Quarterfinals Round 3
So the first 2 weeks of performances have
been somewhat less than awe-inspiring. Will this week be any better?
Or by the end of the episode will we be pining for Boy Britney and
Leonid the Magnificent?
There's no special guests this week. Just
me. So let's get started with The FootworKINGz, who represent
with some fierce dancing moves. The lead dancer turned his ankle
during the performance, but the show must go on. Will it?
The Good: The face paint is nice. They had cool green sneakers.
They had funky glow in the dark chest plates, which haven't seen
The Bad: The problem here is that the moves were sloppy and not
on point, the dancing was not in unison, and the last move (where the
guy's supposed to land on his feet and not on his fanny) was botched.
And the reason why I haven't seen the lime green sneakers and the glow
in the dark chest plates before wearing them in the dark, it makes you
look like a glow in the dark 1980's new wave cockroach.
The Verdict: SQ Entertainment (Status Quo, who came in second
during season #1 of America's Got Talent) did not get past the first
round because they didn't tell a story and they were more scary than
substance. The FootworKINGz did, in effect, the same style act, with
even less storyline and more gimmicks. They could be squished like a
bug in a rug.
Next up: Marcus Terrell and the Serenades, who haven't been
serenading for too long together. The judges told Marcus to get some
new Serenades. Can the new background girls take Marcus to the
The Good: The background singers are definitely more improved.
They seem more unified. And Marcus blasted one heck of a money note at
the end of the song.
The Bad: The issues I have with the act aren't with The
Serenades - they are with Marcus. He was very pitchy for the first 80%
of the song. There's also no emotional connect with the song - I know
he was working the song, but the lack of facial expressions and making
love with the camera made it feel like it was being sung by the
The Verdict: This performance made me wonder how the judges
liked him more than Charles DeWayne last week. However, he had a very
good song choice which should cater to an older voting audience. If no
one sings lights out tonight, he has a legitimate shot to advance.
Pixie Mystere is not your ordinary group of 11 year olds. They
combine dancing, gymnastics and contortion. Their next routine
promises to be a lot harder. Can they pull it off?
The Good: Now this is what I'm talking about. The song matched
the choreography. The dancing matched the rhythm. The moves were more
athletic than anything we've seen from any of the other groups
together. The contortions were cleverly placed in the musical piece as
well. And the music was an older styled-piece, which is perfect for
the voting audience.
The Bad: Eventually, sometime this season, I'll see a dance act
that can form a perfect symmetrical line when they do a line
assembling. No one has done it yet, and the Pixies didn't do it
The Verdict: This is the best dance act that I have seen during
the first round. They put together a story through dance. They have a
great shot to advance and I think the FootworkKINGZ could be upended
by a group of 11 year olds.
Jay Mattioli has been given a second chance after being told no
by the judges, who know magic as well as they know mom and apple pie.
Jay creates an American flag and a puppy in a box. Did he create
The Good: I liked the music. The ladies were hot. The dog was
cute. The acts were cute.
The Bad: Jay got buzzed by both Piers and Sharon because he
brought a bunch of small tricks to the party. I understand that Jay
may not have a lot of money, but after seeing what Drew Thomas did
during his first round performance with a construction set (which I'm
sure the producers helped him finance), Jay had to be thinking bigger
than a bunch of parlor tricks featuring America and a cute dog.
The Verdict: If you have one shot to wow America, you have to
go full force and not give a small safe set of tricks. What did Jay in
was not the lack of money, but the lack of imagination. On Wednesday,
Jay's going to see his chances of winning the money disappear.
BRI is looking to be the first teenage singer to move on to the
next round. The 17 year old bring her piano to the party - but will it
be festive or somber?
The Good: Talk about making a song your own. She takes Lady
Gaga's 'Poker Face' and turns it into an old piano standard. Wow. Like
Marcus, she nailed the money note. Unlike Marcus, her facial
expressions showed her complete devotion and soul being poured into
the song. Very nice job.
The Bad: Bri was a little off-pitch during the a capella
version of the song, which scared me at the beginning. What scared me
even more were the face-painted card dancers, who should forget
dancing and should instead star as Jigsaw's henchmen in the upcoming
Saw VI (VI VI)
The Verdict: We finally get a kiddie singer that relies less on
cute and cloying and more on talent. Bri took a major risk on the
song, and I think she gets rewarded by a spot on next week's show.
Who's up for some more dancing? The U4RIA Dance Crew get
brought back for their second chance, amidst the judges saying no and
some inside squabbling. Can they get their act together?
The Good: They told a very original story that you haven't seen
before in America's Got Talent. The outfits were great, and the
dancing, though not technically done as well as the other groups
tonight, brought the energy and fun to the party.
The Bad: I didn't like the song selection. I don't know why you
had to stick Michael Jackson and Rhianna in the middle of the set. And
although this set was something that we haven't seen before on AGT,
it's not the first time we've seen this specific dance set up - Kaba
Modern did it, and did it better, during season one of America's Best
The Verdict: This is far and away the best Wild Card group that
we've seen. However, this dance crew got stuck in a dance-laden
bracket and I don't see America voting for 2 crews to get in. I could
see them sneaking in via the judges Wild Card. Why? Because the judges
do have to justify Simon Cowell's choice of bringing in 8 Wild Card
groups, which so far have been less wild and more sleep-inducing.
Dave Johnson. A man and his guitar. He gets in via a song about
David Hasselhoff. Can he be the next Tom Paxton? Or will he be the
next Tiny Tim?
The Good: He does a song about love and the Golden Girls. I
thought it was unique and original, with the cartoons flashing behind
The Bad: The problem is that he ran out of gas. The song just
wasn't funny enough. If you're doing something original and funny, you
have to pack a punch at the beginning of the song and then build from
there. The song felt like an 800 pound polar bear tip toeing across a
muddy mountain ridge. It's funny at first, but once the bear slips a
little, the mudball rolls down the mountain and winds up splattering
everyone in it's path.
The Verdict: Sharon herself said that comedy folk music is not
her thing. We're going to find out if it's the audience's sort of
thing. I actually found it entertaining, and if enough folk and Dr.
Demento fans felt the same way, we could have a major upset brewing.
The second half begins with Hairo Torres who is a one man dance
act. Can his dance act overwhelm the other 3 dance acts we've seen so
far this evening?
The Good: It's a very fun story, with Hairo being tormented by
classmates. He spins around and makes some nice sweet moves, featuring
him kick-standing off a wall, landing in a split and being dropped on
said split on the floor.
The Bad: It took us way too long to get to the fun choreography
in the set. He took a good 30 seconds to get to the real dancing, and
he lost some audience before he got there. The fact that he was that
good also exploited how not-so-good everyone else was.
The Verdict: He reminds me of Jon Cruz when he was on Star
Search and won $100,000 as an individual dancer. Cruz then gets with
SuperCr3w and wins America's Best Dance Crew. If Torres was on Week #1
or #2, he gets in, but this week, people brought in their A game and I
don't think America votes in more than 1 dance group. However, I think
that he's got a great future ahead of him and I think he needs to use
this opportunity to make some contacts and hook up with another dance
crew out there, then get on ABDC. That team would automatically be a
force to be reckoned with.
Next up, it's a bunch of hamsters...oh wait, it's not THAT sort of
G-Force? Guess not. Will they be as successful as the hamster
movie with Katy Perry's 'Hot N Cold'?
The Good: I give them credit for being a young rock group. The
quitars were in sync and the drums were strong and on point.
The Bad: However, being fair here, my eardrums wanted to go to
Katy Perry's house, find the rest of her material, and cover it with
sludge. Piers buzzed them for good reason, and when answering Nick's
question of 'What sort of ogre buzzes 3 young girls?' with 'An honest
ogre', it cements Piers' credibility. Their vocals were much stronger
on the audition, while this time around, the voices sounded closer to
the G-Force hamsters.
The Verdict: It's an honor they got this far. Now it's time for
reality to set in. They are not going to get the kiddie vote (which
goes to Bri) or the sympathy vote (which goes to Dave Johnson). But I
do agree with the Hoff that they have a musical career ahead of them.
Jeffrey Ou is shy and awkward, until it comes to a piano. The
judges, although wowed by his piano playing, want him to go
contemporary. Can he achieve it without turning into a fondue pot
filled with cheese?
The Good: He starts with a little Cannon in D by Pachelbel,
then moves into Elton John territory with 'Saturday Night's Alright
for Fighting' dancing ladies. I loved the classical music playing part
of the routine.
The Bad: And this is really bad - the microphone conked out so
you couldn't hear the piano during the Elton John part due to
technical difficulties, thanks to the dancing ladies. However, a
greater problem to me is not the technical difficulty, but the choice
of song itself. Bri's 'Poker Face' rendition from Lady Gaga was
contemporary. Elton John is NOT contemporary, unless Ou is spending
most of his post high-school activities in a 1970's piano bar.
The Verdict: The problem to me wasn't the microphone. The
problem was that he was placed on the same show as Bri, who
outperformed him via a combination of both singing and piano playing.
However, the malfunction is going to spark America to vote for him,
and I think he finds a way to sneak in the Top 5.
Now Mario and Jenny also hang out with musical instruments, but
they are more specialized in destroying them. Can they take their
performance to the limit?
The Good: They start by setting guitars on fire (which aptly
describes my thoughts on G-Force's performance) and then juggles them.
They also spin a fiery cube of death, complete with dancing. They took
all of the elements that Leonid the Magnificent did, but they did them
well and showed them how to do it.
The Bad: Like Hairo, it took us way too long to get to the
sweet spot of the act. Their should have been less parading around and
more act to see. If you break it down, we only saw dancing, guitars on
fire and a juggling cube. There should have been more act to fit in
during that time.
The Verdict: This is a perfect Las Vegas show...as an opener to
whoever wins the show. I think they did as good as they could do in
that genre. The only problem is that America doesn't vote in said
genre and is more likely to put in an undeserving singer. And this
week, unfortunately for them, has been loaded with good acts. If they
were in week 1 or 2, they have a legitimate shot to get in, but I
think they are a casualty this week.
Finally, Lawrence Beamen takes the stage with 'You Are So
Beautiful'. Will America find him just as beautiful?
The Good: He's technically sound in terms of hitting the pitch
and the emotional timbre of the song. His stage presence was also
electrifying. And him praising everyone at the end of the song makes
him look humble, which makes America wantt to vote for him even more.
The Bad: We've heard this song done thousands of times (most
recently by Danny Gokey in American Idol 7) and in this version, I
didn't feel the emotional fire like I have with other singers. I
definitely wasn't feeling the backstage dancer, who looked more like
the was performing to a stripper pole behind her.
The Verdict: I actually liked Marcus Terrell better than
Lawrence. The problem Marcus is going to have is that Lawrence was
better technically and he got the 12th and final spot to play. I think
Lawrence is a lock to advance.
Overall: Easily the best of the audition weeks. It's going to
be very tough to get your five, and I could easily see me getting 2 or
1 right here. However, that's what makes it fun. Here's what I got:
Judges Choice: Dave Johnson Vs. U4RIA Dance Crew - U4RIA Dance Crew
That's what I think. Join us in 24 hours to see how right (or wrong) I
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