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PureAGT Season 8 – Roster for 5th Live Show Airing August 20

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

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

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

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of next week’s acts at the end of tonight’s results show, Rong Niu is apparently not going to be performing, and has been replaced by Melody Caballeros, who was eliminated in Vegas.  I don’t know why – yet – but I’ll see if I can hunt around and find out why she has withdrawn from the competition.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

August 14, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Season 8 Vegas Week Rundown – Night #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 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 🙂

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!