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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

America's Got Talent Live - Hollywood #1 -Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Snap Boogie snapped up raves from the judges.
Now for the contestants of America's Got Talent, it's GAME ON. No room for error. The fans are watching and they are voting. There is a 75% chance that you are going home. And there were definite winners and losers on America's Got Talent Live in Hollywood Night #1, Tuesday, July 12, 2011.

Twelve acts were scheduled to take the sage, but only four will survive on this first AGT quarterfinals live show. All three judges, Howie Mandel, Sharon Osbourne and Piers Morgan, had their buzzers back. They could stop an act with 3 X's, but the fans could still vote.

The night kicked off with a bit of levity as Piers was talking about the danger of some of the acts and Howie whipped something at him. It's always fun to see those two fight.

Here is a rundown of the twelve acts that performed, my thoughts, followed by my picks for the night.
  1. Miami All-Stars - Latin Dance "Family" - Miami, FL - This large dance group almost got off to a rocky start when the music that they had been rehearsing to was not allowed for legal reasons. With only hours to practice, the tensions were high but you would never be able to tell by their performance. Piers summed it up best, "Brilliant, sexy." And they are sexy. The kind of act that would fit in well in Las Vegas. VOTE: 1-866-602-4801
  2. Dezmond Meeks - Singer/Piano Player - Pineville, LA - Dezmond pounded out a Motown style rendition of the Rolling Stones classic Satisfaction on a grand piano, accompanied by six hot dancers. He performed standing up, without a bench. Halfway through his song, he took to the stage and showed a little James Brown shimmy. Sharon said his act, "Was too much of a cabaret style performance." Howie had similar feelings, calling him, "Too cruise shippy." Piers loved him. I, personally, don't understand the "too cabaret" comments. Has anyone been to Vegas and seen a show there? VOTE: 1-866-602-4802
  3. Those Funny Little People - Giant Stuffed Elves - Chicago, IL - These lip-syncing elves rattle Piers to no end and he zapped an X on them, shortly after they started. They did their usual - hopping around to popular songs. Not much else. Piers said, "You are very, very annoying. You're not funny. You're not little. And you're not people." This act is a fun Disney sideshow. Five minutes on the main drag in Disneyland and then they can go back to where they came from until next hour. VOTE: 1-866-602-4803
  4. The Fearless Flores Family - Before they performed, the judges all said they couldn't wait to see what the Flores' had in store. This daredevil motorcycle riding family does their act in a giant steel ball. When they first auditioned, the two children were in the ball. This time, mom joined the danger. Sharon asked the same question I would have, "Where do you go from here?" The father said that all of them can get in the ball. Well, this type of act has been done in Las Vegas. It was an element of the production show Splash that ran for years at the Riviera. Unless they can jam 28 midgets inside that ball riding motor bikes, this act is good for about 20 minutes - tops. VOTE: 1-866-602-4804
  5. Squonk Opera - Music and Performance Art - Pittsburgh, PA - They started off interesting enough with a member playing piano and their singer wailing an operatic tune. Then, a giant semicircular screen came up with wild images projected on it. After that, it all went weird. By the end there was a flying cherub playing a trumpet, the piano guy was missing notes, the singer was screeching. Piers and Sharon had already buzzed X's before they finished. Piers said, "This is what I imagine hell is like." Howie was ready to buzz them but he got distracted. Only if you want to... VOTE: 1-866-602-4805
  6. J Chris Newberg - Comedian - Birmingham, MI - Chris plays a guitar, which as a former stand-up comedian, I know that he would immediately get him labeled a hack. Stand-up comedy is supposed to be mano-a-microphone. Period. But he went on with his dark humor and even brought in a choir of children to do one bit. His choir, all had fake goatees painted on their faces. They sang a chorus of "That's probably a bad idea." He would mouth his setup and they'd sing the chorus. Piers was inflamed and commented, "Totally inappropriate. This whole act was a bad idea." Sharon said, "That song was so, so wrong. But I liked it." Howie shocked me by remarking, "Comedy is subjective and I liked you. I'd pay to see you." I wouldn't. I don't think this guy is good enough to headline Uncle Crackers in Greensboro, USA. VOTE: 1-866-602-4806
  7. Snap Boogie - Street Dancer - Boston, MA - Before he began, the big concern voiced by the judges was whether he could take his amazing street skills to a big stage and make a show out of it. Snap did not disappoint as he snapped his ass off, leading a troupe of backup dancers that were completely covered from head to toe in black leotards. Piers loved him and firmly stated, "That performance could be in Vegas tomorrow." Sharon glowingly remarked, "That act is so beyond Vegas. It was marvelous." Howie was thrilled, too, "You're edgy. You're current." VOTE: 1-866-602-4807
  8. Echo Of Animal Gardens - Talking Parrot named Echo - Lake Geneva, WI - After Echo refused to talk near the end of his Vegas audition, I'm surprised the judges put him through to Hollywood. But his handler brought Echo's girlfriend, Binkie, for moral support and he was amazing. He talked. He sang. He whistled. The handler was amazing, too. Howie summed it up best, "Is this a million dollar act or a really good birthday party?" I think this act is right where it belongs - where it is - at an animal theme park in Wisconsin. Hold the cheese, please. VOTE: 1-866-602-4808
  9. The Fiddleheads - Bluegrass Band - Georgia - The strength of this act is the lead singer. His banjo, acoustic guitar, mandolin and electric bass band is not that impressive. Surprisingly, they chose to perform Michael Jackson's Billie Jean. All of the judges were stymied by the choice. They're a bluegrass band. Blue - grass, guys. You can see these guys toiling away in a lounge on Fremont Street in Vegas at the Golden Gate, but not headlining on The Strip. VOTE: 1-866-602-4809
  10. Duo Aero - Married couple acrobats - Performing without a net, this couple twisted and twirled with the husband sitting on a suspended bar. Piers buzzed them near the end with an X, "I got bored with it." Sharon said, "Your music drove me nuts and the way you were dressed and your choice of music made you an old time aerial act." Howie concurred. This act might be good enough to find jobs with Cirque de Soleil or a spot in the circus. But as headliners? There are so many better acts already in Vegas. VOTE: 1-866-602-4810
  11. Anna Graceman - 11 year-old singer/piano player - Juneau, AK - She's not quite Jackie Evancho, but she's the closest you'll see to a little girl with a huge voice this season on America's Got Talent. Anna surprised everyone by singing a Louis Armstrong classic What A Wonderful World, while playing on a grand piano instead of the electric piano she had been using. She earned a standing ovation from Howie and Sharon. Everyone raved. Howie added, "I never saw anyone like you." She definitely has what it takes. However, there has been some backlash about last year's child phenom, Jackie Evancho. Comments on chat boards have said that Jackie was stiffed because,"Vegas doesn't want some kid performing on The Strip." How true that is, I don't know. However, I can see that being said. It will be interesting to see how far her talents and the fans take her. VOTE: 1-866-602-4811
  12. Sandou Trio Russian Bar - A woman acrobat on a Russian Bar - San Antonio, TX - With each performance, the judges expect the acts to take it up a notch. Increasing the danger for the show, the woman flipped through the air above a bed of nails, which she eventually set on fire. Howie said, "No other act has been this dangerous." He was in awe. But, how far can you take a one trick pony? You can coat her in nails or set her on fire, but they are a Russian Bar act. Can you sit through that for an hour? NOPE. VOTE: 1-866-602-4812
So, twelve acts have had their shot in front of the fans for America's Got Talent. To me, there were four stand-out acts and eight that should go home, based on the performances of Tuesday night on AGT. They are:
  1. Miami All-Stars - Exciting, sexy, well-choreographed, precision Latin dancing. They're hot and will be tough competitors moving forward. They could be in Vegas right now. 
  2. Dezmond Meeks  - Here is a guy that has been performing since he was three or four. He's played all the hard gigs and learned his craft. He has incredible stage presence. His voice is strong and confident. His piano playing was honed in dueling piano bars. He's got what it takes and an emotional story to go all the way. 
  3. Snap Boogie - He's hot, hip and unique. When he added the dancers to his act, you could see this developing into a show. My fear is that he is too hip for Vegas. In the mid 1990's a hot, hip, urban group called Stomp wound up with a show on The Strip at New York-New York. It didn't last long, and that was the critique - too hip for Vegas. Tourists gravitate to bouncing breasts, Cirque shows, singers, legends, more bouncing breasts and magic acts. I can see a bunch of Japanese doctors attending his show and trying to prescribe medicine for his epilepsy. They don't get it. I hope America gets him. He's good and has a great story - street kid, doing the right thing and trying to get out of the hood. 
  4. Anna Graceman - She's talented. She's adorable. She could win. As long as she makes good song choices, she's got a shot at progressing to the end and closer to the America's Got Talent $1 Million prize and a headlining show in Las Vegas. I think the comments about, "Vegas doesn't want a kid," are unsubstantiated. Well, the world loves a kid. Jackie Evancho's first album went PLATINUM in SIX WEEKS. Anna's the apple of every mother's eye and should have already grabbed the hearts of fans wherever AGT is aired. 
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 we will find out who goes on and who goes home. The show should be an hour with performances by some major stars. Law & Order follows at 10 PM ET.

Now, it's your turn. Vote. You can also vote on the America's Got Talent website - www.nbc.com/agt

That concludes America's Got Talent's Live from Hollywood Night #1 on July 12, 2011. Let's see if I'm right.

Related links:
AGT YouTube voting concluded July 9th.
AGT Website
AGT on Twitter
Piers Morgan on Twitter
Howie Mandel on Twitter
Sharon Osbourne on Twitter

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America's Got Talent Live - Hollywood #1 -Tuesday, July 12, 2011
America's Got Talent - Las Vegas - Wednesday, July 6, 2011
America's Got Talent Season 6 - Las Vegas -Tuesday, July 5, 2011
America's Got Talent Season 6 2011 - AGT Vegas Week Tuesday and Wednesday - July 5 and 6
America's Got Talent 2011 Season 6 - June 29, 2011 - Houston
America's Got Talent Launches Season 6 | AGT Season Guide
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