It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, or at least the moment ten acts have all been waiting for, but wait! The rest of Simon Cowell’s phone call is revealed-he wants to give another chance to a further eight “wild card” acts, two of whom will be added to each quarterfinal performance. So that means twelve acts tonight. Ah, so THAT explains why we need a freakin’ two-hour show; it’s going to be twelve acts at 90 seconds each, not just ten. That extra three minutes is going to need to be cushioned with plenty of filler, being so fragile and all.
Nick Cannon’s looking muy sharp in a grey-on-grey ensemble, complete with a fedora he tosses with a quickness (post-dead Michael Jackson reference #1). Just in case we didn’t get the picture, he confirms that tonight’s bonus performers will be The Diva League (squeeee!) and Lake Houston Dance, formerly known as Lake Houston Performing Arts Center, also known as Little Girls in Afro Wigs, formerly with 27 members, now with 28. Whew! Ya got all that?
The judges are introduced, making an absurd but dramatic entrance from behind the America’s Got Talent screen, which fills with a pretty realistic-looking shower of digital sparks. For some damn reason, they are prevailed upon to demonstrate their buzzers, just in case we forgot about why there are three giant Xs suspended above the stage. If all three buzzers go, the act gets shut down, but you can still vote for them, even though you didn’t get to see the rest of the act. That’s democracy in action, people. America! Love it or leave it!
Hey let’s get it started, as my friends in the Black Eyed Peas would say, at least in the bowdlerized version of the song. The first act to perform is Breaksk8, still in the competition, so apparently Randy Jackson has a teleportation device or they have a heavy schedule there in L.A. They dance to “Smooth Criminal” (post-dead Michael Jackson reference #2), including a few Michael-type moves-shoulder shrugs, heads nodding in fedoras, even the Moonwalk on roller skates, which was pretty adorable, actually. I completely loved this performance, from the stage set and concept to the costumes, the dance moves, of course the music. Great overall. Vote YES!
Thea Megia, the 14-year-old singer (whom I think I misstated as 15 in one of the recaps, sorry) is next up, performing a Miley Cyrus song, according to my husband. Something about having the time of your life. I’m unfamiliar with it, but it’s a pretty boring performance, even with the wind machine. My spouse also tells me that Thea didn’t change anything about the song, so certainly the judges will brand it “cookie cutter” or “karaoke”. Oh wait, I forgot. This isn’t American Idol, on which actual feedback is occasionally given. The judges lap it up like a cheeseburger off the floor (anyone who hasn’t seen Drunk Hasselhoff on YouTube yet is hopelessly uncool, so get with it), and even though it’s a NO for me, Thea will probably make it through. She did not sing badly, just boringly.
The Platt Brothers are so weird they’re awesome. First they appear in those damn tracksuits again, but they rip them off to reveal-egad-full suits, all white with white shirts and ties. Not as much Platt body as I wanted to see, but not sweatsuits, thanks. Their routine is choreographed to a weird mix of music and sound effects, as before ( I guess they just collect this stuff, thinking up moves to put to it, and edit it together), and parts of it are awesome and parts of it are just puzzling. They do that wrap-your-legs-around-me-and-we’ll-flip-end-over-end thing that they did at their first audition, so that was a tiny bit annoying, but they really do it well. I would probably vote YES, but I would not be surprised if America is not as intrigued by the Platt Brothers at this point.
Getting another chance as a wild card act is The Diva League, who disappeared without a trace after their fabulous début. The concept for this act is drawn right from Twilight and True Blood, with a drag twist-they are GLAMPIRES!!! Oh, dude! That’s awesome. What’s not quite as awesome is the realization that although they have picked the perfect song, Rihanna’s “Disturbia”, they are just lip-synching and it becomes obvious they can’t dance all that well, so their main talent is what, hair and makeup? It’s great for the drag circuit, but we need more than that. At least Shequida could sing for real! Sadly, NO.
Manuela Horton, the giant yodeling dominatrix, also falls far short of expectations. She looks adorable in her Lucy Ricardo getup and her alternate lyrics to the Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t Cha” are clever, but she sings really badly this time out. She actually gets triple-buzzed. The judges fuss at her for not doing what she did before, which confuses her, because why would she do the same thing again? However, what they really should have admitted is that she sounded like ass, which would have cleared things up. NO for Manuela, who is forever a cool lady and a great Mominatrix, just not so much a singer.
Grandma Lee is with Nick in the…the Kmart Blue Light Lounge? To answer some boring question about what she’s done all her life, and it’s met with a boring litany of jobs, so thanks for that. She said she wants her ashes sprinkled over Vegas when she’s cremated, which sounds kind of cute except that the part of her act they just replayed was the joke about how she wanted her ashes sprinkled over Krispy Kreme. She’s pretty funny overall, and whips out Piers’s and Hoff’s “underwear” with good comic timing, which endears her to the judges. I’ll give this a YES, but I can tell you right now, she absolutely will NOT win this thing.
The a cappella group Mosaic hits the stage next, and they start with an incredibly intricate version of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious”. They are doing that “vocal band” thing where everybody sounds like a different instrument, and at first I think they do have musical accompaniment-at least, a percussion track-but Mr. Canary says they are actually beat-boxing. They segue into that other Stevie Wonder song “I Wish” (you know, “I wish those days! Would! Come back again!”), and that is a lot clearer and bouncier. The judges and Mr. Canary hated the first part but liked the second; I liked it all, but “Superstition” is my song, yo. Nevertheless, I think they will do okay overall, and it’s a definite YES for me.
Acrodunk is my other favorite act in this group. Don’t let me down like the Diva League, now, guys! They don’t, and their dunking is just as wacky and awesome as before. One complaint: a group of dancers just kind of stroll randomly through the act for no particular reason that we can see, although it’s probably to give the guys a little rest. It’s distracting and doesn’t necessarily take away, but certainly doesn’t add. However, the judges don’t offer criticism about this, so maybe it worked from where they were sitting. Anyway, the guys still earn a big ol’ YES from me!
Arcadian Broad, otherwise known as the Billy Elliott of this competition, appears to be getting some advice from an actual choreographer, so that’s a good sign. He starts his act playing the piano, and playing very well, but the problem is he’s been hired to dance, so we are confused, although also impressed at his heretofore-unmentioned skill. The playing goes on for some time, then he pretends to stress out and “cuts loose” to the sound of, of course, “Footloose”. Hmmm, I think 13-year-old Arcadian is dancing to his mom’s favorite songs, not his. He does a great job with the dancing, but the judges take him to school about the piano part. We can understand his eagerness to show off everything he can do, and I totally get the concept of the piano-player-cutting-loose, but the instrument was featured too much, and you have to stay in your tiny, tiny box, Arcadian. Did you learn nothing from Manuela Horton? I’m predicting he will easily be forgiven and certainly he earned a YES for the dancing.
Drew Thomas Magic‘s intro video speaks of many problems in the “brand-new” trick, which turns out be a really old trick (shuffling people from one large crate to another), but it’s well-executed and pretty hilarious, with girls ending up in welding suits, guys ending up in their underwear, and Drew ending up right behind the judges. YES for this one. It’s one of the few acts I can clearly remember by the end of the show.
Good ol’ boy Kevin “Chicken Catcher” Skinner and his french-fried-pertaters personality are wearing a tad thin, but at least he looks nice, tonight, with a good haircut and better clothing. He sings “To Make You Feel My Love”, which makes me wonder if Garth Brooks is all this dude ever listens to (yeah, I know Bob Dylan wrote it-don’t write in). I am surprised, because this is, um, pretty pitchy, dawg. From the quaver in his voice, you can tell that it is strictly because of nerves rather than a lack of ability, but unfortunately it amounts to the same thing in a performance. He gets some judge love, and he may get voter support, so he may be okay. Based on the singing alone, I’d vote NO. Sharon sweetly compliments his haircut.
Okay, Lake Houston Dance, now up to 28 from 27 (did one of the babies have a baby?), throw themselves into a slumber-party-pillow-fight routine to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”-not the Cyndi Lauper original, this one sounds like Miley Cyrus-but it’s a mess, and I ain’t just talking about all the damn feathers on stage afterward. There are just too many of them; you never know where to look, bodies and arms and props are everywhere, and I can’t get into it at all. Piers calls them on the overkill, Sharon echoes me on the distracting number of people, and Hoff wonders how they didn’t trip over props with all the crap they had to dance around. They have the cute factor and may well win the Grandma Vote, but they get a NO from me.
To summarize: Breaksk8=awesome plus tax; Thea Megia=good but boring; The Platt Brothers=uneven; The Diva League=great concept, disappointing execution; Manuela Horton= looked good, sounded bad; Grandma Lee=funny enough; Mosaic=mixed reviews but obvious talent; Acrodunk=lose the dancers and you could win this thing!; Arcadian Broad= lose the piano and you could win this thing!; Drew Thomas Magic= magically delicious; Kevin Skinner=what happened, dude?; and Lake Houston Dance=hate to send you home again, but…
Well, Simon’s wild card picks didn’t fare too well, which should be cause for some smirking amongst the judgery. My prediction for the five going on are Drew Thomas Magic, Acrodunk, Arcadian Broad, Breaksk8, and either Thea Megia OR Mosaic OR Kevin Skinner. We’ll see what America decides tomorrow!