The Vegas round wraps up quickly, as the final sixty live acts of America’s Got Talent are decided in tonight’s hour-long episode. Some were cut without mention, some were passed without ceremony, but tonight we focus on the tiny corner of contestants chosen to perform again exclusively for the judges.

Kids and Magicians

Our program begins with a procession of kid singers. The first act up is the metal brother-sister act Aaralyn and Izzy; they’re entertaining again, but obviously way out of their league here. The next two acts are a couple competent country girls named Chloe Channell and Genesis Nava; great singers for their age, but they fail to make all that much of an impression in the brief time alotted. Hawaiian twelve-year-old Ciana Pelekai closes out the segment on a high note, but ultimately this is a very strong category with no standout to speak of.

The next category is magic, and it suffers from much of the same room-based energy drain as the comedy acts. The first two acts, R.J. Cantu and Nathan Phan, fail to stand out, but emotional sixteen-year-old Collin Keys manages to win the room over by going personal. He performs another awe-inspiring feat of convolution, tearing a page out of a book and hiding it in an envelope, but way cooler than I just described it. He remains the standout of the segment, as the next two acts devolve into a personal squabble: one magician bungles her illusion, and the pair after her call her out in front of the judges.

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The Strange and the Songful

We have more variety acts after that, starting with pretentious white guru Special Head; he does a capable backward lean. He’s followed by a dancer and ventriloquist Megan, who sadly underwhelms here tonight — The Jackson 5’s “ABC” is a little out of her range in places, and she looks uncomfortable the whole time. MikeBone, the affable pair of little people Native American crunk rappers, are another disappointment, to the extent that they’re sent home on the spot for failing to prepare adequately.

The next crop of guitar-based singers is a more capable bunch on balance, with standouts including country veteran Marty Brown and young Paul Thomas Mitchell. From there we get a strong crop of opera voices, starting with fan favorite Jonathan Allen, performing an operatic “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” He’s followed by newly engaged male soprano Travis Pratt, delivering an emotional “Ave Maria.”

We then have a disorganized lightning round of results delivered at random with no names attached, which is very frustrating to me as a recapper. Notable acts moving on to Radio City Music Hall include Sam the flaming top hat guy, Taylor the low-energy comedian, and Jonathan the tenor. We’ll be posting a comprehensive slideshow of the passing acts later tonight, so be on the lookout for that.

All in all, the Vegas system seems pretty unfair. By only requiring a handful of the chosen acts to perform again, it seems like a lot of good talent got cut unfairly, while a lot of potential one-hit-wonders coasted through. I very much appreciate that we’re through with the wast-of-time candidates, but I’m definitely ready for the more traditional meritocracy of the upcoming live shows.

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(Image courtesy of NBC)



Ted Kindig

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV