mike still seems to be a favorite of quite a few people, and he did get the pimp spot this week, which could indicate that he’s been getting a lot of audience support (though I do think that may actually have hurt him a bit, since he had to follow frontrunner Darci). In the end, I’m going to guess Dunkin’ Save territory for him tomorrow night.

5. Chase Goehring: I thought Chase would be close to a lock to advance to the Finals, but I think he might have fallen under the radar this week. Nothing about his segment was particularly memorable, which is arguably more dangerous than being outright bad. Luckily, I think he’s gained enough devoted followers to get enough votes to be in Dunkin’ Save territory.

6. Evie Clair: Evie definitely seemed less nervous this time around, and her confidence came through in her performance. I think being the only act left to incorporate a “live” piano might also help people remember her. Still, I think it’s her story carrying her through the most, and, while absolutely heartbreaking, I really don’t want it to be the main reason she makes the Finale.

7. Johnny Manuel: Johnny got some mixed reviews last night, and it seems like he could be one of the singer casualties of the week. He has his fans-as well as those who appreciated the choice to perform an original song-behind him. However, the judges were pretty hard on him, his running order spot was meh, and the hype surrounding him has died down considerably (I don’t even remember them mentioning him-or, come to think of it, anyone else but Darci-getting the Golden Buzzer tonight). I think at best he has a shot at sneaking into Dunkin’ Save territory.

8. Billy & Emily England: They were actually one of my favorite parts of the episode-I could tell they made a strong effort to show us some tricks we hadn’t seen before-but it seems many viewers have grown tired of the spinning in circles thing, even with the new stuff. Having been top 5 after their last performance they might make it into Dunkin’ Save territory, but I think their only hope of moving forward is the Judges’ Save, if they even get that chance.

9. Eric Jones: Eric without a doubt improved over his previous performance, but I think his “casual” delivery is really going to hurt him this time. The trick was great, but he faded into the woodwork because of his lack of stage presence compared to most of the other acts in this group.

10. Danell Daymon & Greater Works: I liked this performance, but I’m looking around Facebook and Twitter and it doesn’t seem like a lot of people agree with me….

11. Yoli Mayor: There seems to be a trend with singing performances on reality shows. Those who go for the high notes and belting get over-the-top praise, and those who go for something in the lower register are deemed lesser performers or are just plain forgotten about. I think the latter type of song is more suited to Yoli’s voice, but it’s not what the viewers for these kinds of shows tend to remember. She managed to hang on by a thread in the Quarter-Finals, but I don’t see her having that luck tonight.

September 6, 2017 I Written By

I’m obssessed with the entertainment industry, especially offbeat and nerdy things as well as those that involve live performance. The only thing I love more than geeking out over the things that entertain me is sharing in my excitement with others who share the same passions. America may have talent, but Canada has an up-and-coming blogger who is ready to take the internet by storm!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 10, 2017 I Written By

I’m obssessed with the entertainment industry, especially offbeat and nerdy things as well as those that involve live performance. The only thing I love more than geeking out over the things that entertain me is sharing in my excitement with others who share the same passions. America may have talent, but Canada has an up-and-coming blogger who is ready to take the internet by storm!

Pure AGT Season 12 Auditions Episode 1: Live Bog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 30, 2017 I Written By

I’m obssessed with the entertainment industry, especially offbeat and nerdy things as well as those that involve live performance. The only thing I love more than geeking out over the things that entertain me is sharing in my excitement with others who share the same passions. America may have talent, but Canada has an up-and-coming blogger who is ready to take the internet by storm!

PureAGT Season 8 First Look – New Preview from NBC

Quick update – new video posted on the America’s Got Talent YouTube page, with more quick previews of the acts themselves:

I see a few ballroom couples, some breakdancers, some dogs doing tricks, another guy playing janitorial equipment as musical instruments (ugh), some gladiators (or Spartans…?) flexing their pecs, some more cloggers, a ventriloquist, some acrobats doing silhouettes, a magician or two, and some guy playing with a rattlesnake (probably the same one mentioned in the San Antonio audition post).  Looks like a good variety of acts! I also think Mel B’s antics and Heidi’s misinterpretations of the English language have the potential to inject some much-needed comedy into this season 🙂 Less than 24 hours till showtime!

June 3, 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!