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PureAGT Season 9, Episode #2 – Audition Round Run-Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 4, 2014 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 9, Episode #2 Music List

You know the drill – if you want to add a song I don’t have here, or want to request I hunt down a song you heard during the show, utilize the comments section ūüôā

“Summer” by Calvin Harris (recap of last week’s show; opening montage)

“Hoe-Down” by Aaron Copland (montage of crew setting up, acts backstage, & judges arriving)

“C’mon Get Happy” by The Partridge Family (Willis Clan intro)

“My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music (cover performed by the Willis Clan)

“Compass” by Lady Antebellum (Willis Clan gets 4 yes’s)

“Puttin’ On the Ritz” by Terry Snyder & The All-Stars (Howie is hyper)

“Good Times” by Chic (David & Leeman get 4 yes’s)

“Hit Me with Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar (montage of good auditions)

“New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel (cover performed by Julia Goodwin)

“Your Song” by Ellie Goulding (Julia gets 4 yes’s)

“Apache” by The Sugarhill Gang (montage of dancers backstage; Sean & Luke intro and 3 yes’s)

“Bust a Move” by Young MC (Sean & Luke performance)

“Humpty Dance” by Digital Underground (Sean & Luke performance)

“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor (montage of martial arts acts; Qi Feilong intro & rejection)

“Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones (Real Encounter intro)

“Are You Gonna Go My Way?” by Lenny Kravitz (Real Encounter performance)

“Jump” by The Pointer Sisters (Real Encounter gets 4 yes’s; montage of good “jumping” auditions)

“It Takes Two” by DJ EZ Rock & Rob Base (kid rapper performance)

“Kids in America” by Kim Wilde (montage of kid acts backstage; Dom the Bom 4 yes’s)

“I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow (Dom the Bom performance)

“This Magic Moment” by The Drifters (montage of bad magicians)

“Takin’ Care of Business” by Bachman Turner Overdrive Mad Jack finishes his card trick and gets rejected)

“I Feel Pretty” by Julie Andrews (montage of acts primping backstage)

“Too Close” by Alex Clare (cover performed by Miguel)

“The Story of My Life” by One Direction (Miguel gets 4 yes’s)

“Halo” by Beyonce (Abigail Baird intro & 4 yes’s)

“Intro” by the xx (Abigail Baird performance)

“Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars (unnamed teen ballroom group performance)

“Can’t Smile Without You” by Barry Manilow (Howard & Howie love each other)

“Bang Bang” by Joe Cuba (John & Andrew intro & 4 yes’s; closing montage)

June 3, 2014 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Live Show #4 – Power Rankings

Anyone else besides me think they could have just skipped the first hour of last night’s show and not really¬†missed out on anything good? The first five acts really didn’t do much for me – I think I even mentioned on Twitter that the show this week was shaping up to be a big disappointment.¬†

Luckily, the second half of the show brough some much stronger performances Рnot necessarily GREAT performances (I really only think one act knocked it out of the park last night), but pretty good ones.  I still think this quarterfinal was one of the weaker ones Рsomeone like Tone the Chiefrocca would have made it through without any problems if he was on last night, I think.

1.) Jimmy Rose – Ok, let me get this off¬† my chest: I’m all opera’d out and I’m all country’d out (likely due to all the ado about the opera and country acts), so it’s hard for me to really get enthusiastic about really any of the acts in this category at the moment.¬† I think Jimmy did pretty well – definitely better than Marty did in his quarterfinal, but like Mel I wasn’t really wowed by his song choice.¬† I don’t think it was one that really fit the twang of his voice well.¬† But America just seems to go crazy for their country boys, so I’m fully expecting that he’s going to make it through tonight.¬† Will be interesting to see he & Marty go head to head – I still think Jimmy is the more talented of the two, but I think Marty might be the more popular.¬†

2.) Cami Bradley – My favorite act of the night, and the only one that I think really delivered and exceeded expectations.¬† Love, love, LOVED the arrangement of “Believe” and the conviction with which she sang it – what really impresses me about her voice is that she has an incredible amount of control when she’s singing softly.¬† Incredibly hard to do (often moreso than singing really loudly), and she handled it beautifully.¬† I have to laugh when I think of how much I underestimated how she’d do in Vegas and then she was really the only female vocalist that didn’t somehow bungle her performance.¬† I think she flies under the radar because she’s so shy – but then she pulls out performances like this and just blindside people.¬† I may not be wild about how many singers are making it through to the semifinals, but I can get behind Cami – she’s the real deal.

3.)¬†Timber Brown¬†– Admittedly, I kind of went “Uh-oh, what’s this?” when I saw him come out with that suspended planet-shaped thingie instead of his usual pole.¬† But I think the gamble worked out in his favor – he was pulling some pretty impressive, high-speed tricks on that thing.¬† And I think it was Timber’s performance that really woke the show up – he had 4 rather ho-hum acts before him, and I was almost to the point of changing the channel when he came bursting onto the stage.¬† Glad he was able to salvage the show!

4.) Aerial Ice – I had really high hopes for Aerial Ice, based on their initial performance – but I think their larger set this time around may have been a bit detrimental to their performance, as they seemed to get lost in it.¬† Their stunts are amazing, no doubt – but I feel like the large set made them lose some cohesiveness, as it felt more like 3 separate couples doing stunts on their own, as opposed to¬†a unified act.¬† Regardless, I still think that what they do is unique enough that they’ll advance to the semifinals.

5.) TIE: David Ferman & Taylor Williamson – Two guys that I really like, but also two guys who seemed to struggle last night…and the funny thing is, they seem to have the opposite problem: David has the content, but not the delivery…Taylor has the delivery, but not the content.¬† God love David, he seems like a really good kid with a lot of crazy, cool ideas in his head…and some cojones grandes to carry off these crazy stunts he dreams up.¬† But his delivery is just so…bland.¬† He comes off as robotic and stiff, and seems to rush his delivery – and the trick itself was over so quickly that it was hard to appreciate the difficulty of what he was doing.¬† If I were him, I’d get on YouTube and watch videos of Landon Swank from two seasons ago – kid had this butter-smooth delivery that really brought his tricks to life. Taylor, on the other hand, delivers his jokes with such endearing awkwardness that you find yourself laughing and smiling along with him…even if the joke isn’t particularly funny.¬†And that was his major struggle last night – his material was only mildly funny, and not nearly as strong as we’ve seen from him previously.¬† I think one of these guys will end up joining Aerial Ice in the judges’ choice – I just can’t decide which one.

7.) 3Penny Chorus & Orchestra – Repeat after me: song choice is EVERYTHING.¬† And they unfortunately seemed to choose the wrong one – I thought that silly Taylor Swift song just came across as juvenile and annoying.¬† Truth be told, I wasn’t wild about “Call Me Maybe”, but their delivery of it was novel enough that¬†I enjoyed it.¬† I didn’t get the same vibe this time around – I just found myself saying “this is silly”.¬† I also don’t think they benefitted much from going first, especially since the first half of the show was overall much weaker than the 2nd half – I think they might get lost in the shuffle of the weak first hour acts and not get as many votes as they probably should.

8.) Chloe Channell – Sweet, adorable girl, no doubt – but I just think she’s got a lot of maturing to do in her singing before she really becomes a force to be reckoned with.¬† I also think she’s picked the wrong songs two times in a row now – neither her song in Vegas nor her song last night seemed to serve her well.¬† I also think she just lacks¬†a bit of stage presence…she doesn’t seem to know how to emote with her face, and just seems to pace back and forth as she’s singing.¬† Very bright future ahead of her – but I just think it may have been too early for her to make the leap to a show like AGT.

9.)¬†The Robotix¬†– I feel a bit bad for this group – they came into the competition at a bit of¬†a disadvantage, since we didn’t get to see them perform in the audition round or Vegas…so right off the bat, they had to impress the viewers, since they came in with little to no fanbase.¬† Then they tried to tackle a song that was wayyyy too big for them – and I agree with Howard: the drummer was the raddest, most interesting member of the group to watch, and the rest of the group was just kind of there.¬† Like Chloe, I think they may have just attempted AGT when they weren’t quite ready.¬†

10.) SensEtion – A slight improvement from their initial audition, but all in all, they’re still just another “dancing in the dark” act looking to ride the coattails of Fighting Gravity, Team iLuminate, Lightwire Theater, etc.¬† I still don’t think they’re doing enough dancing in their performances – and the graphics they’re using seem a bit rudimentary and generic…like some kid playing around with Windows Movie Maker.¬† Just not enough to cut it, at this point.

11.) Champions Forever – I thought this act was a bit cheesy the first time we saw them…and I found them even cheesier this time.¬† It got repetitive really quickly, even if what they were doing was actually quite difficult; there’s only so many times I can watch a group on unicycles ride around in circles onstage.¬† Not much more to add – just not enough content at this point in the competition.

12.) Tummy Talk – Oy…the great Tummy Talk debate.¬† People seem to really hate this act, which is why I have them at the bottom – I don’t see any way they could possibly make it through tonight.¬† But I actually don’t mind this act too much…is it borderline icky? Sure, but so are a lot of the danger acts we’ve seen.¬† I actually thought they were pretty creative with their drumming last night, and you can tell these guys do have somewhat of a percussion background.¬† Let’s put it this way: I’d take them over Aaralyn & Izzy any day.¬†

So what did you guys think of last night’s performances? And who do you want to see in the semifinals?

August 14, 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 4th Live Show Airing August 13

Here’s the list of acts performing in next week’s live show:

3Penny Chorus & Orchestra (orchestral group)
The Robotix (band)
Aerial Ice (figure skating/aerial group)
Cami Bradley (singer)
David Ferman (dangerous juggler)
Jimmy Rose (country singer)
Champions Forever (aka Spintacular) (basketball trick group)
SensEtion (video screen dance group)
Taylor Williamson (comedian)
Timber Brown (aerial pole)
Chloe Channell (child country singer)
Tummy Talk (clapping percussion group)

I think the one really heavy-hitter here is Aerial Ice – unless they somehow really bomb (doubtful), I see them making it to the semifinals without much of a struggle.¬† I think Jimmy Rose is probably pretty likely to go through as well, cause America just LOVES their twangy country boys…at least Jimmy seems to have far more natural talent than Marty Brown.¬† Would love for Taylor Williamson to make it through – I think he’s the funniest comedian we have this season; really like Timber Brown as well, so hopefully he has something good up his sleeve.¬† I’m kind of lukewarm about the rest.¬† What do you guys think?

August 8, 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 3rd Live Show Airing August 6

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

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

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

What do you guys think?

August 1, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Audition Round Rundown #1 – San Antonio/New York/L.A. Auditions

Woohoo! A highly entertaining¬†kickoff to season 8, if I do say so myself ūüôā ¬†A nice mix of good acts that actually made it through to Vegas, with a few trainwrecky auditions peppered in to make things interesting.¬† Heidi & Mel seem to be gelling well with Howie & Howard, and Heidi seems to have taken on the role of the “sweet” judge that makes all the contestants feel welcome…but that doesn’t mean she’s afraid to hit her buzzer, either.¬†So far, Mel has been quieter than I thought she’d be, but we’re only one episode in.¬† Howie continues to be a bit of¬†an oddball judge, who is often the lone dissenter when the other judges vote a certain way.¬† Thought it was a bit odd that they only showed us 2 auditions from San Antonio before skipping ahead to New York & L.A., but judging from the previews from next week, it looks like they’re back in San Antonio for more auditions.

For the audition rounds, I’m just going to go through each act in the order it aired, and give a quick summary (to jog everyone’s memory and my own – it’s easy to lose track of some of the acts during a 2-hour show!), and give some of my own input on what I think of them.¬†¬†Since tonight’s episode spanned auditions in 3 different cities, I’ve broken the acts up by audition city as well.¬† For acts whose name wasn’t provided, I simply gave them an identifying nickname – i.e. “Asian male aerialist” or “girls’ clogging group”.¬† I’ll try to figure out any missing details and update you guys as I find them ūüėČ

And I do apologize for not getting this up immediately after the show aired last night – while I’ve become accustomed to cranking out recaps of the 2-hour DWTS performance show within an hour of the broadcast ending, I had forgotten how much information gets crammed into a 2-hour AGT audition show…and while I had this post 75% done last night, I was tired, and I didn’t want to half-ass my way through the rest just because I was sleepy.¬† So here it is – thanks for bearing with me as I get accustomed to PureAGT ūüôā

San Antonio:

David “The Cobra Kid” Weathers – 35 years old, from Hollywood, FL
The act: He does dangerous stuff with dangerous snakes – for his audition, he brought along the “meanest rattlesnake he’s got” and taunted it into striking (and subsequently popping) a balloon he held in his mouth.
The verdict: All 4 judges loved it and said yes – he’s through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Danger acts are great and I think they definitely have a place on AGT – but the one problem I have with them is that many of them end up kind of one-dimensional, without much to expand on from round to round.¬† Don’t get me wrong, some manage to parlay a rather limited “danger skill” into several different performances, each with an interesting twist to it (Ben Blaque, the crossbow act from last season, comes to mind) – but the majority seem to run out of truly different things to do after the Vegas round.¬† I’m afraid David might fall into latter camp – how much more is he going to be able to do with these snakes? I’m interested to see, but I can’t say I’m terribly optimistic that he’s going to continue to wow beyond Vegas.

Marty Brown – 47, from Franklin, KY
The act: He’s a country singer who performed “Make You Feel My Love” while playing the guitar.
The verdict: The judges all commented on how they were “pleasantly surprised” by how great of a performer he was, and loved that his wife had to trick him into coming to audition.¬† 4 yes’s – see you in Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Easygoing, down-to-earth country boy with guitar skills and a voice reminiscent of Garth Brooks? He’s a pretty safe bet, methinks – but if he really wants to separate himself from what I imagine will be yet another large group of male singers this season, he’s gonna need to step out of the country box a bit…maybe sing something more “mainstream” with a bit of a country twist to it?

 

New York:

Miu – 31, from Japan
The act:¬†Well…I think she was¬†trying to be the Japanese iteration of¬†Lady Gaga, so she was flailing around to “Born this Way” in typical Gaga attire: spiked bra, sparkly hot pants, some platform boots, and what looked like¬†metallic cinnamon rolls on her¬†shoulders.
The verdict:¬†If you couldn’t guess from the¬†description of the act alone, she didn’t make it through – she got early buzzes &¬†no’s from Howard, Mel, &¬†Heidi, in that order; Howie was the lone hold-out, and gave her a yes.
Court’s thoughts: It’s times like these where I really worry about Howie’s sense of judgement – I get the feeling tonight is not the only time this season where we’re going to see the 3 other judges giving a resounding “NO!” to a bad act, with Howie sitting there saying “I actually loved it…so it’s a yes for me!”

“The Animal”
The act: Errrr…it was a guy…and I guess he was trying to act like some sort of growling animal?
The verdict:¬†Mel¬†buzzed him before he even performed, and it was “NO!” across the board.
Court’s thoughts: Well, at least he had nice abs…if I were him, I would have quickly segued into a male revue-type act midway through the boo’s, and at least tried to salvage the performance ūüėõ

“The Alien Wearing Lederhosen” Nezbit Blue
The act:¬†A guy in a blue alien costume…wearing lederhosen…and yodeling.
The verdict: No X 4…and Heidi schooled him on yodeling.
Court’s thoughts: Are all people born in mountainous regions just innately able to yodel??? I actually thought Heidi wasn’t half-bad! ūüėõ

Avant-Garde Noise Music
The act: A guy¬†&¬†a girl in peculiar, vaguely country-ish costumes fashioned from¬†pantyhose & gas masks…and they were¬†playing banjos and some other instruments.¬† The result was bizarre & cacophonous.
The verdict:¬†The judges weren’t feeling it – AT ALL.¬† Nick, however (in typical Nick¬†fashion), cobbled together his own matching costume out of pantyhose and played along backstage.
Court’s thoughts: Dunno what this act¬†was thinking, but it’s times like these when I realize just how PERFECT a host Nick is for a show like this – the guy rolls with the punches incredibly well and manages to inject comedy when it’s needed most.¬† ūüėÄ

Catapult Entertainment – from New York, New York
The act: A silhouetted, acrobatic dance act that portrayed a jewel thief vs. detective storyline.
The verdict:¬†All 4 judges loved it and said “yes” to¬†Vegas. Howard even went so far as to¬†do the “I’m not worthy!!!” bow.
Court’s thoughts: Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of silhouette acts – especially the one from either last season or the one before that always did these kind of schmaltzy storylines and were basically just a group of people running back & forth to form new shapes.¬† But I felt like this one actually brought something new to the table – instead of just running from place to place, this was fluid, and had several things going on at once…and the shapes they were making actually moved instead of staying static.¬† They also played with perspective & size quite a bit more, and seemed to tell an actual story, as opposed to just creating pictures that fit¬†a certain theme.¬† I could see this act making it to the finale, for sure.

Unnamed female clogging group The Academy
The act: A group of adolescent-age female cloggers Irish step dancers.
The verdict:¬†They made it through to¬†Vegas.¬† Howard even went so far as to say¬†“the Rockettes have nothing on you guys!”
Court’s thoughts: Whenever they show an act that made it through to Vegas, but don’t necessarily give us the name or any other info other than a brief clip of them performing, I’m inclined to think that they probably won’t be around for long and thus the powers that be don’t see the point in investing a lot of airtime in them.¬† I could be wrong, though.¬† Anyway, from what I saw, they seemed to be very clean & in sync…but how well-received is an Irish step dancing act really going to be?

Hype – 20-25, from Hawaii
The act: Three¬†young guys¬†(“Headache”, “Hazmat”, and Mikey…who¬†doesn’t have a nickname :-P) that danced a hip-hop dance routine to a techno-y sounding remix of “Singin’ in the Rain”.
The verdict:¬†The judges (Howie in particular) were astounded that the 3 guys had only come up with that routine the night before,¬†and were excited to see just what they could come up with when they had even more time to rehearse.¬† 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: I actually thought one of the guys in the group (I think maybe “Hazmat”) looked familiar right off the bat, and then when I heard the name “Hype” and that they were from Hawaii, I recognized him as being part of Hype 5-0, a crew that was on America’s Best Dance Crew about 3 years ago.¬† If the pattern of former ABDC-ers on AGT continues, we’ll at least see these guys in the first round of live shows¬†– and if their choreographic talent is as promising as it looked tonight, they could make it even further.¬† I saw a lot of different styles in this routine – some breaking, some popping, some tutting – and if you can skillfully mesh multiple different hip-hop styles, you can really make a splash.

Unnamed male aerialist Tristan Jih
The act: 20-something guy that was a yoga instructor by day, and an aerialist by night –¬†and this was his first real performance.
The verdict:¬†We’ll see him in Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: He seemed a little nervous, but he handled those silks well – and he’s got a rather nice torso.¬† ūüėČ

Dave Shirley
The act: He’s a comedian that did some work behind a video screen – dragged a blow-up doll¬†behind the screen, and made it appear as though he was appearing on-screen dressed like Howard¬†(with the doll dressed like Heidi).¬† Managed to say in sync¬†with the vid screen when walking¬†out from¬†behind it.
The verdict: Judges liked it – he’s through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: A cool little twist on typical comedy – I was definitely skeptical when he introduced himself as “a comedian, but I don’t tell jokes”.¬† Now I get it¬†– but will this particular schtick wear thin after a few performances?

Kid the Wiz
The act: Did a sort of hip-hop dance that focused mainly on tricks he did with his hat.
The verdict: He’s through to¬†Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Yeah, it was cool to watch – but can you REALLY create an entire Vegas show out of a kid doing hat tricks??? And how many tricks does he really have? I’m guessing the judges get bored with it in Vegas, and he gets cut before the live shows.

Chuck from the Bronx – 38, from (duh) The Bronx, NY
The act: I guess you could call it “extreme eating” – he ate 3 raw eggs (shell & all),¬†chased a tequila shot by snorting the salt through his nose and squeezing¬†the lime in his eyes, and finished by devouring the world’s hottest pepper…while sitting in a bathtub full of ice.
The verdict:¬†In the second decision of the night that was not unanimous, Howard, Heidi, & Mel all hated it & said no¬†–¬†but Howie “got it” and said yes¬†to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: I can deal with sideshow & danger acts.¬† But for whatever reason, I get super-duper squeamish when I see professional/extreme eaters that either eat ridiculous amounts of food or eat weird things.¬† I literally start to get queasy and usually have to stop watching.¬† And poor Chuck looked like he was in such pain – I’d much rather see someone that was having the time of their life performing and was truly enjoying what they were doing, than someone that just suffers for the sake of applause.

Alex B. – 13
The act: He sang “Payphone” by Maroon 5.
The verdict:¬†The judges (Mel in particular) all said “no” as gently as they could.
Court’s thoughts: I always feel bad for young kids that work up the courage to hit the stage, but maybe just aren’t quite ready for AGT yet¬†and end up getting a “no” from the judges.¬† Poor Alex was only 13 – and his voice is probably changing, which could explain some of the shrillness that made his singing a bit hard on the ears.¬† The judges unfortunately probably see far more kids like Alex – and very few like Jackie Evancho or Anna Graceman.¬† I just hope kids like Alex do end up working on their skills a bit more and return in a future season when they’re better prepared.

Anna Christine – 10, from Henderson, NV (or as I like to call it – “John country” ;-))
The act: Sang “House of the Rising Sun” while playing the piano.
The verdict: Judges adored her – 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: She’s basically this season’s Anna Graceman – but I think she’s actually better.¬† She’s got a VERY mature voice for her age – reminded me a bit of Kelly Clarkson when she was on Idol¬†– and seems to have a bit more of a stage presence.¬† Another act that I could see making the finale.

3Penny Chorus & Orchestra – from Connecticut
The act: A full orchestra¬†& chorus comprised of non-professionals that performed an orchestral version of “Call¬†Me Maybe”.
The verdict:¬†Judges¬†(even Howard, who claims to “hate orchestral music) loved it.¬† They made it to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: It was definitely cool – especially when you consider that none of them are professional musicians.¬† But there were a few moments that I found it a bit grating on the nerves…maybe it was the song choice? Who knows.¬† I’d be interested to see them tackle something totally out of their element – like Jay Z or Kanye.

 

Los Angeles:

Pacific Boys’ Choir – ages 9-14
The act:¬†They sang a choral version of “California Dreamin'”.
The verdict:¬†They made it through to¬†Vegas – Howard especially loved it,¬†citing it as “one of his favorite songs”.
Court’s thoughts: It was a beautiful, haunting performance…definitely a pleasure to listen to.¬† But I wonder if they might connect better with the audience if they performed something a little more young¬†& current.

Special Head
The act: He’s an eccentric,¬†Buddhist monk-ish¬†street performer who makes this weird humming¬†noise to “get his chakras in line” before levitating.
The verdict:¬†Judges were skeptical at first – Howard even buzzed him early in the act.¬† But after the levitating, Howard actually “took back” the¬†X, and all 4 judges said “yes” to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Special Head is no spiritual – he’s just a magician that has found a really kooky (and clever) angle with which to frame his illusions.¬† It’s all an act – even the name betrays the fact that he doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously.¬† However – I think it’s brilliant.¬† I think I’ve figured out the trick (if you’ve ever caught Magic’s Greatest Secrets Revealed on the Bio channel, it’s just a simple levitation – hint: the staff he was holding isn’t just there for show), but I think the true genius behind his performance was more in the presentation than anything else.¬† We’ve had goth magicians of the Criss Angel persuasion, very mysterious illusion-based magicians of the David Copperfield persuasion, escape artists of the Houdini persuasion, and even very campy magicians of the Penn & Teller persuasion.¬† But we’ve never had a magician of the “spiritual magic” persuasion – and when you can inject that element of mysticism into a performance, the effect on the audience can be pretty powerful.¬† I’m very curious to see what he’s going to do for Vegas¬†– maybe conjure up some spirits? Summon the 7 plagues?

Angela Hoover – 42, from Redondo Beach, CA
The act: Comedienne/impressionist that impersonated Celine Dion, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Chenoweth, & Penelope Cruz.
The verdict:¬†4 yes’s, through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Glad to see another female impressionist since Melissa Villa Senor a few years back – it’s unfortunately a genre of comedy that seems to be dominated by men, since it’s far easier for a guy to humorously¬†imitate a female voice than it is for a female to imitate a male¬†voice.¬† Her Celine, Kristen, & Penelope impressions were spot-on – I thought the Drew could use¬†a bit of work, though, and found myself comparing it unfavorably to Melissa’s Drew impression.¬† I do want to see her do well – but I think in order for that to happen, she’s going to have to tackle some male impressions, too.¬† Melissa was unique in that she was able to do some male impressions, too – her Owen Wilson sticks out in my mind.¬† Hopefully Angela can pull out a decent Nick Cage or Robert De Niro ūüėõ

Barbie & Mina
The act: Two bimbos in hot pink outfits (kind of) singing some silly song.
The verdict: No way, Jose – and Howard said they “reminded him of the Spice Girls”, which of course got a rise out of Mel.
Court’s thoughts: Just…why????

“Guy with pony-like headdress & female backup dancers”
The act: Well…it was a guy in some vaguely S&M outfit with a pony-like headdress singing some weird song while some female backup dancers clad in metallic spandex danced around him.
The verdict: Ummm…no.
Court’s thoughts: I’m sure this would have been a hit in a gay club…but AGT maybe wasn’t the right audience.

Anthony Granger, aka “Tone the Chiefrocca” – 27, from Englewood, CA
The act: Tone and his “hype guy”, Cody¬†(who I think he said was his little brother) performed an original song called “B-Double O-T-Y” – which Tone hopes will make him a one-hit wonder.
The verdict: All 4 judges were on their feet & shaking their b-double o-t-y’s – and said yes to Vegas.¬† Nick also joined in for an impromptu 2nd performance and help Tone & his hype guy come up with an “official b-double o-t-y dance”.
Court’s thoughts: I gotta give props to a guy who openly admits that his only goal is to “become a one-hit wonder” ūüėõ On paper, I really should hate this act – but I loved every single second.¬† The song is catchy as hell, these two guys are ridiculously entertaining, and they’ve got no illusions about what they are: they’ve only got one song, and they intend to perform it over and over again for each round.¬† Normally I would think this would get really, really old, really, really quick – but I’m thinking their angle might be to perform the song with a different theme each time.¬† At least that’s what I’d do – yes, the audience already knows that I’m going to be singing “B-Double O-T-Y” again, but am I going to be singing it dressed as King Tut? Or the Village People? One thing’s for sure – “B-Double-O-T-Y” is this season’s “Whatcha Gonna Do?” ūüôā

So which acts stood out to you? Let’s hear it ūüôā

June 5, 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!