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PureAGT Season 8 Vegas Week Predictions – Danger Acts/Magicians/Comedians

Only 24 hours till Vegas! Who’s excited? ūüôā I continue my predictions with my thoughts on the danger acts, magicians, and comedians.¬† If you haven’t already, check out my analysis of the singers and dancers.

Danger acts:

David ‚ÄúThe Cobra Kid‚ÄĚ Weathers: Could go either way.¬†¬†He’s the only animal danger act this season…but how much more can he really do with these snakes?

Brad Byers: Could go either way.¬† He’s a great sword swallower, but there’s another sword swallower this season that can do¬†other things while swallowing swords.¬† However, I think Brad¬†probably has the better stage presence.¬† Which will win the judges over?

Alexanderia the Great: Looking likely.¬† She’s a novelty, in that she’s a middle-aged mom doing dangerous escapes that we typically only see from young men.¬†She’s also go some flexibility in her act – the escape possibilities are endless.

Slackwire Sam: Could go either way.¬† It’s a cool and daring act…but is it all he can do? How can he switch things up in Vegas to keep the act fresh?

Omega Force Strength Team: A long shot.¬† Howie was skeptical about this act from the get-go, and unless they’re flipping cars in Vegas, I think they may fall a bit flat.¬†There’s only so many heavy objects they can lift before it becomes repetitive.

Team Rock:¬†Could go either way.¬† The only martial arts act this season, but they don’t seem to have a very¬†unified act…it’s just a series of tricks.¬† Can they create more of a “show”?

David Ferman: A sure thing. He’s this season’s only juggler, and I think he’s got a pretty broad skill set in that respect.¬† He also knows how to set up an act in order to make it suspenseful.

Alex Magala: Looking likely.¬† He swallows swords – then proceeds to do other things with the sword down his throat.¬† I’d say that’s probably pretty impressive in the judges’ eyes.

 

Magicians:

Special Head: A sure thing.¬†¬†People are still talking about the levitation he did – and he’s got this great¬†mystical persona to carry off tricks well.¬†¬†He’s unique, and not really like any other magician we’ve had on the show.

Collins Key: Looking likely.  Young, attractive, well-rehearsed kid with cool up-close magic tricks.

Leon Etienne: Could go either way. I doubt we’ll see more than two magicians this year,¬†and I’m having a hard time remembering Leon’s act…other than the fact that it was kind of cheesy.¬† But¬†we do need¬†some cannon fodder acts, so maybe he has a shot.

Naathan Phan:  A long shot.  I really like this guy, but he basically flubbed his first trick at the auditions and only made it through based on an impromptu trick the judges let him do to redeem himself.  Will he be able to avoid dud tricks in Vegas?

 

Comedians:

Dave Shirley: Could go either way.¬†The LCD screen thing is cool, but I’m not sure how much more he can really do with it.

Angela Hoover: Could go either way.¬†¬†I would have had her pegged for the live shows…until Jim Meskimen showed up, and he’s unfortunately a better impressionist.¬† Not sure if we have room for two impressionists this season…but she is the only female in the comedy category, so who knows.

Taylor Williamson:¬† Looking likely.¬†He’s got this adorably awkward manner about him, and manages to make it work for him in his act.¬† His comedy is relevant, relatable, and amusing.

Jim Meskimen: A sure thing.¬†¬†One of the best impressionists the show has ever seen…and I’m sure he’s got a lot more up his sleeve.

Kevin Downey Jr.: Could go either way.  He was amusing, but I felt as though the judges were just chuckling at him, while they belly-laughed for Taylor.

So which acts do you think stand a chance in Vegas?

July 15, 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 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 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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā Just thought I’d mention this, for the sake of accuracy.

The Omega Force Strength Team – ages 34-75
The act:¬†They’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 verdict:¬†Howie 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 verdict:¬†They’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 verdict:¬†4 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 act:¬†He performs “dance-ish” – which is his nickname for the¬†combination of¬†robotics, animation, popping, and¬†tricks he performs.
The verdict:¬†The 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 act:¬†Deanna sang “And I Am Telling You” from the musical Dreamgirls.
The verdict:¬†Judges 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) Рage 42, from San Francisco
The act: She 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.¬† ūüėõ
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 act:¬†This 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 verdict:¬†Judges 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? ūüôā

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!