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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 ūüėČ

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 РI 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 РI 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 ūüėõ “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? ūüôā

 

September 4, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 – Roster for 2nd Semifinal Airing September 3

Here’s the semifinalists performing next week:

Kenichi Ebina
Jimmy Rose
Marty Brown
Chicago Boyz
D’Angelo & Amanda
John Wing
Timber Brown
Branden James
American Military Spouses Choir
Anna Christine
Kristef Brothers*
Leon Etienne & Romy Low (Howard’s wild card pick)

*pending healing of the injury Kris sustained while rehearsing for this week’s semifinal.

The one major threat I see to Forte’s apparent monopoly on the win this season? Kenichi Ebina. If he can pull off something as cool as what he did in the quarterfinals, I think he’s gonna be a force to be reckoned with. ¬†Other standouts? I’m guessing Jimmy Rose, Timber Brown, D’Angelo & Amanda, and I’m tentatively going to say the Chicago Boyz & Kristef Brothers, who both have injuries to contend with (one of the Chicago Boyz broke his leg in the 3rd quarterfinal, and obviously Kris from Kristef is still recovering from the injury he sustained this week). ¬†As I said in my spoilers post, I think Leon & Romy don’t stand a chance; I also keep forgetting that Anna Christine is even in this competition, and think Marty Brown’s weaknesses are really going to show next to Jimmy Rose, much the same way that Jonathan Allen’s did next to Forte. ¬†And speaking of opera – so help me god, Branden James better NOT make the top 12…most overrated act this season, IMO.

So who do you guys think will be the ones to watch next week? And what do you think of Howard’s wild card pick?

August 28, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Live Show #3 – Power Rankings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 7, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 – Roster for 3rd Live Show Airing August 6

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

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

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

What do you guys think?

August 1, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Vegas Week Rundown – Night #1

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

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

Instant Decisions

Acts that made it straight through to the live shows:

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

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

Acts that got sent straight home:

Olivia Rox
Yasha & Daniela
Sully Dunn
Milton Patton

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

Acts that performed in Vegas

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

Danger acts:

Slackwire Sam
Rong Niu
David Ferman
Brad Byers
Alex Magala

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

Music groups:

Forte
Brandon & Savannah
The American Hit Men

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

Kid acts:

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

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

Comedians:

Jimmy Failla*
Eric Schwartz*
Taylor Williamson
John Wing*

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

Dancers:

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

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

Acrobats:

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

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

Female singers:

Deanna Dellacioppa
Skilyr Hicks
Selena Mykenzie Gordon*
Cami Bradley

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

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

July 16, 2013 I Written By

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

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

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

Singers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Classical singers:

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

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

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

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

Bands/Music Groups:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 12, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Vegas Week Roster

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

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

Singers:

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

Classical Singers:

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

Bands/Musical Groups:

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

Dancers:

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

Dance groups:

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

Acrobats:

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

Danger acts:

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

Magicians:

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

Comedians:

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

Novelty acts:

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

Kid Acts:

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

I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Episode #3 Music List – Chicago Auditions

Not a whole lot of music from this week’s show, since it was only an hour long – and I’m still struggling with some of the classical music selections.¬† Anyone out there wanna help? Where’s Marianya when I need her? ūüôā

“Hall of Fame” by The Script feat. Will.I.Am Hall of Fame (Original Version) - #3 (Deluxe Version)(Chicago intro)
“You’re the Best” by Joe “Bean” EspositoYou're the Best - The Karate Kid (The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (Omega gets 4 yes’s; montage of good auditions)
“Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 feat. Christina AguileraMoves Like Jagger (Studio Recording from (Chicago dancers intro)
“Battle Without Honor or Humanity” by Tomoyasu HoteiBattle Without Honor or Humanity - Kill Bill, Vol. 1 (Original Soundtrack) (Kenichi gets 4 yes’s)
“Beneath Your Beautiful” by Labrinth feat. Emile SandeBeneath Your Beautiful (feat. Emeli Sand√©) - Beneath Your Beautiful (feat. Emeli Sand√©) - Single (Deanna Dellacioppa intro/4 yes’s)
“And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from DreamgirlsAnd I Am Telling You I'm Not Going (Highlights Version) - Dreamgirls (Music from the Motion Picture) (Deanna performance)
“Weird Science” by Oingo Boingo Weird Science - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Oingo Boingo(montage of strange auditioners)
“Funbags” by Rod ThomasFunbags - Laptop Folk (Sprice intro)
“Breakfast Machine” from Peewee’s Big AdventureBreakfast Machine - Pee-Wee's Big Adventure / Back to School (Original Motion Picture Scores) (Sprice performance)
“Hip to Be Square” by Huey Lewis & the NewsHip to Be Square - Huey Lewis & The News: Greatest Hits (Sprice gets 4 yes’s)
“Daylight” by Maroon 5Daylight - Overexposed (Deluxe Version) (Rong Niu intro)
“Two Steps from Hell” by Casablanca (Rong Niu performance)
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Diana RossAin't No Mountain High Enough - Number 1's: Diana Ross & The Supremes (American Military Spouses Choir performance)

June 20, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Audition Round Rundown #3 – Chicago Auditions

God bless one-hour audition shows filled entirely with great acts that made it through to Vegas! Tonight’s episode was short, sweet, and to-the-point¬†– just pure talent, and plenty of¬†camaraderie amongst the judges…they really do have a great panel this season.¬† None of the judges are jerks, there’s no childish arguments between judges, and I feel like all of them genuinely enjoy what they’re doing.¬† What a pleasant surprise ūüôā

That said, I have yet to really connect with Mel B., which surprises me – I thought she’d be a lot more outgoing and fun to watch, but she’s been surprisingly subdued.¬† She’s almost never the first to talk, and when she does, she’s basically just echoing what the other judges have said…it’s too early for me to really say I’m “disappointed”, but I guess I was just expecting her to be the crazy one on the panel this season.¬† On the flipside, Heidi has been a really pleasant surprise for me – I figured she’d be the “quiet one”, but she’s been quite vocal, and she’s usually right on the money with her critiques…plus she seems like she genuinely wants to make the contestants feel welcome and comfortable.¬† She also seems to calm Howard down a bit, to the point that I’m really liking Howard as a judge this season, too.

*NOTE: Although this episode was supposedly only auditions from Chicago, if you were paying close attention, you might have seen one audition from another city that they snuck into the middle of the show: Deanna DellaCioppa, who appears to have auditioned in New Orleans, based on the clothes that the judges were wearing.¬† It was Nick’s loud green, purple, and yellow mardi gras-themed suit that tipped me off ūüôā Just thought I’d mention this, for the sake of accuracy.

The Omega Force Strength Team – ages 34-75
The act:¬†They’re basically a strongman (and woman) act, that¬†performed such feats of strength as a 300 lb. barrel squat, elbow slamming (and breaking)¬†through 42 bars of concrete, and bench pressing Nick.
The verdict:¬†Howie was skeptical about how¬†“hard” the stuff there were doing really was, and said no.¬† All¬†3 of the other judges said yes, though.
Court’s thoughts: As impressive as it was to see a 75-year-old man doing a 300 lb. squat, I’m actually kind of with Howie on this one – some of the stuff they were doing seemed a bit less impressive when you really think about it.¬† The guy doing the squats wasn’t going all the way down; breaking through the concrete blocks has less to do with brute strength and more with the technique with which you hit the blocks; and Nick is a pretty spindly guy – I doubt he weighs more than maybe 170 lbs, and the average man can usually bench around 160 lbs.¬† Was it cool to watch? Sure – but it all happened rather quickly and I’m not sure there are a lot more ways they can spin their strength skills.¬† I definitely don’t think you could make an entire Vegas show out of it, and I’m thinking this could be a “cannon fodder” act in the Vegas round – an act that was amusing enough to make it to Vegas, but upon closer examination, it probably becomes less impressive and is easily eliminated in Vegas.

Team Rock 
The act: 4 teenagers doing various tae kwon do tricks, such as flying high kicks, flips, spins, etc.
The verdict:¬†They’re through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with martial arts acts – the skill one needs to possess to do it is unreal and people study it for years before they become proficient, but sometimes the difficulty of what they’re doing is a bit lost on the audience.¬† I liked this act, but I also really liked Kung Fu Heroes from season 5 – and they never really seemed to click with the audience.¬† Maybe it’s the repetitive nature of some of the martial arts acts – flip, kick, spin, chop, repeat – but I think they’re really going to have to do something special in order to remain relevant.¬† Maybe “themed” performances?

Kyle & Darby
The act: An adorable 5-year-old girl (Darby) that does cheerleading stunts with her adult coach (Kyle).  Lots of basket tosses, heel stretches, liberties, etc.
The verdict:¬†4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: If Darby keeps on this path, she’s basically got a walk-on pass to the University of Kentucky cheerleading squad, which is the most competitive in the country, when she’s 18¬†– because she’s doing some¬†tricks that most elite high school cheerleaders won’t even attempt.¬† And the fact that she’s mastered them at her age? CRAZY.¬† My only concern is that it may get¬† little repetitive if it’s just her and Kyle – if they could add in a few other stunting partners for her, it could expand her repertoire and give her some versatility.

Kenichi Ebina – age 38, from Japan
The act:¬†He performs “dance-ish” – which is his nickname for the¬†combination of¬†robotics, animation, popping, and¬†tricks he performs.
The verdict:¬†The judges absolutely loved¬†the story behind¬†it – he got¬†4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: I love this guy – he does some of the same crazy stuff that Haspop did back in season 5, except he seems to be even more skilled in it.¬† Loved his “Matrix” move, where he held a ridiculous bent-back pose for a ridiculously long time before falling down, and then uprighting himself – without using his hands.¬† If he can continue to give themed performances like these and keep doing new tricks, I could see him going far.

Deanna DellaCioppa – age 39, from Massachusetts (*actually auditioned in New Orleans)
The act:¬†Deanna sang “And I Am Telling You” from the musical Dreamgirls.
The verdict:¬†Judges loved her and gave her 4 yes’s, but¬†Mel cautioned her about¬†reaching too far for notes, because her voice seemed like it was¬†“going to give out at any moment”.
Court’s thoughts: I really liked Deana’s voice and her performance, but I do agree with Mel on this one – it got a little shrill at times, and she seemed to get a little too overwrought with the emotion of her performance.¬† She’s got a great voice, no doubt – girl can belt it out.¬† But now she needs to learn how to control it – how to hit the notes without sounding painful, how to perform emotionally without it getting the better of her, how to control her breathing, etc.¬† She’s got the raw talent – now she just needs the polish.¬† And if she can get the polish – watch out!

Steve “Sprice” Price – age 19
The act: “Sprice”¬†designed and spent 3 days setting up a Rube Goldberg machine in the lobby that took several elaborate steps in order to push a ball into a soccer goal.
The verdict: Judges loved the creativity of it, and said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: First, a little bit of background on Rube Goldberg for those who aren’t familiar with it: it’s a type of competition in which students of various ages are given a simple task (i.e. pouring water into a cup, getting a basketball into a basket, etc.) and a certain # of steps, and are tasked with creating a machine that will accomplish the end task in that set¬†number of steps.¬† It takes a lot of brainpower, creativity, and dedication, and sometimes schools will form Rube Goldberg teams that will work for hours after school (sometimes for the entire school year)¬†to create their machine, and then their machines are judged at competitions based on creativity, efficiency, speed, accuracy, etc.¬† In other words – it takes a LOT of work, and this kid has a real knack for it.¬† He’s kind of this season’s Kinetic King¬†– except I think “Sprice” may actually be more entertaining, since he’s got more to work with than just popsicle sticks.¬† I only have 2 worries about him this season…the first is obvious: that his machine will malfunction on the air, and he’ll be left mortified like the Kinetic King during his first live round on TV.¬† The second one is that, since so many of the steps of his machine are so small and intricate, that the audience won’t be able to really see (and thus appreciate) how really detailed and clever his machine is.¬† Hopefully he can hone his craft and eliminate the possibility of error, and figure out a way to really make his machines big enough for all to see.

Rong Niu (aka The Amazing Red Panda) Рage 42, from San Francisco
The act: She rides a unicycle while balancing and flipping ceramic bowls onto the top of her head.
The verdict: The judges were¬†amazed by her skill and¬†gave her 4 yes’s.¬† Mel struggled with saying “juggling bowls” with her thick accent.¬† ūüėõ
Court’s thoughts: This woman could have just ridden a unicycle and it would have impressed me! That in and of itself is a feat.¬† On top of that, she rode a really TALL unicycle, and was pedaling with one foot while balancing (and flipping!) bowls with her other foot…onto the TOP OF HER HEAD.¬† I think I lost count at 7 bowls.¬† She’s absolutely brilliant at what she does – but is there more to her act than this? How much more can she really do with the bowls? It may impressed the judges again in Vegas, but if she makes it through to the live shows…I’m not sure how well America will respond.¬† It has the potential to get a bit repetitive, I’m afraid.

The American Military Spouses Choir – ages 20-56
The act:¬†This choir composed of military wives (that do outreach work with¬†veterans suffering from PTSD & traumatic brain injuries) sang “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”.
The verdict:¬†Judges universally praised their outreach work and also their voices – they got 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: Now while I absolutely LOVE what these ladies do and think they’ve got definite talent – I think it got a bit pitchy at times, and it seemed like the 2-3 lead vocalists did most of the heavy lifting while the rest of the ladies hummed in the background. It was still a very pleasant performance, but I did find myself cringing once or twice, thinking “Errrr, that wasn’t the cleanest note.” Hopefully with the production value of the live shows, they can get that little bit of polish they need to really take their performance to the next level.

So who were YOUR favorites from tonight’s short-but-sweet show? ūüôā

June 18, 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!