After two surprisingly bad weeks, the producers appeared to stack the deck with too many good acts in one quarterfinal. I’m not sure this is a good thing for things to be so unbalanced. Did the producers know this ahead of time? I can’t imagine they’d do that on purpose. These acts just rose to the occasion the way others did not.
Which ones will make it through? Tough call this week. I am probably going to be way wrong on this but here are the four I think will get the votes: Professor Splash (because people might be curious to see what he does next), Lys Agnes (because opera is king on AGT), Monet (a back story overcomes so-so singing) and Seth Grabel (great magician).
If I’m wrong, I’m hoping Summerwind Skippers make it but they were the first act of the night, which does not help. And local act Captain & Maybelle showed real skill but is that vote worthy? There were two other music acts (POPLYFE and Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.) that did well, too, so they could sneak in. As for our own Sh’Boss Boys? No chance. Sorry, guys!
['UPDATE 7/27: I only got two out of four correct. I picked Monet for her back story more than her mediocre singing. I thought the magician was cool. Voters opted for POPLYFE, the band who sang Adele, and Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., the crooner. The folks in the poll here too loved both those acts. The two local acts didn't make the cut, no surprise.]
1) Summerwind Skippers (jump rope team) – Wow. Skipping rope is incredibly square but this team actually does some impressive acrobatics and makes no mistakes. Even skeptical Piers enjoyed it. Howie thinks it’s fun to see in a small dose but wonders if someone can watch this multiple times. Grade: A-minus
2) Sh’Boss Boys (kid rappers) – This Atlanta trio of five to seven years old is undeniably adorable. But the charm this time around is supplanted by the subpar dancing and singing. As Piers said, the rapping was better than the singing. Grade: B
3) Mauricio Herrera (cheeseball singer) – He’s a terrible singer and a cheeseball that makes Tom Jones seem like a class act in comparison. His cheesiness is why he is even in the top 48. I’d X him just for those leather pants and that hideous haircut. Grade: C
4) Seth Grabel (magician) – He frees himself from a straight jacket hovering over hot tar, then was “shot” out of a cannon into a tank of water. It was impressive. “The production value was incredible,” Sharon said. “Very dramatic.” Grade: A
5) PopLyfe (band) – They picked the already classic “Rolling in the Deep” and the lead singer simply lacks the edge and experience Adele has to lift it beyond merely good karaoke. “Best act of the night,” Howie said. “You just saw superstars!” Grade: B
6) Ian Johnson (yo yo act) – Yo yo tricks are great for street performers. On a big stage? Not so much. I understand why Piers X’ed him. He’s good but it simply doesn’t translate to the back of the room. “You gave it everything. You made yo yoing as exciting as you can make it. The problem is it’s still bloody boring,” Piers said. “I don’t think people are going to pay to watch that.” Grade: B-minus
7) Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. (standards singer) – I loved his earlier auditions. I wasn’t quite as enamored this time with his Frank Sinatra. But with his charm and humility, he’s good enough to make it to the top 16, given the relative weak pool of singers this year so far. Grade: B
8- Purrfect Angels (dance group) – I enjoyed it. Very clean, very creative. But it may lack the “wow” fact to draw votes. “I didn’t love the act,” Howie said, after making a Hooters comparison. “Here’s the problem,” Piers added. “It’s been an exceptional night for talent. I don’t honestly think you have a chance of getting through. I’d rather kill you with kindness. It was a terrific performance.” Grade: B-plus
9) Monet (singer) – This Charlotte, N.C. singer with a sad back story goes for a song called “Home.” She starts a bit weak, hits some nice notes, but misses a few, too. Her heart will generate some votes but it is a tough night. She would have had a better shot the first two weeks. “I see your potential,” Piers said. “This is probably as far as you can go in this competition.” Grade: B
10) Captain & Maybelle (circus act) – The judges all went crazy disgusted with this one. “How can you guys judge if you’re not looking?” Nick said. Captain hung items from his tongue. Maybelle did it through her nose. And then Captain hung hooks off his eyelids. Grotesque in the best sense of the word. Grade: B-plus
11) Lys Agnes (singer) – Like Monet, Lys has had tragedy her in life, a sob story AGT voters love. But she has an advantage: an operatic voice. AGT audiences love opera! Almost every year, an opera singer makes the top 4. I can’t say she has the power of Jackie Evansco, last year’s entry, and didn’t have that incredible “moment” that gets people on their feet.”It didn’t knock me out,” Piers said. “It didn’t move me.” But she’s a beauty and it’s not a stretch to say she’s in. Grade: B-plus
12) Professor Splash (diver) – He’s going to dive from 36 feet high into 12 inches of water. Does that make any sense? What a nut! “I was so scared. I would have lost my job but I wanted to scream, ‘Don’t do it!’ ” Howie said. “But how do you make that an hour?” True that. He promises to add fire. Grade: A-minus
By Rodney Ho, email@example.com, AJCRadioTV blog