America's Got Talent
sent another 12 live acts into the lion's den last night for the world to vote on. At this point, friends, they are all starting to run together for me. We've seen everyone twice by the time they get to the quarterfinals (of which last night was the third installment) except those few lucky bastards that got sent straight through from the auditions, and I'm wondering if there is anything new at all for any of these performers to offer us.
As we've already seen, a free pass to the quarterfinals isn't always to the advantage of the performers, as some of them didn't get invited back for the semifinals: Act II and Hart Dance Team, for example. We'll see how the judges' picks pan out as we go forward. But for now, let's see how America will vote on this third dirty dozen.
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First 10 Acts Still Standing
As of last week's quarterfinals
, two of my 'One Act To Watch' Picks, Miguel Dakota and Mara Justine, have already been given their tickets to the semifinals. My very first pick, opera singers Act II, didn't make it past the quarterfinals, and Smoothini and Jonah Smith are still waiting in the wings for their chance next week.
Already voted into the semifinals by America are Emily West, Dan Naturman, Miguel Dakota, David and Leeman, Baila Conmigo (a spot which they stole from Flight Crew Jump Rope, whom I still hope will be voted back by some miracle from the fairness fairies), Andrey Moraru, Jaycob Curlee, Aerial Animation, Mat Franco and Mara Justine. I also still have my fingers crossed for a return of The Willis Clan, and fellow writer Bill tells me the math shows there's got to be more than the 20 that get the green light from the quarterfinals. Right? So if your faves didn't make it thus far, keep your fingers and toes crossed, folks.
Was Anything Spectacular Last Night?
As I've already said, they are all starting to run together for me at this point. Maybe it's because I just returned from two weeks hiking in Alaska and nothing on TV is even remotely as spectacular as Mt. McKinley or kayaking Prince William Sound to touch live glaciers, or perhaps I'm tired. And yes -- surprise! -- even writers go on vacation once in a while. I do think it's more a case of having seen almost all these acts twice already, so our expectations are mighty high. Onward.
Last night's dozen competitors included another one of my picks: military crooner Paul Ieti who continues to impress with both his backstory and his vocals. We'll see tonight if America agrees with me on my five picks from last night's quarterfinals.
Already, you gotta know that Paul is one of my faves to move on. He's yet to fail us and his story is fantastic. If he were up against Miguel Dakota, he'd land with his face in the mud, but it would be clean, respectable mud ... not because Paul's no good, just that he's no Miguel Dakota.
Next, you'd have to be crazy not to let the brilliance of David Middendorp's Blue Journey move ahead. I looked forward to seeing them all night, but wan't as impressed as I thought I would be. The performance was good, but man, it could have been so much more exquisite if they had had several weeks to perfect it. I'm probably going to go to hell now ... but there you have it. We did get to see the face of this David Middendorp finally and he's, as James Earl Jones would say, "Totes Adorbs." He's got a great accent as well and I think he should come out and take a bow for the ingenuity and creativity of this act he's assembled to entertain us. Having met him, it's clear that the dancers are replaceable (sorry), and that Middendorp is the true genius.
Then we've got Sons of Serendip, who make everyone feel really, really good (especially Howie). I'd like to take them all home in my pocket and let them sing me to sleep every night ... or serenade all my future dates with my husband. They are soulful, melodious, orchestral and a delight to listen to. I watched their last performance ("I Can't Make You Love Me") about 12 times after their boot camp performance. I highly recommend it. And I'd like to buy their album. Does America feel the same? You tell me ... er, I guess we'll know tonight!
The Puppy Balancer in Ruby Red
Hey, I just had to mention those hot pants (double entendre intended). Scooby balancer Christian Stoinev was great last night. He brought back his puppy snack and continued to wow us all and he's gotta go forward, but I would have liked to have seen more of his daring-do than cutesy dog tricks. I just enjoy the more technical stuff more. That's me. America loves puppies. So we'll see. Didn't it seem like his act ended right in the beginning, though? I think he deserves another shot and hope he moves forward.
And I mean that literally: the toss-up. America will have to choose between AcroArmy and Anna Clendening. To be fair, AcroArmy positively kicked ass, but Anna has a couple of tricks up her sleeve. I think it could go either way and here's why: Anna has a great and timely story, especially in view of the recent and tragic demise of beloved mental disorder sufferer Robin Williams, who has received the largest group hug on social media these past two days that has ever been seen in world history.
Anna, as Howie declared, is a tribute to all those battling mental disorders. We all applaud her. Unfortunately, last night's performance was not her strongest. "I'm Only Human" was a great content choice, but it failed to highlight her vast range and ability. However, America votes on the body of performances, so she still has a good shot.
AcroArmy, however, deserves to go forward based on their technical skill alone. I did hope to see something a little more than we've seen before from them, but hey, they still knocked boots.
How it will shake out between these two acts is anyone's guess. If I had to put my money on one of them over the other, I'd say that if America votes, it will be Anna. If it comes down to the four judges having to choose as they did last time, I think AcroArmy will go forward. The thing is, Howard will not vote with his heart. And Mel B. pays very close attention to the technicality of a singer's performance. During the judges' comments last night, it seemed like no one wanted to say anything negative to Anna because of her condition, though it wasn't her best performance at all.
I, myself, would choose AcroArmy.
Join BuddyTV tonight for Bill King's live blog of the results, which will include performances from comedian Taylor Williamson and season 8 winner Kenichi Ebina, and see how the rest of America voted.
America's Got Talent airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9pm on NBC.