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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

America's Got Talent - Semi-Finals #2 - Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Anna Graceman gets standing O on AGT.
Only twelve remaining acts had a shot at getting into the Top 10 on America's Got Talent. No more second chances. No room for mistakes. Perfection and performing at a higher level than all of their previous performances would be required to move on. Some rose to the occasion on America's Got Talent Semi-Finals #2 on Tuesday, August 30, 2011.

Tonight's line-up featured singing, dancing, magic, danger and extreme danger. Here is how the AGT hopefuls did:
  1. The Kinetic King - Novelty Act - St. Paul, MN - After rebounding from a complete disaster with his last performance where he won the hearts of everyone in the crowd, The Kinetic King seemed to be building a little momentum. As usual, his setup was elaborate and complex. It fired off perfectly, shooting balls and sticks into the audience. He's a crowd favorite. People just love this guy. But is he a headlining act? (I don't think so.) Piers commented, "Another spectacular performance." Sharon smiled, "That was sensational. Really exciting." Howie was in awe, "That was so explosive."
  2. Fatally Unique - Dance Team - Rockford, IL - They've struggled at times, but they have persisted. Featuring an insane asylum theme with the dancers bound in straight jackets, wearing ghoulish make-up, they put on a very tight, high-energy performance. Sharon, "It's really breathtaking to watch you perform. Howie was concerned, "You were amazing. But were you fatally unique enough?" Piers, "I look at he determination in your faces. Who wants to win this? And with that performance, you're a step closer."
  3. Landon Swank - Magician - Wasilla, AK - Landon described his act as a real life version of Russian Roulette. Four boxes suspended from the ceiling had Landon in one of them. Each was wired with explosives. The judges selected a detonator for each box, except one. All of the boxes exploded, except one, and Landon dropped out of it. His presentation was the best of any he's done so far. Howie, "WOW. Just absolute WOW. My heart is pounding." Piers, "Brilliant illusion, brilliant magic, superbly executed." Sharon, "Your whole presentation was A+."
  4. GYMKANA - Acrobats - College Park, MD - With an exciting and dynamic debut with their last performance, they raised the bar and added fire to their act. Timing is everything with an act like this and a split second error burned up their chances to advance. One of the performers hit the fire ring and actually caught fire. He was quickly extinguished and suffered no injuries, but I think it toasted their hopes. Piers buzzed them halfway through their act, "It gets repetitive. It becomes a gym routine." Sharon, "You were like lemmings tonight. I was looking for performance value and I didn't get that." And we all know what happened to the lemmings. 
  5. Summerwind Skippers - Jump Rope Team - Boise, ID - They introduced a new trick, but had two errors. Piers buzzed them, just as they concluded. Sharon, "It's so great to see the progression you have made." Howie,"You've brought an edge to skipping." Piers, "You made two mistakes. To be fair to the other contestants, you made two big mistakes. I had to buzz you."
  6. Snap Boogie - Street Dancer - Boston, MA - He put an an athletic and energetic performance, but started slow, which none of the judges liked. Howie, "I liked it when you were more yourself." Piers, "I didn't like it. I didn't like any of it." Sharon, "You don't need anyone [back-up dancers], just you."
  7. Anna Graceman - Singer/Pianist - Juneau, AK - The 11 year-old sensation did not disappoint. She did her own rendition of Motley Crue's Home Sweet Home and blew away the audience and the judges. Everyone was on their feet. Piers, "That was, so far, the best performance of the night." Sharon, "I have to agree with Piers, the best performance of the night, so far." Howie, "I'm going to keep this simple - WOW!"
  8. Steven Retchless - Pole Dancer - New York, NY - His last performance was mystical and ethereal. This time, performing with two other female pole dancers on three poles, he didn't have the magic, and this did not go unnoticed by the judges. Piers buzzed him halfway through his act. Sharon, "The three of you was an amazing thing to watch. Piers was brutal, "Could I see this being a million dollar act in Vegas? And the answer is an unequivocal - NO! There are men in Las Vegas sliding down poles and they're called firemen." Howie, "The girl on the right was fantastic. I want to see her in Vegas." 
  9. Smage Bros. Riding Show - Motorcycle Stunts - Elkhorn, WI - Adding family members to the act, including Joy their Rad Grandmother, they did the most amazing stunts - especially considering the confined space they have to work in. Their daredevil antics brought the entire room to their feet. Piers, "I thought it was incredible." Howie, "It's amazing. I love you. I really do." Sharon, "I love that the whole family is involved." They are amazing and should be a sure thing to get into the Top 10 on America's Got Talent. 
  10. Professor Splash - Daredevil Diver - Denver, CO - Perched 70 feet above an 8 foot deep flaming tank of water, Professor Splash hit the water at 60 mph - and survived. Howie, "It was more exciting at half the height and with less water." Piers, "I kinda feel we've seen the best of the splash man." Sharon, "It's quite fantastic." I think he's taken his last dive on AGT.
  11. Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.  - Singer - Logan, WV - The real test of Landau's talent came when I went into the kitchen for a second while he was singing. I honestly thought I was listening to a Sinatra CD. He's so smooth. And the book completely belies the cover. Sharon, "It makes me feel so good every time you perform." Howie, "You deserve, with that performance, to be in the finals." Piers, "I don't think that was your best performance." 
  12. Silhouettes - Performance Art/Shadow Dancing - Denver, CO - A troupe that includes the youngest performer ever on America's Got Talent, 4 years-old, they were not as compelling as in previous performances. It was still good, but it didn't have the WOW factor. Piers, "It was good, but not great." Sharon, "Your act is endless. Your concepts can go on and on." And she's right. I hope America judges them on their body of work and not necessarily their last performance. 
As the show progresses and I'm making my notes, I put a star next to the acts that I think will move on. I came up with six and there are only five that can make it to the finals on America's Got Talent. In order of performance, here are my picks:
  • Fatally Unique - They have improved with every show. Their choreography has gotten more complex, faster and more aggressive. Their toughest competition in the dance category are the Miami All-Stars, who have incredible range. I don't see the West Springfield Dance Team holding up against these two.
  • Landon Swank - A magician has never won America's Got Talent. But Landon is one of the most unique magicians to come along in a while. His tricks have a style that is truly his own, which sets him apart from all of the others doing metamorphosis acts and disappearances. He'll wind up with a show somewhere, regardless if he wins this competition. 
  • Anna Graceman - This year's breakout star. She keeps turning it up a notch. Crowds love her and I think America does, too. She could come very close to going all the way. 
  • Smage Bros. Riding Show - Initially, I didn't think they could turn this into a full show. Could a crowd sit through an hour of roaring motorcycles? Maybe. Maybe not. They are phenomenal at what they do, however.
  • Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. - What can you say? To me, he's the most unique act on AGT. Would you ever imagine a black guy with dreadlocks who was working at a car wash in West Virginia to get up on stage and croon like Frank Sinatra - and nearly nail it perfectly every time? There is a slight phrasing style that Sinatra had that Landau has not picked up on yet. But his velvet voice gets the job done. His story and his talent could make him a favorite to win.
  • Silhouettes  - Their last performance was not WOW. Everything they have done so far has been WOW WOW. For the fans who tuned in for this last show, will they look at the body of work or will the last performance be the deciding factor? I'd hate to see them go because they have the potential to put on a full hour show and have it be very fascinating. To me, they're on the cusp of making the Top 10 on AGT. 
Tune in Wednesday night to see how the Top 10 on America's Got Talent rounds out.

All of the performers gave their all. Some failed, but some soared on America's Got Talent Semi-Finals #2 - Tuesday, August 30, 2011.

Photo by NBC-AGT

Related links:
AGT Website
AGT on Twitter
Nick Cannon on Twitter
Piers Morgan on Twitter
Howie Mandel on Twitter
Sharon Osbourne on Twitter

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2 comments:

  1. I think there was a lot of material last night that was too familiar.

    Fatally Unique does an asylum theme. It's not technically zombies, but the styling, make-up, dance moves are similar to West Springfield Dance Team - and both of these are just doing variations of Thriller. Even Summerwind jumpropers doing post-apocalyptic routine seems to fall in same category.

    Landon Swank does a 'only 1 of these 4 choices is safe' type routine which is similar to Frank Miles. Frank had acrobatics and a darkly comic fake-out. Landon's video was pre-recorded. He just dropped from behind the box that didn't blow up. Look for goggles when he dropped down. He wasn't wearing them in supposedly live video before. Landon will advance because he's good looking, though.

    Professor Splash is ridiculous. I defy anyone who watches the show to name 3 people they know who voted for that guy in the quarter finals. I can't and I know tons of people who watch and vote for all kinds of acts. Makes me wonder about the voting process. He was judges choice in quarter finals, but to get to that point, theoretically he would have had to have been at least 5th.

    I loved Anna Graceman. Liked Landau a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Excellent points. The ghouls should not return. West Springfield will never top Miami All-Stars.

    Yes, the Splash has done all he can do, unless he dives onto a big slab on concrete. ;)>

    ReplyDelete

You Just Have To Watch It. Absolutely Incredible !!!!!