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PureAGT Season 8 Audition Round Rundown #4 – New York/L.A. Auditions

Well, as I told jimmbboe on Twitter – looks like they made up for last week’s lack of bad auditions by loading this week’s episode up with them ūüôĀ And boy were there some weird ones…

…in addition to that, this week was the first time where the judges put an act through to Vegas that made me go “REALLY?! Them???” But my beloved Heidi made up for the snafu by giving the most adorable pronunciation of the word “mediocre” that I’ve ever heard…sounded like “meaty okah”.¬† ūüôā

New York auditions are up now; look for the L.A. audition rundown later today ūüôā

New York:

Struck Boyz – ages 8-11, from Staten Island, NY
The act:¬†They did a hip-hop dance to “As Long As You Love Me” by Justin Bieber.
The verdict:¬†Judges loved¬†their attack and commitment to the dance and gave them 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: Yeah, they were pretty good for all being adolescent boys – they seemed to stay in sync really well, and had a good stage presence.¬† But it felt to me like they were just kind of regurgitating choreography they had been given, and the choreography wasn’t particularly unique or at a high skill-level…and it was to BIEBER.¬† Guess I’m just getting¬†a bit tired of young boys throwing on a tank top and a Bieber song and getting the little girlies to scream for them as they gyrate – I respond to bona fide talent, not gimmicky Bieber impersonations.¬† I thought these guys were adorable, but I think once they get to Vegas and the judges see them up against some of the other dance acts this season, they’ll likely pale in comparison.

B-Extreme
The act: Three breakdancers doing a series of tricks and rolls over and around one another.
The verdict: Judges put them through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: We only saw a brief clip of these guys, but they did seem very talented – they seem to know breaking really well.¬† But here’s their problem: they’re up against another crew of 3 hip-hop guys (Hype) that know breaking, too…and a slew of other styles, and they arguably have the better stage presence, too.¬† I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw these guys and Hype pitted against one another in Vegas…with the latter advancing.

Kristef Brothers Рages 24 & 26, from Las Vegas
The act:¬†They’re 2nd generation “hand balancers” – they basically do an acrobalance act that is based primarily on hand-to-hand¬†holds. They also felt the¬†need to¬†doff their clothes for their performance.
The verdict:¬†All Heidi could muster was an “Mmmm, mmmm, MMMM! It’s a yes for me!”…before they even voted ūüėõ The other 3 said yes as well, though, and we’ll see them in Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: No doubt these guys have talent – they were doing some seriously cool stuff out there.¬† But once again, I found myself comparing them unfavorably to another acrobalance act this season: Duo Resonance, whom we saw in San Antonio in episode 2.¬† I feel like Duo Resonance had a more polished performance, and were doing tricks with a higher level of difficulty; however, I do think Kristef had a bit more stage presence, and seemed to engage the audience more.¬† My only gripe? The stripping down to undies towards the end seemed¬†a bit odd (and unnecessary) to me.¬† Once again, I can already see Vegas week shaping up in my head – and I see these two going toe-to-toe with Duo Resonance for a spot in the live shows.

Aneya Marie Рage 25
The act: She’s a singing mime…yeeeeah.
The verdict:¬†Buzzes¬†and¬†“no’s” galore.¬† She also managed to insult the audience’s intelligence when they booed her.
Court’s thoughts: This lady seemed crazier than a bag of cats – I think the fact that she even made any noise pretty much precluded her referring to herself as a “mime”, and she kept insisting that audiences in Europe “loved her”.¬† This is one of those acts that I have to wonder if they really do know how bad they are…and they’ll just do anything to get on television.

“Dudes Jousting on Unicycles” The Flying Slovenski Brothers
The act: Self-explanatory – two guys riding around on unicycles, trying to knock each other off with lances.
The verdict: No’s and buzzes all around.
Court’s thoughts: This seems like something a bunch of engineering majors might do in college for fun…but it’s no million-dollar act.

“Guys Rapping About Elephants”The Jolley Brothers
The act: They were two guys…singing what I can only assume was an original song about “dropping it like an elephant elevator” (apparently I’m really deaf…).
The verdict: Ummm…no.
Court’s thoughts: It was no “B-O-O-T-Y”.

“Lady with a Cat Riding Around in a Car”
The act: A lady dressed in what looked like an Elvira costume…with a cat riding around her in a little car.
The verdict: Judges didn’t get it and said no to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: That poor cat looked as bewildered and confused as I did, trying to figure out what this act was about.

“Couple Wearing Chicken Costumes”A Tall Order
The act: A guy & a girl dancing around in chicken costumes.
The verdict: No…duh.
Court’s thoughts: It just blows my mind sometimes with the acts people come up with…and sometime’s that’s not a good thing.

Hammerstep Рages 18-30, from Brooklyn, NY
The act: They performed and Irish step dancing/hip-hop fusion dance to an edgy song while wearing gas masks.
The verdict: Judges loved the creative fusion of the two styles and praised the group’s high skill level.¬† 4 yes’s to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Upon hearing that they were fusing hip-hop with step dancing, I thought for sure they were gonna bomb.¬† But this was actually pretty cool to watch – you can tell that everyone in the group has received pretty extensive Irish step dancing training, but have also taken up hip-hop and effectively found a way to mesh the two styles together.¬† This is the 2nd Irish step dancing group we’ve seen this season (the first being The Academy from episode 1), and I’d put money on it that Hammerstep is the one we’ll see advancing to the live shows.

Bones and the Machine
The act: They performed a “bone-breaking” hip-hop routine with all sorts of contortions and eerie-looking tricks.
The verdict: Judges put them through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Nice to see another “bone-breakin'” hip hop act since Turf last season – and I liked that they found a way to incorporate partnering as well.

The Rock Dance Project Рfrom Philadelphia, PA
The act: A ballet/jazz/modern fusion dance group that was doing some lifts and other artistic steps.
The verdict: They’re through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: I really wished they had showed more of this act, because the little I saw was just STUNNING.¬† Lots of pas des deux work, gorgeous pirouttes, and crazy jumps.¬† If the judges can embrace the true artistry of what they’re doing, I think we’ll see them in the live shows.

Leon Etienne Рfrom Utica, NY
The
act: He’s an illusionist that made a girl appear in an empty box, then managed to do a quick switch out with her while he was chained to a board; he also managed to predict a card picked by Nick, and had the card appear on his female assistant’s leotard when Nick squirted her with a squirt gun.
The verdict: Judges gave him 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: He’s got some serious magic skills, but I found myself thinking that his overall presentation was just a bit frantic and discombobulated.¬† Seemed like he was trying to fit as many tricks into one audition as possible, and as a result, he seemed to rush from trick to trick, and fumbled a bit over his delivery. He seemed to lack a bit of the finesse and stage presence we saw from Special Head and Collins Key.¬† Will be interesting to see how he’ll measure up to the other magicians in Vegas.

“11-year-old breakdancer”Lil Demon
The act: Adorable 11-year-old boy who was doing all sorts of breakdancing tricks.
The verdict: We’ll see him in Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: He’s definitely one of the stronger kid dancers we’ve seen this season, but I worry about his versatility.¬† He may be a great breakdancer, but we may be seeing the same thing from him over & over.

“Jazz dancers in colorful costumes”Studio 19 Dance Complex
The act: Jazz/ballet dancers in rainbow-colored costumes, doing a jazz/ballet-type dance.
The verdict: Judges loved it and put them through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Wasn’t wild about the costumes, but I thought the dancing looked good.¬† Will be interested to see what they bring to Vegas.

Sophia Lucia – age 10, from San Diego, CA
The act: She’s a jazz dancer that performed a solo routine with a mind-blowing number of pirouttes and other turns.
The verdict: She’s through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: If Sophia looks familiar, it’s because she’s been just about everywhere on dance TV – she’s been on Dance Moms, and most recently, she performed on Dancing with the Stars as the current world record holder for the number of pirouttes done in succession…and she also appeared in Jacoby Jones’ freestyle during this season’s finale of DWTS.¬† I think she’s adorable and an amazing dancer – but I wonder if she’ll be versatile enough for the judges.¬† A lot of her routines seem to hinge around her ability to do an insane number of turns and spins.¬† Can she branch out she show more of her other dance skills?

Isaiah “Izzy” O’Neal & Aaralyn O’Neal – ages 9 & 6
The act: Izzy played the drums while Aaralyn sang a death metal song called “Zombie Skin”.
The verdict: Mel said no, citing the fact that the little girl’s voice sounded like it was going to give out; the other 3 judges said yes.
Court’s thoughts: Ok, I agree with Mel on this one: what were the other 3 judges thinking??? While I think it’s amusing to see an adorable little girl singing death metal in a growling voice, I don’t think it’s particularly “talented” or could comprise an entire Vegas show.¬† I really just think these two are probably Vegas cannon fodder.

The Virginia State University Gospel Chorale – from Petersburg, VA
The act: They’re a gospel choir that sang a rousing number with choreography.
The verdict: Judges loved them and said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Methinks the American Military Spouses Choir just got some staunch competition – THIS is what I wish I had heard from them last week.¬† This group is polished, energetic, and has the performance quality and all-around talent that I had wanted to see from the other group last week.¬† Loved the fact that those not singing lead weren’t just swaying & humming in the background – their voices were like a wall of harmonious sound, and their choreography made them seem like they had a pulse.¬† Very engaging; very much an act I’d like to see in the¬† live shows.

Los Angeles:

Chris Antes
The act:¬†He’s an “oral sculptor” – translation: he shapes gum in his mouth.¬† He¬†tried to make a dolphin &¬†a snail out of¬†two pieces of gum.
The verdict:¬†It was a pretty loose definition of a snail and a dolphin…and the judges weren’t buying¬†it.¬† No’s all around.
Court’s thoughts:¬†If nothing else, he was a convivial guy – seemed nice enough.¬† He just had a talent that¬†really wasn’t a talent ūüėõ

Sunflower State
The act:¬†They’re a folk music 4-some that performed an original song.
The verdict:¬†The judges commented that it wasn’t a particularly good original song and said no to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts:¬†Meh…just MEH.

Brandon & Savannah – ages 15 & 13, from Boca Raton, FL
The act: They’re a brother-sister team that sang an original song called “All the Runaways” with their band.
The verdict: Heidi, Howard, & Howie all loved the song, while Mel didn’t think it was great – but they all agreed that Brandon & Savannah had talent and said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Now while I think Paul Thomas Mitchell and Tone the Chiefrocca still jointly hold the title for “best original song this season”, I actually did enjoy this song – was catchy and suited the duo well. Both Brandon and Savannah have great voices and great stage presence, and they seem like they’re very marketable – especially to the Disney crowd. I think we’ll see them in the live shows.

Taylor Williamson – age 26, from San Diego, CA
The act: He’s an “awkward comedian” that mused on such topics as Chinese food, grandparents, and duvets.
The verdict: Judges loved his unique brand of humor and put him through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Loved this guy – loved his awkward delivery, and the way he worked in little mini-jokes even when he was just conversing with the judges. He reminded me a lot of that Jacob guy from last season (comedian whose last name I can’t remember), but less droll. He’s the first real competition I’ve seen for Angela Hoover so far this season – and I think there’s a good chance that both will make it to the live shows.

Jacob Calle
The act: He’s a self-described “party stunt man” that did a trick where he swallowed a string and then pulled it out of his stomach through his skin, and then tried to blow bubbles…with an emperor scorpion in his mouth.
The verdict: Judges said no.
Court’s thoughts: What a disjointed and pointless mess. He could have actually had a good act, after leading off with the string trick, but the bubbles & scorpion bit? Total hot mess. I think the fact that the scorpion stung him and left him with a bleeding lip just added insult to injury…or injury to insult…whatever.

Johnny Tong – from Burbank, CA
The act: He lights his own farts on fire, with and assist from his…well, assistant.
The verdict: Judges said no…and then Johnny proceeded to beg and plead and shuffle cards onto his crotch in an effort to appease Heidi. Nick had to remove him from the stage with a stick.
Court’s thoughts: Ok, I’ll admit: I did have to chuckle and the fart-lighting. But Nick did too, so I must be at least semi-normal ūüėõ But I wouldn’t pay $70 to see it in Vegas, and something about this guy seemed…chemically-dependent.

Shawn McMaster
The act: He had Nick pick a card out of a stack, and then proceeded to strip down to a leotard…which had the card Nick picked printed on the front.
The verdict: It’s a no to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: It could have been a cool trick – if the delivery hadn’t been so lame.

Naathan Phan
The act: He attempted to escape from a straight jacket, while singing “I Want to Break Free”. Then he did a trick where he had the judges pick a card, then shoved the entire deck in his mouth, wiggled most of the cards out, and produced the card they picked…folded in quarters inside his mouth.
The verdict: Heidi & Howard buzzed him, but Howie & Mel liked his initial act. After Heidi gave him the opportunity to perform a different trick, he redeemed himself with the card trick and won over Heidi & Howard to move on to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Maybe it was the fact that he looked Asian but had a wicked Scottish accent, maybe it was the fact that he sang as he escaped the straight jacket, maybe it was the cool card-in-the-mouth trick that he did on-the-fly – whatever it was, I thought this guy was fascinating. If he can avoid the pitfalls of tricks that fall flat, I think he could be great on the live shows.

Forte – ages 22-33, from Puerto Rico, South Korea, and New York
The act: Fernando, Hana, & Josh are 3 guys that met online only days prior to actually performing “Dominus Requiem” as an opera trio.
The verdict: Judges were spellbound and gave an emphatic yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Who said Craigslist was only for selling furniture and arranging illicit rendezvous? ūüėõ I think these guys seriously hit the jackpot in finding each other – the way their voices blended together, I would have believed it if they had told me they had been singing together for years. Just this gorgeous, harmonious wall of sound. I think the classical singers category just got a lot more competitive – because I’d put money on it that Forte will make the live shows.

Now let’s hear your thoughts on this week’s auditions! Who are you most excited to see again?

June 26, 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 Audition Round Rundown #1 – San Antonio/New York/L.A. Auditions

Woohoo! A highly entertaining¬†kickoff to season 8, if I do say so myself ūüôā ¬†A nice mix of good acts that actually made it through to Vegas, with a few trainwrecky auditions peppered in to make things interesting.¬† Heidi & Mel seem to be gelling well with Howie & Howard, and Heidi seems to have taken on the role of the “sweet” judge that makes all the contestants feel welcome…but that doesn’t mean she’s afraid to hit her buzzer, either.¬†So far, Mel has been quieter than I thought she’d be, but we’re only one episode in.¬† Howie continues to be a bit of¬†an oddball judge, who is often the lone dissenter when the other judges vote a certain way.¬† Thought it was a bit odd that they only showed us 2 auditions from San Antonio before skipping ahead to New York & L.A., but judging from the previews from next week, it looks like they’re back in San Antonio for more auditions.

For the audition rounds, I’m just going to go through each act in the order it aired, and give a quick summary (to jog everyone’s memory and my own – it’s easy to lose track of some of the acts during a 2-hour show!), and give some of my own input on what I think of them.¬†¬†Since tonight’s episode spanned auditions in 3 different cities, I’ve broken the acts up by audition city as well.¬† For acts whose name wasn’t provided, I simply gave them an identifying nickname – i.e. “Asian male aerialist” or “girls’ clogging group”.¬† I’ll try to figure out any missing details and update you guys as I find them ūüėČ

And I do apologize for not getting this up immediately after the show aired last night – while I’ve become accustomed to cranking out recaps of the 2-hour DWTS performance show within an hour of the broadcast ending, I had forgotten how much information gets crammed into a 2-hour AGT audition show…and while I had this post 75% done last night, I was tired, and I didn’t want to half-ass my way through the rest just because I was sleepy.¬† So here it is – thanks for bearing with me as I get accustomed to PureAGT ūüôā

San Antonio:

David “The Cobra Kid” Weathers – 35 years old, from Hollywood, FL
The act: He does dangerous stuff with dangerous snakes – for his audition, he brought along the “meanest rattlesnake he’s got” and taunted it into striking (and subsequently popping) a balloon he held in his mouth.
The verdict: All 4 judges loved it and said yes – he’s through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Danger acts are great and I think they definitely have a place on AGT – but the one problem I have with them is that many of them end up kind of one-dimensional, without much to expand on from round to round.¬† Don’t get me wrong, some manage to parlay a rather limited “danger skill” into several different performances, each with an interesting twist to it (Ben Blaque, the crossbow act from last season, comes to mind) – but the majority seem to run out of truly different things to do after the Vegas round.¬† I’m afraid David might fall into latter camp – how much more is he going to be able to do with these snakes? I’m interested to see, but I can’t say I’m terribly optimistic that he’s going to continue to wow beyond Vegas.

Marty Brown – 47, from Franklin, KY
The act: He’s a country singer who performed “Make You Feel My Love” while playing the guitar.
The verdict: The judges all commented on how they were “pleasantly surprised” by how great of a performer he was, and loved that his wife had to trick him into coming to audition.¬† 4 yes’s – see you in Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Easygoing, down-to-earth country boy with guitar skills and a voice reminiscent of Garth Brooks? He’s a pretty safe bet, methinks – but if he really wants to separate himself from what I imagine will be yet another large group of male singers this season, he’s gonna need to step out of the country box a bit…maybe sing something more “mainstream” with a bit of a country twist to it?

 

New York:

Miu – 31, from Japan
The act:¬†Well…I think she was¬†trying to be the Japanese iteration of¬†Lady Gaga, so she was flailing around to “Born this Way” in typical Gaga attire: spiked bra, sparkly hot pants, some platform boots, and what looked like¬†metallic cinnamon rolls on her¬†shoulders.
The verdict:¬†If you couldn’t guess from the¬†description of the act alone, she didn’t make it through – she got early buzzes &¬†no’s from Howard, Mel, &¬†Heidi, in that order; Howie was the lone hold-out, and gave her a yes.
Court’s thoughts: It’s times like these where I really worry about Howie’s sense of judgement – I get the feeling tonight is not the only time this season where we’re going to see the 3 other judges giving a resounding “NO!” to a bad act, with Howie sitting there saying “I actually loved it…so it’s a yes for me!”

“The Animal”
The act: Errrr…it was a guy…and I guess he was trying to act like some sort of growling animal?
The verdict:¬†Mel¬†buzzed him before he even performed, and it was “NO!” across the board.
Court’s thoughts: Well, at least he had nice abs…if I were him, I would have quickly segued into a male revue-type act midway through the boo’s, and at least tried to salvage the performance ūüėõ

“The Alien Wearing Lederhosen” Nezbit Blue
The act:¬†A guy in a blue alien costume…wearing lederhosen…and yodeling.
The verdict: No X 4…and Heidi schooled him on yodeling.
Court’s thoughts: Are all people born in mountainous regions just innately able to yodel??? I actually thought Heidi wasn’t half-bad! ūüėõ

Avant-Garde Noise Music
The act: A guy¬†&¬†a girl in peculiar, vaguely country-ish costumes fashioned from¬†pantyhose & gas masks…and they were¬†playing banjos and some other instruments.¬† The result was bizarre & cacophonous.
The verdict:¬†The judges weren’t feeling it – AT ALL.¬† Nick, however (in typical Nick¬†fashion), cobbled together his own matching costume out of pantyhose and played along backstage.
Court’s thoughts: Dunno what this act¬†was thinking, but it’s times like these when I realize just how PERFECT a host Nick is for a show like this – the guy rolls with the punches incredibly well and manages to inject comedy when it’s needed most.¬† ūüėÄ

Catapult Entertainment – from New York, New York
The act: A silhouetted, acrobatic dance act that portrayed a jewel thief vs. detective storyline.
The verdict:¬†All 4 judges loved it and said “yes” to¬†Vegas. Howard even went so far as to¬†do the “I’m not worthy!!!” bow.
Court’s thoughts: Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of silhouette acts – especially the one from either last season or the one before that always did these kind of schmaltzy storylines and were basically just a group of people running back & forth to form new shapes.¬† But I felt like this one actually brought something new to the table – instead of just running from place to place, this was fluid, and had several things going on at once…and the shapes they were making actually moved instead of staying static.¬† They also played with perspective & size quite a bit more, and seemed to tell an actual story, as opposed to just creating pictures that fit¬†a certain theme.¬† I could see this act making it to the finale, for sure.

Unnamed female clogging group The Academy
The act: A group of adolescent-age female cloggers Irish step dancers.
The verdict:¬†They made it through to¬†Vegas.¬† Howard even went so far as to say¬†“the Rockettes have nothing on you guys!”
Court’s thoughts: Whenever they show an act that made it through to Vegas, but don’t necessarily give us the name or any other info other than a brief clip of them performing, I’m inclined to think that they probably won’t be around for long and thus the powers that be don’t see the point in investing a lot of airtime in them.¬† I could be wrong, though.¬† Anyway, from what I saw, they seemed to be very clean & in sync…but how well-received is an Irish step dancing act really going to be?

Hype – 20-25, from Hawaii
The act: Three¬†young guys¬†(“Headache”, “Hazmat”, and Mikey…who¬†doesn’t have a nickname :-P) that danced a hip-hop dance routine to a techno-y sounding remix of “Singin’ in the Rain”.
The verdict:¬†The judges (Howie in particular) were astounded that the 3 guys had only come up with that routine the night before,¬†and were excited to see just what they could come up with when they had even more time to rehearse.¬† 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: I actually thought one of the guys in the group (I think maybe “Hazmat”) looked familiar right off the bat, and then when I heard the name “Hype” and that they were from Hawaii, I recognized him as being part of Hype 5-0, a crew that was on America’s Best Dance Crew about 3 years ago.¬† If the pattern of former ABDC-ers on AGT continues, we’ll at least see these guys in the first round of live shows¬†– and if their choreographic talent is as promising as it looked tonight, they could make it even further.¬† I saw a lot of different styles in this routine – some breaking, some popping, some tutting – and if you can skillfully mesh multiple different hip-hop styles, you can really make a splash.

Unnamed male aerialist Tristan Jih
The act: 20-something guy that was a yoga instructor by day, and an aerialist by night –¬†and this was his first real performance.
The verdict:¬†We’ll see him in Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: He seemed a little nervous, but he handled those silks well – and he’s got a rather nice torso.¬† ūüėČ

Dave Shirley
The act: He’s a comedian that did some work behind a video screen – dragged a blow-up doll¬†behind the screen, and made it appear as though he was appearing on-screen dressed like Howard¬†(with the doll dressed like Heidi).¬† Managed to say in sync¬†with the vid screen when walking¬†out from¬†behind it.
The verdict: Judges liked it – he’s through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: A cool little twist on typical comedy – I was definitely skeptical when he introduced himself as “a comedian, but I don’t tell jokes”.¬† Now I get it¬†– but will this particular schtick wear thin after a few performances?

Kid the Wiz
The act: Did a sort of hip-hop dance that focused mainly on tricks he did with his hat.
The verdict: He’s through to¬†Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Yeah, it was cool to watch – but can you REALLY create an entire Vegas show out of a kid doing hat tricks??? And how many tricks does he really have? I’m guessing the judges get bored with it in Vegas, and he gets cut before the live shows.

Chuck from the Bronx – 38, from (duh) The Bronx, NY
The act: I guess you could call it “extreme eating” – he ate 3 raw eggs (shell & all),¬†chased a tequila shot by snorting the salt through his nose and squeezing¬†the lime in his eyes, and finished by devouring the world’s hottest pepper…while sitting in a bathtub full of ice.
The verdict:¬†In the second decision of the night that was not unanimous, Howard, Heidi, & Mel all hated it & said no¬†–¬†but Howie “got it” and said yes¬†to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: I can deal with sideshow & danger acts.¬† But for whatever reason, I get super-duper squeamish when I see professional/extreme eaters that either eat ridiculous amounts of food or eat weird things.¬† I literally start to get queasy and usually have to stop watching.¬† And poor Chuck looked like he was in such pain – I’d much rather see someone that was having the time of their life performing and was truly enjoying what they were doing, than someone that just suffers for the sake of applause.

Alex B. – 13
The act: He sang “Payphone” by Maroon 5.
The verdict:¬†The judges (Mel in particular) all said “no” as gently as they could.
Court’s thoughts: I always feel bad for young kids that work up the courage to hit the stage, but maybe just aren’t quite ready for AGT yet¬†and end up getting a “no” from the judges.¬† Poor Alex was only 13 – and his voice is probably changing, which could explain some of the shrillness that made his singing a bit hard on the ears.¬† The judges unfortunately probably see far more kids like Alex – and very few like Jackie Evancho or Anna Graceman.¬† I just hope kids like Alex do end up working on their skills a bit more and return in a future season when they’re better prepared.

Anna Christine – 10, from Henderson, NV (or as I like to call it – “John country” ;-))
The act: Sang “House of the Rising Sun” while playing the piano.
The verdict: Judges adored her – 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: She’s basically this season’s Anna Graceman – but I think she’s actually better.¬† She’s got a VERY mature voice for her age – reminded me a bit of Kelly Clarkson when she was on Idol¬†– and seems to have a bit more of a stage presence.¬† Another act that I could see making the finale.

3Penny Chorus & Orchestra – from Connecticut
The act: A full orchestra¬†& chorus comprised of non-professionals that performed an orchestral version of “Call¬†Me Maybe”.
The verdict:¬†Judges¬†(even Howard, who claims to “hate orchestral music) loved it.¬† They made it to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: It was definitely cool – especially when you consider that none of them are professional musicians.¬† But there were a few moments that I found it a bit grating on the nerves…maybe it was the song choice? Who knows.¬† I’d be interested to see them tackle something totally out of their element – like Jay Z or Kanye.

 

Los Angeles:

Pacific Boys’ Choir – ages 9-14
The act:¬†They sang a choral version of “California Dreamin'”.
The verdict:¬†They made it through to¬†Vegas – Howard especially loved it,¬†citing it as “one of his favorite songs”.
Court’s thoughts: It was a beautiful, haunting performance…definitely a pleasure to listen to.¬† But I wonder if they might connect better with the audience if they performed something a little more young¬†& current.

Special Head
The act: He’s an eccentric,¬†Buddhist monk-ish¬†street performer who makes this weird humming¬†noise to “get his chakras in line” before levitating.
The verdict:¬†Judges were skeptical at first – Howard even buzzed him early in the act.¬† But after the levitating, Howard actually “took back” the¬†X, and all 4 judges said “yes” to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Special Head is no spiritual – he’s just a magician that has found a really kooky (and clever) angle with which to frame his illusions.¬† It’s all an act – even the name betrays the fact that he doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously.¬† However – I think it’s brilliant.¬† I think I’ve figured out the trick (if you’ve ever caught Magic’s Greatest Secrets Revealed on the Bio channel, it’s just a simple levitation – hint: the staff he was holding isn’t just there for show), but I think the true genius behind his performance was more in the presentation than anything else.¬† We’ve had goth magicians of the Criss Angel persuasion, very mysterious illusion-based magicians of the David Copperfield persuasion, escape artists of the Houdini persuasion, and even very campy magicians of the Penn & Teller persuasion.¬† But we’ve never had a magician of the “spiritual magic” persuasion – and when you can inject that element of mysticism into a performance, the effect on the audience can be pretty powerful.¬† I’m very curious to see what he’s going to do for Vegas¬†– maybe conjure up some spirits? Summon the 7 plagues?

Angela Hoover – 42, from Redondo Beach, CA
The act: Comedienne/impressionist that impersonated Celine Dion, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Chenoweth, & Penelope Cruz.
The verdict:¬†4 yes’s, through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: Glad to see another female impressionist since Melissa Villa Senor a few years back – it’s unfortunately a genre of comedy that seems to be dominated by men, since it’s far easier for a guy to humorously¬†imitate a female voice than it is for a female to imitate a male¬†voice.¬† Her Celine, Kristen, & Penelope impressions were spot-on – I thought the Drew could use¬†a bit of work, though, and found myself comparing it unfavorably to Melissa’s Drew impression.¬† I do want to see her do well – but I think in order for that to happen, she’s going to have to tackle some male impressions, too.¬† Melissa was unique in that she was able to do some male impressions, too – her Owen Wilson sticks out in my mind.¬† Hopefully Angela can pull out a decent Nick Cage or Robert De Niro ūüėõ

Barbie & Mina
The act: Two bimbos in hot pink outfits (kind of) singing some silly song.
The verdict: No way, Jose – and Howard said they “reminded him of the Spice Girls”, which of course got a rise out of Mel.
Court’s thoughts: Just…why????

“Guy with pony-like headdress & female backup dancers”
The act: Well…it was a guy in some vaguely S&M outfit with a pony-like headdress singing some weird song while some female backup dancers clad in metallic spandex danced around him.
The verdict: Ummm…no.
Court’s thoughts: I’m sure this would have been a hit in a gay club…but AGT maybe wasn’t the right audience.

Anthony Granger, aka “Tone the Chiefrocca” – 27, from Englewood, CA
The act: Tone and his “hype guy”, Cody¬†(who I think he said was his little brother) performed an original song called “B-Double O-T-Y” – which Tone hopes will make him a one-hit wonder.
The verdict: All 4 judges were on their feet & shaking their b-double o-t-y’s – and said yes to Vegas.¬† Nick also joined in for an impromptu 2nd performance and help Tone & his hype guy come up with an “official b-double o-t-y dance”.
Court’s thoughts: I gotta give props to a guy who openly admits that his only goal is to “become a one-hit wonder” ūüėõ On paper, I really should hate this act – but I loved every single second.¬† The song is catchy as hell, these two guys are ridiculously entertaining, and they’ve got no illusions about what they are: they’ve only got one song, and they intend to perform it over and over again for each round.¬† Normally I would think this would get really, really old, really, really quick – but I’m thinking their angle might be to perform the song with a different theme each time.¬† At least that’s what I’d do – yes, the audience already knows that I’m going to be singing “B-Double O-T-Y” again, but am I going to be singing it dressed as King Tut? Or the Village People? One thing’s for sure – “B-Double-O-T-Y” is this season’s “Whatcha Gonna Do?” ūüôā

So which acts stood out to you? Let’s hear it ūüôā

June 5, 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!