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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of next week’s acts at the end of tonight’s results show, Rong Niu is apparently not going to be performing, and has been replaced by Melody Caballeros, who was eliminated in Vegas.  I don’t know why – yet – but I’ll see if I can hunt around and find out why she has withdrawn from the competition.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 Live Show #4 – Power Rankings

Anyone else besides me think they could have just skipped the first hour of last night’s show and not really missed out on anything good? The first five acts really didn’t do much for me – I think I even mentioned on Twitter that the show this week was shaping up to be a big disappointment. 

Luckily, the second half of the show brough some much stronger performances – not necessarily GREAT performances (I really only think one act knocked it out of the park last night), but pretty good ones.  I still think this quarterfinal was one of the weaker ones – someone like Tone the Chiefrocca would have made it through without any problems if he was on last night, I think.

1.) Jimmy Rose – Ok, let me get this off  my chest: I’m all opera’d out and I’m all country’d out (likely due to all the ado about the opera and country acts), so it’s hard for me to really get enthusiastic about really any of the acts in this category at the moment.  I think Jimmy did pretty well – definitely better than Marty did in his quarterfinal, but like Mel I wasn’t really wowed by his song choice.  I don’t think it was one that really fit the twang of his voice well.  But America just seems to go crazy for their country boys, so I’m fully expecting that he’s going to make it through tonight.  Will be interesting to see he & Marty go head to head – I still think Jimmy is the more talented of the two, but I think Marty might be the more popular. 

2.) Cami Bradley – My favorite act of the night, and the only one that I think really delivered and exceeded expectations.  Love, love, LOVED the arrangement of “Believe” and the conviction with which she sang it – what really impresses me about her voice is that she has an incredible amount of control when she’s singing softly.  Incredibly hard to do (often moreso than singing really loudly), and she handled it beautifully.  I have to laugh when I think of how much I underestimated how she’d do in Vegas and then she was really the only female vocalist that didn’t somehow bungle her performance.  I think she flies under the radar because she’s so shy – but then she pulls out performances like this and just blindside people.  I may not be wild about how many singers are making it through to the semifinals, but I can get behind Cami – she’s the real deal.

3.) Timber Brown – Admittedly, I kind of went “Uh-oh, what’s this?” when I saw him come out with that suspended planet-shaped thingie instead of his usual pole.  But I think the gamble worked out in his favor – he was pulling some pretty impressive, high-speed tricks on that thing.  And I think it was Timber’s performance that really woke the show up – he had 4 rather ho-hum acts before him, and I was almost to the point of changing the channel when he came bursting onto the stage.  Glad he was able to salvage the show!

4.) Aerial Ice – I had really high hopes for Aerial Ice, based on their initial performance – but I think their larger set this time around may have been a bit detrimental to their performance, as they seemed to get lost in it.  Their stunts are amazing, no doubt – but I feel like the large set made them lose some cohesiveness, as it felt more like 3 separate couples doing stunts on their own, as opposed to a unified act.  Regardless, I still think that what they do is unique enough that they’ll advance to the semifinals.

5.) TIE: David Ferman & Taylor Williamson – Two guys that I really like, but also two guys who seemed to struggle last night…and the funny thing is, they seem to have the opposite problem: David has the content, but not the delivery…Taylor has the delivery, but not the content.  God love David, he seems like a really good kid with a lot of crazy, cool ideas in his head…and some cojones grandes to carry off these crazy stunts he dreams up.  But his delivery is just so…bland.  He comes off as robotic and stiff, and seems to rush his delivery – and the trick itself was over so quickly that it was hard to appreciate the difficulty of what he was doing.  If I were him, I’d get on YouTube and watch videos of Landon Swank from two seasons ago – kid had this butter-smooth delivery that really brought his tricks to life. Taylor, on the other hand, delivers his jokes with such endearing awkwardness that you find yourself laughing and smiling along with him…even if the joke isn’t particularly funny. And that was his major struggle last night – his material was only mildly funny, and not nearly as strong as we’ve seen from him previously.  I think one of these guys will end up joining Aerial Ice in the judges’ choice – I just can’t decide which one.

7.) 3Penny Chorus & Orchestra – Repeat after me: song choice is EVERYTHING.  And they unfortunately seemed to choose the wrong one – I thought that silly Taylor Swift song just came across as juvenile and annoying.  Truth be told, I wasn’t wild about “Call Me Maybe”, but their delivery of it was novel enough that I enjoyed it.  I didn’t get the same vibe this time around – I just found myself saying “this is silly”.  I also don’t think they benefitted much from going first, especially since the first half of the show was overall much weaker than the 2nd half – I think they might get lost in the shuffle of the weak first hour acts and not get as many votes as they probably should.

8.) Chloe Channell – Sweet, adorable girl, no doubt – but I just think she’s got a lot of maturing to do in her singing before she really becomes a force to be reckoned with.  I also think she’s picked the wrong songs two times in a row now – neither her song in Vegas nor her song last night seemed to serve her well.  I also think she just lacks a bit of stage presence…she doesn’t seem to know how to emote with her face, and just seems to pace back and forth as she’s singing.  Very bright future ahead of her – but I just think it may have been too early for her to make the leap to a show like AGT.

9.) The Robotix – I feel a bit bad for this group – they came into the competition at a bit of a disadvantage, since we didn’t get to see them perform in the audition round or Vegas…so right off the bat, they had to impress the viewers, since they came in with little to no fanbase.  Then they tried to tackle a song that was wayyyy too big for them – and I agree with Howard: the drummer was the raddest, most interesting member of the group to watch, and the rest of the group was just kind of there.  Like Chloe, I think they may have just attempted AGT when they weren’t quite ready. 

10.) SensEtion – A slight improvement from their initial audition, but all in all, they’re still just another “dancing in the dark” act looking to ride the coattails of Fighting Gravity, Team iLuminate, Lightwire Theater, etc.  I still don’t think they’re doing enough dancing in their performances – and the graphics they’re using seem a bit rudimentary and generic…like some kid playing around with Windows Movie Maker.  Just not enough to cut it, at this point.

11.) Champions Forever – I thought this act was a bit cheesy the first time we saw them…and I found them even cheesier this time.  It got repetitive really quickly, even if what they were doing was actually quite difficult; there’s only so many times I can watch a group on unicycles ride around in circles onstage.  Not much more to add – just not enough content at this point in the competition.

12.) Tummy Talk – Oy…the great Tummy Talk debate.  People seem to really hate this act, which is why I have them at the bottom – I don’t see any way they could possibly make it through tonight.  But I actually don’t mind this act too much…is it borderline icky? Sure, but so are a lot of the danger acts we’ve seen.  I actually thought they were pretty creative with their drumming last night, and you can tell these guys do have somewhat of a percussion background.  Let’s put it this way: I’d take them over Aaralyn & Izzy any day. 

So what did you guys think of last night’s performances? And who do you want to see in the semifinals?

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!