'America's Got Talent': YouTube night surprisingly strong

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americas-got-talent-youtube-night.jpgIt's YouTube week for "America's Got Talent," which is always interesting because these acts are thrown right into the deep end of a live show and live audience with no earlier rounds. They do surprisingly well.

1. TNC Elite, clog dancers

They are clog dancers who use modern music. Cool. Tonight they dance to "I've Got A Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas while dressed like school girls. It's very, very good dancing. .However - the song doesn't fit the set/costumes, in my opinion. But that's a small detail. The clogging is great. Very in sync and (at least it looks to me) very complicated and tough. Good job, cloggers. The judges like it, but Sharon says the folk dancing was fighting the music and she actually liked it better when the music dropped out. Piers disagrees. I thought both segments were good and just because this isn't the latest dance craze doesn't mean they don't deserve to advance.

2. Brett Daniels, illusionist

His act is a Marilyn Monroe tribute. There's a big picture of her suspended over the stage that he covers with a curtain, then vanishes the Marilyn part of it and a woman appears from the curtain. That wasn't bad. There is some melodramatic dancing around, then he covers the woman with a cloak and vanishes her and the picture reappears. Not a bad trick, but the music and the middle part were really slow, which dragged the trick down. Which is exactly what the judges say. Piers actually buzzed him and says the trick was well-executed, but the middle of the trick was boring and lacking pizazz. Yes. Meanwhile, Howie either farted or has a fart machine under the desk - because he is eight years old. Piers rightly calls it pathetic and disrespectful, while Sharon is losing her damn mind with laughter. Good god.

3. Gabe Rocks, bulldog act


I LOVE BULLDOGS. So I might be biased to actually critique this act because seriously, I love them so much. For the act, Gabe gets on a rocking horse, then weaves through some sticks, then buzzes in his impression of Piers and pretends to pee on a cardboard cutout of him. Gabe then rides a skateboard. OK, sorry, I love bulldogs, but this is pretty boring. Piers buzzes him. Yeah. Gabe, you're super duper cute, but you're not really good enough to advance.

4. Aeon, parkour artists


So this is kind of an extreme walking version of an acrobatic act, kind of like Traces that we saw only with the poles. It's pretty good, I'm not sure they deserved the buzz Piers gave them, but on the other hand, I'm not really feeling it. It was OK, but not amazing. Also, the best parkour will always be from "The Office."

5. Breena Bell, contortionist/dancer


This girl is adorable, I want four just like her. As for talent, she is ... wow. I don't know how people can do that. Her act is not quite there yet. The "Walking on Sunshine" bit is too cutsy for contortionism, but what else do you do with a six-year-old? You can't make it sexy or whatever. Very cute and she is talented, but I don't think she's good enough to advance. Piers buzzes her, but he says she's a very good gymnast and she should be looking at the Olympics. He's very nice to her and he's right that the act doesn't sustain itself. The other two agree.

6. Kevin Colis, singer/guitarist

We've got a handsome, floppy haired singer here. He does Bruno Mars' "The Lazy Song." It's cute, but he doesn't quite have that pure tenor that Mars has, I'm not sure I would've chosen this song. But he's not a bad vocalist. It's hard to judge the guitar, it was just a lot of strumming. I'm very "meh" on this. He has one big pure note, but it didn't blow me away. He should've gone with something slow and heartfelt, he could've rode that to the finale like Kevin Skinner did with "If Tomorrow Never Comes." But anyway, the judges are very complimentary of Colis.

7. Beth Ann Robinson, dancer

This girl is very talented, hello "So You Think You Can Dance" in two years. Her routine is kinda "Black Swan" meets hip-hop. I'm in love, this girl is great, especially considering her age. I couldn't take my eyes off her, the routine got over and I hadn't written at thing. Is she right for this show? Not really, but she's definitely one of the best four acts tonight and should advance. The judges agree.

8. Gymkana, gymnastics troupe

These guys use ladders and trampolines to perform gymnastic stunts. It's impressive. Very in sync, with cool stunts. However, it gets a little boring. it's these six people hanging off the two ladders and other people are tumbling between them using trampolines to bounce. I was honestly expecting it to do that at first, then change it up a bit. But it stayed very one level. I'm not sure they'll make my short list of acts who should advance. Sharon wonder how they are not professionals yet, but I'm not surprised. Remember the Traces routine? Or even Zuma Zuma? They didn't make it interesting enough, for me.

9. Kalani, basketball freestyler

First of all, Kalani is dressed like a Harlem Globetrotter from space. Secondly, his backup dancers are like six Barbarellas on St. Patrick's Day. Very weird. This guy is good at what he does. He probably should not advance for this show, but this is a good showcase for him and he could definitely join the aforementioned Globetrotters.

10. West Springfield Dance Team

These guys claim to not be a typical dance team and say they are very dark and creepy. Huh. Okey dokey, I'm on board with creepy. Their call tonight is a fog-filled dance while dressed like "The Matrix" extras. The dancing is pretty good. I'm not sure it was good enough to advance. Their atmosphere and costumes/makeup really made it, not so much the actual dancing talent. The judges are complimentary, but I'm not convinced. We'll have to see how the field shakes out.

11. Matt Wilhelm, trick cyclist

So this guy does bicycle tricks, but he does them using a special costume and paint and then black lights, so they look 100x cooler than they are. Very Fighting Gravity, but not quite as good because it's just one guy. If there were five or six guys, it might really be something. He needs to team up with the Smage Bros. Riding Show. Also, his effects don't always work just right and are hard to see. This definitely doesn't come across on TV as well as I bet it does live. Based on the judges' comments and audience screams, I'm sure I'm right on that observation. Unfortunately, the TV viewing audience votes.

12. Powerhouse, high school show choir

So it's the "Glee" act. Let's see how Vocal Adrenaline does - I hope they sing "Rehab." But alas, their call is "Firework," though they are dressed a bit like Vocal Adrenaline, except the girls have these weird trains on their dresses. Honestly, I wonder how this sounds in the theatre because it sounds kind of terrible on TV. I'm sure these guys are great, but I've actually seen better show choirs at competitions in my home state of Iowa and I'm not kidding. I'm with Howie, who buzzed them. Also, the key change is rough. Sorry, nope.


So, first of all - the YouTube night was really strong. Stronger than the nights made up of 12 acts the judges put through. Secondly, who should advance? My four picks are TNC Elite, Beth Ann Robinson and then ... I'm not sure, honestly. I wouldn't mind seeing another trick from Brett Daniels. I wouldn't midn hearing another song from Kevin Colis. I wouldn't mind seeing another routine by either Gymkana or West Springfield Dance Team. So really, any four of those six I'm fine with.

What say you, "AGT" fans?
 

Photo/Video credit: NBC