Okay, so the competition between the fifth group of quarterfinalists on America's Got Talent
probably wasn't rigged. But the deck was definitely stacked to get at least one ballroom dance group, Catapult and a comedian through to the semifinals.
And the judges did everything they could do to help make that happen.
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How else can you explain Howard Stern's proclamation that it was such a "great night" of performances, or the seemingly random praise or criticism heaped on acts that more or less all blended together on a rather mediocre night.
Everyone was basically good, but all at varying degrees, and no one really left the home audience blown away. (I was wowed by Sprice, but we'll get to that later.) There were sorta bad acts, sorta good acts and pretty good acts, and show placement will likely play a huge role in who voters remembered.
The first six acts were immeasurably weaker than the second half, and the best of them went first and were barely a thought by the end.
So who is moving on, and who is heading home? I feel pretty confident in my four choices of who deserves to advance, but anything could happen and I'm not hopeful for my first four-for-four prediction.
Also, which acts do we want to see chosen for the wild card spots? Read on for my thoughts.
First up, the sorta bad.
2Unique, Melody Caballerro, Selena Mykenzie Gordon and Ruby & Jonas are all out of their league. The first three all got lost on the big Radio City Music Hall stage, whether it was by crowding it with too many people, not having enough preparation time or faltering under the pressure (and the volume of your backup singer).
They all have a ton of talent, particularly Ruby & Jonas as dancers, but in their case, when you have a direct comparison and one that's related to you, no less, and you come up that short in relation, it's over.
On to the sorta good.
The Virginia State University Gospel Chorale kicked off the show with a lively performance of possibly the most predictable pop song a choir could ever sing. But "Like a Prayer" song choice aside, here's what I wrote in my preview: "I don't know if they'll be able to do enough to stand out compared to the other acts. Performance position will be key for them. If they're up early, no chance." Yeah ... they went FIRST.
Sam Johnson did something incredibly dangerous that deserved more credit than it got, but instead the judges poo-pooed him and said it looked like too much fun and that we weren't worried enough for his safety. I thought it might have lacked a bit on television, but assumed it was much more spectacular live.
They heaped praise and even gave a standing ovation to comedian John Wing, who barely got more than a chuckle from me. He's not a bad or unfunny guy, but he's certainly no Tom Cotter. But we apparently need another comedian, so let's get him through because he has an emotional backstory.
Duo Resonance is kind of a fringe act between the sorta good and the pretty good, but I think they lose out when John Wing moves on. Still, they made an emotional connection with a very graceful performance. I just hope they don't knock out Sprice, but it seems like that's what a lot of people think.
Finally, we're left with the three acts that are most deserving of moving on: Catapult, D'Angelo & Amanda and Sprice.
D'Angelo & Amanda for me were the slam dunk of the night. I'm sure they're moving on, because I don't even like child ballroom dancers and I was impressed.
Catapult got the pimp spot and is destined to advance, but they weren't the act that the judges made them out to be. They have a great gimmick and are skillful at their art, but I didn't get emotional or find it nearly precise enough.
It also made me more uncomfortable than inspired that they referenced Newtown, because after all, this is just a talent show. Living in the same state doesn't give you carte blanche to invoke a tragedy to increase your favor, even if it's something that legitimately affected you. I've lived in New York City since 1999, and I'd never even consider dedicating something I do in a contest or reality show to 9/11 victims. And I actually know 9/11 victims.
Anyway, they'll be semifinalists and the judges thought they were brilliant, so let's move on to my favorite act of the night, Mr. Steven Price. I was shocked that Mel B and super-nerd Howard Stern weren't amazed by this one. The precision and imagination is unparalleled, and his awkward genius just adds to his root-ability or me. I find his personality endearing, not off-putting.
I'm hoping that the extra praise on Catapult will hurt their vote total, while the negativity aimed at Sprice will increase his. So my picks for the four advancing acts are Sprice, Catapult, D'Angelo & Amanda and John Wing, though I won't be surprised if Duo Resonance or Dave Fenley sneak in, and I wouldn't be upset if Sam Johnson did. If not, I hope to see all three in the wildcard round.
Which four acts do you think are joining the other 16 semifinalists? And who would you like to see chosen for the wild card spots? The semifinals begin next week, which means it doesn't look like we'll be having a wild card performance episode; instead, the judges will choose four eliminated acts for the four remaining spots.
But if there was going to be a wild card performance episode, here would be my picks for who I'd like to see, and who I think we would have seen (and these picks are based on my above elections moving on, otherwise, swap 'em out with whoever does).
The 12 Acts I'd LIKE to see: Hype, American Hitmen, Illusionist Leon Etienne and Romy Low, Jim Meskimen, Mitsi Dancing School, Brandon and Savannah, The Robotix, David Ferman, Aerial Ice, Dave Fenley, Sam Johnson and Duo Resonance.
The 12 Acts We WILL see: Aaralyn and Izzy, tellAvision, Kevin Downey, Jr., Ciana Pelekai, Deanna DellaCioppa, Jim Meskimen, Mitsi Dancing School, 3Penny Chorus and Orchestra, Chloe Channell, David Ferman, Dave Fenley and Duo Resonance.
But since it looks like we're only getting four, let's narrow it down even further. The four acts I think are most deserving are Leon and Romy, Aerial Ice, David Ferman and The Robotix. But I think the judges will give it to Jim Meskimen, Chloe Channell, Duo Resonance and Deanna DellaCioppa.
But hey, anything is possible, and there could be a surprise in store. Do you want four wildcards? Or 12? Who is moving on? Who gets a second chance at a million bucks?
Leave your picks in the comments section below!
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