Episode Overview: America has voted and tonight on America's Got Talent, not only will we find out who the final ten acts are, we will also get to see them perform. Every act tries to surpass its previous performance. Some blow the judges away, while others' efforts fall a little flat.
America's Got Talent doesn't believe too much in delayed gratification, and for this, the viewers can be grateful. The show gets right into things, with host Jerry Springer starting the night off by announcing which five of the ten acts that performed last episode will make it through.
In no particular order they are...Terry Fator, the ventriloquist. The Calypso Tumblers, the acrobatic act. Cas Haley, the sweet-faced singer. The Duttons, the giant family band act. And lastly, Jason Pritchett, the country singer.
No doubt viewers realize what this means: it is the end of the road for Boy Shakira/Britney. I'm a bit disappointed that America's Got Talent didn't include a slow-motion montage of his belly shaking through his various performances, but there's no time to reminisce about the past. Boy Shakira is gone and we all just have to move on.
And so move on we do to The Duttons, the aggressively wholesome family act that seems like it was frozen in a time capsule in the 1950's and unthawed at the beginning of the competition. They perform "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," a song - what with "Devil" in the title - seems slightly risque for the group. They perform well, if a giant family band is your cup of tea. And, since they made it through to the next round, it would appear that much of America thinks a giant family band is exactly what they want to see. David Hasselhoff likes it too, and Sharon Osborne finds them similar to The Waltons. Piers Morgan, on the other hand, had buzzed their performance. It is not, apparently, his cup of tea.
Next up is Robert Hatcher, the singer from the sewers of Cincinnati, who is singing "Because You Loved Me." While his performance is a little wobbly in spots, as the judges point out, his smile alone could win him the contest, and his likability, passion and emotion more than make up for any vocal weaknesses. He is a true charmer; his smile is so sweet and infectious.
The Calypso Tumblers now take the stage. Last week, the critique from the judges was: "More tumbling." And more tumbling we get! So much tumbling and leaping and flipping, I couldn't help but wonder how their knees have any cartilege left in them at all. I sort of want them to win the million dollars just so they can set something aside for knee replacement surgery in the future that they will surely need: their performance is so incredibly, wildly acrobatic and impressive. The judges love it - even Piers is effusive about it. Sharon, of course, was already won over by the rose given to her during the performance by the youngest Tumbler, who looks like a member of Prince and the Revolution circa 1985, and who oddly spent his time onstage during the critique rubbing his own nipples.
Jason Pritchett, the country singer, took the critique of his performance last episode to heart, and chooses to slow things down with a ballad. He impresses David, and Sharon thinks he could have a very solid career with the right set of songs. Piers thinks he still seems like a cruise ship singer (what Jason does for a living) and wants him to break out of his comfort zone and live up to his potential.
The next act is the adorable young beatboxer, Butterscotch. She performs "It's Your Thing," and her act this time seems more heavily skewed towards singing than beatboxing. As much as I like her, this seemed to not showcase her talents as well, but the judges loved it. Piers just still has some concerns about her confidence level.
Another act without the strongest singing voices is up next - The Glamazons. They perform "Fever," and Sharon points out that while their voices are not the best in the competition, their sass can carry the day. Piers continues to voice his appreciation for the Rubenesque ladies, and many Yanks can thank America's Got Talent for teaching us that there apparently is a subset of British men who really appreciate a larger lady.
After that act, probably the most consistently strong voice in the final ten takes the stage: Cas Haley. He sings a blues song, and once again, as Sharon puts it, it's effortless. It's also incredibly endearing to see him transition from adorable humble house-husband to completely confident stage presence. Like Robert Hatcher, there is something so utterly likable about Cas. Piers likes him too, but wants him to stick to his reggae sound, not liking the blues for him. Cas takes it in stride; he seems so determined to win for his family, he appears grateful for the feedback to help him improve.
Another strong, if unusual singer, is next to perform. Terry Fator, the ventriloquist, feels like his last performance was his best ever, so how will he top it? He sings a duet of "Unforgettable" with a puppet - "Emma." It's a cute performance, and once again, the judges all comment on how he is the best ventriloquist act they have ever seen. Sharon wonders if the viewers understand just how difficult his act his; he is singing, doing imitations and being a ventriloquist - all at the same time.
Julienne Irwin, the 14-year-old singer, is also trying to step up her game. However, she picked an ambitious ballad that might be too much for her developing voice. While she is admirably composed for her performance, especially considering how little overall experience she has, the judges think she should stick with a simple, less dynamic song that won't tax her voice as much.
Last to the stage is the martial arts group, Sideswipe. Clearly, the public has loved these guys so far, but wondering if tonight the act finally ran out of steam. They bring onstage a group of young kids to perform with them. It's chaotic, and the main impression I'm left with is that maybe the flips and kicks they do aren't as difficult as I was thinking...because there are some little kids with them are doing the exact same thing. The judges aren't crazy about it either, and Piers thinks they might have made a competition-ending move by bringing up the "cutesy kids" who make him "want to puke." Sideswipe gets defensive, saying that teaching the kids is part of their talent. Maybe so, but I don't know if that's really the point of the competition. I am not sure if bringing on the kids hurt their chances, but I am pretty sure that not ripping off their shirts as normal did just cost them a few votes. And, as Sharon points out, they have tough competitors for the same kind of acrobatics with the Calypso Tumblers, whose showmanship might be a little stronger.
But we won't know the results of those votes until next week, when we will learn which two acts will go home and which eight will continue on. Who do you want to proceed? Let us know in the comments below!
- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of NBC)