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PureAGT Season 8, Semifinal #1 – SPOILERS!!! Who Made it Through to the Next Round?

Oh em gee, One Direction – except not really, cause my heart will always belong to the boy bands of my youth: the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, 98 Degrees, and NKOTB 😀 Don’t know Cassadee Pope, so I didn’t even listen – instead, I played with my cousin’s Siamese cat, Hampton.  Vacation rocks 😎
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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, Semifinal #1 – Power Rankings

NOTE FROM COURT: I’m currently vacationing in Texas, so our reader (and my dear friend) Will has graciously agreed to cover the power rankings in my absence.  Please give him a warm welcome, as its his thoughts from here on out 🙂

Tonight’s episode was definitely strange for me.  In many many cases, the acts just seemed to really crack under the pressure.  For a few other acts, they were really good…but something was off about them.  I really only feel there were one or maybe two acts REALLY knocked it out of the park, a few that did pretty well but not amazing, and the rest seemed to be this shuffle of acts that could go anywhere.  I’m going to say that I’m not very confident in these rankings as it goes further down the list, as after the first 3 or 4, it could go anywhere in my opinion.  And honestly I’m not really 100% on the first 4 either, but enough of me blabbing.  Let’s get down to business! J
1.) Forte – This is pretty much a gimme.  These guys were fantastic, they are consistently blowing the audience and the judges away, and really, I think they’re going to make the finals, no problem.  They have beautiful voices that mesh together perfectly, they are each individually talented, they’re back story is interesting, and not to mention they had the best running order position going last.  Also, like I said above, even the stronger acts tonight seemed to struggle just a little bit.  It was like the planets aligned for them to breeze through tonight (as if they weren’t already, hahaha).  I can’t say I loved the song choice as much, and on maybe one or two occasions one of the voices stuck out a bit too much, but this was definitely the strongest act of the night.  Forte is a shoo-in to make it through, and I’m okay with that!  See ya in the top 12!
2.) Taylor Williamson – I think Taylor definitely stepped up his game this week.  The material was much stronger and his delivery was spot on once again.  Plus, his dorky, likable personality just makes you smile ear to ear. 🙂  The No. 2 pencil joke did totally go over my head, but the rest of the jokes had me laughing heartily and I genuinely enjoyed the entire performance!  The last joke actually had me laugh out loud, which I don’t think a comedian’s done for me personally yet this season.  Comedians have it very, very tough.  Comedians have to be really funny or their jokes are only going to make people chuckle a little and it’s hard to feed off of that to make the rest of the jokes funnier and well-executed.  What I’m saying is, being a comedian can be very awkward.  However, Taylor THRIVES off of the awkward and he EMBRACES it in a way that is extremely appealing and likable.  He takes what is often the Achilles heel for comedians and makes it his biggest asset.  That to me is what makes Taylor so great and why I think he’ll succeed with the audience.  If only one of the comedians make it tonight, then it will definitely be Taylor.  Hopefully he can keep this up next time around!
3/4.) TIE: Collins Key & Dave Fenley – I honestly couldn’t split these two as I could come up with reasons both of them can and probably will make it and why they might just be in a smidge of trouble.  I love Collins, he’s in my top 3 favorite acts, and he’s a REALLY talented guy.  His trick tonight was clever, very different, unique, and original, and executed well.  However, I do feel like this was a tough act to try and squeeze into 90 seconds like he did, and that might have left some audience members not enough time to process what happened or appreciate it.  It came off as a little rushed, even though overall I would say he did a great job.   Despite that, I do think Collins will make it.  He’s still one of the heavy-hitters.  He’s likable, he’s a good looking guy, he’s very talented, and has become one of the more popular acts this season.  I do think he’ll need to step it up in the top 12 if he wants to get through without complications, but I think he’ll learn from tonight.  As for Dave Fenley, I can’t say I particularly loved this performance.  The song choice was maybe a little better than his last go-around, but not by much.  I don’t feel like his performance really went anywhere.  On top of that, once he gets out of a certain range, he starts to lose it.  When he hits lower notes he drops them sometimes, and when he hits higher notes it sounds shrill and tense.  I do really like Dave, but this wasn’t that great to me.  But I didn’t place him here based upon how I felt about this.  Let’s face it, singers are pretty much the “gimme group” of AGT.  They have a highly increased chance of getting somewhere the competition and getting votes simply because they are a singer.  Dave’s got a good voice, is a very humble, lovable guy, and fits that “family man, good ol’ boy” image.   Combine those things together and I think he’ll get a lot of support and votes.  I think both Collins and Dave will make it and I will be a bit surprised if one of them is eliminated.
5.) Catapult Entertainment – I feel odd saying this, but I actually liked this more than the judges and a lot of viewers did.  Did I love it or think it was great?  Well, no.  But I really did appreciate and enjoy the theme and shapes, as they didn’t feel quite as cheesy or mushy as these acts tend to do.  However, in a way I also think that hurt them a little.  They obviously weren’t all the way comfortable with this performance and this story and it showed.  I understood the story but in several places it became hard to follow and truly understand.  I think it still enchanted some people, but many others were just bewildered by this.  Even the judges, who gushed over them last week, seemed to feel very lukewarm about this.  Some of the audience may feel the same, but very few tonight really brought something great to the table.  As a result of that, this stumble may not end their run on the show.  I think they’ll still be able to just make it, especially with 6 of the acts getting to move on as opposed to just 4.  They definitely need to step it up if they make it, however.
6.) Rong Niu, The Amazing Red Panda – Okay…I’m going to state this right now: I LOOOOOOOVE her.  Love, love, love her.  Okay, I’m done.  As great and unique as Red Panda’s act was, part of me worries that viewers just got a little bored by this since she really had to take time to set the bowels properly.  The pay off of seeing them get flipped onto her head may just not have been enough for some people.  Even though this is the first time that many have seen her, a good chunk have seen this.  For a lot of viewers, I feel the shock value and amazement steadily decline the more they watch her.  Since she had no time to prepare, did try to raise the stakes by performing on that extremely dangerous platform, and easily performs one of the most difficult acts, I give her a lot of props and I think she did pretty well tonight.  But like I said, I think a lot of viewers just didn’t get excited by seeing this and didn’t really appreciate it.  That’s why I wouldn’t be surprised if she was eliminated tomorrow.  However, since she is a very unique act that was placed in a sea of unmemorable performances, I still think she’s got a chance.
7.) Cami Bradley – Cami has got one of the most beautiful voices ever, but I think her song choice REALLY let her down tonight, and I think she got lost in the shuffle.  The song itself isn’t bad, and the cover is nice to listen to, but it wasn’t memorable, touching, or something really easy to connect emotionally to, which was one of the biggest reasons Cami’s cover of “Believe” succeeded.  Song choice is crucial, and if you do not pick something that will quickly get the audience’s attention and keep it, you will have a very flat, sleepy performance, even if you have a fantastic voice.  I would like to be wrong here, and I easily could be, but I think this song was so tame that it won’t spur enough excitement or buzz for people to vote for her.  This is particularly important for Cami, since she doesn’t have the backstory of Jimmy Rose, Dave Fenley, Jonathan Allen, ect.  And she isn’t a child like Anna Christine.  There’s nothing there to start with for her that the audience will latch onto.  That’s why she had to pick a great song and perform it beautifully.  Unfortunately only one of these things happened, and I think this puts her in serious trouble.
8.) Jonathan Allen – I predicted this would happen very early on this season.  The very moment Jonathan is put in the same group as Forte, his weaknesses would stick out like a sore thumb.  It also didn’t help that Jonathan really didn’t pick a great song for himself.  Jonathan’s just not ready to hit the high notes he did in this song.  They felt very shaky and weak, and because of that, it took the emotion and power of the song, which were really needed to make this work.  I like Jonathan, I think he’s talented, but it was very evident tonight that he’s just not ready to take this on.  Because America loves singers and he’s got his touching background, I think his chances are better than several others, but I think the charm of Jonathan has really worn thin on the judges and many of the viewers.  The nail in the coffin was the fact that he performed the same night as Forte.
9.) Innovative Force – I just really didn’t know where to stick these girls.  I feel that they may have a chance, but at the same time, I barely remember any of their routine.  I thought their first performance in NYC was exciting, dynamic, and interesting.  Tonight, this felt like a performance that I’ve seen hundreds of times before.  It felt generic.  I hate saying that because I LOVE my Missouri girls, but they were off their game tonight for me.  It would have really benefited them to put more dancing into the routine, as the frequency of the tricks (not to mention the fact that a good chunk of them looked very similar) made this routine feel very stop-and-go to me.  There was no special moment for me that really made me remember this routine or love it.  They might make it through the skin of their teeth, but my forecast for these lovely ladies isn’t good I’m afraid 🙁
10.) Angela Hoover – Angela’s chances were looking pretty decent tonight…until Taylor Williamson performed.  I really think only one comedian will make it to the top 12, and Taylor effectively took that spot tonight in my opinion.  I will say I really like Angela; she’s funny, she’s likable, and I think she stepped up her game tonight.  However, I don’t think she stepped things up enough to get her into the next round.  As great as her Sharon (spot ON), Kourtney Kardashian, and Sofia impressions were, I don’t think they were able to cover up the fact that her material (while better this week) is still weak.   She can make you laugh, but only a hearty chuckle that you can get every day.  That’s what’s eliminated every single comedian that’s been eliminated thus far.  Maybe her chances would have been better if she challenged herself more.  Courtney’s mentioned trying male voices.  I feel that if she works on that and nails it, it can boost the possibilities and her performance itself significantly.  But I fear for AGT, it’s too little too late for Angela.
11.) Tone the Chiefrocca – We all knew Tone wouldn’t make it this week and well, he probably won’t prove us wrong.  He wasn’t able to make it through last time, and against more heavy-hitters tonight, I don’t think he’ll make it this time either.  Nonetheless, I love watching him and the best hype-man on the face of the planet. 🙂  They aren’t meant to be taken that seriously, and honestly, with the oddness of tonight, I appreciated the fact that they gave me a smile and made me enjoy myself for a bit.  They succeed at what they want to do: “BOOTY” is easily one of the catchiest songs I’ve ever heard and it has huge potential to be a true one-hit wonder.  That’s not translated well on AGT obviously, but, I can appreciate a fun, energetic performance that’s pretty much just semifinal-fodder.  Good run while it lasted! 🙂
12.) Duo Resonance – These two are VERY talented at what they do and they really do impress me.  However, they still struggle with showmanship and the box only made things worse in my opinion.  Part of what makes these two great is the shapes they can create TOGETHER and I think the box just got in the way of that.  It halted the progress of the routine, it blocked any emotion that could have came from this, and worst of all, it split up an act that thrives on them acting as one.  Not to mention the fact that the box gave them very little room to create shapes and limited the possibilities even more.  I think Duo Resonance would have struggled tonight regardless, but the box greatly hindering their performance just sealed the deal.  I will be shocked if they make it.
So how did you all feel about it?  These were really tough rankings for me to make.  I would not be surprised if I only got two or three of them correct.  Who do you think should move on?  Who do you think will move on?  How did you feel about the acts as a whole tonight?  Let us know in the comments!  Everyone have a good night! 🙂
August 27, 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 #5 – SPOILERS!!! Who Made it Through to the Next Round?

An interesting results show, to say the least – and I’m not just referring to Train’s odd duet with Ashley Monroe, or the comedic stylings of last season’s runner-up, Tom Cotter.  Someone unexpected made it through to the semifinals, they (of course) pitted the Castro siblings against one another, and it was revealed that each judge gets ONE wild card pick, and two of those acts will be seen in each semifinal round. Read more..

August 21, 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 #5 – Power Rankings

Kind of a strange night on AGT, if you ask me – only one or two acts seemed to really succeed, and the rest either failed or just got lost in the shuffle.  This definitely seemed like one of the weaker quarterfinals to me, and I’m left wondering who will actually make it through tonight.

Also a little miffed that they apparently did decide to scrap the wild card show this season – biiiiiiiig mistake, if you ask me.  Throwing the wild card into the mix could have helped balance out the disproportionately heavy number of singers we have in the semifinals this season – and could have counteracted flukes like Marty Brown.  *sigh* I guess we can just hope they bring it back next year…

…and just a quick side note: I am actually going to be on vacation in Texas next week, and so I may or may not get a chance to do power rankings for the first round of the semifinals.  But don’t worry – I’ve got a plan in mind 😉 Stay tuned!

1.) Catapult Entertainment – Not my favorite of the night, and I’m beginning to get a bit annoyed for acts who really go in hard for the “schmaltz” factor in order to win votes.  But America appears to fall hook, line, & sinker for it, which is why I think they should have no problem advancing to the semifinals. I actually preferred their audition routine to this one, which wasn’t as difficult and didn’t strike me as particularly original.  It was just ok for me, but with the way the judges were gushing – they’ll make it through.

2.) D’Angelo & Amanda – My favorite act of the night, and the only ones who seemed to really bring their A-game last night.  These two never seem to miss a beat, and they always seem 100% invested in their routine.  There were a few struggles with moving on and off the platform, but I found them to be incredibly trivial in the great scheme of things.  This is one of the few acts that I could actually see having a show in Vegas – I’d pay to see these two just dance for 90 minutes.

3.) Duo Resonance – As I’ve said before, these two are probably the most highly-skilled of the acrobats category – but they just seem to lack a really good stage presence.  I feel like they improved on their stage presence last night, but seemed to let go of doing some of their more impressive tricks.  I think I liked their performance, but it felt a little too much like a schmaltzy contemporary routine I might see on SYTYCD – would have liked a few more stunts and a few less poses.  But since last night was such a weak night, I think these two will probably make it through.

4.) John Wing – Another comedian I only find to be mildly funny, but the audience seemed to respond well to his brand of comedy last night…and so did the judges.  I’m a bit baffled that Heidi finds this guy funny, but not Taylor Williamson – but then again, she seems to be suffering from the delusion that all comedy must be family-appropriate to be funny.  If he makes it through, I think he’s gonna pale in comparison to both Taylor and Angela Hoover – but on a weak night like last night, I think he was a stand-out and has a decent chance of making it through.

5.) Ruby & Jonas – I’m starting to really hate that they pitted sibling against sibling, and seem to be milking it for all its worth on the show.  Poor Ruby & Jonas – I think they’ve got every bit as much heart as D’Angelo & Amanda, but just haven’t been dancing as long and just aren’t quite up to their skill level yet.  I also agree with whichever judge said that they liked D’Angelo & Amanda’s choreography better – I think D’Angelo & Amanda’s was more hardcore dancing, whereas Ruby & Jonas’ routine seemed like a lot of fluff and filler, probably to conceal that they aren’t ready for some of that harder stuff yet.  It’s just not a really fair fight, if you ask me – but I think hearts are gonna break tonight, because I don’t see both acts making it to the semifinals.

6.) Sprice – Oh, Sprice 🙂 I just love this guy, because he reminds me of so many of the painfully shy engineers I went to college with – fantastic at what they do, but so socially awkward that you have a hard time really connecting with them on anything except their craft.  I actually love watching Sprice’s machines do their thing – and I just think Mel is a bit simple-minded if she found it to be boring.  Sure, he may lack a bit of the comedic panache that the Kinetic King had two seasons ago, but I think his awkwardness itself could be an endearing quality to audiences.  That said – I don’t know that America appreciates this guy like I do, and I think he’s probably a longshot for the semifinals.

7.) Dave Fenley – Dammit Dave – you blew it.  He was probably my favorite vocalist in the competition, and I just think he picked the wrong song.  I think his initial audition and Vegas performance worked out well because the songs he chose fit his voice and musical style well – Ray Lamontagne? Not so much.  I think it was just too “sweet” of a song for him – he didn’t sing it wrong, per se, but I just don’t think it was really in his wheelhouse to begin with.  Really disappointed – I think he probably would have made it through performing another song.

8.) Virginia State University Gospel Chorale – Another group that I had high hopes for, but was left only feeling lukewarm about.  I actually think “Like a Prayer” was a good song choice, but they seemed to jump straight from the slow, haunting opening, right into the upbeat, rocking chorus…I feel like they could have really utilized the way the song really builds, instead of just jumping around.  But I do love the way they create the feel of a “wall of sound” – it’s the one problem I really have with the American Military Spouses Choir: they only have a handful of really strong vocalists, and those swaying in the background only sort of hum.  Unfortunately for this group, I think they may have just gotten lost in the shuffle last night.

9.) Sam Johnson – Was this really all that different than his initial audition? Yeah, he added the part where he swings down and rides the pole like a giant pendulum, but really – what else was different? And could he really make an entire show out of it? I think he would have probably been better off doing something more like his Vegas performance, where he didn’t have to go out and do stuff on the pole.  Rather forgettable in the great scheme of last night.

10.) Melody Caballero – No doubt she’s got major skills – but her performances always seem so slow and sleepy.  I appreciate what she does, but it seems like it takes so long to get into each position that she loses my interest during the transitions.  But I applaud her for throwing a routine together on such short notice, and coming out to fill in for Rong Niu 🙂

11.) 2Unique – Haven’t been a fan of this act from the get-go, and thankfully, I think the judges finally opened their eyes last night and said “Wait, this isn’t Vegas show-worthy!”  I feel like the rapping one just kind of yells into the mic and bounces around; the DJ is actually quite talented, but you really can’t appreciate what she’s doing because the other one is just jumping around and yelling.  Very cute girls, no doubt – but they’ve got a lot of maturing to do before they have a bona fide act on their hands.

12.) Selena Mykenzie Gordon – Not really terrible and not really good – just “meh”.  I don’t really know why she picked that Rascal Flatts song…she seemed to really struggle with it vocally.  Granted, it was definitely no Marty Brown-level fail, but it just didn’t really make me care…I was left just going “Eh, whatever.”

So what are your thoughts on the last quarterfinal group?

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 5th Live Show Airing August 20

By process of elimination, here’s the last group of acts performing in the quarterfinals next week:

Sprice (Rube Goldberg machines)
Catapult Entertainment (silhouette dance group)
The VSU Gospel Chorale (gospel choir)
D’Angelo & Amanda (kid ballroom dancers)
Dave Fenley (singer)
Duo Resonance (acrobalance act)
John Wing (comedian)
The Amazing Red Panda (Rong Niu) (unicycle bowl juggling act) Melody Caballeros (kid acrobat/contortionist)
Ruby & Jonas (kid ballroom dancers)
2Unique (kid DJ/rapping act)
Slackwire Sam (Sam Johnson) (daredevil balancing act)
Selena Mykenzie Gordon (singer)

Surprise,  surprise, they’ve pitted the siblings (D’Angelo & Ruby) against each other for dramatic effect…or to try and ensure that only one ballroom act makes the semifinals.  I worry that they might split votes and both get eliminated.  Thanks, AGT masterminds!!! Word on the interwebs is that Slackwire Sam had to pre-tape his act, which always bugs me a bit – half the challenge of the AGT live shows is that you HAVE TO PERFORM LIVE.  I think Dave Fenley will likely do well, and Catapult also probably will.  I think 2Unique, Selena, & John Wing have an uphill battle to face – probably the three weakest acts of this group.  The rest could go either way – would love to see Sprice in the semifinals, but not sure if he’ll be well-received or not.  What are your thoughts?

UPDATE: As evidenced by Nick’s announcement of next week’s acts at the end of tonight’s results show, Rong Niu is apparently not going to be performing, and has been replaced by Melody Caballeros, who was eliminated in Vegas.  I don’t know why – yet – but I’ll see if I can hunt around and find out why she has withdrawn from the competition.  We (myself and reader Will) think she might have exacerbated the back injury that bothered her in Vegas…if so, best wishes for a speedy recovery, Red Panda! 🙂

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 Vegas Week Rundown – Night #2

Well, the “WTF?” train didn’t leave the station after last night – still more shocking eliminations (and even MORE shocking advances to the live shows) than last night.  I’m now convinced that some acts are just going to be there for the sake of variety and to serve as cannon fodder for the REALLY good acts.

First, let’s get the verdicts out of the way…

Acts that made it to the live shows after performing in Vegas:

(acts with a * next to them did not appear in the audition round – Vegas is the first time we’ve seen them)

Collins Key
Leon Etienne & Romy Low
Brad Byers
Slackwire Sam
Alex Magala
Special Head
Brandon & Savannah
Forte
The American Hit Men
Marty Brown
Dave Fenley
Duo Resonance
Timber Brown
Kristef Brothers
Izzy & Aaralyn
Chloe Channell
2Unique
Ciana Pelekai
Taylor Williamson
John Wing*
Hype
Kid the Wiz
D’Angelo & Amanda
Jonas & Ruby
David Ferman
Rong Niu
Deanna Dellacioppa
Jonathan Allen
Cami Bradley (not shown, but advanced according to Wikipedia)
Selena Mykenzie Gordon (not shown, but advanced according to Wikipedia)

Court’s thoughts: Why the HELL are Aaralyn & Izzy still in this competition??? I find nothing about them talented, entertaining, cute, or unique – in fact, it actually disturbs me a bit that they’re being pushed in this direction musically, and that no one appears to be teaching this child proper vocal technique.  At this rate, she’ll be lucky if she doesn’t have chronic laryngitis by the time she’s 16! I officially dub Aaralyn & Izzy this year’s “Horse”.  Also a little miffed that 2Unique made it through – the DJ is pretty good, but I don’t think the other girl is anything special, nor do I think the act as a whole is worthy of a Vegas show.  Also a bit skeptical that Chloe Channell made it through, despite giving a rather lackluster performance in Vegas.  Gotta say, I’m surprised they took both D’Angelo & Amanda and Ruby & Jonas – not because one is less talented than the other, but because I thought for sure they were going to pit sibling-against-sibling for a slot in the live shows…guess they figured the sibling vs. sibling storyboarding angle could work for the live shows, too.  Beyond the acts that I mentioned, I guess I’m pretty happy with the acts that made it through.

Acts that were cut after performing in Vegas:

Ariann Black*
Naathan Phan
RJ Cantu*
Tavi & Antonio
“Accro” Brandon Rosario*
Travis Pratt
Paul Thomas Mitchell
Lil Demon
Melody Caballeros*
Archbishop Molloy Step Team*
Art Spark*
Skilyr Hicks
Genesis Nava*
Jimmy Failla*
Eric Schwartz*
Megan Piphus
Kennedy Davenport*
Dylan Wilson
Lil Mike & Funny Bone (cut immediately after performing)

Court’s thoughts: First, I feel I must point out the pattern here: most of the acts that weren’t featured from the audition rounds, did not make it to the live shows.  Guess that goes to show that if you don’t get a lot of airtime devoted to you, it’s probably because you won’t be sticking around long, anyway.  Now, a “WTF?!” moment: why were Travis Pratt & Paul Thomas Mitchell cut???  I think the former’s unique voice would have been an asset in the live shows, and the latter also had a unique voice and some genuine songwriting talent.  *sigh* Like Milton Patton, I guess I can only hope that they get called back for the wild card round.  Beyond those two, I think I for the most part agree with the acts that were cut – seemed like some of them really blew it in Vegas (notably Megan Piphus and Skilyr Hicks) while others probably never really stood a chance to begin with (Dylan Wilson and Lil Mike & Funny Bone).  The rest were acts that we didn’t really see much of, anyway, so it didn’t really affect me much to see them cut.

Acts that performed in Vegas (continued from Night #1)

Kid Musicians:

Aaralyn & Izzy
Chloe Channell
Genesis Nava*
Ciana Pelekai

Court’s thoughts: You already know how I feel about Aaralyn & Izzy….grrr.  I thought Chloe Channell actually blew it with her song choice – her performance ended up being kind of blah, and she may have fared better if she had switched songs with Genesis.  I think the only one that knocked it out of the park was Ciana – I was skeptical after seeing her in the audition round, but her rendition of “I’d Rather Go Blind” brought the house down. 

Magicians:

RJ Cantu*
Naathan Phan
Collins Key
Ariann Black*
Leon Etienne & Romy Low

Court’s thoughts: Only one real standout for me – once again, Collins Key aced his performance.  I love that he’s going the route of up-close, more intimate tricks as opposed to these large-scale illusions that so many other acts are going for.  Ariann totally blew it – her trick went wrong and she refused to admit it.  Thought RJ’s trick would have been far more impressive if he had done it with the lights on – it was so damn dark, you could tell he was trying to hide something.  I agree with Howard about Naathan – his magic is good, but his delivery is awkward.  I guess Leon & Romy’s trick was kind of cool, but it also struck me as a little boring. 

Variety acts:

Special Head
Kennedy Davenport*
Megan Piphus
Lil Mike & Funny Bone

Court’s thoughts: This category was a little bit of a dud for me – nobody really seemed to rise to their full potential.  Thought Special Head fared the best, but agreed with the judges that his audition trick was more impressive.  If we’ve seen one dancing/lip syncing drag queen, I feel like we’ve seen them all – so I wasn’t terribly impressed by Kennedy Davenport.  Megan and Lil Mike & Funny Bone both completely blew their Vegas performances – Megan looked downright amateurish trying to sing “ABC” with her puppet, and I don’t know that Lil Mike & Funny Bone even rehearsed at all, since they both seemed to be forgetting their choreography and just wandering around the stage aimlessly.  I think the latter may have wasted their one great song on the audition round and just didn’t have anything else that was equally strong to fall back on…so who knows, maybe they were kind of doomed from the get-go.  But they did seem rather lackadaisical about the whole thing, so I guess I agree with the judges eliminating them immediately after they performed. 

Male singers:

Dave Fenley
Marty Brown
Paul Thomas Mitchell
Jonathan Allen
Travis Pratt

Court’s thoughts: I love Dave Fenley more and more each time I hear him perform – loved his gravelly acoustic take on “These Arms of Mine”.  I agree with the judges that I thought Marty was better in his audition than he was in Vegas – he wasn’t terrible, per se, but I just found myself a bit bored.  Seemed like Paul fumbled a bit with “Sunday Morning”, but I still loved his voice and thought for sure he’d be going to the live shows.  Jonathan Allen definitely improved from his initial audition – seems like he has a lot better control over his voice now.  Poor Travis Pratt – I think he did a commendable job with “Ave Maria”, but the judges just couldn’t seem to get past the fact that he sings like a woman. 

So the roster is set for Radio City Music Hall!!! Who are you most excited to see in the live shows? And who are you sad to see eliminated?

July 17, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Audition Round Rundown #5 – Chicago/San Antonio Auditions

I apologize for the tardiness of this rundown – the Midwest has been pummeled by rain and storms the past few weeks, and last night was no exception…consequently, my internet and cable were down for about an hour and 15 minutes of last night’s broadcast.  Woke up this morning to a functioning internet, but my DVR had only managed to capture about the last 45 minutes of the show.  Booooo! I took the afternoon off from work to start prepping food for my family’s annual 4th of July BBQ, and of course catch up on last night’s show on good ol’ Hulu 🙂 Since I managed to actually see all of the San Antonio auditions from my DVR recording, I’m going to start off with those – even though they were in the 2nd half of the show.  I’ll come back and do the Chicago half later 😉

Chicago:

Kelsey & Bailey – age 17 (Kelsey)
The act: Kelsey & her dog Bailey performed a series of tricks and dance moves to “We Go Together” from Grease.
The verdict: Judges all thought the act was adorable and said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: This was a cute act for sure, and Bailey the dog seemed to love performing.  However, I’m left feeling a little bit let down, just given the fact that last year’s winners, the Olate Dogs, had such an amazing act.  I’m afraid Kelsey & Bailey kind of pale in comparison, but I could see them sticking around for awhile – America seems to love animal acts, and they’re really the only animal act we’ve seen in this year’s auditions.  

Spintacular
The act: A family of 17 that performs tricks with basketballs.  
The verdict: Judges said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: My first thought was “They had HOW MANY kids??!!!”, followed shortly thereafter by “And they actually can get everyone focused for long enough to create their own version of the Harlem Globetrotters???!!!” Very cute act, with everyone from dad down to the little twin girls performing tricks. My one complaint is that there seemed to be a lot going on at one time – likely one drawback of having such a large family! – and it was hard to really appreciate everything they were doing when there was so much to pay attention to.  Maybe scale it back a bit and work on some synchronization for Vegas?  

Cami Bradley
The act: Cami sang “Over the Rainbow” a cappella.
The verdict: She’ll be in Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: *sigh* Maybe I’m being cynical, but I doubt the female vocalists are going to be reppin’ particularly hard in Vegas this season.  Cami was pleasant to listen to, but I didn’t find anything truly special about her voice – plus I thought she tried too hard to do a lot of those Christina Aguilera-esque riffs.  I wish some of these female vocalists would stop trying to put on these over-the-top, vocal acrobatics-heavy performances and just focus on really sounding good and doing their songs justice.

Tellavision
The act: A group of teenage boys and girls doing a modern/ballet-type dance to “What a Wonderful World” while holding LED screens that incorporated into their performance.
The verdict: Judges liked it, we’ll see them in Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: This is probably going to catch me some hell, but I thought this was the cheesiest, tackiest performance we’ve seen all season – and remember, we had JC Starbright in episode 2 😛 I just found the whole thing a bit too cutesy – that overused, schmaltzy song; the cutesy movements with LED screens; the cheesy stuff on the screens…I think I would have rather just seen a really good, garden-variety modern dance routine and scrapped the screens altogether.  I think they’re going to look pretty amateurish next to some of the other dance groups in Vegas.

David Ferman – age 18, from Jacksonville, FL
The act: David did some juggling, then balanced a Molotov cocktail on a balloon he held in his mouth.
The verdict: Judges were impressed with the level of danger and said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Anyone remember Charles Peachock, the crazy guy that juggled the tasers back in season 6? I think we just found his successor 🙂 Loved the creativity of the Molotov cocktail, although I thought David may have come across a bit nervous and kind of rushed his delivery.  Hopefully he can shake the nerves and Vegas and give a bit more finesse in his delivery.

Chicago Boyz Acrobatic Team – ages 9-23, from Chicago, IL
The act: The do all sorts of flips and tumbling, and incoporate jump ropes into their act.
The verdict: Judges loved it and praised their energy.  We’ll see them in Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Probably my favorite from the Chicago auditions – I think what struck me at first was just how happy and enthusiastic all of these guys are about what they do.  Everyone from the coach down to the youngest kid on the team just seemed to love what they’re doing – and that’s a kind of passion you can’t fake.  I was pretty impressed by some of the stunts they were doing too – tumbling runs, standing back tucks, jumping pushups…and using the little guy as a human jump rope was just genius.  I think these guys will breeze through Vegas and go straight to the live shows. 

2Unique – age 10
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Innovative Force
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Ciana Pelekani – age 12
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Mitsi Dancing School
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Pat McKillen
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Sully Dunn – age 18
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Branden James – age 34
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Trevor Stone (“Spontaneous Art”) – age 38
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Squared Circus Review
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Chris the Wedding DJ
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Enrique Reyes – age 34, from Mexico
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San Antonio:

David Fenley – 34, from Texas
The act: Dave sang and played an acoustic cover of Alex Clare’s “Too Close”.
The verdict: He got 4 yes’s, and Mel got “what she really, really wanted”. 🙂
Court’s thoughts: I found this guy really, really likeable – like a good-natured combination of Dom Deluise and John Popper from Blues Traveler.  Loved the gravelly sound of his voice, and his unique take on that song.  I’m guessing they’ll probably pit him against Paul Thomas Mitchell & Marty Brow in Vegas…all three are great, so it should be interesting to see how things pan out.

“Dancin'” Dylan Wilson – 17, from Huntington, Indiana
The act: Dylan did an animation hip-hop routine to “Cinema” by Skrillex.
The verdict: He made it to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: INDIANA REPRESENT!!! Of course I’m going to root for this kid, as a fellow Hoosier 🙂 I thought he was fun to watch and has obviously worked hard to hone his craft – but maybe I’ve been a bit spoiled by SYTYCD, because I found his animating a bit amateurish next to likes of Cyrus, Blueprint, and some of the other animators from SYTYCD.  Unfortunately for Hunter, I’m guessing they’re going to compare him to Kenichi, who is also an animator…a REALLY, really good animator.  I like Dylan, but I doubt he’ll be able to make it past Vegas 🙁

Hunk-O-Mania’s International Men of Steel
The act: Four beefcakes in gladiator costumes, dancing to “Sexy & I Know It”.
The verdict: Heidi & Mel were all about it – but Howard & Howie said “no”.
Court’s thoughts: Ugh. I just do not get the appeal of male revue acts – I got to see Thunder from Down Under in Vegas last year for a bachelorette weekend, and I just didn’t “get” it: a bunch of unrealistically-muscled, oily guys doing basic boyband choreography with some hip thrusts and butt wiggles peppered in. Am I supposed to swoon? Cause I didn’t.

Lil Mike & Funny Bone, aka “Mike Bone” – 32 & 27, from Oklahoma
The act: Two Native American brothers of short stature, performing an original song called “Do the Rain Dance”.
The verdict: Judges were pleasantly surprised and put them through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Ok, this might have been my favorite act of the night 🙂 Loved the charisma these two had, and how they didn’t let the fact that they stood only 4’4″ stop them from doing what they loved. And “Do the Rain Dance” is incredibly catchy – but so is “B-O-O-T-Y”. Anyone want to place any bets that we see these two up against Tone the Chiefrocca in Vegas for a spot in the live shows? We’ve got two rapping acts with original songs and big personalities. Who do you guys think has the juice to move on?

The American Hit Men – 28-34, from Salt Lake City, Utah
The act: They’re a rock band that performed a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man”.
The verdict: Judges loved them – Howard in particular was very excited about having a good rock band this season. They got 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: While I think this show should really be about the talent (and not so much focus placed on a schmaltzy backstory), I do commend these gentleman for their service to our country – and the fact that it was the music they made that kept their spirits up when they were Marines stationed in Fallujah. The lead singer had one of those gravelly, cool-sounding rock voices that only a few people seem to pull off, and I loved they way it sounded with this song. I’m hoping they can take some more current songs and put their own spin on them.

Stay tuned for my rundown of the Chicago acts – when I get done with Hulu 🙂 What did you guys think of the San Antonio acts?

July 3, 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!