Are you excited for the live blogging action as I am? Last week, we witnessed Silhouettes pander their way into America's hearts, as well as genuinely better acts Daniel Joseph Baker, Steven Retchless, and (much worse) Smage Brothers Riding Show move into the Semifinals. Who will join them this week? I can tell you this much: if you're a singer/instrumentalist over the age of 10 who doesn't get voted through by America, you're in trouble this season. The producers want someone other than a white guy with a guitar to win this season. Tonight's quarterfinals are loaded with variety acts that will appeal to all sorts of different audiences. And we'll be doing it live. As always, chime in whenever you feel like it, but keep it PG.
First up are Summerwind Skippers. They are a competitive jump rope team. We haven't seen a complete audition from them yet. They're talented, but is jump roping going to win over America?
There's a discotheque/dancehall theme to the stage. They're dressed in street clothes and jumping to LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem. It's a little slow on the tricks so far. There's dancing as well. It's a good decision. They're really trying to make this a Vegas worthy act. It's just very slow-paced so far and cluttered onstage. It's a great idea that would have been executed better with a faster track. All their tricks are clean and it's cute. No X's.
Next up are Sh'boss Boys. They're the adorable little rappers with the songs about behaving in school and being good young people. I love them. Will the judges support them with a Vegas show on the line?
The stage is set up like a school room. There are young girls dancing with them. They're doing Lil' Romeo's "ABC" track that went to number one a few years ago. It's very cute. The choreographer who worked on their routine underestimated what the kids can do and has them locked in place. Now the kids are doing their original music and are allowed to move around. This is much better. The back-up dancers are doing stunts in front of bouncing line art on the projection screen. It's cute. Totally wrong for a Las Vegas act, but cute and right for a young audience. No X's.
Next is Mauricio Herrera. He's the South American soap/pop star who does the really campy music performances. I'm sure the judges are going to buzz him. He's one of the gag auditions that gets dumped on when they go live.
The stage is covered in gold and Mauricio is singing "Viva Las Vegas." He has a gaggle of dancing girls in gold swimsuits and he is growling his way through the song. Now there are exploding lights. Piers X'd him. Song changed to "Delilah." He's singing this much better than "Viva Las Vegas." Sharon X'd him. What happened to supporting the campy fun of him, Sharon? 2 X's.
Seth Grabel is next. He's the one who had a prop fall in Las Vegas. Let's see if he can keep it all together this week with another old-hat illusion.
Seth is going to be put in a straight-jacket, hung over a boiling tar vat, and somehow connected to a sawblade. He claims he has 30 seconds to escape or he dies. Too bad it's a 90 second audition. The show started playing "Planet Rock" for some reason as he tries to escape his Saw-like trap. And by Saw-like, I mean it rips off the Saw aesthetic. He has now been "tarred and feathered" in a container that did not contain tar as it opened up to reveal an empty shell. He got launched out of a cannon into a tank of water. It's...special. No X's.
POPLYFE is next. They're the preteens/teens who formed a big rock band. They're clean, they're talented, and they're committed to working together. I'm not sold on this being a Vegas act, but I have enjoyed their auditions so far. Will they convince Piers their lead singer shouldn't quit the band?
There's a moody blue light on a multi-level set. They're performing Adele's "Rolling in the Deep." They've completely changed the arrangement to an uptempo bluesy-rock groove. It's very nice. They're better than most of the other bands that have ever made it to the Quarterfinals. It's not a great song for the lead singer because it's right at her breaking point. She can belt in the upper range and in the lower range, but not leading right into the chorus. Great guitar solo. The band clearly worked with the music director to sell themselves as a band experience. It's a strong audition. No X's.
Next is Ian Johnson. He is the extreme yo-yo artist with the clean presentation and great flow. We have yet to see a full 90 second performance from him. Will it be enough to convince the judges he should move on? Sounds like another cannon fodder act to me.
Ian gets a techno-soundwave stage, back-up dancers, and some Black Eyed Peas music. He is on top of an LED platform and preening for the audience. He's just kind of standing there and doing basic tricks under a strobe light. Piers X'd him. Now he's doing the much more dynamic miniature Chinese yo-yo. Much like Summerwind Skippers, it's just a bit too low-key and slow to work as well as it should. He bumbles his last trick. 1 X.
Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. is next. He is the singer from NYC who does the Rat Pack standards with the Frank Sinatra-esque voice. I'm not as impressed as the judges have been. I think they're trying to sell a Susan Boyle angle that I don't think exists. Will the judges keep supporting the surprise factor that isn't that surprising?
Landau is by himself onstage singing "Fly Me to the Moon." He's wearing a suit. The projection screen is a night sky with twinkly lights and a moon. It's clean and he's smartly playing to the cameras. The audience is getting into it. I think his voice still sounds thin and weak. He needs better breath control and more diaphragm support. Still, the groove is refreshing. No X's.
Next up are Purrfect Angelz. They're the sexy dance troupe. I don't know if we've seen a full audition from them, but they have angle that would work in Vegas. Will America not condemn them for being a sexy dance act? Past burlesque/seductive dance troupes have been condemned as whores on mainstream blog sites.
Purrfect Angelz are dancing to a western theme. The stage is covered in hay-bales and there is a tree covered in boots. Their dancing is clean. The song is "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy." There are girls now riding saddles while a dancer center-stage is climbing a rope. The editing monkeys are at it again as I have no idea what is happening. It looks engaging, but I can't place the whole stage picture together. The girls are dancing with lassos. Piers X'd them right at the end. 1 X.
Monet is next. She's another young pop singer. The judges liked her enough to move her through to Hollywood with a few other child singers. Can she do enough to stand out as a Vegas-worthy act?
Monet has a water-like projection background. She's singing "Home" from The Wiz. It sounds a little too low for her range. Her hair is done up like Diana Ross, which is a shame because her natural curly hair is beautiful. She has pitch issues. I think she's just not comfortable using an in-ear monitor. The vocal is all over the place. She's talented, but this is not a good night for her. Standing in front of a projection screen isn't enough if the vocal isn't perfect. No X's.
Next up are Captain & Maybelle. They were--inexplicably--one of the judges' choices in Vegas sent straight through to Hollywood. Their initial audition was X'd by Sharon and Piers for being a gruesome display of sword swallowing. I thought it was hilarious. Can they survive the producers undoubtedly toning down their sideshow act to appeal to a wider audience? I'm not holding my breath.
There's a kitchen theme to the act. They are camping it up like pros. Captain is going to dangle a frying pan from his tongue piercing and sway it around. Impressive. Maybelle is doing it through her nose piercing. Awesome. Now a tea kettle is going into the Captain's eyelids. This is spectacular. Maybelle is going to throw money at him as a tip and blot his eyes. Adorable and grotesque. No X's.
Lys Agnes is next. She is also one of the judges' choices. She did that incredibly controlled performance of "Ave Maria" in her audition that brought me to tears; it wasn't the well-known "Ave Maria," though. Will she choose a more popular song to play to a broader audience?
Very striking stage image. She's in a black and white picture frame that just shifted to color. She's singing "Habanera" from Carmen. It's, again, very controlled. She's acting the crap out of the song. She's flanked by two running fountains and a beautiful rose photograph in the background. This is how you sell opera as solo artist spectacle for Vegas. Great choice on the song. Rose petals are falling from the ceiling. She nails the last note and adds some flourish. Love her. No X's.
Closing out the night is Professor Splash. He, too, was one of the judges' choices. He does shallow water diving from high platforms. He promised he can do more than just jump into a kiddie pool. Did he lie?
Yes he did. Professor Splash is doing the exact same act again. Apparently he's jumping from a slightly higher height. That does not make it a different act. Too bad they're outside so the judges can't buzz him before he jumps. Wait, that's not allowed. The judges would not be allowed to buzz him as Nick just said so. This can't be a Vegas headlining act because no theater is big enough to handle this and no one has the nerve to sell tickets at Vegas prices for this 10 second act. No X's because they can't X him.
- Captain & Maybelle
- Lys Agnes
- Sh'Boss Boyss
- Purrfect Angelz
- Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.
- Summerwind Skippers
- Mauricio Herrera
- Ian Johnson
- Professor Splash
- Seth Grabel
- Lys Agnes
- Sh'Boss Boys
- Captain & Maybelle
I'm pretty sure I got that last one wrong. I just don't want to imagine that audition going unnoticed.
Who stood out for you tonight? What did I get completely wrong? Who should be moving on and why was this Quarterfinal round so stacked with talent? Sound off.