Do It Live: America's Got Talent: Season 6, Episode 15 (2nd Quarterfinals)

It's that time again. America's Got Talent is about to start its second Quarterfinals. Judging by the gigantic spike in traffic last Tuesday night, I'd say the live blog was quite a success. I had fun doing it and clearly some people had fun reading it. That means more of my instant response, preferential ranking, and predictions live. Feel free to chime on in with your own opinions throughout the broadcast. I'd love to hear them.

Let's Get Started

Opening the show tonight are Attack Dance Crew. They're the dancers who had the brand new style of dance that confused the judges. I rather like their formation changes and unisons, but can they win over Howie who thinks they are just cheerleaders?

Neon webbing and smoke fill the stage. They're wearing blacklight track suits and strutting for ten minutes. They're dancing to that awesome Pitbull track and doing locking tonight. It's a different style and it doesn't feel as comfortable. Now they're bringing in their own style that's just fun to watch. Which is why they switch to the Andre 3000/John Legend song "Green Light". It's becoming very repetitive and ends with extraneous sparks of fireworks. No X's.

Next up is Dani Shay. She is the singer-songwriter who did that great parody song of Justin Bieber's "Baby," but then failed miserably in Vegas not once but twice. Still, the judges like her enough to put her through to the quarterfinals. Is she a sacrificial lamb or an actual contender?

Dani is singing my third favorite David Gray song "Babylon." I don't think this will suit her voice. It's too lowkey and low for her. There's an old TV on the stage and a living room set. I have a feeling the judges will buzz her. No one knows this song anymore. Oh for goodness sake. Her vibrato sounds like a goat. She is shaking like a leaf and the stage is now filled with stars. Not a good job. She is not ready for this kind of audience. No X's because the judges weren't willing to say that made a mistake in giving her an unfair second chance in Vegas.

Geechy Guy is next. He's awesome. He does really clever rapid-fire one-liners that take a second to sink in. He's awkward and funny and I hope he moves on. Will he win over the live Hollywood audience and not be X'd off?

Brick wall on the projection screen with graffiti. He gets two back-up dancers dressed as whoopie cushions to escort him to the microphone. The sleeping pill joke is cute. The golf ball/hail stone joke is good. Piers X'd him. The audience doesn't get it. These aren't groaners; they're just slow. His delivery is awesome and Nick Cannon is a fool. 1 X.

Daniel Joseph Baker is next. He's the flamboyant singer who did the Lady Gaga "Bad Romance" audition. It's going to be a challenge for a singer to put on a large stage show to impress the judges and America.

There is a large metal scaffolding covered in dancers. He is playing on a zebra-striped piano in a shiny silver and gold suit. Daniel is singing "Edge of Gloy" as a ballad. He hasn't sounded this good in the contest yet. This is what I imagine every singer should be doing. Now the tempo picks up and the dancers are going wild. His voice is getting a bit affected again, but at least he doesn't rely so heavily on melisma. The laser-light projection background is very distracting. This is the best solo singer performance since Prince Poppycock's tribute to America. No X's.

Next up are judges' favorites The Rhinestone Ropers. They were put straight through to Hollywood after an amazing sharpshooting and knife-throwing audition. These guys are professionals, but they're including an animal in the act tonight. Can they appeal to a broad enough audience and control the distractions to win over America?

The set is two banners with their name as they lead the horse around the stage. The horse just picked up a cowboy hat and is NOT cooperating onstage. So sad. Piers X'd them. Very dated rodeo act that's moving way too slow. They're so going to run out of time. No grand finale as they ran out of time. 1 X.

Dylan Andre is another white guy with a guitar. I don't know who he is, where he came from, and why America's Got Talent isn't guaranteeing a different kind of winner by not putting white guys with guitars through.

There is a black and white backdrop of Dylan playing guitar. This kid is not a great singer. He's very earnest doing a John Mayer's "Daughters" in a denim shirt. He looks like he's going to cry and I assume that makes people swoon. He has a very soft voice and is rocking the double denim. This is not a Vegas act. It's a dive bar act. Sorry. People going to Vegas want spectacle and if he wins, he will be another in a long line of post-Terry Fator failures. No X's.

Landon Swank is next. He does the really cool variations on old tricks like the origami box and levitating box. I think he's a bit smug for my tastes. He's talented, but can he be big enough for the voting rounds?

Landon is using Nick and a large illusion chest. Nick is signing his name on a mirror in red permanent marker. Landon adds his name and his assistant puts up photo paper on the signature. The cabinet filled with a double-sided mirror and Nick is to sign his last name nice and big. Very boring presentation. The front half of the mirror has been swapped out because that photo paper did not fit over Landon's writing as well. Landon is now climbing through the mirror in the drop panel he created. Tacky. No X's and no pay off.

Next up is Smage Bros. Riding Show. They're the motorcycle riding brother act that does the ridiculous stunts while torturing their best friend. I don't know what else they can do at this point.

The stage is filled with stairs and scaffolding in a circular formation. Their patsy is working on bicycle repairs in the middle of the stage as they ride along. The act is moving very slow and the one guy is missing stunts. Now they're repeating stunts from earlier auditions. I knew they were out of ideas. Being cruel to your best friend with deadly equipment is NOT a talent. No X's.

Thomas John is up. He's the comedic juggler who we haven't seen one complete performance from. I'm looking forward to this.

It's an American themed act this time with lots of dancers and a questionable body suit. He's starting with clubs that Nick launched out of a canon. Piers X'd him. He's very talented and funny. He just needs to do more. 4, 5 clubs now. He's going to juggle on a balance board on top of a platform. And he messes up. X'd by Sharon. 2 X's. Not his finest moment.

Next up is Steven Retchless. He's the competitive pole dance who Piers hates because Piers thinks men shouldn't pole dance. Steven is magnificent at what he does, but might not cross-over to America. The bar is low enough that he might sail through to the semifinals.

There are a bunch of candles onstage. Steven is in some Edwardian bondage snow queen outfit with a few dancers. He's pole dancing en pointe. Points for difficulty, He's holding back a bit on some of the harder stunts for safety. He just dropped off the pole into the dancers' arms. Now he's doing ballet. This is incredible. This could be a Vegas headlining act. Piers X'd him. Of course. I'm convinced he's a homophobe. 1 X from the homophobe.

Mona Lisa are up next. They are the sister piano/singing act that we've seen all of 30 seconds of. I wasn't impressed by their brief appearance before, but they might be better with more time.

The stage is covered in red and orange lanterns. They're singing on stools with a floating candle projection background. The song is "God Bless this Broken Road." All they're doing is singing in thirds or fourths. It's not that impressive. They're talented, but they need guidance to make this act really work. They're having pitch and blending issues. Actually, I'm kind of digging the Flowers in the Attic vibe from these two. No X's.

Closing out the night are Silhouettes. They are another judges' favorite that got put straight through to Hollywood. They're the youth dance academy that does the shadow dancing. I think they're all gimmick and their blogs are creepy new age nonsense. We'll see what they can do live.

They're doing a patriotic act to "God Bless America." The pre-show interview was very "vote for us if you love America," which is emotional blackmail. They're using projections to cover their inability to create certain silhouettes. Everything else is just ballet tonight. They're not lining up with the projections and it's very sloppy. Even the ballet is sloppy. Emotional blackmail. Disgusting. Remember kids: if you don't vote for Silhouettes, you hate America. Oh come on. They did a Twin Towers visual. No X's.

My Ranking

  1. Steven Retchless (best in two weeks)
  2. Daniel Joseph Baker (best solo pop singer in the history of the show)
  3. Geechy Guy (decent set)
  4. Attack Dance Crew (clean and boring)
  5. Thomas John (sloppy but entertaining)
  6. Landon Swank (smug and derivative)
  7. Mona Lisa (why don't they just kiss each other and get it over with?)
  8. Dani Shay (horrible, but at least she had an act)
  9. Smage Bros. Riding Shows (boring, repetitive, and douchey)
  10. Rhinestone Ropers (better than they did tonight but the horse killed them)
  11. Dylan Andre (who?)
  12. Silhouettes (awful manipulative choreography from opportunistic teachers. I hate the adults behind this)

And the 4 moving on will be:

  1. Silhouettes
  2. Daniel Joseph Baker
  3. Steven Retchless
  4. Dani Shay

Horrible episode. Please let next week be entertaining.