'America's Got Talent' Top 10: Team iLuminate, Landon Swank kill it
1. Miami All Stars
Tonight they've gone with a football theme. Hmm. It made them feel more like a football halftime performance than a ballroom dancing troupe. It was still good and there was still all the tricks we're used to, but it just felt ... off. The drummers and basket tosses and the silly mascot didn't work for me. I 'm not sure totally how to describe it, but I think Miami All Stars just blew it from advancing to the Top 5 (not that I thought they were one of the favorites anyway). I agree with Piers that it became a cheerleading act.
2. Lys Agnes
Oh wow, Lys' mom is super pretty, love the old picture of her. In her package when she says she's going "nontraditional," I get worried. Messing with what works at this stage is not usually the answer. As the strains of Aerosmith's "Dream On" kick up, I get even more nervous. And then a very thick drag queen-y voice comes out of her. It takes me awhile to decide if I like it, but I have to say - no. I don't. This is weird, it's off-putting and she sounds like a male Cher impersonator and her last high note is off pitch. I'm very disappointed, I think that was a silly risk to take on her part. With her good looks, sad story and emotional opera performances, she was a shoo-in for Top 5 and I think she just blew it. Honestly, I think the only thing that will save her is Piers' critique. He's the Simon - his critiques can make or break you.
3. Landon Swank
Tonight he's got "I Don't Wanna Be" playing while he does close-up magic in an apartment set. It's ... hmm. It's sexy and very TV friendly, but a little slow. Until he puts his hand into a glass fish tank and vanishes a goldfish. Wow, that was cool. The end was awesome. I hope it's enough, I really like him. He admits after that this is the first time that trick has worked the way it's supposed to - props to him for attempting a trick he wasn't sure would work.
4. Anna Graceman
She's singing "True Colors" and I about lose my mind right from the opening bars. I love this song. I wish she was playing along, this has a pretty piano part. But anyway, it starts off nice and low-key, which is good because it builds to the part where she starts futzing with the melody line (in a good way). I liked it. I didn't love it. Here's why - this song has a beautiful piano part and do you remember how Simon would always talk about having your "moment" on "Idol"? The moment where we could see the person in the finals? I think Anna missed her moment. I think she should've been at a piano, no back-up singers, no guitar, no video of the tree in the background. Just stripped down, beautiful voice, beautiful piano and we're all crying out eyes out. That would've been amazing. As it was, it was still good - but good, not great.
I'm doing pretty well during their video package until the leader talks about how she can't have kids, but when they call her mom, her life is fulfilled. And then I'm crying. Geez. The call tonight is "I Believe" and a bit of a retread of their America performance from two times ago but it seems to be one man's journey interspersed with America imagery. Um ... it's OK. It seems more thrown together than in past weeks, but they did only have a week to prepare. The man's journey and the random America images didn't really gel, but since we all know how the voting goes on this show, I would expect them to be here next week.
The judges go nuts over it and Piers talks about being proud to be an American, but I honestly thought it was a little ham-fisted. The man's journey had nothing to do with the White House, the Space Shuttle and the Moon Landing, unless we're suppose to think this nameless protagonist did all those things? Hmmm.
OK, clearly I have just lost my mind and am reading way too much/expecting way too much from "America's Got Talent," but I'm just saying what I felt.
6. Smage Bros. Riding Show
How many times can I say they need more room? I just don't even think we're seeing their best stuff in this small of a space. Tonight they have assembled a collection of colorful ramps. I just don't think this will advance. I'm fairly bored watching little Trey run around the stage and have the bikes jump him for two minutes.
This week they've gone with the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There," "I Want You Back" and "The Love You Save." The slow opening is gorgeous. Kelani gives me goosebumps. Then the fast part kicks up and her dancing is fabulous, what a fun choice. Vocally, the verses are really rushed. I appreciate that it's more up-tempo then the 70s version, but they could've slowed down just a touch. Then "The Love You Save" is not the song I would'v ended with, just because it's less well known. I would've ended with "ABC." Anyway, it was fun, Kelani sounded great and my only criticism is that it was a juuuust a little too fast.
8. West Springfield Dance Team
The story tonight are these Gentlemen-from-'Buffy'-looking vampires chasing a pretty blonde girl in a white dress. The beginning is very creepy. The middle gets a little slow, but the moves are cool. Piers buzzes them, but I think he's just expecting something super fast. I'm actually kinda digging the slower feel and the ending is super creepy, when the head vampire kills two other vampires by thrusting his hand through their chests. The judges are not complimentary, but I think they're a bit hard on the dance team. I don't think they'll advance necessarily, but I thought it was OK.
Piers pulls one of those "Idol" judge things that also infuriates me where he tells them they should've gone non-horror tonight to show their range. But Miami All Stars went outside-the-box and got slammed for it. They tell people to change it up, but honestly? Changing up from what you do best is usually a killer. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn't. I don't think West Springfield was nearly as lame as the judges made it sound.
9. Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.
Tonight he's got a full band backing him on "Ain't That a Kick in the Head" and I just cannot get over how much he sounds like Ol' Blue Eyes or Dean Martin or whoever. You guys, it's crazy! I have nothing new to say! He's wonderful, he's charming and I think he's very talented, even he keeps doing the same thing every week. This week he had some moves! I want to see him advance. *shrugs*
10. Team iLuminate
The creator who runs the computer is dancing with them this week, which is cool. What tells me a lot about how cool their routine was this week - it was over and I hadn't written a thing about the performance because I was completely transfixed. I can't really describe all the awesome effects, but it was so visually stunning. It was also much more dance-centric this week, which was neat. Loved the Nuttin but Stringz music too.
So who should advance? If I had my way, it'd be Anna Graceman, Landon Swank, POPLYFE, Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. and Team iLuminate. Except only four advance, so .... gun to my head ... Anna doesn't make it.
But are those the four who WILL advance? I don't know. Silhouettes and their "Proud to Be An American" imagery might bump someone.
What say you, AGT fans?