'America's Got Talent': Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., Anna Graceman stand out in second semifinals

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Tonight we've got the second set of semifinalists vying for a spot in the Top 10 on "America's Got Talent." Let's see how they did ...

1. The Kinetic King

This was definitely his best yet. Unlike last time, which was really slow, this one was crazy fast, with lots of things flying into the air. I still don't think he should advance because, as I've said, he's not right for this show. But good for him.

2. Fatally Unique


They're going with an asylum theme this week - trying to get the West Springfield voters? It's a good routine, lots of freaky movements and a couple good stunts. They aren't going to win this show, but they could certainly be part of a tour full of the Top 10. We'll have to see how the rest of the night shakes out. They might advance.

3. Landon Swank

So the trick this week involves Landon having four boxes on stage that each have a button on the judges' table. Each judge takes a button, then Landon tells us he's in one of the boxes. Each boxes is rigged with explosives and now the judges have to push their buttons. Howie picks four, Sharon picks one, Piers picks three. They push they're buttons and the other three boxes explode. Then Landon reveals himself from box two. He also has Howie then push the button for box two, which then explodes. Hmm. That's an OK trick. It would be better as part of a larger show, it's a little boring as a stand-alone just because it's so bare bones, but it was good. I think Landon is the real deal, I hope he advances.

4. Gymkana

This time, instead of poles one guy is balancing on chairs while the rest of the group tumbles quickly in front of him, alternating sides so quickly that it looks like they could easily collide. They then raise the stakes by putting a girl on the thing they are leaping over. It's hard to explain. Finally, they light a ring on fire and leap through that. But right at the end, a guy hits the ring, bringing it down with the guy behind him. It's very scary, a man rushes the stage with a fire extinguisher. Yikes. So, it's hard to penalize them for that - but they messed up. Plus, it was kind of boring before then. I'm with Piers. It's repetitive.

5. Summerwind Skippers

The routine this time around is very dark. .There's a post-nuclear blast background, everybody is decked out in their apocalypse chic. The song is "Till the World Ends" and it starts with individual skipping, which is much less interesting than the double-dutch stuff. Once the double-dutch stuff starts, it's better, but they have a misstep. Plus - the music is not dark enough to match the motif. Britney's song is not post-apocalyptic. It's stupid fluffy pop. That could've been better if they'd picked a better song. But honestly? It's basically the same routine every time with a different theme, which isn't interesting enough for me.

6. Snap Boogie

Gosh, I feel like I haven't seen him since June or something. The call tonight is "Viva La Vida" with weird dancing statue backup dancers - um, what?. Thankfully, it kicks up with "Boogie Wonderland," which is at least upbeat. I'm still not sure Coldplay and disco are the right calls for his music, but his dancing talent is great. He's a street dancer, he should be dancing to hip hop. I fear he's perhaps reached as far as he's going to get, though. He's just one guy. He should be on "So You Think You Should Dance."

At this point, halfway through the show, I think Landon is the only one I feel should advance for sure.

7. Anna Graceman

The song this week is "Home Sweet Home" by Motley Crue, though this is more the Carrie Underwood version. Either way, it's very good. When she steps away from the piano and really lets it rip, I like it a lot. Her piano playing was fine too, but I really like to hear her cut loose. I'm not in love with her outfit, but other than that - pretty good. Not perfect, but solid.

8. Steven Retchless


Another act I feel like I haven't seen for so long. This week he has three poles and three boxes on stage and with him on one, that makes five backup dancers. His first move right out of the gate is awesome - he looks like he's walking down an invisible curvy wall. He then comes down off the pole for a dance break with the backup dancers. It's set to some really off-putting music, I don't love that part. But back on the poles, he does some nifty tricks while the girls on either side of him twirl around. Um - not my favorite Retchless performance. I think he should probably still advance (depending on how the last four acts do), but ... not my favorite. Though as Sharon points out, the first move he did was sensational. He maybe should advance based on the strength of his whole repertoire, not just tonight.

9. Smage Bros. Riding Show

Bringing in their family, including Grandma Smage, is a decent gimmick and I love the use of "Take Me Home Country Roads" and the country set pieces. It's definitely their best show so far. However - I find it a bit boring and slow because it takes them so long to go from one trick to the next. Their lack of space on this stage is the biggest problem. This is an outdoor act, or at least an act for a bigger arena.

10. Professor Splash

ou guys remember how I feel about this guy, right? I think this is dumb. Tonight the dive is from 70 ft and the pool is on fire, plus he's doing a reverse. Hmm. So, that's cooler than what he normally does, but also - his schtick is gone because the pool was deep. I thought his whole deal was that he belly flops into 12 inches of water? *sigh* I still think this is a silly circus trick and not right for this show. Sorry.

11. Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.


I'm just smitten with this guy, y'all. This week he sings "I've Got the World on a String" and I close my eyes and it's just - it's so Vegas and so classic. I know he does the same thing every week, but it works for him and it's good. I'm glad he didn't come out and try to sing something pop-y and blow it. I think his stage presence needs work still, but he has come a long way in that department and I think he'll only get better.

12. Silhouettes


I'm not sure this group can top their USA routine, at least in terms of what gets voters motivated for shows like this. This week, instead of using the static screen we've seen before, they have a moving screen and video elements to start out. Then they go back to their regular screen and the theme is very global. Hmm. Overall, it's kind of meh. I still love these guys and want to see what they can do next, but this one was not as good as they have done in the past.
 

Which five should advance? Landon Swank, Anna Graceman, Steven Retchless, Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. and Silhouettes are my calls, but I could see Smage Bros. sneaking in there. What about you guys?

Photo/Video credit: NBC