Free America's Got Talent Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on America's Got Talent sent straight to your email? Join hundreds of other AGT fans who subscribe to Pure AGT for FREE!

PureAGT Season 8 Live Show #3 – Power Rankings

I think after tonight’s show, my fear that season 8 will turn into a battle of the singers (with only a few other unique acts thrown in) seems to be coming true – and I partially blame the judges, who seemed to lavish over-the-top praise on even the most mediocre singers tonight.  I really hope some of the singers cancel each other out in the semifinals – because if not, I fear this season could get REALLY dull, really quick.

1.) Kenichi Ebina – Most unique and creative act of the night for me, and I love that this guy’s skills extend beyond dancing into martial arts and animation.  I just love watching him! I would say he’s probably the only act from last night that’s a sure thing – if he doesn’t make it through, something is seriously wrong with America.

2.) Chicago Boyz – Best energy of any act of the night, for sure.  Loved that they had some new tricks to show off – they really upped the ante this time – and that they never were sitting still: if they weren’t doing a stunt, they were hyping up the crowd.  And best of all: they looked like they were having the time of their lives out there.  Hopefully America thought so too.

3.) Deanna Dellacioppa – Deanna was better last night than she was at her initial audition and her Vegas performance, I’ll give her that.  But I still don’t think she’s as stellar a vocalist as the judges (and she herself) seem to think she is.  Something about the texture of her voice just bugs me – some of the notes sound thin and choppy, and others come across as too sharp and forceful. On top of that, I just get this diva-ish air from her – the way she gets overdramatic when talking about how she’s always been looked over due to her weight, the freaking out about her backing track in Vegas, the cheesy Beyonce-esque hand gestures during her performance.  You’re not there yet, honey.  However, I think the gushing from the judges (and the fact that she’s one of the only female solo vocalists left in the competition) give her a decent shot of advancing to the next round.  I’d be fine if she didn’t…but I said the same thing about Marty Brown, and I’m still eating crow about that one.

4.) The American Military Spouses Choir – Sometimes I wonder if the judges hear something completely different while in the live audience at Radio City than we the viewers do at home – because I found myself feeling only lukewarm about this performance.  Once again, I felt like there were one or two women doing all the heavy vocal lifting, and those in the backround were only managing to contribute some off-key humming.  I really disliked the arrangement of the song – I could barely tell that it was “Hero”, because of some of the pitch changes they made.  Do these ladies do great work and have a heartwarming backstory? Absolutely.  But do they have the talent to stick around and hang with some of the stronger acts this season? I’m not so sure.  I think their backstory will probably carry them through to the next round (much like Marty Brown’s did last week), but I think they’re probably going to stick out like a sore thumb next to some of the really strong acts in the semifinals.

5.) Jonathan Allen – I’ll admit – Jonathan sounded good last night, save for one dodgy note at the very end of his performance.  But I’m left a bit on-the-fence about him: do we really need a THIRD opera act in the semifinals? Will America put a third opera act into the semifinals? That’s the big question mark of the evening for me.  I actually think Jonathan sounded better than both Deanna & AMSC last night, but I don’t feel like he got as hyped by the judges – probably because they already have opera crushes on Forte and Branden James (who I’m still not all that impressed with). He seems like a good kid with legitimate talent – but if it comes down to him and another act in the judges’ choice (a more appropriate name seems to be the “judges’ cop-out”), I think they’ll pick the other act, simply because we have 2 opera acts already.

6.) Jim Meskimen – He’s another act that did fairly well last night, but I’m just not sure what America is going to make of him.  I definitely think he’s better than Angela Hoover, but I also think he had tougher competition last night than Angela did – and some of his impersonations were only so-so (I didn’t really “get” the Clooney and Woody Allen ones).  My gut feeling is that he’ll probably get lost in the sea of singers from last night, but I think there’s still a slim chance he could advance to the next round…guess we’ll have to wait and see.

7.) Mitsi Dancing School – What they do is really spellbinding to watch – the precision with which they dance is just amazing to me.  But I worry that their routine may have gotten a bit repetitive, and the ease with which they did some of those precise moves may not get appreciated as much as it should by the audience.  Had they thrown in some more acrobatic stuff, I think they would have stood a better chance of making it through – but unfortunately, I think they’re going to end up one of those “pleasant to watch” acts that doesn’t really leave a lasting impression.

8.) Dave “The Cobra Kid” Weathers – I think Howard actually summed up the problem with this act the best: the act depends heavily on the snake, and the snake didn’t deliver.  No doubt cobras are extremely dangerous animals – but I think Dave’s problem last night was that his cobra seemed more in the mood for flight than fight, and kept slithering away…which diminished the dangerous feel of his act.  On top of that, I think the fact that he didn’t really have a specific goal to his act made it feel a bit aimless – in his first audition, the goal was to get the rattlesnake to pop the balloon in his mouth; what was the goal this time? Taunt the snake and then shove it back into a box? I like the guy, but I think his act has hit its plateau on AGT.

9.) Leon Etienne & Romy Low – I think in the struggle to do something cool & unique, Leon & Romy may have confused their audience a bit – which hurt them even though their trick was quite impressive for those who were able to keep up with it.  The whole “deliberately show the audience that we’re faking trick A so that they aren’t paying attention to trick B” scheme would have been genuis, had it been explained better from the get-go – and if they hadn’t wasted so much time trying to distract us with the first trick, I think the act would have been far better received by both the audience and the judges.  I don’t see them making it through tonight, but I could see them asked back for the wild card round.

10.) Brandon & Savannah – I think these two are proof positive that song choice is crucial at this point – and they picked the wrong one, I’m afraid.  I don’t think this song suited either of their voices well, but Savannah in particular sounded off-key and flat to me tonight, which is strange considering that she’s usually the stronger of the two for me.  Overall, unimpresive and forgettable for me last night. 

11.) Kelsey & Bailey – I don’t think Kelsey & Bailey really benefitted too much from the fact that Olate Dogs won last season…and I think they just kind of stick out like a sore thumb as a very mediocre pet trick act.  I agree with Mel that this seemed to get very repetitive and that Bailey seems to have a rather limited repertoire of tricks.  He’s adorable, yes – but I feel like we saw MUCH more impressive stuff from Olate last season.

12.) Aerosphere – Just a big snoozefest for me – too slow-moving and it seemed to take forever to really get started.  I think I only saw one acrobatic trick.  Just…no.

So what are your thoughts on last night’s acts?

August 7, 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 – Danger Acts/Magicians/Comedians

Only 24 hours till Vegas! Who’s excited? 🙂 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 “The Cobra Kid” 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 Social Media List

 

For those wanting to follow some of this year’s cast on Twitter (or just looking to find out more about some of them), I’ve compiled this list of links to various social media resources for the judges, hosts, and contestants.  I’m going to do my best to update it after each audition, but I can always use some help – if you locate a contestant’s Twitter, Facebook, website, Instagram, etc. (and I haven’t already posted it), please mention it in the comments and I’ll add it to the list.  I’m also working on an AGT Season 8 Twitter list at our @pureagt account…stay tuned!!!

Judges & Hosts:

Mel BTwitter, website, Facebook, Instagram
Nick CannonTwitter, website, tumblr, Instagram, Facebook
Heidi KlumTwitter, website, Facebook, Instagram
Howie MandelTwitter, website, Facebook
Howard SternTwitter, website

Acts that made it through to Vegas:

The Academywebsite
Marty Brown – Facebook
Catapult EntertainmentTwitter, website, Facebook, YouTube
Angela HooverTwitter, Facebook, myspace
Hypegroup Twitter, Headache Twitter, Hazmat Twitter, Mikey Twitter, tumblr, Mikey YouTube, Hazmat Youtube, Headache YouTube, Facebook
Tristan Jihwebsite, Facebook, Vimeo
Pacific Boys Choirwebsite, Facebook
Dave ShirleyTwitter, website
Special HeadFacebook
David “The Cobra Kid” WeathersFacebook, website, mySpace
Travis Pratt – Twitter, Facebook
Duo Resonance (Nina & Yury) – website, Facebook, YouTube
Ron Garber & Liza SatorovRon Twitter, blog, YouTube, Facebook
Jonas Terleckas & Ruby CastroRuby Twitter
D’Angelo Castro & Amanda CarbajalesD’Angelo Twitter, Amanda Twitter, D’Angelo Facebook, D’Angelo & Amanda Facebook
Mariachi Nuevo Estilo AVMTwitter, Facebook
Brad Byerswebsite, YouTube
Collins Keywebsite, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube
Megan PiphusTwitter, YouTube, website, Instagram
Alexanderia the Greatwebsite, Facebook, blog, YouTube
Slackwire SamYouTube
Paul Thomas MitchellFacebook

 

Acts that got cut:

Chuck from the Bronxwebsite, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube
MiuTwitter, YouTube
Nezbit Blue (alien in lederhosen) – Facebook
Pistol Packin’ Paulawebsite
JC Starbright – website, Twitter

June 10, 2013 I Written By

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

PureAGT Audition Round Rundown #1 – San Antonio/New York/L.A. Auditions

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

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

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

San Antonio:

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

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

 

New York:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Los Angeles:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 5, 2013 I Written By

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