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PureAGT Season 11 – Auditions Week 3 Recap

Hello! My name is Julia and I’m excited to be writing for the PureAGT this season! I’ve written for various other sites about various entertainment news,  but never about AGT, so this should be a fun new endeavour!

This past Tuesday was the third episode of auditions and I couldn’t help but notice the night’s lineup seemed to consist mainly of singers. While I tend to enjoy a lot of these acts, I prefer to see a bit more variety in the audition episodes, especially since most talent competitions on TV seem to focus solely on singing and the “anything goes” theme of AGT (and the other shows in the Got Talent franchise) is what makes it be so exciting and stand out. However, I will say that at least the singing acts shown this week spanned a wide variety of genres which kept things from getting too stale. Let’s take a look at them along with the rest of the Week 3 auditions!

Good Girl: A group of four best friends who claimed that their dream was to be the “American Spice Girls”. I think that goal did sort of go with their image since I felt their performance seemed very reminiscent of several 90’s girl groups. Simon said they seemed like a “copycat” of other famous acts but in a good way, and that they needed to take it to the next level in order to set themselves apart. Heidi said she loved their attitude, and apparently so did the audience, who immediately gave them a standing ovation as soon as they started their song and cheered throughout. Definite crowd-pleasers!
The Verdict: 4 yes’s, so they moved on to the next round!

After the first act, we saw a montage of various dance groups. They didn’t show enough for me to form specific opinions about any of them but they all seemed very good. The judges gave each of them positive comments and they were all sent through to Boot Camp. Included in the montage for behind-the-scenes clips but given a segment of their own were…

John Rothman and his dancers: 79 year-old choreographer (John) and several other dancers who were all ladies above the age of 70; the oldest was 81! Their routine didn’t have much energy to it and it was pretty silly, but to me it seemed to be at least somewhat purposefully tongue-in-cheek. The audience went wild for them-especially when John did the cartwheel-and gave them a standing ovation. called for microphone person to take away and bring back the mic as planned backstage
The Verdict: 3 yes’s from Heidi, Simon, and Mel B. I highly doubt they would have made it through if not for their ages, but I suppose that was part of the charm and the “package” as a whole. However, I must say I find it pointless and a little annoying when the judges put through acts like this which they are obviously not going to send to the live shows.

Diane Barnard: Diane was a returning act who had auditioned for the judges back in Season 9, and was determined to make the cut this time around. Unfortunately, all she did were some pretty amateur-ish hoop tricks and was very quickly buzzed by Simon and Mel B. Nick came onstage to play around with the hoops and actually out-performed Diane before ushering her off stage…yikes. Heidi also got in on the fun after Diane had left.
The Verdict: 2 buzzers, meaning an automatic no.

Russian Bar Trio: Another returning act, this time from way back in Season 3! One of the members got hurt during that season and the group had to drop out of the competition as a result. It was a real shame, but it was so nice to see them back on the show in hopes of redemption! I vaguely remember being impressed by them eight years ago, and I definitely was so again this week! As Simon said, it was simple, yet still suspenseful. It really was amazing that they were able to do so many different tricks with just the bar and minimal props. The audience and judges were holding their breath during this act, but thankfully no one was injured. (Let’s hope things stay that way for the rest of the season!)
The Verdict: 4 yes’s. Well deserved, and good on Christine for getting back out there even after being so severely injured!

Kadie Lynn Roberson: 12-year old Texan country singer (we get a short segment about how she was adopted at birth). Kadie and showed no fear when talking to the judges or during her performance. Her voice sounded much richer and more mature than that of the average 12-year-old, as commented on by the judges. This was the third week in a row we’ve seen an audition from a female singer around this age, and even though Kadie didn’t get the Golden Buzzer like the previous two, I think she could be a serious threat to them if she makes it to the live shows. She exudes confidence, has a sweet and loveable personality, and is likely going to be appealing to the big country fanbase this show’s audience seems to have. Watch out, Laura and Grace!
The Verdict: An unsurprising 4 yes’s.

Duo Guerrerro: This was a married couple who kept the audience on their toes throughout their segment. I found it odd they made a big deal of him stepping on her skirt as they walked onstage because I don’t recall said skirt being present in the actual performance, which turned out to be a tightrope act which they went outside for. judges. Some of the tricks included doing the splits, sitting and standing on a chair, and one of them jumping over and later standing on the back of the other. The judges and live audience were captivated the entire time (lots of audible gasps during this one) and they even put a commercial break in there to build suspense among the television viewers.
The Verdict: 4 yes’s, so we’ll be seeing them again in the next round!

One Voice: This was a 12-member high school a-capella group. All the members had great stage presence and their voices complimented each other well. Simon did the infamous “I didn’t like it…I loved it!” cliché, and the rest of the judges enjoyed it as well. There was also this strange but sweet bit where they were asked about their love lives and one of the guys said he had a crush on another member. After the performance, Mel B pressed on about who it was and he went backstage and surprised the lead singer (I think her name was Hope?) with a prom invitation via a reference from The Office.
The Verdict: 4 yes’s

Following this we get a montage of comedians leading into…

Lori Mae Hernandez: 13-year-old stand-up comedienne. She got a whole backstory bit before her routine about how she wanted to make her dad smile again after he was diagnosed with Bells Palsy. Her jokes were pretty good but it sort of felt like she was reciting them at times and some of the punchlines were oversold. In the end, Lori got a standing ovation and lots of praise from the judges.
The Verdict: Through to the next round with 4 yes’s.

Next was another montage of various out-of-the-norm acts including a woman with a “singing” chihuahua,) a shrill operatic duo, a married couple that used everyday objects as musical instruments (which actually sounded intriguing but turned out to be more “toddlers in the kitchen” than STOMP the Yard) and some act involving a giant bird puppet which had a face that reminded me of the social worker from Follow That Bird. They were all shown to be rejected, and then to close out the montage we got to see…

Miranda Cunha: Seemed to be some sort of burlesque dancer and singer. She brought Simon up onstage and kissed him square in the mouth (which would have provoked a bigger reaction in me had we not seen it several times previously in that night’s “coming up!” clips).
The Verdict: She got through with 3 yes’s, which was quite surprising to me. I’m guessing she’s be another act they put through for the heck of it but clearly won’t be getting anywhere near the live shows.

Viktor Kee: Came out in a sort of “inside out” bodysuit and announced he had been a juggler for the past four decades, first learning the skill at age 5. Juggling acts on this show are usually boring at best and a hot mess at worst, but he did it in an acrobatic way which kept things fairly interesting. The judges were all very impressed, and, like me, Simon said this was one of the few juggling acts he’d actually enjoyed.
The Verdict: 4 yes’s. Definitely deserving, but I’m wondering if Viktor is going to be able to keep this act interesting and fresh enough to be a long-standing competitor this season.

Sal Valentinetti: 1940’s-style singer from New York. Apparently he’s only 20 years old which surprised me. His audition song was “My Way” by Frank Sinatra and the crowd went wild for him. The judges seemed to love him just as much, and he even got a hug and some kisses from Heidi!
The Verdict: GOLDEN BUZZER FROM HEIDI! I would have actually been surprised by this had they not shown Heidi hitting the Golden Buzzer in the teaser bumpers and had the clock not been very close to the 10 pm mark. It was the same situation last week when Grace’s audition was obviously the last of the episode but I guess that’s just how this show works. Maybe it’s because we’d already seen two singers get the GB this season, but I didn’t have that “wow” moment with Sal like I did the others. He was great and was certainly worthy of making it to the next round, but I can’t say I’m quite as excited about him as I am for some of the other acts we’ve seen so far.

So for those keeping score at home, we have now seen three of the Season 11 Golden Buzzer acts: Laura Bretan from Mel B, Grace VanderWaal from Howie, and now Sal Valentinetti from Heidi. Since next week is the final week of auditions (from the first round, anyway) we’ll presumably be seeing Simon’s choice, and for the first time ever Nick also has Golden Buzzer privileges this season so I guess we’ll be seeing his as well? I’m still not entirely sure how the host’s Golden Buzzer powers work…

Another interesting note: All three of the GB acts we’ve seen so far have been singers…will the trend continue? We’ll find out next week, but in the meantime I invite you to share your thoughts on this week in the comments section. Do you have a favorite act so far, or is there anyone we’ve seen you think will go far? I’m also wondering if anyone would like a post covering the first two episodes of this season since we’re starting a little late. It might not be a full recap, but maybe just something covering the highlights of the first two weeks. Let me know if that’s something you’d like to see, and I’ll talk to you in the comments soon!

June 16, 2016 I Written By

I'm obssessed with the entertainment industry, especially offbeat and nerdy things as well as those that involve live performance. The only thing I love more than geeking out over the things that entertain me is sharing in my excitement with others who share the same passions. America may have talent, but Canada has an up-and-coming blogger who is ready to take the internet by storm!

PureAGT Season 8 Live Show #4 – Power Rankings

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

Luckily, the second half of the show brough some much stronger performances – not necessarily GREAT performances (I really only think one act knocked it out of the park last night), but pretty good ones.  I still think this quarterfinal was one of the weaker ones – someone like Tone the Chiefrocca would have made it through without any problems if he was on last night, I think.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 14, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 – Roster for 4th Live Show Airing August 13

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

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

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

August 8, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Live Show #2 – Power Rankings

Am I the only one who have found the live shows to be rather lackluster thus far? Once again last night, I was left feeling kind of “meh” about some acts that had really thrilled me prior to this point.  There were a few standouts, of course, but it seems like quite a few acts are just getting lost in the shuffle.  Will be interesting to see how things pan out tonight…

1.) Forte – This was a little bit of a gimme, in my opinion, as I had them pegged as advancing to the next round before they even performed – and sure enough, they delivered once more…and thankfully, they seemed to reign in the problem they had in Vegas: now Sean feels more like part of the group, as opposed to a featured soloist.  Love the feeling of a “wall of sound” that I get from them.  I agree with Howie that these guys are top 10 material, for sure.

2.) Tone the Chiefrocca – This really seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it kind of act, but even if you can’t stand this guy, I think you have to admit that his whole schtick is kind of genius: his only ambition is to be a one-hit wonder, and he readily admits it.  You can’t accuse the guy of overreaching given his level of talent, and really, his song is terribly catchy and radio-ready. On top of that, he (and his “hype guy” Colby, who is quickly stealing the show for me) is ridiculously amusing to watch, on and off-stage, and has the right personality to really carry of the “spectacle” of what he’s doing.  I loved their performance last night and I don’t feel even slightly guilty admitting it – it was amusing and it made me smile.  Sure, it’s not classical opera or some ridiculously skilled dance act, but at the end of the day, I was entertained…and I think America was, too 🙂

3.) Innovative Force – Was actually quite pleasantly surprised by what this group brought to the table – saw some stunts that I’d never seen before, and they handled them masterfully.  My only complaint is that their act seemed to focus more on the stunting aspect and they seemed to neglect the dancing aspect a bit – this may have been a strategic choice on their part, in order to make more of an impact, but I think they’re going to run out of stunts pretty quickly if they continue at the pace they’re going – I don’t think it would hurt to add a bit more dancing to the act.

4.) Angela Hoover – Found myself a bit on-the-fence about our female impressionist last night – I think her impressions were pretty spot-on and relevant, but I think she picked some “gimmes” to imitate and the end result wasn’t as creative as what we saw from her in the audition rounds.  Was it relevant and cute to impersonate Mel & Heidi, and do it well at that? Sure.  But I almost feel like that’s what people were expecting her to do, as other impressionists have taken aim at the judges in past seasons.  I also thought the Christina Aguilera impersonation was a bit of a freebie – almost every female impressionist seems to do Christina, since her voice is so distinct.  I think Angela will probably make it through tonight, but I’d like to see her challenge herself a bit more in the future – either by trying a few male impressions, or by picking female celebs that are a bit harder to imitate…I’d like to see a good Kardashian impression, or maybe a Kate Middleton.

5.) Marty Brown – Marty blew it last night – period.  He was out-of-tune, lost his stage presence, and overall, he didn’t deliver.  That said – I would not be surprised if he made it through tonight by some miracle, as so many people just seem to love this “good ol’ boy” and are willing to give him another chance.  That song was terrible, but I think the fact that he dedicated it to his dear ol’ dad and was singing to his wife will probably tug on enough heartstrings to get him a decent amount of votes.  If it comes down to him in the judges’ choice? I think the judges pick the other act – but I get the feeling that we’ll be seeing him again in the wild card.

6.) Alexander Magala  – I will say this: the levels of danger this guy goes to never cease to amaze me.  He does do a great job of upping his game each week.  That said – he was a little off his game this week, and his injury may have had something to do with it.  I saw a few trips and slips, and I think the fire element just made it hard to see and appreciate what he was doing.  I worry that tonight may be the end of the road for him, just because there were acts that didn’t struggle as much. If nothing else – he’s far more fun to watch than Brad Byers.

7.) Ciana Pelekai – Ugh, I just cringe when a talented singer just picks the wrong song and ends up falling kind of flat as a result.  Ciana’s got a great voice – unfortunately, the arrangement of this song (and the distracting dancers/backup singers in the background) seemed to serve more to drown out her vocals rather than showcasing them.  It started off well – I thought she sounded great by herself at the beginning – but once the song hit the chorus? Nah.  Another act I could see being asked back for the wild card.

8.) Kid the Wiz – Kid is great at what he does, no doubt.  But I think we’ve seen just about all we’re going to get out of him – I don’t know that I see him being able to do a whole lot more with his act that we haven’t already seen…and he’s still making mistakes.  I don’t know that he’s got the steam to go any further in this competition.

9.) Aquanuts – This went from being cool to being cheesy awfully fast for me – I realize that it takes a tremendous amount of skill to do what they do, but at the same time…I found myself bored with it.  Not sure how America’s gonna feel, but if they were as unamused as I was…yikes.

10.) Brad Byers – Zzzzzzzz.  That’s all I really find myself saying after watching his performances – I mean, what he does is no doubt dangerous, but I find myself just not caring a whole lot because his delivery is so deadpan.  On top of that, I feel like the tricks are getting a little repetitive – it was the tongue on the blowtorch in Vegas, and now the tongue in the fan on the live show.  What’s next, licking a cactus?

11.) Struck Boyz – I just don’t find this group terribly talented – I feel like we’ve got much stronger dancers that aren’t as gimmicky.  It’s as if they saw Bieber and the guys from Jersey Shore doing their thing, and decided they would be a good group of guys to emulate in order to make little girls shriek.  Too bad they don’t have the same effect on grown women…yuck.

12.) Dave Shirley – Not terribly funny or creative…not a whole lot much more I can say.

So who do you think will make it through tonight? And who let you down?

July 31, 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 Live Show Airing July 30

I’m sure Nick will annouce the acts for next week’s show at the end of the results show tonight, but so far we know a few of the acts we’ll be seeing next week:

ciana

Ciana also tweeted that she just arrived in New York a few hours ago, so it looks like all of the week 2 acts are making their way there now…

tone

According to Marty Brown’s Facebook, he also arrived in New York last night; and according to Brad Byers’ website, he will be performing at RCMH next Tuesday.

UPDATED: Here’s the complete roster for next week, announced by Nick at the end of this week’s results show.

Ciana Pelekai (child singer)
Tone the Chiefrocca (rapper)
Marty Brown (country singer)
Brad Byers (sword swallower)
Struck Boyz (child hip-hop group)
Forte (opera trio)
Aquanauts (synchronized swimmers)
Angela Hoover (comedic impressionist)
Alexander Magala (sword-swallowing dancer/aerialist)
Kid the Wiz (hat trick dancer)
Dave Shirley (comedian)
Innovative Force (dance/acrobatics group)

Well, I think it’s safe to say that Forte has one of the 4 spots in the semifinals on lock – and I think Marty Brown probably has one, too.  Will be interesting to see who gets the other two…I’m personally rooting for Tone and maybe Ciana too, but I don’t really feel particularly strongly about this group of acts.  The one interesting act here? Aquanauts, who we did not see at all in Vegas – which tells me that some other act that DID make it through to the live shows had to withdraw.  Hmmm…wonder who it could be.  What do you guys think of next week’s acts?

July 24, 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!