PureAGT Season 8, Semifinal #2 – Power Rankings

Once again, I apologize that these are so late – as some of you know, I also blog for PureDWTS, and today was the announcement of the new cast…which means heavy traffic and a lot of guarding the site for trolls! It was also a long, busy day at work, and I didn’t have much of a chance to sit down and actually think about last night’s show until now…but rest assured, I did not forget about you guys 😉

Overall, I think last night was a much stronger semifinal than last week’s, although we had already kind of predicted that based on what acts performed this week.  I think I’m most interested to see if America puts through TWO country singers into the top 12 – I’m hoping they only put through one, but I’m bracing myself for the unfortunate event that we get two.  Other than that, I’m fairly confident that Kenichi, Chicago Boyz, & Anna will make it through without any problems.

1.) Kenichi Ebina – Just…wow.  I think the thing I love most about Kenichi’s act is that I’m always at a bit of a loss how to explain it to those who haven’t seen it, because it’s always so unique.  Loved the “living video game” theme he had going during the quarterfinals, and I loved the “duel with the mirror” he did last night.  Of all the acts in last night’s semifinal, he’s the one that I could really see creating a successful 90-minute live show in Vegas.  I think Forte has got some serious competition in Kenichi for the win this season…

2.) Chicago Boyz – I would have never guessed that they were performing without one of their strongest members, because this routine was INSANELY good.  One thing I really enjoy about Chicago Boyz is that they really do up their game each & every week – I think the jump roping with the 3 guys stacked on top of each other was absolutely genius, and the synchronized jump roping and tricks they were doing with it were really impressive.  I think they proved last night that they are, indeed, contenders, and could even snag a spot in the finale.

3.) Kristef Brothers – Another act that showed no signs of stopping despite an injury. If you had told me during their audition that these guys would be contenders for the top 12, I would have probably thought you were nuts – but these guys seem to have cracked into a niche that we really haven’t seen on the show: they’re skilled acrobats that are really, really funny.  As predicted, I think they succeeded where Duo Resonance failed because they were able to really endear themselves to their audience.  I think they may struggle in the top 12, but I think they ought to make it through tonight without any problems.

4.) Anna Christine – I think Anna recovered nicely from her stutter in the quarterfinals – I feel like “Wild Horses” suited her much better than “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and ditching the piano and focusing entirely on her vocals was a wise choice.  I think she ought to make it through tonight without any issues, but once she makes it to the top 12 – I fear she may pale in comparison to Cami Bradley, who has a more mature, controlled quality to her voice and a better stage presence.

5.) Jimmy Rose – Hmmm.  Another song from Jimmy Rose that I’m not really wild about – although to be honest, I was really wild about Marty’s song choice, either.  I guess I was hoping that, rather than just performing a country song, he and Marty would take a more mainstream song and give it a country twist; that is one area where I have to give Marty credit over Jimmy – he did a more mainstream song for his initial audition, where Jimmy has been straight country all the way.  However, I think Jimmy must be raking in the votes, because there’s a reason they put him last…and I have a feeling if it came down to it, the judges would rather have Jimmy in the top 12 than Marty.  Guess we’ll have to see how things pan out…

6/7.) TIE: D’Angelo & Amanda and Marty Brown – This one’s hard for me to call, because I can’t decide whether we’re going to end up with (god forbid) TWO country singers in the top 12.  My gut says no, but stranger things have happened, and Marty did improve last night. Is the voting audience persistent enough to vote 2 country singers through? If not, then I think D’Angelo & Amanda might have a decent shot at making it through to the top 12 – while their performance last night wasn’t their best, I daresay it was still much stronger than others we saw last night, and probably quite of few of last week’s acts, too.  I think the problem they had was that they wanted to “step up their game” and didn’t quite know how – loved the water, but I kind of agree with Mel that the routine had been a bit boring up until the water portion…just a lot of dips and displays of flexibility from Amanda.  If it comes down to these two acts in the judges’ choice – I’m definitely interested to see who would come out on top.  I think the judges might put D’Angelo & Amanda through because they already have so many singers, but who knows…they’ve made their fair share of dumb choices this season.

8.) Leon Etienne & Romy Low – Admittedly, I actually enjoyed their act tonight.  I liked that they did work on the areas that the judges criticized in their first performance – mainly the trick taking too long and being too confusing.  Doing rapid-fire, simple tricks was definitely a smart move.  For what its worth, I think Howard’s wild card pick actually ended up being the most successful – but last night was a much stronger semifinal than last week, and I’m not sure they can overcome some of the stronger acts to nab a spot.  Kinda sucks, but I think they probably would have stood a decent shot of advancing if they performed last week instead of this week.

9.) Timber Brown – *sigh* Poor Timber – I think he had a bit of a misstep last night, in that he did an act that seemed to take a lot longer to get to the good part and he fumbled a little with the rope.  I know Timber’s got a lot of tricks up his sleeve – a friend from work actually remembered seeing him in Peep Show in Vegas a few years back, and was saying that she remembered him climbing all sorts of crazy stuff, spinning on ropes, doing backflips, etc.  I think he unfortunately just picked a trick that really didn’t translate well to TV – I think it would have fit in perfectly with one of the Cirque shows like Le Reve with the water (D’Angelo & Amanda’s would be perfect for Le Reve as well), but it was hard to appreciate the art and difficulty of it through the television.  I don’t think his act was bad, but I do worry that he got lost in the shuffle.

10.) Branden James – The one week I actually enjoy the song Branden sings, is the week he will likely get sent home 😛 “Alone” is probably one of my top 10 favorite songs of all time, so I think that alone kind of colored my opinion of his performance – I actually enjoyed it.  But I do agree that he had a few wobbly, off-key spots, and he wasn’t as strong this week has he’s been in previous weeks.  I daresay he’s a real longshot to make it to the next round – especially if the audience still has Forte on the brain like I think they do.  If he advances, he’s toast – Forte can sing circles around him.

11.) American Military Spouses Choir – These poor ladies – I think their weaknesses as a choir really showed through last night, and made them realize that they were maybe a bit out of their element amongst some of the other acts.  Once again, it seemed to be the same 3-4 women carrying the bulk of the singing weight, while the others swayed & hummed in the background – and for once, the “leading ladies” seemed to struggle a bit themselves, and once again I didn’t particularly enjoy the arrangement of their song.  I have to wonder if the absence of one of their lead singers (who had given birth the previous week) really hurt them.  I also kind of appreciate that Howie seemed to reinforce the point that these ladies should be judged by their TALENT, and not their sappy backstory – I think there’s been far too much sappy backstory-driven judging AND voting this season, and it’s resulted in some weaker acts making it through over stronger ones.  I don’t see them making it through tonight, but I do commend them for the work they do.

12.) John Wing – Not terrible, but not terribly funny, either.  Most of his jokes just made me give a small smile, as opposed to the laughing out loud I did to Taylor’s comedy last week.  I think John is just so droll that you really have to have the right, dry sense of humor in order to really appreciate (and remember) him – and he really was just a non-event for me last night.

So with only 1.5 hours till showtime – what are your predictions? 🙂