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‘America’s Got Talent’ recap, semifinals part 2: going out with a bang!

Sillhouettes closed out "America's Got Talent" Tuesday night. CREDIT: NBC

Sillhouettes closed out "America's Got Talent" Tuesday night. CREDIT: NBC

Which were your top 5 acts (pick up to 5)

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We are now close to the finals and these semi-final acts are all pretty darn good. Tonight, there wasn’t a true dog in the bunch. It’s going to be interesting to see who makes the final five to add on to last week’s five.

My guess of the top five are: Landon Swank, because he pulled off a great magic trick; Anna Graceman, because she is a cute kid who can sing; Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., because he has heart and croons Sinatra well; Smage Brothers Riding Show, because they pulled off so many dangerous acts in such a short amount of time and in such a tight space; and Sillhouettes, who benefit from a gimmicky concept, oodles of adorable kid dancers and the pimp spot.

[UPDATE 8/31/11: I got all five correct! Woohoo, as Kinetic King might say!]

I personally loved Steven Retchless but I think there is a group of people who think like Piers and he may fall just short of the necessary votes. Fatally Unique could sneak through over Smage Brothers.

Gymkana and Summerwind Skippers messed up. Kinetic King and Professor Splash are too one note. Snap Boogie didn’t bring out his best.

Here are my grades in order of appearance:

1. Kinetic King (strange novelty act)  -This guy is a bit of a freak but in a good way. His act of fancy dominoes is pretty much the same concept each time. This one was a bit quicker and slicker. It’s executed well. Will he make the top 10? I’m surprised he even made it this far. Grade: B

2. Fatally Unique (dance group) -  A cool “Silence of the Lambs” feel, intense dancing and dark atmospherics make this a good act, even if the actual technical execution is not at all clean. Grade: B-plus

3. Landon Swank (magician) – He’s done some good tricks and this was a foregone conclusion but executed flawlessly. It was brilliant to include the judges in pushing buttons that explode three boxes, while he’s in the fourth. He earned a top 10 spot for sure. Grade: A

4. Gymkana (gymnastics act) – This YouTube act has some amazing gymnasts and they tried to up their game with the fire ring but it backfired literally when one of the gymnasts knocked the ring down. And as Sharon said, no personality either. Game over. Grade: B-minus

5. Summerwind Skippers (jump-rope act) – I have enjoyed these guys from day one. This one didn’t quite work. There were some cool moves but they did botch a couple of moves in the end. The difficulty level is extremely high so I give them that. But I doubt they’ll be able to make it to the finals. Grade: B

6. Snap Boogie (dancer) – He is an exceptionally fun street dancer. But this routine was a bit off. I agree with Piers. The choreography wasn’t up to par. It simply was okay. Grade: B

7. Anna Graceman (singer) – AGT loves opera singers and kid singers, which is why last year,  Jackie Evancho almost won.  Anna has a singer songwriter vibe, though. She opts for Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home.” It starts strong while working the piano but when she stood up, I felt she lost a bit of her vocal control. It felt strained to me by the end, not sincere. Grade: B-plus

8. Steven Retchless (pole dancer) – Piers can’t stand this guy but I have always found him elegant and mesmerizing to watch. Again, I thought this was another fine performance. The stair stepping on the pole was very cool. He also brought in two female pole dancers. It worked. Grade: A-minus

9. Smage Brothers Riding Show (motorcycle show) – They are a stupendously good circus act and the uni-motorcycle was delightful. The danger level was high, too, which added an element of tension. Grade: A-minus

10. Professor Splash (shallow diver) – When in doubt, bring on the fire! It didn’t work for Summerwind Skippers. This dude is a great circus act, too. He simply jumps ridiculous lengths into shallow water. He plunged 70 feet at 60 miles an hour into an eight-foot pool filled with fire-lit water. He milked it by staying under the water awhile but burst out, no problemo. Grade: B-plus

11. Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. (singer) – He decided to take on his idol Frank Sinatra and pulled it off. He has finesse, he has passion, he has the voice and demographically for “AGT,” a perfect fit. Grade: A

12. Silhouettes (sillhouette dancers) – They went for another high concept, the creation of the Earth. But this one didn’t really work well. The creation of the tree was cool but the planet portion was a mess. Grade: B-minus

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

23 comments Add your comment

Jim Listens

August 31st, 2011
5:24 am

What is the format after the top 10 are announced? Do they go to four and then one?

kreedham

August 31st, 2011
7:37 am

Went to Cirque de Soliel last weekend. They had jump ropers that blew away Summerwind Skippers. Hope KK makes it because the finals trick has to be the biggest. Landon Murphy was great and so was Anna Graceman. finals should be good…hard to pick a winner.

Harriett

August 31st, 2011
8:17 am

I like Steve, too, Rodney. I think it would be so cool if he made the cut. Love Landau and Landon, too.

Rodney Ho

August 31st, 2011
9:13 am

There will be 10 next week, then cut to four or five for the finale on Sept. 14.

Jay

August 31st, 2011
9:47 am

I don’t know what to say about this…but I like Steve

http://www.thajayspot.com check us out

Cindy

August 31st, 2011
9:48 am

Landau entertains me every time Love his voice. I’d love to see him go all the way and win this one.

richard belmar

August 31st, 2011
10:29 am

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. all the way… lets face facts vages has no frank sanatra…robert goulet is no longer there….and tony bennet is on his way out only one man can carry on the legacy….

Rickster

August 31st, 2011
12:50 pm

Kinetic King: Woo hoo!

Fatally Unique: I like West Springfield Dance better

Landon Swank: GREAT illusion. But I kept waiting for the hologram to say “Help us, Obi Wan. You’re our only hope.” Not sure those were “high explosives” – but they did give a bang.

Gymkana: Agree with Piers. Got monotonous after a bit.

Summerwind Skippers: Unfortunately the two goofs will likely cost them a top 5.

Snap Boogie: Can take it or leave it.

Anna Graceman: Not great… but good enough to make the Top 10.

Steven Retchless: Nope. Not for me/

Smage Brothers Riding Show: Other than the motors… there’s not much difference and the bike-riding guy from last year.

Professor Splash: I still think they put him in to see him kill himself for great ratings.

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.: Fun to watch & listen to. Definitely a Top 5 candidate.

Silhouettes: Couldn’t read the third word they created: “Earth” – “The” and… ? Not as good as their previous outings but still a good act.

Thebe

August 31st, 2011
12:50 pm

I put in 40 votes for Landau … but had to give Landon at least 10. I would have split it more, but I was so afraid that Piers comment would have hurt Landau. I absolutely love that guy. When he sings I hold my heart and fall in love. Landon was great too. He also has it all to carry on the David Copperfield finesse. He has the looks and the showmanship. Retchless, I’m sorry, but that last act didn’t impress me like his last. Not sure what happened there … I expected more in choreography because of his dance experience.

kollin

August 31st, 2011
12:52 pm

i don’t get the comparision of Landau to Frank Sinatra. Sinatra was more than just that voice, it was his stage presence, his charisma, there is a smooth vibe to his singing and the way he moves. Landau has none of that, only the voice, and there are many many Sinatra impostors out there that can sing like him.

alknows

August 31st, 2011
1:28 pm

The pole dancer blew it by sharing the stage. He went from a solo act to one of a troupe. Snap Boogie had the same problem I felt.

kreedham

August 31st, 2011
1:31 pm

Final Five…..Lys Agnes, Pop Lyfe, Landon Eugene Murphy, Iluminate and Silhouettes…subject to change

cupcake

August 31st, 2011
2:25 pm

I totally agree with kreedham….I think Landau will take it all though.

Dancer

August 31st, 2011
3:37 pm

There was entirely too much copycatting last night on AGT. Fatally Unique did an insane asylum theme. Not exactly zombies, but the styling, make-up, dance moves are similar to West Springfield Dance Team – and both of these are just doing variations of Thriller. Even Summerwind jumpropers doing post-apocalyptic routine seems to fall in same category. I think Fatally Unique are better dancers than West Springfield, though. But neither of them as as technically good as Miami All Stars.

Yeah, Landon the magician is attractive. But Frank Miles did a better version of Russian Roulette in the Las Vegas round.

Dancer

August 31st, 2011
3:38 pm

What did the Silhouettes spell out? Wasn’t ‘legible’, lol.

Livingdu

August 31st, 2011
4:04 pm

I consider an acts that can possibley be a winner with the ability to put on a good show

Smokey's Mom

August 31st, 2011
4:11 pm

My prayers for much success are with Landau. He’s an amazing and unexpected talent who never fails to deliver. He deserves to win not only because of his beautiful voice, but also because of his strong desire and ability to hold on to his dream despite overwhelming odds. Go Landau!

Sunshine

August 31st, 2011
4:17 pm

Rodney, you ain’t see the right pole dancer yet. Let me take you around town and show you the real talent on a pole. Your grade to follow: A+ + + + + +

Snap Boogie Fan!

August 31st, 2011
6:44 pm

I know Snap Boogie had a rough time but he will do better if he makes it threw to top 10. GO SNAP BOOGIE!!!

kreedham

September 1st, 2011
1:21 am

Good Top Ten….my guess is West Springfield and Smage Bros won’t make it but other 8 all have a chance. Final prediction after next Tuesday’s show when RHp get’s his blog up.

GUNGA DIN

September 1st, 2011
4:57 am

used to watch this show because they had some real talent (remember Terry Fator) but now the idiot judges have made this a total farce by passing thru acts that are truly terrible. please get rid of all three judges and start over. Howie Mandel is the most irritating person on TV with Sharon Osborne a very close second !!!

hugh hefner

September 1st, 2011
1:56 pm

This show is just too hard to watch –too many lousy acts –judges crooning over acts that shouls pay you to watch never mind Vegas, and whats up with the extended pause to announce the winner? Thats just totally lame -but then again so is the show how many elimiantion rounds can they drag out of the show?

Jt

September 22nd, 2011
12:58 am

Another fix is in, granted Landau has a great voice, but not nearly the combined talent to be on the same level as the silouettes! The problem falls on the same scenario as the last presidential election, there are to many blacks in the world voting these days. Am I racist, absolutely not, but the idiotic choices of the American public continues to weaken the American way of life. Way to f-up yet r part of society people. What will you allowed to be destroyed next?