America's Got Talent
judgement week is finally over. Next step: Radio City Music Hall -- at least for 48 talented singers, dancers, magicians, hand balancers and comedians. Did I miss any categories?
It was a long and surprising night for viewers. Not nearly as long for us as it was for all the hopefuls sitting around the judgement auditorium waiting for Nick Cannon to call them to a lonely stage for their final shot at impressing four dour-faced judges. Okay, Heidi Klum, Howard Stern, Howie Mandel, and Mel B weren't complete sour pusses, but it was obvious they'd practiced their intimidating poker faces. For some, that made the experience down right petrifying and it showed in their performances. Ouch.
America's Got Talent Recap: Welcome to Judgment Week >>>
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The Best and Brightest Bypassed Them All
Last night a couple performers were put out of their misery with a golden ticket straight through to Radio City Music Hall. A couple of others went to Boot Camp and were immediately sent ahead and didn't have to go through the whole waiting process.
My esteemed compadre Bill already gave you the run down of who those acts were and how this whole thing works
so I won't bore you with those details. Bill already gave America's Got Talent
a tongue lashing for the obnoxious hiatus filled with reruns. He already gave you a bunch of videos and allowed you to vote on who you'd like to see at Radio City. We're going to do that here as well, and at the end we'll even have a list of who has made it to the next round for good.
In deference to Bill, I have to comment on Nick's blazer. Bill, you would have loved it. It was candy apple red. I bet now you're sorry you have to miss it. Another wardrobe change that you may find a huge relief: the judges finally got to wear something different than the three outfits they had to wear night after night during the auditions. By the end of the ordeal, Heidi and Mel B were decked out in hot fuschia. It was a sight for sore eyes. Are we ready to move on?
Let the Games Begin
We started off with a grab bag of acts. First we had the precocious child performer,Adrian Romoff, who gave us a perfectly executed piano piece that we probably all recognize, but few of us know the name of. He was not nearly as obnoxiously dramatic this week and I actually liked him. When he first performed I gave him two thumbs down. I'm changing my tune on him. This week the judges agreed with me and sent young Adrian forward to Radio City Music Hall
Following Adrien were Byamba's Contortion Girls who had issues and Mel B said their performance was flat. Dancers Kaycee & Gabe were good but not amazing, Cater & Anika were sloppy.
Music Groups Had Several Winners
Next category was music groups. I was looking forward to seeing what else the Partridge Family, er, the Willis Clan had to offer and I was not disappointed. Mel B advised during auditions that they do a lot more harmonizing and that is exactly what they did. They did even better than I thought they would and have set themselves up as ready contenders. Just in case you didn't catch them all, the names of the twelve kids are Jessica, Jeremiah, Jenny, Jette, Jackson, Jedi, Jasmine, Juliette, Jamie, Joy, Jaeger and Jada. Howard wasn't impressed with these guys but Howie strenuously disagreed, as did Mel B In the end they were sent forward.
Singing duos Beach Avenue and Kieran & Finian Makepeace performed their original songs which the judges have advised against in the past. It worked in Makepeace's favor as they were given the green light. Not so for the Beach Boys.
Trio Livy, Matt and Sami played an "acoustic/indie thing" that the judges liked and got sent forward.
The Sons of Serendip, four dudes who live together gave a gorgeous performance with a harp, cello, and vocals. Their song? "I can't make you love me if you don't." Damn. It was a poignant message to the judges, and it worked because we're going to see these guys again on July 29th when the live shows start.
If It Weren't For Bad Luck ...
Next up, we had insurance salesman Jonah Smith and his band. They had the worst kind of luck imaginable in that their drummer was MIA when their number was up. He just didn't show. Now, what kind of d-bag doesn't show up for a performance with his pals on live T.V.? You suck, dude. I had to rewind the preview of their last performance to see the face of a person who would do such a thing. Fortunately, Jonah Smith called his (new) best friend, Gintas, who showed up and is now going with them to Radio City Music Hall when America's Got Talent comes back at the end of the month. These boys got a standing ovation, by the way and Howard said they were a billion times better than they were at auditions.
Next Up: Variety Entertainment
Folks, I just prayed I'd make it through this category without barfing. Maybe all my taste is in my mouth, but the acts in this category -- I just don't get them. I just don't know what business they have thinking they are appropriate for Radio City Music Hall. Agh. Oh well. Onward.
Septuagenarian archer Bob MarKworth & Mayana were a flop. Top Hogs act featuring the porcine mathematician, Mudslinger, was no better.
The duo I had hopes for in this category was Emanuel and Philip Hudson. They're the two comedians who performed "Ratchet" at auditions. After their last performance, I went to YouTube and spent an hour laughing my ass off at their humor. Howard hated them last time but Howie wanted to get some peppermint flavored oil and be alone with them for an hour. Mel B was also fairly impressed. Fortunately, they got rid of those terrible, horrible skank-ass wigs and we can finally see how hot these two men are. Unfortunately, their act was almost as bad as the wigs from auditions. I do have to admit that their behind-the-scenes snippets were hilarious when they tell the mass of remaining performers: "I Hope All Y'all Lose."
Finally, a winner in this category. Flight Crew Jump Rope nailed their act. At one point they had seven people jumping under the same rope at once. They had some new material too. They were off the chain.
The Male Singer Category Was A Blood Bath For Some
This category was a difficult one. Most of the performers were so nervous, they hit the wrong keys or lost time with the music. This made a couple acts stand out.
Soldier-singer Paul Ieti
started off the round. I thought he was good when he performed at auditions, but Bill accused me of letting my emotions rule my judging, so this time I was ready to be discerning. As far as quality goes, I thought he might not make it past America's Got Talent
Boot Camp, but this time, he not only gave us his smokey baritone and his haunting higher register, he gave us a fair amount of his clear midrange voice. Sorry Bill, I just couldn't help it. I was a puddle this time. I don't know if he's better than Miguel, my other favorite, because they are different, but Paul has shown me and the judges that he does have the pipes. How do I know what they thought? Immediately after his performance they invited him to Radio City Music Hall. How do you like them apples, Bill?
Justin Rhodes, Sal Gonzalez, and Frank the Sinatra impersonator got the boot, but two others were given the go-ahead. First up was America's Got Talent adoptee, Jaycob Curlee. I was nervous for him because his voice was so soft, but the judges loved him.
I thought beanie-wearing Miguel Dakota
rocked the house as far as male singers were concerned. I don't know if Bill will agree with me because he's more of a Heidi Klum fan, but Miguel is absolutely beautiful and a thrill to look at. Humble, dark, warm round chocolate eyes. Ladies, since we are the ones responsible for making this happen ... I think a lot of us will be voting with our hearts and other parts of our bodies about this guy. Humble sweet. Regardless, Mel B said, "His voice was boom-powerful." He rocked it out of the park. Yes, I said rocked it. Heidi almost passed out. Howie doesn't like the song, but I think he's just jealous of Miguel's hair. Bill, it's not just his gorgeousness and I have the judges to stand behind me on this one: Miguel is the full package!
Dance. Dance. Dance.
Next up were the group dancers. Baila Conmigo, despite a mistake made by one of the dancers, was sent forward, as was the visual treat in fuschia, Jasmine Flowers even though Howard felt they were boring.
Our final grouping was the acrobats and hand balancers. Howie wanted to know if AcroArmy's flawless demonstration was their most dangerous and highest caliber act in their repertoire. Even XPogo Stunt Team, the guys who bounce around with burning pogo sticks in their crotches, called AcroArmy insane. They were amazeballs. The judges sent them forward.
XPogo Stunt Team -- who looked like they were having a hell of a lot of fun but couldn't keep their sticks on fire -- was rejected, as were classical ballet dancers turned contemporary circus artists Richard & Ashlee who blew an important dismount.
Heidi was once again quite complementary about Christian Stoinev's physicality and she ain't wrong. But was it a good performance? You bet. This time he brought along his dog Snoopy and involved him -- successfully -- which is a feat when animals are involved -- in the balancing act. You have to see it to believe it. Howard even commented on how unexpected and completely different Christian's presentation was today.
And Now For the Hard Part: Deliberations
Next we had several snippets of performers waiting around for their results and about to mess their drawers. Howie says it's the best year for kids. We see the judges milling around each other, arguing as they consider the performers. Their voiceover comments can be heard as the camera pans over to specific acts so we think the comment is about that particular one, but of course that's just to build the suspense.
Finally, small groups are brought in to get the news. On July 29th, America's Got Talent airs the first of their live shows and we'll see more of these acts that made it this far. Of the acts we saw tonight, who are you most excited about seeing at Radio City Music Hall?
Catch that episode next Wednesday at 9pm on NBC!
(Image courtesy of NBC)