Piers, Sharon, and the Hoff are back criss-crossing the
country in search of million-dollar talent.
Chico Alexander, Jason Block, Don Harpwood & Gordon Pepper, GSNN
Scott St. John
FremantleMedia North America
CBS Television City, Los
9p Tues & Wed, NBC
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So we've seen our 48 acts (which are now
down to 20) and our first group of 10 semi-finalists are here to wow us.
They have all learned from their first time on the show and are ready to
step up their game today, right? RIGHT? We'll see about that...
Before we start this week on the MOST WATCHED SHOW OF THE SUMMER (just
reminding certain people that some humans do watch this. Still love ya,
Cindy), here are some rules that the acts who will be performing in the
semis should have learned.
1. Do something different. The audience wants to see what else you got.
2. Make it bigger and better. The stakes are raised. Your game must be
3. Remind us what brought you here. You have 105 seconds. No second
chances. Go hard or go home..
4. There better be music involved. 90% of the acts that advance in this
round are music-based.
Oh one more thing. 10 acts perform. Only 4 acts get in through the
finals (3 via vote, 1 via judges). It just got harder. Who advances?
Let's start off with Acrodunk, the high-flying
basketball-shooting act. One guy met his long-lost father because of the
show. AwwwBarf. The group raises their game and promises fire. Will they
fire up America to vote for them?
The Good: They do add to their repertoire with some dancing. The group
is technically clean, as they hit every dunk and successfully pass
through the ring of fire.
The Bad: Due to the injuries suffered by the group during the
rehearsals, you could noticeably tell that the act was easier. The
person shooting through the ring of fire was nice, but the pace was
slower, there were less dunks, and the dancing was sub-par at best.
The Verdict: It was a fun act and a nice way to start the show. Now it's
time for reality to set in - this round is where the music acts
obliterate the non-music ones. Fortunately for them, there will be a
spot available for a non-music act, but we'll see if they are good
enough to grab it.
The Texas Tenors were surprised to get to the next round. (I'm
not, because I called them in, but whatever). The Hoff told the Tenors
to sing a ballad to the ladies - advice they will be taking. Will the
advice pay off?
The Good: It's definitely a musical improvement from the cheese-fest
that we saw from them with 'G-d Bless America'. Marcus (the blonde) has
got the charisma to be a chick magnet. And the Texas Cowboy gear added
to their look.
The Bad: I was ready to buzz them the second the harp showed up.
'Unchained Melody' is one of the most played out songs ever and I didn't
need to hear it again. I also didn't need to hear the discordance
between the lead blonde singer (who sang in one tone) and the 2 back-ups
(who sang in a completely different tone).
The Verdict: As you can tell, my ears were looking for a righteous
melody and got a tonal mess. They do seem to be a crowd pleaser though,
and it won't shock me if they got in. It depends on what the other 8
acts do this evening.
Paradizo Dance want to carry one million dollars in one hand and
a hot, steaming curling iron in the other. Unfortunately, David (the
tall bulky male) burnt it. Ouch. The duo did a routine that features
donut cleaning, sheet dancing and bedroom mischief, culminating in Zoe
(the small petite female) monkey tossing David into trash and them
winding up in bed together. Can they add America as their bedfellows?
The Good: I completely disagree with the judges on the style of act. The
group had to come out with a different style to show their diversity,
and the light, poppy feel was a lot of fun to watch.
The Bad: However, I agree with the judges that there were too many
elements that didn't need to be there (David munching on donuts, the
sheets which looked less like dancing and more like flailing, the bridal
gown scene where Zoe couldn't get her veil to fit) and not enough of the
main element that really needed to be there - mainly, Zoe picking up
David and throwing him around like a rag doll. I know the injury plays a
part, but at this stage of the game, you have to suck it up, buttercup.
The Verdict: I liked the act better than the judges did. The act itself
was a great idea, but it wasn't executed to it's fullest. That could
cost them tomorrow.
Drew Thomas has the honor of having his daughter watch and
participate in the creation of his act. Drew says the next routine is
personal. Can he make the magic bigger and better than last time?
The Good: Drew incorporates his daughters memories into his act. We had
girls popping out of nowhere, and his daughter showing up as the lady
after the act was a nice touch...
The Bad: ...but not when you are trying to win a million dollars. I 100%
agree with Piers, who buzzed them. Out of all of the acts, Drew Thomas
was the person that had to step up his game and go forwards. Instead, he
went dutifully backwards, giving us an act that we've seen before at a
slower pace than how a magic act should be going. Using the daughter is
a good idea, but you had to use her in a high energy impact act, and not
something that makes me yearn for the time that I was able to use my
remote to flip the channel instead of being stuck watching this for 90
The Verdict: Unless the other acts tank royally (which I don't see
happening), I see the audience creating their own magic act and showing
us how to make Drew Thomas disappear.
Sharon Osbourne got a lot of grief advancing Tony Hoard and Rory.
Me and Piers will continue to give her grief. And as a result of Sharon
advancing Tony, he lost his job.
The Good: Since apparently a dog act wasn't entertaining enough by
itself, we got dancers and a DJ. Tony incorporated the surrounding
people and environment effectively to make a much more compelling act
than the error-fest we saw in Round 1.
The Bad: Unlike Sharon, I did see Rory err on a few tricks, including
him missing Tony's cue for a cha cha and completely blowing the final
stunt. And the hideous sparkling outfit on Rory made it look like Tony
covered in Saran Wrap and was preparing to be steamed for 45 minutes and
served to a family of 6. Canine Casserole, anyone?
The Verdict: The good news is that Tony redeemed himself quite nicely.
Now the bad news: 1. No act that's been saved by the judges have ever
advanced to the next round and 2. Tony's act isn't strong enough to
break that trend. After Tony doesn't advance tomorrow, he needs to hope
Sharon can use her prowess to get him a job somewhere in California.
The Voices of Glory are back to impress. Nadia was the star of
the act. Can they ride on her coattails with "Anytime You Need a Friend"
and get to the finals?
The Good: Nadia has a great voice. We need to hear more of that. I look
forward to what she can do.
The Bad: What were the trio told by Piers? Incorporate more of Nadia
into the act. So what do they do? They attempt a very pitchy duo between
the two guys, reduced Nadia to a cameo and only had a segment of them
singing together in harmony. That was a horrible choice of strategy
which exploited the guys lack of vocals.
The Verdict: I had them as a lock to go to the finals. I no longer have
them as a lock. I do think they get in, but only because they are lucky
enough to be in this bracket and not in the much tougher bracket we're
going to see next week.
The Fab Five are back to impress. They were able to bring their
father (which unlike Tony Hoard, was apparently able to get the work
time off) to watch their drum cadet style to the tunes of Destiny's
Child's 'Lose My Breath'. Can they make America lose theirs?
The Good: From a technical aspect, that was an amazing performance. It
is ridiculously difficult to not only clog, but to do it with the arm
choreography featuring cymbals and drumsticks they incorporated. It was
an amazingly clean performance.
The Bad: From a visual standpoint, if I'm a layperson, I think they took
a step back. They didn't, but they didn't come out with the flash they
had as fire fighters from the first round. Fro a layperson's
perspective, we saw the same act that we saw last time, just with less
props and less flash, and you don't want to give that impression at this
stage of the game.
The Verdict: If they make it in 4th or 5th, the judges will advance them
through. Will they have enough votes to do that? I think they have a
Last time we saw Grandma Lee, she brought the funny and the boxer
shorts. Can she bring more punch lines?
The Good: I think it was very smart to go after Barack Obama and the
stimulus package. It was also smart to see Piers' boxers to make a
reappearance. And the smartest move: it was great to see her bring out
new material and be just as funny with that as the old material.
The Bad: I don't think it was smart to go after a fellow contestant
(Kevin Skinner), because should the audience be offended, they could
turn on her in a hurry. I also think the boxer shorts make her look fat.
The Verdict: I don't think she will be penalized too severely on the
Kevin Skinner jokes. I think she's a lock to get into the finals.
Arcadian Broad needs to up his game, and he knows it. So he (or a group
of producers, depdending on what you thought of Arcadian) brought a
bunch of friends with him (and a female sidekick) to spike up his act.
Will that be enough to get to the finals?
The Good: He did raise the bar. With the dance group, Arcadian has
showed us that in 5 or so years, he could be - and should be - a dance
phenom. I can see him get a group together and be noticed on America's
Best Dance Crew.
The Bad: I actually thought that what he brought in detracted from the
act. What made him different was his classical/ballet techniques. Now
with a group, it felt like it was just another dance act which made it
generic. And a special boo to the producers if they made Arcadian
perform with that group in that song (which they probably did).
The Verdict: I understand Arcadian's frustration if the producers wanted
him to go High School Musical, but Arcadian needs to be the person to
step up and take control and not listen to the producers - which
admittedly, is tough to do as a 13 year old. But in the end, it's his
career that's at stake, and it's his appearances on the show that's
going to end tomorrow when the results are announced.
Is Kevin Skinner the man to beat in the competition? Piers thinks
so. Kevin doesn't, but he hopes his dad is watching him perform 'Always
On My Mind'
The Good: Kevin has a boatload of charisma. What he lacks in polish he
more than makes up for in emotional conveyance. He does sing from the
heart and I think most aspiring singers need to move to Kentucky and
take emoting lessons.
The Bad: Unfortunately in Kentucky, they don't give lessons in pitch
(flatter than a nail-filled tire) or lyrics (more mangled than a snowman
caught in a clothes dryer).
The Verdict: The producers gave him the pimp spot for a reason. He's not
going anywhere and like Piers, I also think he's the slight favorite to
win the whole thing.
Overall: It was a fun night of acts. Some people raised their game while
others went backwards. But I think the status quo is going to hold and
the favorites will move on. Who do I think they are?
Voices of Glory
Judges Choice: Fab Five Vs. Texas Tenors: Fab Five Advances.
Join us next time to see who gets in.
To see tonight's episode in its entirety,
or to apply to be a contestant on the next season, go to