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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 – 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, Episode #8, 9, & 10 Music List – Vegas Week

Please bear with me as I compile the Vegas week music list – there was a LOT of it in each episode! And a lot of the orchestral stuff is tripping me up…I promise the music from the second night of Vegas week AND the recap special (there was some new footage in it) will be up by the end of this weekend.  Thanks for sticking with me, guys! 😀

Night #1:

“Too Close” by Alex ClareToo Close - The Lateness of the Hour (opening montage)
“Stars (Hold On)” by Youngblood HawkeStars (Hold On) - Wake Up (contestants arrive in Vegas)
“Feel Again” by OneRepublicFeel Again - Native (Deluxe Version) (instant decision round)
“Hall of Fame” by The Script feat. will.i.amHall of Fame (Original Version) - #3 (Deluxe Version) (instant decision round)
“Violent Running” by Tobias Marberger; only version I could find was on Youtube, 2:22 mark (David Ferman performance)
“In the House – In a Heartbeat” by London Music Works28 Days Later - In the House-In a Heartbeat - The Definitive Horror Music Collection (Brad Byers performance)
“The Third Temple” by Nexus Trix & Oswin McIntosh (Alex Magala performance)
“Falling Angels” by Nexus Trix (Slackwire Sam performance)
“Realm of Power” by Two Steps from Hell Realm of Power - SkyWorld(Rong Niu performance)
“Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno MarsLocked Out of Heaven - Unorthodox Jukebox (singers intro)
“Without You” by AstonWithout You - Aston II (Forte intro)
“The Prayer” by Andrea BocelliThe Prayer - The Best of Andrea Bocelli - Vivere (Bonus Track Version) (cover performed by Forte)
“Home” by Phillip PhillipsHome - The World from the Side of the Moon (Deluxe) (Brandon & Savannah intro)
“Little Talks” by Of Monsters and MenLittle Talks - My Head Is An Animal (cover performed by Brandon & Savannah)
“House of the Rising Sun” by The AnimalsHouse of the Rising Sun - Retrospective (cover by The American Hit Men)
“Brighter Than the Sun” by Colbie CaillatBrighter Than the Sun - All of You (kid acts intro)
“Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley CyrusParty In the U.S.A. - Party In the U.S.A. - Single (cover performed by 2Unique)
“Don’t Stop the Party” by Pitbull feat. TJRDon't Stop the Party (feat. TJR) - Global Warming (Deluxe Version) (Lil Demon performance)
“Blizzard” by Two Steps from HellBlizzard - SkyWorld (Melody Caballeros performance)
“Moves like Jagger” by Maroon 5 Moves Like Jagger (Studio Recording from (D’Angelo & Amanda performance)
“Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre)” by Gotan Project Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre) - Shall We Dance? (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)(Jonas & Ruby performance)
“Bohemian Rhapsody” by QueenBohemian Rhapsody - Classic Queen (Hype performance)
“The Ender (Remix)” by Kid the Wiz; YouTube (Kid the Wiz performance)
“Ghosts N Stuff” by deadmau5 Ghosts N Stuff - Ghosts N Stuff - Single(Dylan Wilson performance)
“If My Heart Had Wings” by Faith Hill If My Heart Had Wings - Breathe(Tavi & Antonio performance)
“Me & You” by NeroMe and You - Welcome Reality (Deluxe Version) (Brandon Rosario performance)
“Too Close” by Alex ClareToo Close - The Lateness of the Hour (Duo Resonance performance)
“The Cowboy in Me” by Tim McGrawThe Cowboy In Me - Tim McGraw: Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 (Timber Brown performance)
“Boom Shack-a-Lak” by Apache IndianBoom Shack-A-Lak - Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (Original Soundtrack) (Kristef Brothers performance)
“Beneath Your Beautiful” by Labrinth feat. Emeli SandeBeneath Your Beautiful (feat. Emeli Sandé) - Beneath Your Beautiful (feat. Emeli Sandé) - Single (Deanna Dellacioppa intro)
“A Thousand Years” by Christina PerriA Thousand Years - The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Deluxe Version] (Skilyr talks with the judges after performing; Selena M. Gordon intro)
“A Broken Wing” by Martina McBrideA Broken Wing - Greatest Hits (cover performed by Selena Gordon)
“Summertime” by Janis Joplin Summertime - Janis Joplin's Greatest Hits (cover performed by Cami Bradley)
“I Won’t Let Go” by Rascal FlattsI Won't Let Go - Nothing Like This (cover performed by Deanna Dellacioppa)

“Best of Auditions” Recap Special:

(NOTE: I did not include songs from clips of auditions that we’ve seen previously – those can be found on the music lists for the auditions.  The only exception was the song performed by The Robotix, since this is the first time we see them.)

“America the Beautiful” America the Beautiful - Patriotic Songs of America(opening montage)
“Miserlou” by Dick DaleMiserlou - Guitar Legend: The Very Best of Dick Dale (judges intro montage)
“God Put a Smile on Your Face” by Mark RonsonGod Put a Smile On Your Face - Version (New Orleans intro)
“Feelin’ Alright” by Joe CockerFeelin' Alright - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Joe Cocker (montage of good auditions)
“Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Santa EsmereldaDon't Let Me Be Misunderstood - Santa Esmeralda - Hits Anthology (San Antonio intro & montage of auditions)
“Heartbreaker” by Pat BenetarHeartbreaker - Pat Benatar: Greatest Hits (cover performed by The Robotix)
“Miss Movin’ On” by Fifth HarmonyMiss Movin' On - Miss Movin' On - Single (montage of San Antonio auditions)
“Marry You” by Bruno MarsMarry You - Doo-Wops & Hooligans (Travis Pratt recap and montage from San Antonio auditions)
“It’s Your Thing” by The Isley BrothersIt's Your Thing - The Ultimate Isley Brothers (Chicago intro)
“Wild Ones” by Flo Rida feat. SiaWild Ones (feat. Sia) - Wild Ones (montage of good Chicago auditions)
“New York State of Mind” by Billy JoelNew York State of Mind - The Essential Billy Joel (New York intro)
“Apache” by the Sugarhill GangApache - The Sugar Hill Records Story (montage of good New York auditions)
“Hollywood Swinging (Wild)” by Kool & the GangHollywood Swinging (Single Version) - The Very Best of Kool & the Gang (Los Angeles intro & montage of auditions)
“I Love It” by Icona PopI Love It (feat. Charli XCX) - Iconic - EP (montage of L.A. auditions)
“Senorita” by BondSeñorita - Classified (Mel & Howard dance)
“Nobody But Me” by The Human BeinzNobody But Me - The Departed (Music from the Motion Picture) (montage of bad auditions)
“War” by Edwin StarrWar - The Very Best of Edwin Starr (montage of bad auditions)
“Puttin’ on the Ritz” by Terry SnyderPuttin' On the Ritz - Ultra-Lounge: Space-Capades, Vol. 3 (montage of bizarre auditions)
“Nero” by Two Steps from HellNero - Archangel (montage of Vegas performances)
“Feel Again” by OneRepublicFeel Again - Native (Deluxe Version) (montage of Vegas performances)
“Violent Running” by Tobias Marberger(see link in Night #1 section) (montage of Vegas danger acts)
“String Quartet #3: Mishima/Closing” by Kronos QuartetString Quartet No. 3 (Mishima): Mishima/Closing - Kronos Quartet Performs Philip Glass (montage of Vegas performances)

July 19, 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 Vegas Week Rundown – Night #1

Well…let’s just say I’m left a bit surprised by some of the decisions that were made tonight.  The instant decision round seemed to put more acts than ever before (30) straight through to the live shows, they cut one individual instantly that really shocked me, and some of (in my opinion) the stronger acts were forced to perform again in Vegas, while weaker ones made it straight through to the live shows.  In addition, we saw some acts in Vegas that we didn’t get to see in the initial audition rounds – which kind of annoyed me, as it’s hard to predict who’s gonna make it through when I don’t have a full list to choose from 😛 I guess I’m still left going “hmmmm” after tonight’s episode, and I can only wonder what tomorrow night’s episode will bring!

A lot happened in tonight’s 2-hour show, so please bear with me as I work through it 🙂 I may have to post now and finish sometime tomorrow, as I require sleep at some point. I’m gonna start with the “instant decision” acts – those who were either sent straight through to the live shows or sent home without getting to perform in Vegas.  There were 2 acts that made it straight through that I didn’t recognize from the auditions – those are the acts in quotation marks, since I don’t know their names.

Instant Decisions

Acts that made it straight through to the live shows:

Catapult Entertainment
Fresh Faces
Tone the Chiefrocca
Sprice
Anna Christine
Kenichi Ebina
Alexanderia the Great
Mitsi Dancing School
Innovative Force
“Bald guy I didn’t recognize” Dave Shirley
Jimmy Rose
Tummy Talk
Aerial Ice
Kelsey & Bailey
Chicago Boyz
3Penny Chorus & Orchestra
American Military Spouses Choir
University of Virginia Gospel Chorale
Angela Hoover
Jim Meskimen
David “The Cobra Kid” Weathers
Kevin Downey Jr.
Branden James
Struck Boyz
SensEtion
Tellavision
Aerosphere
Spintacular
“Group of adolescents I didn’t recognize” The RobotIx*

Court’s thoughts: I agree with this list, for the most part – if there was one act I thought deserved to make it straight through, it was Aerial Ice; if there were two, it was Aerial Ice and Kenichi…and thankfully, both were on this list.  Also glad to see Alexanderia, Chicago Boyz, Jimmy Rose, and Sprice on this list…and THRILLED to see Tone.  Yay B-O-O-T-Y!!!! Was a little surprised to see both Angela AND Jim Meskimen on this list – I thought for sure they’d only take one impressionist, and it would be Jim.  The only two acts I’m a little perturbed to see on this list are SensEtion & Tellavision – I thought the latter was just terribly cheesy, and the former wasn’t particularly original.  I have to wonder if some of these acts were put straight through because a) the powers that be didn’t think their Vegas week performances would be a huge ratings draw, or b) the judges knew that some of them (like Tone and maybe The Cobra Kid) have acts that can quickly grow old – and thus by sparing us watching them do the same act again and again.  Still think there’s a few cannon fodder acts peppered in, too – somebody’s gotta go home each week, and you may as well deliberately throw some weaker acts in to protect your stronger ones.

Acts that got sent straight home:

Olivia Rox
Yasha & Daniela
Sully Dunn
Milton Patton

Court’s thoughts: Was not surprised by Sully Dunn and Yasha & Daniela being put in this group – I had already kinda predicted they probably had a slim-to-none chance of making it to the live shows.  I think Sully is just too raw for AGT at this point, and Yasha & Daniela would look like amateurs next to D’Angelo & Amanda and Ruby & Jonas.  Was slightly surprised by Olivia Rox, then I rewatched her audition and found that her vocals were not as strong as I initially thought and her performance seemed rather manufactured.  The one name that did surprise me? Milton Patton.  Completely drawing a blank as to why he wasn’t chosen – I think the judges made a big mistake on that one.  My only explanation is that they may be planning on bringing him back for the wild card show, similar to the Bandbaz Brothers last season (instantly cut in Vegas, brought back for wild card).

Acts that performed in Vegas

(acts with an * next to them were not shown in the audition round – this is the first time we’re seeing them)

Danger acts:

Slackwire Sam
Rong Niu
David Ferman
Brad Byers
Alex Magala

Court’s thoughts: Seemed to be some struggles in the danger group – Rong Niu dropped a bowl, Slackwire Sam’s hair caught on fire, and David Ferman seemed to struggle with showmanship once more.  I wouldn’t say Brad did bad, per se; I just think his act tends to gross people out, as opposed to amazing them.  I think Alex probably fared the best last night – his act seemed to impress the judges, and he didn’t have any problems.  I think Sam, David, and Alex will probably make it through to the live shows, given that their acts are so freakin’ dangerous & amazing; unfortunately, I think Rong and Brad are probably goners. 

Music groups:

Forte
Brandon & Savannah
The American Hit Men

Court’s thoughts: My one explanation as to why Forte ended up in this group instead of automatically going through to the live shows? The lineup change.  Hana (the South Korean guy that performed with them in the L.A. audtions) backed out at the last minute, and the remaining two members had to scramble to find a new member – enter Sean.  I’m guessing the judges wanted to make sure this new combination of members was every bit as good as what they saw in the audition round – and honestly, I agree with the judges that Forte might have a bit of a problem now: Sean is so good that he kind of overshadows the other two guys.  In the initial auditions, I don’t think any one member stood out – their sound as a unit was just so pure that you couldn’t really single anyone out.  Now it’s rather like “Forte – featuring Sean! And two other guys.” I still think they’ve got a spot on the live show, but I do think the judges will bring this new development to their attention.  I found Brandon & Savannah to be a bit bland – not sure that they really attacked their cover of “Little Talks” full force.  Liked the American Hit Men, but I don’t know that “House of the Rising Sun” fit them as well as “Simple Man” did.  I think Forte & American Hit Men will move through – not sure about Brandon & Savannah.

Kid acts:

2Unique
Lil Demon
Melody Caballero*
D’Angelo & Amanda
Ruby & Jonas

Court’s thoughts: Thank god I’m not the only one that has been pondering why 2Unique is still in the competition – Howard expressed concern that they weren’t terribly…well, unique.  I just don’t find myself entertained by what they do – it’s rather like watching two girls singing along to a boom box in their living room, to me.  Lil Demon can breakdance every bit as well as some adults we’ve seen.  Wasn’t terribly impressed with Melody’s contortion act – she seemed to struggle with balance and seemed very, very nervous.  Now we come down to the dueling siblings: D’Angelo & Ruby.  Honestly, I think they probably would have put D’Angelo & Amanda in the group that automatically made the live shows – but they couldn’t resist the temptation of a little storyboarding, and probably wanted to show off the drama of sibling vs. sibling in Vegas.  I think D’Angelo & Amanda knocked it out of the park once more with their cha cha – my only complaint is that we just see so much Latin on the show…which is why I think Ruby & Jonas actually had the more daring, creative routine.  We rarely see any of the standard dances (waltz, tango, foxtrot, quickstep, & Viennese waltz) on AGT. They did a tango, but Jonas lost his balance at one point and both he & Ruby toppled to the floor.  They recovered well & kept going, but some tears were shed after the fact that made me feel terrible for the young couple 🙁 If it’s any consolation, I don’t know that going out there and dancing that tango perfectly would have really mattered – I think the judges probably already had picked D’Angelo & Amanda as the ones to advance.  I’m guessing Lil Demon advances too…and maybe Melody. 

Comedians:

Jimmy Failla*
Eric Schwartz*
Taylor Williamson
John Wing*

Court’s thoughts: Was interesting that 3 of the four acts in this category were acts that didn’t appear in the audition rounds – I had heard a bit of controversy surrounding Jimmy Failla’s act (apparently he wasn’t shown during the audition rounds because Mel B “thought his act was racist”), and had heard that he was actually trying to get his Vegas performance eliminated from last night’s episode because he said the show “duped him”.  So I’m guessing he’s not going to be gracing us with his presence in the live shows – which is fine with me, because I didn’t find him funny.  Liked Eric Schwartz – thought his comparison of Jewishness to hip-hop was clever, but he did seem at times like he was trying too hard.  I had a hard time following Taylor Williamson’s act – I think a lot got cut out, because there is no way the judges should have been laughing as hard as they were at just him standing onstage being awkward.  I liked what I did manage to follow, though.  I found myself just slightly chuckling at John Wing’s act…not laughing, just kind of “hehe”-ing.  I think Taylor’s gonna move on – and I’m on the fence about Eric. 

Dancers:

Archbishop Molloy Step Team*
Art Spark*
Hype
Dylan Wilson
Kid the Wiz

Court’ s thoughts: Was glad to see a step team – too bad I think they looked a little sloppy, and the judges commented that they had performed the same routine at their initial audition.  Was also glad to see a hip-hop group from Indianapolis 😀 Before they even said that, I thought to myself “Wait, they look a little familiar.”  I’m guessing that some of the members were part of Destined2B, another hip-hop group from Indy that was on season 4.  I thought their routine was creative, but lacked a lot of content.  Hype seemed to struggle a little – I think they just came across as a bit chaotic & disorganized, which was an unpleasant contrast to how clean & organized they looked in their initial audition.  I don’t remember a whole lot of Dylan’s routine…which makes me uneasy, because it probably means it wasn’t terribly impressive.  Kid the Wiz actually dropped his hat at one point, and I just didn’t find his act as amusing the second time around as it was the first.  I think the only group that’s a lock for the live shows is Hype – even if they were disorganized, I still think they handled this round better than any of the other groups in their category. 

Acrobats:

Tavi & Antonio
“Accro” Brandon Rosario*
Duo Resonance
Timber Brown
Kristef Brothers

Court’s thoughts: I think Tavi & Antonio kind of dropped the ball this round – their routine seemed a bit too artsy and didn’t have enough tricks…and the song was just saccharine-sweet.  I think Brandon Rosario came across a bit cocky, which I can’t understand because I don’t think his pole routine was terribly impressive.  Duo Resonance is, for me, the strongest technically in this category – but they really seem to lack a stage presence, and can come across as boring.  I actually agree a bit with the Kristef Brothers, who remarked backstage that they come across cold “because they’re Russian”.  😛 I think Timber probably fared the best out of this category, as his cowboy-themed routine was a good combination of creativity and skill; I actually found myself enjoying the Kristef Brothers as well, and came to appreciate their humorous approach to acrobatics.  I know Howie didn’t really “get” the humor of the act, but I do think it sets them apart from all of the other acrobats this season.  I think Timber is definitely going to move on, and probably Kristef Brothers as well; Duo Resonance could go either way; and I think the other two acts are toast. 

Female singers:

Deanna Dellacioppa
Skilyr Hicks
Selena Mykenzie Gordon*
Cami Bradley

Court’s thoughts: Had some pleasant surprises and not-so-pleasant surprises in this group.  I’m finding myself starting to dislike Deanna Dellacioppa – the way she freaked out about her background track being too low, and the subsequent way she had a breakdown about it backstage just kind of rubbed me the wrong way.  I get that this “is her dream”, but man – I feel like this chick is always crying and getting caught up in her emotions…even when she’s performing.  I still feel like she’s putting too much effort into her singing, and like Mel said, “it sounds like she just ran a marathon”.  She’s striking me as a bit too high-maintenance for this show.  Poor Skilyr just looked like a deer in the headlights during her entire performance – she did another original song, but to me it sounded a lot like the first original song she did at her initial audition.  Seems like she may not be ready for big audiences.  Selena did ok-to-good, but seemed to have a few notes that fell a bit flat; the big surprise of the category for me was Cami Bradley, who, despite my initial predictions that she would struggle in Vegas, was the only one in her category that knocked her performance out of the park last night: she performed a haunting, sultry version of “Summertime” and played the piano, and was the only one that didn’t seem to let nerves get the best of her.  I think at this point, she’s the only I feel confident saying “She will make the live shows.” The other three are up in the air for me. 

So what did you guys think of the instant decisions? Who are you glad to see headed to the live shows…and who are you sad to see leaving? And what do you think will be the outcome of some of the performances we saw? Keep your eyes peeled for my rundown of night Vegas night #2 later this evening! 🙂

July 16, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Vegas Week Predictions – Novelty/Kid Acts

I’m down to my last set of predictions before Vegas week starts airing tonight – be sure to check out my analysis of the singers, dancers & acrobats, and danger acts & comedians to catch up.

Novelty acts:

Kid the Wiz: A long shot.  I don’t know that there’s a whole lot more that he can do with this act – and I have a feeling the novelty of it will wear thin in Vegas.

Megan Piphus: Looking likely.  A young, gorgeous ventriloquist that’s incredibly skilled – she’s a novelty, and that works in her favor.

Steven “Sprice” Price: A sure thing.  Just like they fell in love with the Kinetic King 2 years ago, I think they’ll fall in love with Sprice – plus he’s one of the more grandiose acts, requiring a lot of stage space, which they seem to enjoy.

Rong Niu: Looking likely.  She’s exciting and likeable, and I bet she’s got more up her sleeve that just flipping bowls.

Kelsey & Bailey: Could go either way. It’s a cute act, but it’s no Olate Dogs…and how many more tricks can Bailey do? We may have already seen the best they can do.

Spintacular: Could go either way.  It’s cool that they’re a large family that performs together, and they do have some cool stuff – but I can’t shake the feeling that their act looks too busy when they’re on the stage all at once, and it can distract from all the cool stuff they’re doing.

Tummy Talk: Could go either way.  I guess this is this season’s Horse – an act that people either love or hate.  It’s creative, no doubt, but a tad gross.

Aquanauts: Looking likely. As I mentioned before, they do seem to pick a handful of acts each season that require the judges to venture outside of the regular theater…and this one was pretty cool.

 

Kid Acts:

Anna Christine: A sure thing.  She’s the second coming of Anna Graceman – only better.  Plus they seem to really like kids that can play piano and sing.

Pacific Boys’ Choir: Looking likely.  I don’t know that we’ve ever had an all-boys choir – that uniqueness could be their ticket into the live shows.

Jonas & Ruby: Could go either way.  My gut tells me that they’re probably only going to take one ballroom kid couple this season for the live shows, but I also can’t shake the feeling that they LOVE the fact that they’ve got siblings competing against one another.  If they take 2 couples – I’d say Jonas & Ruby are in.

D’Angelo & Amanda: A sure thing.  If they only take one ballroom act this season, I’d put money on it being D’Angelo & Amanda – they’re the most polished of the kid ballroom couples, and they know how to really perform.

Struck Boyz: Could go either way.  They’re cute, but when you compare them to some of the other adult dance acts? They look a bit weak.  Then again, they seem like they could really appeal to adolescent girls…I just don’t know.

Lil Demon: Looking likely.  If they liked Future Funk in season 5, this kid is right up that alley.  He’s adorable, he’s got mad skills, and there’s not really anyone else like him this season.

Sophia Lucia: Looking likely.  Adorable little girl with an insane amount of dance skill for her age.

Izzy & Aaralyn: A long shot.  As I’ve said since their audition aired – I really think they were put through just because they thought the little girl was kind of unique, and that they’re probably going to get cut pretty quickly once they get to Vegas.  I would be very, very surprised if they got sent to the live shows.

2Unique: A long shot.  Nothing terribly unique (no pun intended) about their act – one girl is singing along rap songs, and the other is fiddling around with a turntable.  I don’t know that the rapper is all that talented, and that the audience can fully appreciate what the DJ is doing.

Ciana Pelekani: Could go either way.  There’s a lot of competition for the young female singers this season, and I think Ciana may have some work to do if she wants to catch up to Olivia & Skilyr vocally.  Then again, she is the only young soul singer this season…who knows.

Olivia Rox: Could go either way.  I think she’s got some big competition in Skilyr, and Mel did seem a bit skeptical about some of her vocal skills.  She’s cute & marketable, but she may have some work to do.

Fresh Faces: Looking likely.  Another adorable dance/gymnastics act, and we don’t have a small group of dancers like this.

Yasha & Daniela: A long shot.  I personally find them to be the weakest of the three ballroom kid couples we’ve seen – I think both D’Angelo & Amanda and Jonas & Ruby have stronger technique and better stage presence…plus I just don’t see them taking three ballroom kid couples to the live shows.

Chloe Chanel: Could go either way.  A good voice, but a bit lacking in stage presence.  She may be one act that just needs another year or two of experience before coming back to try again.

Mestizo Ballet Folklorico: A long shot.  I think they made it through to Vegas based more on cuteness than anything else – the act itself is pretty basic and they probably don’t have a whole lot more they can do in Vegas.

Skilyr Hicks: A sure thing.  A mature-beyond-her-years singer/songwriter/musician that looks like a young Selena Gomez.  Totally marketable.

So there we have it…the last of my predictions before the show tonight.  What do you guys think of the Novelty & Kid acts this year?

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 Roster

To help jog everyone’s memory before the first Vegas episode on Tuesday, here’s the list of all the acts we saw make it through to Vegas from the audition rounds – keep in mind that we might not see all of these acts in Vegas, as there’s usually a handful of acts that either don’t come to Vegas (for whatever reason) or just aren’t shown on camera.  There are 86 acts listed here – 38 of them won’t make it to the live show.  I’ve done my best to try and put them into the categories I think they’ll be placed into once they reach Vegas – acts with a * next to them are acts that fit into more than one category, and I’m not positive which one they’ll end up being placed in.  The “kid acts” in particular are a bit ambiguous – not sure what the age cutoff is going to be. 

Also keep in mind that (if we’re following the pattern of previous seasons), these acts will be further divided into “judges favorites” (group A), “stand-by acts” (group B), and “instant decisions” (group C).  The judges favorites are the acts that the judges think have the best chance of making it to the live shows, and will perform the first day of the Vegas rounds; the stand-by acts are the acts that will perform if there are any spots that remain after the judges favorites have performed; and the “instant decision” acts will either get a free pass to the live shows (without having to perform in Vegas), or will get sent home (without having to perform in Vegas). 

Singers:

Marty Brown (country)
Tone the Chiefrocca (rapper)
Paul Thomas Mitchell (acoustic rock)
Deanna DellaCioppa (R&B/soul)
David Fenley (acoustic rock)
Lil Mike & Funny Bone (rappers)
Cami Bradley (country)
Sully Dunn (alternative rock)
Jimmy Rose (country)
Milton Patton (country)

Classical Singers:

Travis Pratt (tenor)
Jonathan Allen (baritone)
Forte (opera trio)
Branden James (tenor)

Bands/Musical Groups:

3Penny Chorus & Orchestra (orchestra)
Mariachi Nuevo Estilo AVM (mariachi)
American Military Spouses Choir (choir)
University of Virginia Gospel Chorale (gospel choir)
Brandon & Savannah (pop rock band)*
The American Hit Men (rock band)
212 Green (pop rock band)

Dancers:

Ron & Liza (ballroom)
Kenichi Ebina (hip-hop/robotics)
Bones & the Machine (bone breaking)
Dylan Wilson (animation/hip hop)

Dance groups:

Catapult Entertainment (silhouette performers)*
The Academy (Irish step dancers)
Hype (hip-hop)
B-Extreme (hip hop/stunts)
Hammerstep (Irish step dancing/hip hop)
The Rock Dance Project (jazz/ballet/modern)
Studio 19 Dance Complex (jazz/ballet)
Tellavision (LCD screen dancers)
Mitsi Dancing School (Chinese folk dancing)
SensEtion (video projection dancers)

Acrobats:

Tristan Jih (aerialist)
Duo Resonance (acrobalance)
Kyle & Darby (cheerleading stunts)*
Kristef Brothers (hand balancing)
Chicago Boyz (jump rope/tumbling)
Innovative Force (dance/acrobatics)*
Aerial Ice (figure skaters/aerialists)
Aerosphere (balloon aerialist)
Tavi & Antonio (aerialists)
Timber Brown (aerial pole)

Danger acts:

David “The Cobra Kid” Weathers (snake handler)
Brad Byers (sword swallower)
Alexanderia the Great (escape artist)
Slackwire Sam (swaypole artist)
Omega Force Strength Team (strongman act)
Team Rock (martial arts)
David Ferman (dangerous juggler)
Alex Magala (sword-swallowing breakdancer)*

Magicians:

Special Head (levitator)
Collins Key (up-close magic)
Leon Etienne (illusionist)
Naathan Phan (escape artist/card tricks)

Comedians:

Dave Shirley (LCD screen comedian)
Angela Hoover (celebrity impressionist)
Taylor Williamson (stand-up comedy)
Jim Meskimen (celebrity impressionist)
Kevin Downey Jr. (stand-up comedy)

Novelty acts:

Kid the Wiz (hat trick artist)*
Megan Piphus (ventriloquist)
Steven “Sprice” Price (Rube Goldberg machines)
Rong Niu (bowl juggler)
Kelsey & Bailey (dog tricks)
Spintacular (basketball tricks)
Tummy Talk (human drum act)
Aquanauts (synchronized swimming)

Kid Acts:

Anna Christine (singer/pianist)
Pacific Boys’ Choir (choir)
Jonas & Ruby (ballroom dancers)
D’Angelo & Amanda (ballroom dancers)
Struck Boyz (hip hop)
Lil Demon (breakdancer)
Sophia Lucia (jazz/ballet)
Izzy & Aaralyn (death metal band)
2Unique (rapper/DJ)
Ciana Pelekani (singer)
Olivia Rox (singer/guitarist)*
Fresh Faces (dancers/gymnasts)
Yasha & Daniela (ballroom dancers)
Chloe Chanel (singer)
Mestizo Ballet Folklorico (mariachi dancers)
Skilyr Hicks (singer)*

July 12, 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 Episode #3 Music List – Chicago Auditions

Not a whole lot of music from this week’s show, since it was only an hour long – and I’m still struggling with some of the classical music selections.  Anyone out there wanna help? Where’s Marianya when I need her? 🙂

“Hall of Fame” by The Script feat. Will.I.Am Hall of Fame (Original Version) - #3 (Deluxe Version)(Chicago intro)
“You’re the Best” by Joe “Bean” EspositoYou're the Best - The Karate Kid (The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (Omega gets 4 yes’s; montage of good auditions)
“Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 feat. Christina AguileraMoves Like Jagger (Studio Recording from (Chicago dancers intro)
“Battle Without Honor or Humanity” by Tomoyasu HoteiBattle Without Honor or Humanity - Kill Bill, Vol. 1 (Original Soundtrack) (Kenichi gets 4 yes’s)
“Beneath Your Beautiful” by Labrinth feat. Emile SandeBeneath Your Beautiful (feat. Emeli Sandé) - Beneath Your Beautiful (feat. Emeli Sandé) - Single (Deanna Dellacioppa intro/4 yes’s)
“And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from DreamgirlsAnd I Am Telling You I'm Not Going (Highlights Version) - Dreamgirls (Music from the Motion Picture) (Deanna performance)
“Weird Science” by Oingo Boingo Weird Science - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Oingo Boingo(montage of strange auditioners)
“Funbags” by Rod ThomasFunbags - Laptop Folk (Sprice intro)
“Breakfast Machine” from Peewee’s Big AdventureBreakfast Machine - Pee-Wee's Big Adventure / Back to School (Original Motion Picture Scores) (Sprice performance)
“Hip to Be Square” by Huey Lewis & the NewsHip to Be Square - Huey Lewis & The News: Greatest Hits (Sprice gets 4 yes’s)
“Daylight” by Maroon 5Daylight - Overexposed (Deluxe Version) (Rong Niu intro)
“Two Steps from Hell” by Casablanca (Rong Niu performance)
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Diana RossAin't No Mountain High Enough - Number 1's: Diana Ross & The Supremes (American Military Spouses Choir performance)

June 20, 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 #3 – Chicago Auditions

God bless one-hour audition shows filled entirely with great acts that made it through to Vegas! Tonight’s episode was short, sweet, and to-the-point – just pure talent, and plenty of camaraderie amongst the judges…they really do have a great panel this season.  None of the judges are jerks, there’s no childish arguments between judges, and I feel like all of them genuinely enjoy what they’re doing.  What a pleasant surprise 🙂

That said, I have yet to really connect with Mel B., which surprises me – I thought she’d be a lot more outgoing and fun to watch, but she’s been surprisingly subdued.  She’s almost never the first to talk, and when she does, she’s basically just echoing what the other judges have said…it’s too early for me to really say I’m “disappointed”, but I guess I was just expecting her to be the crazy one on the panel this season.  On the flipside, Heidi has been a really pleasant surprise for me – I figured she’d be the “quiet one”, but she’s been quite vocal, and she’s usually right on the money with her critiques…plus she seems like she genuinely wants to make the contestants feel welcome and comfortable.  She also seems to calm Howard down a bit, to the point that I’m really liking Howard as a judge this season, too.

*NOTE: Although this episode was supposedly only auditions from Chicago, if you were paying close attention, you might have seen one audition from another city that they snuck into the middle of the show: Deanna DellaCioppa, who appears to have auditioned in New Orleans, based on the clothes that the judges were wearing.  It was Nick’s loud green, purple, and yellow mardi gras-themed suit that tipped me off 🙂 Just thought I’d mention this, for the sake of accuracy.

The Omega Force Strength Team – ages 34-75
The actThey’re basically a strongman (and woman) act, that performed such feats of strength as a 300 lb. barrel squat, elbow slamming (and breaking) through 42 bars of concrete, and bench pressing Nick.
The verdictHowie was skeptical about how “hard” the stuff there were doing really was, and said no.  All 3 of the other judges said yes, though.
Court’s thoughts: As impressive as it was to see a 75-year-old man doing a 300 lb. squat, I’m actually kind of with Howie on this one – some of the stuff they were doing seemed a bit less impressive when you really think about it.  The guy doing the squats wasn’t going all the way down; breaking through the concrete blocks has less to do with brute strength and more with the technique with which you hit the blocks; and Nick is a pretty spindly guy – I doubt he weighs more than maybe 170 lbs, and the average man can usually bench around 160 lbs.  Was it cool to watch? Sure – but it all happened rather quickly and I’m not sure there are a lot more ways they can spin their strength skills.  I definitely don’t think you could make an entire Vegas show out of it, and I’m thinking this could be a “cannon fodder” act in the Vegas round – an act that was amusing enough to make it to Vegas, but upon closer examination, it probably becomes less impressive and is easily eliminated in Vegas.

Team Rock 
The act: 4 teenagers doing various tae kwon do tricks, such as flying high kicks, flips, spins, etc.
The verdictThey’re through to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with martial arts acts – the skill one needs to possess to do it is unreal and people study it for years before they become proficient, but sometimes the difficulty of what they’re doing is a bit lost on the audience.  I liked this act, but I also really liked Kung Fu Heroes from season 5 – and they never really seemed to click with the audience.  Maybe it’s the repetitive nature of some of the martial arts acts – flip, kick, spin, chop, repeat – but I think they’re really going to have to do something special in order to remain relevant.  Maybe “themed” performances?

Kyle & Darby
The act: An adorable 5-year-old girl (Darby) that does cheerleading stunts with her adult coach (Kyle).  Lots of basket tosses, heel stretches, liberties, etc.
The verdict4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: If Darby keeps on this path, she’s basically got a walk-on pass to the University of Kentucky cheerleading squad, which is the most competitive in the country, when she’s 18 – because she’s doing some tricks that most elite high school cheerleaders won’t even attempt.  And the fact that she’s mastered them at her age? CRAZY.  My only concern is that it may get  little repetitive if it’s just her and Kyle – if they could add in a few other stunting partners for her, it could expand her repertoire and give her some versatility.

Kenichi Ebina – age 38, from Japan
The actHe performs “dance-ish” – which is his nickname for the combination of robotics, animation, popping, and tricks he performs.
The verdictThe judges absolutely loved the story behind it – he got 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: I love this guy – he does some of the same crazy stuff that Haspop did back in season 5, except he seems to be even more skilled in it.  Loved his “Matrix” move, where he held a ridiculous bent-back pose for a ridiculously long time before falling down, and then uprighting himself – without using his hands.  If he can continue to give themed performances like these and keep doing new tricks, I could see him going far.

Deanna DellaCioppa – age 39, from Massachusetts (*actually auditioned in New Orleans)
The actDeanna sang “And I Am Telling You” from the musical Dreamgirls.
The verdictJudges loved her and gave her 4 yes’s, but Mel cautioned her about reaching too far for notes, because her voice seemed like it was “going to give out at any moment”.
Court’s thoughts: I really liked Deana’s voice and her performance, but I do agree with Mel on this one – it got a little shrill at times, and she seemed to get a little too overwrought with the emotion of her performance.  She’s got a great voice, no doubt – girl can belt it out.  But now she needs to learn how to control it – how to hit the notes without sounding painful, how to perform emotionally without it getting the better of her, how to control her breathing, etc.  She’s got the raw talent – now she just needs the polish.  And if she can get the polish – watch out!

Steve “Sprice” Price – age 19
The act: “Sprice” designed and spent 3 days setting up a Rube Goldberg machine in the lobby that took several elaborate steps in order to push a ball into a soccer goal.
The verdict: Judges loved the creativity of it, and said yes to Vegas.
Court’s thoughts: First, a little bit of background on Rube Goldberg for those who aren’t familiar with it: it’s a type of competition in which students of various ages are given a simple task (i.e. pouring water into a cup, getting a basketball into a basket, etc.) and a certain # of steps, and are tasked with creating a machine that will accomplish the end task in that set number of steps.  It takes a lot of brainpower, creativity, and dedication, and sometimes schools will form Rube Goldberg teams that will work for hours after school (sometimes for the entire school year) to create their machine, and then their machines are judged at competitions based on creativity, efficiency, speed, accuracy, etc.  In other words – it takes a LOT of work, and this kid has a real knack for it.  He’s kind of this season’s Kinetic King – except I think “Sprice” may actually be more entertaining, since he’s got more to work with than just popsicle sticks.  I only have 2 worries about him this season…the first is obvious: that his machine will malfunction on the air, and he’ll be left mortified like the Kinetic King during his first live round on TV.  The second one is that, since so many of the steps of his machine are so small and intricate, that the audience won’t be able to really see (and thus appreciate) how really detailed and clever his machine is.  Hopefully he can hone his craft and eliminate the possibility of error, and figure out a way to really make his machines big enough for all to see.

Rong Niu (aka The Amazing Red Panda) – age 42, from San Francisco
The actShe rides a unicycle while balancing and flipping ceramic bowls onto the top of her head.
The verdict: The judges were amazed by her skill and gave her 4 yes’s.  Mel struggled with saying “juggling bowls” with her thick accent.  😛
Court’s thoughts: This woman could have just ridden a unicycle and it would have impressed me! That in and of itself is a feat.  On top of that, she rode a really TALL unicycle, and was pedaling with one foot while balancing (and flipping!) bowls with her other foot…onto the TOP OF HER HEAD.  I think I lost count at 7 bowls.  She’s absolutely brilliant at what she does – but is there more to her act than this? How much more can she really do with the bowls? It may impressed the judges again in Vegas, but if she makes it through to the live shows…I’m not sure how well America will respond.  It has the potential to get a bit repetitive, I’m afraid.

The American Military Spouses Choir – ages 20-56
The actThis choir composed of military wives (that do outreach work with veterans suffering from PTSD & traumatic brain injuries) sang “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”.
The verdictJudges universally praised their outreach work and also their voices – they got 4 yes’s.
Court’s thoughts: Now while I absolutely LOVE what these ladies do and think they’ve got definite talent – I think it got a bit pitchy at times, and it seemed like the 2-3 lead vocalists did most of the heavy lifting while the rest of the ladies hummed in the background. It was still a very pleasant performance, but I did find myself cringing once or twice, thinking “Errrr, that wasn’t the cleanest note.” Hopefully with the production value of the live shows, they can get that little bit of polish they need to really take their performance to the next level.

So who were YOUR favorites from tonight’s short-but-sweet show? 🙂

June 18, 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!