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PureAGT Season 8 Audition Round Rundown #2 – San Antonio/New Orleans Auditions

Howard really wasn’t kidding when he said the level of talent in San Antonio was high! Loved tonight’s episode even more than last week’s – and I thought last week was a VERY strong episode.  This could really be the best season of AGT yet.  Loved the fact that this episode was predominantly great acts that got 4 yes’s, and only a few bad acts.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good trainwreck – but outstanding talent vs. hot messes? I’m gonna always pick the former.  And I can usually be pretty easily swayed by some strong ballroom dancers, too 😉

This week saw the judges dissenting a bit more than last week, but for the most part, when one of them thinks an act is great – they ALL think the act is great.  I think it’s a testament to how well they get along – or how great the talent is!

UPDATE: Rundown of New Orleans auditions is up!

San Antonio:

Travis Pratt – 32 years old, from Tipton, GA
The actHe sang an operatic aria in what sounded like an astoundingly high key for a man.
The verdictHowie couldn’t believe he didn’t lip sync, and asked if he “had swallowed Jackie Evancho”.  Howard called him a “freak – but I mean that in the best way possible!” All 4 judges said yes to Vegas – and Travis proposed to his girlfriend (who had urged him to audition) live onstage.  🙂
Court’s thoughts: When I saw this guy make his way onto the stage, I of course thought he would be singing some smooth R&B song – he had that suave, slick look to him.  So you can imagine my surprise when he starts belting out an aria like a soprano! And I think what impressed me the most is that he managed to stay in-key the whole time – I thought for sure his voice was going to crack hitting notes that high, but he hit ’em like a pro.  I could see him making it through to the live shows without many problems, for the simple reason that he’s set himself apart from any other male classical singers they might find this season: he’s a guy that can sing in a female register.

Duo Resonance (Yury Kuznetsov & Nina Chubrikova)
The act: They did acrobalance – doing some gravity-defying tricks while using each other’s body weight to counterbalance.
The verdictAll 4 judges said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: There seems to be 1 good acrobatic couple just about every season – but man, these two may be the prettiest I’ve seen.  Loved some of the poses they were doing, and I felt like they were more artistic than the couple we saw last season (their name escapes me – but it was a dark-haired guy from Europe and a blonde from Australia, and they were in insanely good shape).  I think their best bet is going for themed performances each time – maybe try to tell a story or tailor their tricks to a certain song.  Otherwise, I think this could get a bit repetitive.

Ron Garber & Liza Satorov
The actThey’re ballroom dancers that did a Latin dance with some fast spins and cool dips.
The verdictThey made it to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: As I mentioned last week, I always get a little flustered when they only show us a brief clip of an act that made it through to Vegas, because it doesn’t leave me with a whole lot to go off of in my commentary – and usually forces me to go hunt down their names elsewhere.  However, I liked the dance these two did, and they seem to have a good chemistry on the floor.  But in light of what else we saw in San Antonio – I’m wondering if the adult ballroom acts are going to be taking a sort of backseat to the youngin’s this season.

Jonas Terleckas & Ruby Castro – ages 10 & 9
The actA Latin ballroom act – they did a cha-cha to “Oye Como Va”.
The verdict: Howie remembers Ruby from The Untouchables last season, and all 4 judges give them a yes.
Court’s thoughts: Gotta hand it to Manny & Lori Castro – they’ve practically made a career out of getting acts on AGT, as this is will be the 3rd year in a row that they’ve made it to Vegas…and they’ll likely make it even further, again.  For those who have no idea what I’m talking about – Manny is the cute little Columbian guy from Miami with the thick accent that was the leader of the Miami All-Stars in season 6, and the director of The Untouchables in season 7, and now he’s brought his kids to audition for season 8.  Ruby is he & Lori’s daughter, and she’s so stinking cute I could die…I love precocious kids, and this little gal has got sass to spare.  And she’s a great dancer! Jonas is good too, but I can see certain areas where he still has some growing to do in his dancing.  I’m on the fence about these two making it to the live shows – part of me thinks they’re gonna pit these two against Ruby’s brother & his partner in Vegas, and only take one act (and I think it’s probably going to be her brother).  But another part of me thinks that the powers that be probably dig the “first ever sibling vs. sibling competition on AGT!” and might take them both.  Guess we’ll have to wait and see!

D’Angelo Castro & Amanda Carbajales – ages 12 & 13
The actThey’re Latin ballroom dancers, too – and did a humorous jive to “Straight Up” by the Brian Setzer Orchestra.
The verdictHoward can’t resist playing matchmaker, and ask them if they’re “romantically involved” – they adorably relate the story of them being “boyfriend & girlfriend” when they were 9, but they broke up “like 4 times” and it confused D’Angelo.  All 4 judges think they’re great and put them through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: D’Angelo is another precocious kid that I just get a real kick out of  – and he’s got some serious skills, as does Amanda: they actually won the first (and only) season of Paula Abdul’s ill-fated Live to Dance back in 2011.  Plus, D’Angelo is Manny & Lori’s son – and he was part of The Untouchables last season.  Honestly, if there’s any dance act this season that I could see making it all the way to the finale – it might be these two.  They’re already seasonsed pros at 12 & 13, and are charismatic beyond their years! I think they have all the skill of Anna & Patryck from season 5 – but they’ve got double the amount of stage presence.  Love watching them!

Mariachi Nuevo Estilo AVM – ages 18-29
The actThey’re a mariachi band that performed a mash-up of “Low” by Flo Rida & “Sexy & I Know It” by LMFAO…with a mariachi twist.
The verdictHoward, who admitted at the beginning of the episode that he “hates mariachi bands”, even loved this act – all 4 judges said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: It’s kind of a neat concept – we’ve had bluegrass bands covering top 40 stuff, and now we’ve got mariachi bands covering current stuff.  Admittedly, I’m kind of with Howard – mariachi music is something that I can only really tolerate in small doses at low volumes (blame my next door neighbors, who love to blast mariachi while working on their cars outside), and the opening of their performance (when they did “Low”) sounded all sorts of cacophonous to me.  But once they segued into “Sexy & I Know It”, it became more pleasant to listen to, and I started to enjoy it more.  I think they’re probably going to have to expand their horizons a bit in order to stick around – tackle some slow stuff, too, and maybe some more rock-tinged songs.

Pistol Packin’ Paula – age 48
The act: She’s a wild west act that shoots & twirls pistols and used a bullwhip to chop a rolled-up piece of paper out of Nick’s mouth.
The verdictHeidi & Mel buzzed her pretty quickly, and they gave her no’s along with Howie.  Howard actually enjoyed it, though, and seemed to indicate that he would’ve given her a yes.
Court’s thoughts: This had the potential to be a good act – similar to the western act from season 6 – but it was just disorganized and all over the place.  The fact that she came out shooting pistols (and had half the auditorium jumping out of their seats and hitting the floor) probably set everyone on edge a bit, and then it was just a random smattering of her hollering, shooting, and doing some impressive gun twirling.  The bullwhip trick was cool, but I just got the feeling that she probably didn’t have a whole lot of other tricks to add beyond that.  Maybe if she polishes up the act a bit more, she can come back in a later season.

Brad Byers – age 53, from Idaho
The actHe swallowed 9 swords simultaneously, with a fluoroscope on-hand to show an internal view of his esophagus.  He then twisted the swords 360 degrees, while they were still down his throat.
The verdictMel was the sole “no”, stating that watching him “made her want to throw up”.  Howie, Howard, and Heidi all said yes, though.
Court’s thoughts: LOVED the fact that he had the fluoroscope there to prove that he was actually swallowing the swords – none of the previous sword-swallowing/sideshow acts we’ve seen have done that.  Also thought the sword twisting was a nice…err, twist. 😛 But once again, as I usually say with every danger act we see: how much more is he going to be able to do with this?

Collins Key – age 16
The actHe’s an up-close magician that managed to teleport a dollar that Howie gave him into a sealed bag of popcorn that Mel was holding.
The verdictAll 4 judges loved it, and praised him for enduring ridicule and continuing to practice his magic.  We’ll see him in Vegas!
Court’s thoughts: I’m guessing the PureAGT search engine is probably going to be filled with “how did Collins Key teleport the dollar?” queries within the next 24 hours, just like they did with Special Ed’s levitation last week 😛 I’m half-tempted to do a “how did the magicians do that???” post in the next few weeks, since I know a thing or two about magic.  But anyway – great trick, with a great set-up.  I find myself more & more impressed by the magicians who really put thought into how to set up their tricks – the premise of it, the props, even their dialogue & hand gestures.  And I thought Collins really took a big risk by doing up-close magic – even though it’s on a smaller scale, you leave yourself far more vulnerable to mistakes being caught, so everything has to be perfect.  I’m thinking Collins could beat out some of the other magicians this season who operate on a larger scale – we haven’t had a good “up close” magician in awhile.

New Orleans:

Megan Piphus – 20 years old, from Nashville, TN
The act: She’s a ventriloquist that performed with a puppet of a little girl named Monica and a cat named Princess.  Monica sang a little bit of Whitney Houston’s “Saving All My Love”, while Princess sang an operatic aria.
The verdict: All 4 judges commended not only her singing voice, but her ability to throw her singing voice as a ventrioquist.  She’s going to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: This girl smashed every stereotype I had in my head for ventriloquists – she’s young, she’s gorgeous, and she’s got an exceptional singing voice – that she can throw with ease, and you don’t see her lips moving AT ALL.  I was also really impressed with her ability to throw her voice while still reacting believably to her puppets – part of the challenge of ventrioloquism is not only the voice-throwing, but also all the multitasking you have to do when it comes to moving your puppets and acting as if they’re the ones actually doing the talking.  My only worry for her in this competition is that her material is a little bland – if she can come up with more of a narrative (like Todd Oliver did last season) as opposed to just having her puppets talk, I think she can go far.

Jonathan Allen – 20 years old, from Lawrenceburg, TN
The act: He’s a sort of baritone opera singer that sang “Time to Say Goodbye”.
The verdict: All the judges loved him and said yes to Vegas – and praised him for overcoming the adversity of being rejected by his parents for being gay.
Court’s thoughts: If Travis Pratt’s appeal is that he’s a guy that can sing opera like a girl, Jonathan’s appeal is that he’s got an exceptionally rich male voice for opera singing, and he’s got the emotion to put behind it.  Thought he maybe got a little thin in his lower register, which could use some work, but the high note at the end was fantastic.

Alexanderia the Great – 51 years old, from Medway, MA
The act: She’s an escape artist that had to free herself from handcuffs, leg shackles, and a long chain with padlocks wrapped around her body – from underwater, after EXHALING before jumping in.
The verdict: Judges started fearing for her life around the 1 minute mark, but cheered with joy and said “yes!!!” to Vegas when she emerged at 1:36.
Court’s thoughts: Love the fact that she’s a middle-aged mom that’s doing something that’s typically only done by younger men – and I can’t believe she was able to hold her breath that long while struggling to remove the handcuffs & shackles & chains.  But as I say with every danger act: “How much more is she going to be able to do?” Spencer Horseman did a great job last season of changing up the parameters of his escapes – I think Alexandria is going to have to do the same to avoid getting repetitive & boring.

JC Starbright – 59 years old
The act: He’s a flamboyantly-dressed songwriter that performed an original song about AGT – and forgot some of the words…to the song HE wrote.
The verdict: All 4 judges buzzed – and all 4 judges said “no” to Vegas. Upon hearing that JC wants to be “the next Lady Gaga”, Howie dubbed him “Lady Guy-Guy”…a title I feel the need to point out that he first gave to Daniel Joseph Baker in season 6 🙂
Court’s thoughts: He was a special guy…perhaps too special for AGT.  But as always, I LOVE it when Nick decides to play along, and lol’d when he joined JC for the encore 😛

Andrew Ward – 34 years old
The act: He came out dressed in a voodoo-y type suit, and attempted to give a dramatic reading of a ghost story.
The verdict: Everyone except Heidi said no.
Court’s thoughts: Maybe a more cerebral audience would have appreciated Andrew’s storytelling more – but on a big stage like AGT, where everyone wants instant gratification, it just took took too long.

Sam Johnson (aka Slackwire Sam) – 34 years old
The act: He’s a “swaypole” artist – which means he climbs 80 feet in the air, climbs to the top of a flimsy vertical pole that’s bending and twisting in the wind, and does a handstand.
The verdict: All four judges were amazed and put him through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: I kind of loved that this guy came out on stage acting rather eccentric – wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and a stovepipe hat, and telling everyone that he was “going to do a handstand…but not where you think.” Just made it that much more amazing when he actually pulled off that feat.  But once again, I’m left wondering: how much more can he do? Does he only do swaypole? If so, how is he going to make it fresh each time he performs? Does he do anything else besides swaypole? With the danger category shaping up to be possibly the most competitive this season,  I don’t think any of them can afford to be a one-trick pony.

Paul Thomas Mitchell – 19 years old, from Memphis, TN
The act: Paul’s a singer-songwriter that performed an original song called “My Life” while playing the guitar.
The verdict: All 4 judges loved both his voice and his song – and the emotion he put behind it.  Heidi even went so far as to say “John Mayer better watch out!!!”
Court’s thoughts: If I were Marty Brown, I’d be worried – because this kid just made the singers category much more competitive.  He impressed me more than any other act tonight.  He’s got this breathy, unique voice that reminds me a bit of James Morrison, and the song he wrote?! You can’t teach songwriting talent, and this kid has IT.  Echoing Heidi backstage, “If he put out a CD tomorrow, I’d buy it.” Really rooting for this kid now – I’m hoping he either has a bunch of great original material up his sleeve, or can do really great, cool covers of other artist’s songs.

So who were your favorites and least favorites from last night’s show? 🙂

June 11, 2013 I Written By

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

Thoughts on First 5 America’s Got Talent 2011 Finalists

Time for some thoughts on the 5 acts making it into the America’s Got Talent Season 6 finals. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Lys Agnes – I’m not much of a fan of Lys Agnes at all, but AGT viewers seem to like the operatic type of voice for some reason. So, she has a chance. Although, I’d say it’s probably a small chance. Doesn’t hurt that AGT is propping her up in the production of the show. I do wish she’d go back to the braided hair. The braids were sweet.

Miami All Stars – What an exciting group to watch. Their semi final act had some really amazing non-stop action. I’m afraid that they’re probably going to slip in the finals and not be quite as explosive and interesting. They’ll have an enjoyable performance, but not likely enough to win.

PopLyfe – I still feel like Piers was right in the beginning that the lead singer of PopLyfe is the star. Sure, the rest of the band has been an interesting package. The band without the lead singer might have even made it to the quarterfinals on their own. However, the lead singer is really truly the star. Her voice is fantastic. If they stop worrying about propping up the band and highlight her awesome vocals, they have a great chance of winning.

Team iLuminate – Incredible group. Unbelievable mix of technology and dancing. If they don’t win, it will be because America is lazy. However, they are so incredibly good that they might still win even with America’s laziness.

West Springfield Dance Team – This team should just enjoy their final performance. They’ve been the last one in for too many weeks in a row. So, they have basically no shot of winning it all based on just a popularity vote. That’s ok though. They’ll enjoy their final performance and bring something interesting to the show. Their choreographers need to do a group routine on SYTYCD.

Did anyone else notice that 2 singers and 3 dance groups made it through to the AGT Finals? Obviously America loves music and dancing. It should be obvious. We have dedicated dance (SYTYCD, ABDC, DWTS) and music (AI, The Voice, X Factor) reality TV shows. Sucks to be a variety act going up against something that America loves so much.

August 25, 2011 I Written By

America’s Got Talent Semi Final Videos from Acts in Finals

I thought that many of you that missed the AGT 2011 semi final performances might enjoy watching the video of the acts that made it to the finals. So, enjoy:
West Springfield Dance Team Takes the Stage

Team iLuminate Takes the Stage

Miami All Stars Take the Stage

Lys Agnes Takes the Stage

POPLYFE Take the Stage

I Written By

America’s Got Talent 2011 Top 48 Analysis

Well, I can’t believe that almost a whole month has past since I’ve been able to post on this site. My apologies to all the readers out there that have missed my analysis. I’ve been traveling for just about the last month and so I haven’t been able to post like usual. Plus, Marianya has found a boy that’s been taking up all her time.

I won’t go back and rehash all of the previous Top 48 performances. I’ll just move forward from here and talk about the acts that have made it through to the America’s Got Talent 2011 semi-finals.

First, I have to mention that as usual, the singing and dance acts are most popular by far. I guess that’s the reason there are so many singing and dancing reality TV shows out there. Makes sense that America would vote for more singing and dancing acts. We love that form of entertainment and that talent. However, a big part of me wishes that we could have more variety acts get through. I hate the finale, because it’s often all singing and dancing.

With that aside, here’s my analysis of who made it through:
Miami All Stars – A great act to watch. A big dance act like this is always entertaining when they’re well choreographed. I especially like the energy they have. Although, I think next to the acts listed below, they’re going to get sent home. They won’t drive the voting like the other acts will.

Snap Boogie – Similar to the Miami All Stars, I love Snap Boogie’s dancing. I hope he goes back to like he did on his first performance where it almost told a story and it had some jokes in his dancing. I’m just not sure he has any more tricks in his hat.

Anna Graceman – She was a little disappointment for me since her audition. I think it all has to do with song selection. If she chooses the right song, America will love her and she’ll go a long way. The wrong song could doom her. She’ll still probably make the finals.

Sandou Trio Russian Bar – I’m not sure where this act can take it that would be much better. I hate that Piers acts like he’s never seen an act like this before. He’s got to remember the Russian Bar Trio that was on before and got hurt and so they couldn’t continue on. That said, I’ve loved how Sandou has done it with fire and over sharp objects. I’ll never forget her answer when she was asked why she did something so dangerous that could take her life. She said, “We want to win.” Her answer is reason enough for me to want them to win even if I’ve seen just as good or better in a cirque show and in some chinese videos of Russian Bar. If I have time later, I’ll try and find the video of the chinese kids doing Russian Bar. It’s unbelievable.

Daniel Joseph Baker – Honestly, I would have rather had the other singer go through. I do like his performance, but I’m not that keen on his voice. I think America may disagree with me and he may be around for a while.

Smage Brothers Riding Show – Very entertaining. Reminds me of the bike act last year, but doing it with motorcycles is just that much cooler. I still don’t know what they’ll do next. I have a feeling their next performance will be a little bland since it will be more of the same tricks.

Steven Retchless – I guess I’m with Piers on this one. I’m not a big male pole dancer kind of guy. I do respect his strength and the cool tricks he’s able to do on the pole. Luckily for Steven, much of the America’s Got Talent audience is female.

Silhouettes – I LOVED their first performance. The second performance was good, but could have been better. I love the concept and I’d love to see what creative people could do with the concept. I also love the little girl dancers crying because they’re so happy. It’s the cutest thing ever.

POPLYFE – The singer for POPLYFE is one of the best singers that’s ever been on America’s Got Talent. Piers was right that the band wasn’t needed. I don’t think the band is a terrible disadvantage like some acts in the past, but there’s no doubt that the lead singer of POPLYFE is going to be a star. Her voice is so natural and gritty and beautiful!! If she’s not a star singer one day, something’s wrong with the music industry.

Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. – Great voice and perfect for the style he’s singing. I’m torn, because I love the voice, but I’m not totally into the music. AGT has an older audience and I think Landau might just be enough to get some of those older viewers to actually vote. I expect he’ll be around for a while.

Lys Agnes – Another opera singer (bring on the opera nazis). I don’t know, I’m kind of tired of opera singers on AGT. To be honest, my favorite part of Lys is her hair. It’s awesome! Maybe if we hadn’t had opera singer after opera singer on AGT I’d like Lys more. However, considering past opera singers success on the show, Lys has a good chance.

Professor Splash – I remember when I first saw the YouTube video for this guy. It was a few months before AGT 2011. I was spell bound. Now, it almost feels like it should be natural. The show should do more to play up what he’s really able to accomplish so we had a better idea of how crazy what he’s doing really is. I don’t think fire will make the difference. His package describing what’s happening will be the key.

There you go. There’s my 2 cents. I’ll offer the rest of the analysis of the America’s Got Talent 2011 semi finalists after tomorrow’s results show too. At least there’s plenty of talent this year. They let a few lame acts into the Top 48, but overall it’s the most talented top 48 that America’s Got Talent has ever had.

What are your thoughts?

August 2, 2011 I Written By