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‘America’s Got Talent’ recap, third group of 12 quarterfinalists: diving to the occasion

These cute Atlanta boys who rap are aiming for the quarterfinals. CREDIT: NBC

These cute Atlanta boys who rap are aiming for the quarterfinals. CREDIT: NBC

Which acts will make it to the semifinals from week three? (Pick up to four)

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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

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By Rodney Ho, rho@ajc.com, AJCRadioTV blog

7 comments Add your comment

Wayne stuck in AL

July 27th, 2011
11:32 am

We need 2 Brits, a Canadian AND a Nick Cannon to tell us whether or not America’s Got Talent?

kreedham

July 27th, 2011
12:57 pm

You got it right. There are at least 2 acts that will go home tonight that are better than at least 2 of the winners from the last 2 weeks. I mean the Smage Bros are cool but it’s a one trick pony. They could have done a better job of grouping them.

Chris

July 27th, 2011
7:49 pm

Monet wasn’t “so-so singing”. She was just flat out terrible!

Big Tee

July 27th, 2011
10:09 pm

I’ve been a fan of AGT but this year, for some reason, the talent, for the most part, has been MIA. Between ‘The Voice’, ‘American Idol’, ‘America’s Best Dance Crew’ and the upcoming ‘X Factor’, you’re not going to have really good talent wanting to be on AGT. Two years after winning ABDC and AI folks will still remember who won those talent shows. How many folks even remember who won AGT last year?

RuthieB

July 28th, 2011
3:29 pm

So how come it seems that a lot of talent that should have make it to this stage was left behind in Vegas?

John Klawitter

July 29th, 2011
9:40 pm

I’m afraid you are going to be eating a lot of crow in your assessment of Landau. The fact that you do reviews for a living makes it somewhat inexcusable in my eyes. Who at the judges panel or in the audience wasn’t gushing after his last performance. His singing was magnificent as he started out softly and let it build. His movement on stage was everything you would want from a crooner and his voice is about a pure as they come. I’m not an aging grandpa as you might think and I have not been a lifelong Sinatra fanatic. That you are unable to recognize the brilliance I find amusing. All I can say is wait just a few weeks and see what happens, because, I for one, believe I foresee the final outcome. I saw it last year from the first moment that Michael Grimm opened his mouth with a voice that had the quality of Al Green and Otis Redding put together. Same thing goes this year for Landau. He’s no Sinatra karaoke act. He’s got something in his voice that is most rare and, whereas, others like you who have mistaken his subsequent performances as being weaker than the first, that’s only because you’re failing to recognize the artfulness of his interpretation. It’s not Sinatra, but rather an amazing interpretation of one of his songs. You won’t remember this response when Landau accepts first place in the final and you won’t remember this response 15 years from now when Landau sells his umpteen millionth record, but on those occasions, I’ll remember your review with a harty chuckle.

WIll M

August 3rd, 2011
11:09 am

I think overall your comments are spot on. Some of the acts weren’t that entertaining. I thought Landau was weaker but still my favorite from this group.