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PureAGT Season 8, Top 12 – Power Rankings

Well, to those of you who didn’t join myself, Matt B. and Matt W. in the live discussion post/”Matt Chat” during the show last night – you missed out on some great discussion ūüôā And I’m planning on resurrecting the “Matt Chat” for next week’s finale…so plan on joining us, k? ūüėČ

Overall, last night was a night that the judges seemed to do a LOT of gushing and giving of standing ovations – and I’m not sure they were all deserved.¬† Seems like the judges have decided who they do and don’t want in the finale, and are critiquing accordingly.¬† Will be interesting to see who’s still standing when the dust settles tonight…

1.) Forte – As I mentioned in the live discussion post last night, I actually thought last night was one of their weaker performances – that song has just been done to death, and I actually don’t think the arrangement had enough “light and shade” to really showcase the guys’ voices well.¬† The whole thing just felt a bit “meh…it’s ok” to me.¬† That said, I think they long ago solidified their place in the finals, and are one of the few remaining acts who can afford to have a bit of a stumble and still make it through safely.

2.) Kenichi Ebina – Another usually top-notch performer that left me feeling a bit “meh” last night.¬† I get what he was going for – a more emotional, artsy performance – but up until the part with him leaping through the dark with the strobe light, I just felt a bit lost, as he seemed to be a little all-over-the-place with his movements.¬† Again, another act that long ago secured his place in the finale – but I think if he wants a shot of displacing Forte for the win, he should stick with what has really worked well for him in the past: very cool, fun, upbeat performances that show off his full repertoire of skills.

3.) Kristef Brothers – Highlight of the evening for me, and I think they reached a Kenichi-level of creativity with their performance last night.¬† An infomercial on how to be a Kristef Brother? HILARIOUS.¬† And they still did all of their tricks well – color me entertained.¬† And can I just say how RAD Kris’ dad is? I think I may have to rewatch just the little blurb with him later, cause he had me laughing pretty hard.¬† I think these guys and Cami have been the biggest surprises of the season for me – I never would have guessed they would make it this far.

4.) Collins Key – *sigh* I was really, really hoping that Collins would both clean up his delivery AND come up with something totally different for the top 12 – and I guess he succeeded, but only minimally.¬† Yeah, he trimmed down a lot of the confusing fluff from his last trick, and the “pick a bag for me to smash” premise was probably the most innovation we could expect from the type of magic he does; but last night, I saw the “man behind the curtain” a bit, and it detracted from my enjoyment of the trick.¬† There was just wayyyy too much funny business with the bags – Howard chose bag #2 for him to put Nick’s watch in, but all Collins did was take the 2nd bag and switch it with the first one…the watch was still going in bag #1.¬† Then when he was “mixing up” the bags, he was really keeping the same bag with Nick’s watch in the same hand the whole time.¬† Then watch his face when he’s asking Heidi to pick bag 1, bag 2, or bag 3 – he smiles broadly when he says “bag #3”, which to me could have easily been a signal to Mel & Heidi that Nick’s watch was in that bag and they needed to pick the other two.¬† And really, the bags were never sealed, and Nick’s quite obviously was much larger & heavier than the two cheap ones…so Collins knew the whole time where Nick’s watch was, which enabled him to “coach” the ladies.¬† Then there was the whole debacle with the time on Howie’s watch – I don’t think Collins considered that Howie’s watch doesn’t have well-defined second marks, and that Mel is sometimes a bit of a dipsh*t, so once again the trick lost its magic a bit when Collins asked if the time “was rounded or not”.¬† I like the kid, I really do – but each time I see him perform, he loses a little bit more of the magic that made me enjoy him so much the first few times we saw him.¬† That said, I think he has the teenybopper vote, and should make it through without any problems.¬† I’m just not confident he can win the whole thing, though.

5.) Jimmy Rose – I think last night was actually my favorite performance we’ve seen from Jimmy – was nice to see him sing something a tad more uptempo.¬† But the judges just weren’t feeling it – has the luster worn off the rose with their favorite country boy? Or have they just decided he’s not finale material? I just found the whole critique to be rather strange – granted, Jimmy did have a few wobbly notes, but I don’t think it was any worse than any of his other performances…which the judges GUSHED about.¬† I’m guessing that he still has enough fan support to secure himself a place in the finale…even though I think I’d rather see Cami there.

6.) Taylor Williamson – Taylor just gets funnier and funnier to me, the edgier and more inappropriate his humor gets ūüėõ And I love that Howard & Howie get it and are on board with it – because I feel like both Heidi & Mel have missed the bus at different points, and last night it was Mel’s turn.¬† I could tell Mel soured on the act the minute the word “racist” passed Taylor’s lips – I remember reading that she demanded that one of the comedians we saw in Vegas not have his audition performance aired because she thought it was racist & offensive, so she’s quite touchy about that particular subject.¬† I actually didn’t find Taylor’s joke to be particularly offensive – it was pretty darn innocent, as far as “racist” jokes go, and ended up being more ageist than racist, really.¬† But I could tell Mel had written the act off based on that joke alone – so I’m actually a little glad Howard & Howie managed to keep her from critiquing the act, because I have a feeling she would have torn him a new one.

7.) Catapult Entertainment – I’ll just put it out there: I’m sick to death of Catapult, and I’m totally over the main guy’s preachy attitude and tendency to go for the “schmaltz factor” in order to get his group to advance. Aside from their initial audition (which I still think was their best performance), the one time they DIDN’T go for some sappy storyline, they kind of lost both the judges’ and America’s interest.¬† Do they really think they’re going to be able to craft an entire Vegas show out of sappy vignettes like the one they did last night? I about wanted to slap the leader in the face when he pulled out the whole “we need to protect our kids from bullies” line and acted like he was doing such a noble thing by announcing that to the world and sharing his group’s performance…as if he was single-handedly going to stop bullying by doing a few shadow puppets.¬† And mediocre shadow puppets, at that – some of the shapes they were making kinda made me go “Wait, what is that? Is that supposed to be a dog? It’s a crappy-looking dog…oh, I guess it’s a dog.¬† Whatever.” I’m over the “look at us, we’re so touching and socially-conscious that you simply MUST put us through to the next round!” act.

8.) Cami Bradley – Cami was my 2nd favorite act of the evening – loved her rendition of “Living on a Prayer” and thought she was the only singer last night that really did something fresh and unexpected.¬† And as I said earlier – she has pleasantly surprised me each round she performs.¬† That said – I worry she’s going to get lost in the shuffle between all the country fans trying like hell to save Jimmy Rose and all the opera fans duking it out between Forte & Branden James.¬† I think she DESERVES a spot in the finale, but I’m not sure if she’ll actually GET a spot in the finale…too many sheeple voters that are blinded by Collins, country, & opera.

9.) Branden James – *shrug* I just don’t know what to make of this guy anymore.¬† He reverted back to his usual “I’m going to sing a touching song that’s been done wayyyy too many times because I know America just eats this sh*t up!” strategy, and gave a schmaltzy, average performance to “Hallelujah”.¬† And of course – the judges gush.¬† I give up…but I guess I just hope Forte has enough clout to edge him out of the finals.

10.) Innovative Force – Anyone else find it a bit funny that they had all 3 acrobatic acts basically go back-to-back-to-back at the beginning of the show, as if to force America to see them side-by-side and pick just 1 to go through? I think this likely benefitted Kristef Brothers, but hurt Innovative Force & Chicago Boyz – because both paled in comparison.¬† Innovative Force are great at what they do – I think their tricks are a lot more cleanly-executed than Chicago Boyz, and their the most “artistic” of the 3 acrobatic acts in the top 12…but I feel like they’re getting a bit repetitive.¬† Each performance, it’s the same intense, classical music; the same tricks (we saw the “throw the girls around in star formation” trick in their audition); and the same type of costuming.¬† I just think they’ve run their course on this show, unfortunately.

11.) D’Angelo & Amanda – I’m not sure there was really anything that D’Angelo & Amanda could have done to earn themselves a place in the finale – I feel like America is so country, opera, and Collins-crazy that they just don’t have time to really care about these two very talented dancers.¬† I was thrilled that they did samba – it’s the “party dance”, and was probably their best bet at making a splash (no pun intended, considering their performance last week) in the top 12.¬† I thought they did great – they moved big, they added in an interesting new element (dancing around the judges’ table), and had a great energy about them.¬† I don’t think it will get them into the finale, but I think it was a great way to go out with a bang.

12.) Chicago Boyz – Poor Chicago Boyz.¬† I don’t think they did terrible, by any means; I just think they had the unfortunate distinction of being really the only act that made very noticeable mistakes last night.¬† I do applaud them for stepping up the danger level each week (jump-roping a 3-tired pyramid formation??!!), but I think the fact that they lost one of their key stuntmen to a leg injury really crippled them this week – I’m fairly certain I saw his replacement involved in both bungled jump rope tricks I saw. I have enjoyed their journey on the show, but I’m fairly certain we’ve seen the last of the Chicago Boyz ūüôĀ

So what are your thoughts on last night’s performances? Who do you think will advance to the finale next week?

September 11, 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 – Top 12 Live Discussion Post

You don’t have to wait until I post my power rankings in order to discuss the show – go ahead and do it here, live ūüôā Tell us what you think – which acts performed well tonight? Which acts stunk? Which acts surprised you the most? Who do you think is going through to the finale?¬† TELL US!!! ūüėÄ

September 10, 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, Semifinal #2 – SPOILERS!!! Who Made it Through to the Next Round?

Anyone else totally OVER the judges’ choice and how they continually cop out on actually making a choice? I think they’ve only not done the dreaded 2-2¬†split twice this season – once for Chicago Boyz in¬†quarterfinal #3, and once for Catapult¬†in last week’s semifinal.¬† Why even have a judges’ choice when they’re just gonna throw it right back to America???
Read more..

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, 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

 

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 – SPOILERS!!! Who Made it Through to the Next Round?

For once, I’m not feeling outraged about the results tonight –¬†I¬†am, however, beginning to get concerned about the number of singers making it through to the semifinals.¬† And I think Howie and I may be on the same¬†page, because¬†he seemed to subtly¬†(ok, NOT so subtly) insinuate that America “got it wrong” last week…and that we have “such a great variety of acts to share with America!” I don’t know about you, but to me that screams “You idiots shouldn’t have voted Marty through…and stop voting so many other¬†singers through!!!”¬† Read more..

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 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?

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 – Dancers/Dance Groups/Acrobats

I continue my series of predictions for Vegas week with the dancers & acrobats categories.  If you missed my assessment of the singers & bands, go here.

Dancers:

Ron & Liza: Could go either way. My gut tells me that we’re¬†probably¬†only going to see one ballroom act in the live¬†shows –¬†and that it’s more likely to be one of the¬†ballroom kids than the adults.¬†¬†But Ron & Liza were fun to watch, and they seem like an act that¬†might get picked for the live show if there’s room after some of¬†the more popular acts get through.

Kenichi Ebina: A sure thing. As Howie said, he’s the strongest act in the dancers category right now – and I think his style is perfect for the live shows.¬† I think of him as this season’s¬†Turf – but with more polish.

Bones & the Machine: Could go either way.¬†Audiences¬†usually have a pretty mixed reaction¬†to the “bone-breaking” hip hop style: they either love¬†it or are appalled by it.¬† I think their fate in Vegas could really just depend on the climate at the judges table – do they love it or hate it?

Dylan Wilson: A long shot. I’m rooting for Dylan, since he’s from my home state, but I think he’s unfortunately going to pale in comparison to Kenichi in Vegas – everything Dylan does, Kenichi can do…and can do it better, and with more polish.¬† I don’t know that the live shows really need both of them.

 

Dance groups:

Catapult Entertainment: Looking likely.¬†¬†They’re the only act of their kind this season, and the judges seemed to respond very positively to what they did.¬† My only concern is that the whole¬†“silhouetted dance” concept may be getting a little old…if the judges¬†start to feel that way, they could get displaced for another act.

The Academy:¬†Could go either way.¬†We only got to see a brief clip of them, but they seem to dance well enough.¬† The problem? They do Irish step dancing – and so does Hammerstep, and Hammerstep also does hip-hop.¬† Advantage Hammerstep – they’re a¬†more unique act.¬† Another situation where it makes me wonder if they really need 2 Irish step dancing¬†acts this season.

Hype: A sure thing.¬†They’ve got a good command of several different hip-hop styles, and have¬†proven that they can very cleverly do hip-hop to unexpected songs.¬†¬†They also have reality show experience – Josh was on America’s¬†Best Dance Crew, and A.J. was actually part of Academy of Villains on season 7 of AGT.¬† I think they’ve got what it takes to put on a good show, and I think the judges will see that.

B-Extreme: Could go either way.¬†It’s 3 guys who do hip-hop and stunts – just like Hype, except Hype seems to be more well-rounded in their level of experience.¬† It’s another situation¬†where I think it comes down to “Do we really¬†need more than one act like this in the live¬†shows?”

Hammerstep:¬†A sure thing.¬†I think the fact that their act is so unique¬†bodes well for them making it to the live shows.¬†¬†They’re cool, they’re clean, and they’re¬†interesting to watch – and there’s no other act this season that fuses two very unrelated dance styles like they do.

The Rock Dance Project: Could go either way. Some of the ballet/jazz/modern groups we saw all started to kind of blend together for me¬†– however, I remember this one because they were doing some gorgeous pas-de-deux-type lifts, which I can’t recall any of the other dance groups in their style doing.¬† Once again, I think it just comes down to the question: “How many dance groups are we going to take, and which ones are worth taking?”

Studio 19 Dance Complex: Could go¬†either way.¬†I only vaguely remember this group, and I can’t recall anything particularly special about them other than some rainbow-colored costumes.¬† Not sure that bodes well for them – however, they may be awesome and we just didn’t get to see it.

Tellavision: A long shot. They seemed to suffer from a lack of dance content, and I just found the whole television screen thing to be cheesy and detracted from the performance.  I think their choreography alone is going to make the pale in comparison to some of the stronger dance acts this season.

Mitsi Dancing School: Could go either way. I don’t know that their act is going to be dynamic and entertaining enough to really be effective in the live shows – but they’re also the only folk dancing group we have this season, and I think they might get put through for the pure sake of variety.

SensEtion: A long shot.  The judges seemed pretty lukewarm about them in their initial audition, and pointed to a lack of dance content as part of the problem.  I could see them being a standby act, and only making it through to the live shows if they drastically improve from their audition performance.

 

Acrobats:

Tristan Jih: A long shot.¬†¬†This season the¬†acrobatic category is particularly competitive – and with acrobatic duos,¬†acrobatic teams, acrobats on poles, acrobats jumping rope, and acrobats on skates…is a solo aerialist¬†really all that exciting? I’m afraid he might get lost¬†in the shuffle of much more unique, flashy acts.

Duo Resonance: Looking likely.¬†I’d say they probably have the highest skill level of any of the acrobatic acts this¬†season, as acrobalance is one of the hardest disciplines to¬†master.¬† The only probably I forsee is that they don’t seem to have¬†huge personalities – I think it may be the cool, collected Russian demeanor at work.¬† Hopefully they can inject a bit more personality into their performances, so they don’t come across flat & mechanical.

Kyle & Darby: Could go either way.¬† This is another act that I think could be lumped in with the acrobats or the kid acts¬†– and they may play a big part in whether they make it through or not.¬† If it’s just these two doing a series of cheerleading stunts, I’m not sure it’s exciting enough to make it to the live shows.¬† But if they can find a way to expand her repertoire, I think she could be quite good.

Kristef Brothers: Could go either way.¬† With Duo Resonance at such a high skill level, I would normally count these two out – but the fact that they’ve got such big personalities and stage presence seems to bode well for them.

Chicago Boyz:¬†A sure thing.¬† They’re unique, they’re talented, they’re adorable, and they’ve got a great energy.¬† Need I say more?

Innovative Force:  Looking likely.  Not sure whether it would make more sense to lump them in with the dancers or the acrobats, since they do both Рbut I think the fact that they do both will probably make them more of an asset to the live shows.

Aerial Ice: A sure thing. If there was one act this season that I think probably the most unique, it would be this one – there has never been an ice act before, so they’re breaking ground there; on top of that, they can do everything the aerial acts do.¬† I would be really surprised if they didn’t make it Vegas…hell, I’d even go so far as to say they could be one of the “instant decision” acts that gets put through without even having to perform in Vegas.

Aerosphere: Could go either way.¬† Yeah, it’s kind of cool that she does aerial tricks while suspended from a floating balloon…but is she really doing anything terribly different than any of the other aerialists? And how much more is she able to change up her act to keep it fresh?

Tavi & Antonio:¬† Looking likely.¬† A male aerial duo in and of itself is kind of a rarity – plus they’re nice to look at, and they’re good at what they do.

Timber Brown: Looking likely.¬† He’s like a more masculine, more daring Steven Retchless – he does pole tricks, but with an element of danger added that makes things really interesting.¬† I definitely want to see more.

Who are your favorites from the dance & acrobat categories? And who do you think will make it to Vegas?

July 13, 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!