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AGT Blast to the Past: Lindsey Stirling – Now a YouTube Sensation

Remember the hip-hop violinist from AGT Season 5? She made it to the quarter-finals where she was ultimately eliminated. However, that wasn’t the end for her.

Before I get into that though, here is her Top 48 performance from Season 5.

This probably wasn’t my favorite performance, but it was pretty cool. However, leaving America’s Got Talent early in the competition ended up being a good thing for her. Devin Graham, a cinemetographer, approached Stirling about making a YouTube video with him, and from there, her career took off. The YouTube channel she started in 2007 took off after that video debuted, and has done very well since then. As of this month, she has over 100 million views, and her music has been on Last FM and Pandora. In addition, it is anticipated that she will release a CD later this year.

In an article written about her in BYU Magazine, where she is currently an undergrad, Stirling made this interesting statement after she posted her first video on 2011 on YouTube:

My music quadrupled in sales overnight. YouTube did more for me than America’s Got Talent. I realized there’s something to this.

This shows just how powerful YouTube is. I think it’s pretty cool that she was able to find a lot of success, even though she didn’t make it to the finals of AGT. It sounds like that was the catalyst for her career, but that YouTube is really what helped her become popular. Has anyone heard of any other former AGT contestants that were YouTube sensations as well?

The article also provided some interesting insight into what she’s been up to, as well as how she almost missed out on learning the violin. Apparently, her older sister wanted to play an instrument, and so Stirling wanted to as well. All her parents had was a trumpet, but she really wanted to play a violin. So they let her, although they could only afford for one 15 minute lesson a week, which some of the teachers scoffed at, believing there was no way she could learn. She obviously proved them wrong!

Her videos feature her in a variety of situations and places, including in Africa and New Zealand. I spent some time watching some of her videos tonight, and I have to say, I’m very impressed. They are so much fun, and this girl has some serious talent. I’ve never seen a violinist like her! I posted a few of her videos below, including the one filmed in Africa. It was the first time many of the people in the video had seen a violin. Whenever her album gets released, I think I will purchase it. She seems to be very successful, and is also on track to graduate from Brigham Young University with a degree in therapeutic recreation in 2013.


July 31, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is a journalism student at Brigham Young University in her senior year. She is originally from Littleton, Colorado, and hopes to move back there after graduation. Reality television is her favorite to watch, and has enjoyed writing about America's Got Talent and A Chance to Dance. She is a stay-at-home-mom who enjoys writing (especially blogs), cooking and sewing (while spending far too much time on Pinterest finding inspiration) and being outside with her husband and son.

Michael Grimm Released Self-Titled Epic Records Debut

I just got word that Michael Grimm, winner of America’s Got Talent, released his self-titled (Michael Grimm) Epic Records debut May 17th! Here’s a list of songs from the album:
You Don’t Know Me You Don't Know Me - Michael Grimm
Fallin’ Fallin' - Michael Grimm
Simple Man (feat. Travis Tritt) Simple Man (feat. Travis Tritt) - Michael Grimm
Let’s Make Love Again Let's Make Love Again - Michael Grimm
Champagne and Wine Champagne and Wine - Michael Grimm
Something I Said Something I Said - Michael Grimm
Stay With Me Stay With Me - Michael Grimm
Gasoline and Matches (feat. Ann Wilson) Gasoline and Matches (feat. Ann Wilson) - Michael Grimm
Suddenly You Are Suddenly You Are - Michael Grimm
No Other Love No Other Love - Michael Grimm
Stay With Me (Baby) Stay With Me (Baby) - Michael Grimm
I Am I Am - Michael Grimm
Red Red - Michael Grimm

You can also check out the new video for “Fallin’” Fallin' - Michael Grimm below:

May 18, 2011 I Written By

America’s Got Talent 5: The Wildcard Show

The upcoming episode is the WildCard show. Meaning anyone that the judges/producers believe deserve a second chance will get that second chance. In the matter of this season (as far as I know) I mean anyone…

There are a handful of acts that were rejected in Vegas who will get their chance to shine in Hollywood. The majority of the acts are those that had their chance in Hollywood, but in the end were not voted through for one reason or another.

One thing of note is that the only “singer” in the group is the youth rapper. Otherwise most everyone else is a non-vocalist, which is probably a good thing because there are already nine acts that sing that got through.

So providing that there are already 20 semi-finalists, if they choose another four from this crew then that would make it 24 semi-finalists total. That would be 24 acts out of 64 acts that performed in Hollywood as semi-finalists.

So out of all the wild-card acts (there’s no limit to the number of acts you’re looking foward to seeing on stage)…

August 12, 2010 I Written By

Howie Mandel on Tonight Show

I must admit that we’re definitely seeing another side of Howie Mandel. Or maybe it’s just the usual side of Howie Mandel, but I just had never seen it. Check out this clip of Howie Mandel on the Tonight Show with Jay:

Plus, Howie Mandel even brings on Hannibal Means to see Jay too. Hannibal is quite the piece of work.

August 10, 2010 I Written By

America’s Got Talent 5: Sixteen Act Breakdown

As we wait for the YouTube Auditions to commence on August 10th… let us take a look at the breakdown of the acts that have made it through to the next round… first the categorical breakdown:


Alice Tan Ridley: Singer
Cristina & Ali: Singing Sisters
Prince Poppycock: Opera Singer
Debra Romer: Singer/Musician
Michael Grimm: Singer/Musician
Nathaniel Kenyon: Singer/Musician
Taylor Matthews: Singer/Musician

Now anyone that did any kind of singing get’s clumped into the singing group without question, which would make it a rather large group. However, when you break it down even further you’d notice that about half are solo singer/musicians meaning that they accompany themselves on a musical instrument while singing. Thus of the last three there is one pure singer, a singing duo and a performance/opera singer. When one breaks it down like that it doesn’t seem so bad…

It’s easy to argue that the number of singers still in the competition makes up about half of the total number of acts and as thus more of a singing competition than a talent competition. However, as easy as it is to say why don’t the singers move to American Idol, here’s my argument. The Idol series (Pop Idol, American Idol, etc) focuses on several things when choosing their contestants: physical look, vocal ability, entertainment value and the age-range. The Idol series focuses primarily on the “pop” genre or something pop-XXXX genre. Yes they have gotten better in including soul, rock and country… but the majority of the singers in the competition are primarily pop. Add to that the look and entertainment value and true talent tends to go out the window (which is why the group doesn’t cover American Idol… we like talent shows 😀 ).

All kidding aside every one of these acts have the talent to do decently in the music business no matter where they end up. The real question is that after acts like Bianca Ryan, Terry Fator (though technically he is a singing ventriloquist), Eli Mattson, Neal E Boyd, and Kevin Skinner… do we really need another singer to take it all? Or is it time for another different kind of act to step forward?

Future Funk: Hip-Hop Dance Duo
Haspop: Popping Dancer
Studio One Young Beast Society: Dance Troupe

One common thread I noticed with the above acts… hip hop… It seems like Hip Hop dancing is the “in” thing now, it is what is hip or going on. The other thing I noticed is that the majority of the dancers are outside of the 18 – 30 age range of So You Think You Can Dance contestants for the most part.

Dance has been gaining traction thanks to the likes of Dancing with the Stars (ballroom dancing), So You Think You Can Dance (all styles), America’s Best Dance Crew (mostly hip hop and breaking)… but the fact that only generally hip hop dancers have made it this far and that most of the popular media deals with hip hop tells a bit of something about the genre in general.

Are any of the above strong enough to have a Las Vegas major production catered around them for well over an hour? I’m not entirely certain I could handle watching one type of dancing for that long… but that’s just me.

Antonio Restivo: Fire Artist/Illusionist
Murray: Magician/Illusionist

For many decades, magicians and illusionists have been a mainstay in Las Vegas. From the likes of Siegfried & Roy to Penn & Teller to Criss Angel when a magician has a show in Vegas they’ve hit the big time. Do either of the above have what it takes to not only provide magic and illusions that stretch beyond the parameters of those that came before them but to entertain the crowd as well?

ArcAttack: Technological Performance Group
AscenDance: Rock Climbing Acrobats/Dancers
Fighting Gravity: Blacklight Performers
Jeremy VanSchoonhoven: Extreme Cyclist

These particular acts are so unique, so different, and very dangerous in their own ways that I ended up clumping them into their own group.

Ever since the advent of Cirque du Soliel, the world of entertainment has been spun, stretch and re-imaged for a bigger and brighter world. Could any of the above acts sustain a show and stretch the boundaries of entertainment any further?

Keep in mind although these acts could be in existence in other countries outside of the United States (or on smaller scales IN the United States) it is through the show that what they do is coming to the forefront. Thus allowing similar acts to show and shine and recreate entertainment as we know it. All it takes is a single group to break down the wall for every else to rebuild it.

Categorical Conclusion
Singers make up a vast piece of the pie, but then again in American culture it is the singers that bring in the most revenue in the entertainment industry from record deals, to music downloads, to concert tours and television shows. So are we really all that surprised to see so many singers in the competition?

On the other hand, the other half of the pie is comprised of a variety of other acts that are jockeying for their piece of the entertainment industry pie. Is this the season for a non-singer to win the competition? Is America really ready for something other than singers?


Now, did anyone else find it interesting that there was a group of acts that were given a free ride into Hollywood? How did those acts do?

Straight to Hollywood
ArcAttack: Technological Performance Group
Fighting Gravity: Blacklight Performers
Future Funk: Hip-Hop Dance Duo
Haspop: Popping Dancer

Of the ten acts that made it straight to Hollywood, only four were chosen to go on to the next round. But what was the breakdown of the acts before and after America voted?

Seven of the ten acts were dance acts in some capacity from the one man show of Haspop to the cheerleading squad of SF Cheer. We also had a gymnast/acrobat, and two performance acts that simply did not fit anywhere else.

One thing of note is that no singers had a free pass to Hollywood. Another thing of note is that a fair number of dances acts made it through to Hollywood while others still had to audition in Vegas.

There were three non-dance acts of which two of the more unique ones made it through to the next round.

Christina & Ali: Singing Sisters (?)
Nathaniel Kenyon: Singer/Musician
Jeremy VanSchoonhoven: Extreme Cyclist

Everyone saw the Standby acts performed. I think it is safe to say that for an act who was original standby to be continuing in the competition is saying a lot in their determination and focus on the goal at hand (whatever that may be). No matter how far in the competition a Standby act will go it is a safe bet to say that I tip my hat off to these acts for proving to the judges and America why they belonged…

I Written By

America’s Got Talent 5: YouTube Auditions has an article up giving us an idea of who to expect on Tuesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent.

Now if you don’t know how the YouTube auditions episode is set up… People were asked to post a YouTube video of themselves showing off their talent and submitting it to the America’s Got Talent YouTube page.

From there, the producers would choose eleven (11) acts to be on the YouTube auditions show while America was asked to view the YouTube auditions and choose the act that they would like to see on the show.

Of the eleven acts chosen by the producers they include:

– Pup, a 7-year-old mutt [and Ed Heiss, his guitar-playing sidekick]
– Ohio pizzeria owner Patt Miller

However, the single act that garnered the most votes by voters via YouTube is:

[…] Jackie Evancho — a 10-year old opera singer […]

Now there is a Jackie that is a reader to the site that was mentioned in a previous post in regards to the YouTube auditions, however without a last name there is no knowing if this is the same Jackie as mentioned.

Also in store… Wednesday’s results episode will include:

[..] Judson Laipply, the motivational speaker whose 2006 Evolution of Dance video has been watched nearly 150 million times.[…]

If you do not know/remember what video that pertains to, here it is.

It sounds like this week’s auditions are going to be mildly entertaining…

August 9, 2010 I Written By

America’s Got Talent 5: “Final” Group of Twelve

Here is the final group of twelve. The reason that final is in quotes is because there is the issue of the YouTube auditions and the winner of the YouTube auditions would be announced on August 10th which begs the question… are they going to go straight to the next round? Or is there going to be some kind of wild card show? All speculation aside…. Who of the final group of twelve would you want to move on to the next round?

August 3, 2010 I Written By