America’s Got Talent: Semifinals Round 1

The Scott Brothers

Overall, this season of America’s Got Talent has been subpar. The live shows started with 48 acts, more than half of whom did not deserve to be seen again. Including the YouTube show, roughly two-thirds of the acts seen on live television have been eliminated. That seems about right, although there are still some acts that shouldn’t have another shot.  Only three acts out of the 12 performing are advancing this week.That being said, Tuesday’s show was full of talent. It makes the decision for who advances genuinely difficult for one of the only times in the entire season. However, as with the last quarterfinal performances, it seems too much of the best talent was put on one show.

Andrew De Leon
Andrew De Leon is a talented opera singer. His performance of “Ave Maria” was technically good, but it wasn’t special. There’s no doubt he would be a better singer with training, but, unfortunately, he went from singing in his bedroom straight to the national stage. The crowd seemed a lot less engaged in this performance than last week’s performance. There’s no question De Leon has a lot of natural talent, but he does not have star quality. If he was grouped with other acts or was in another stage of the competition, his performance might have been sufficient. However, it isn’t sufficient this time. De Leon’s time on AGT is most likely over.

Todd Oliver
Once again, Todd Oliver got a lot more attention than he deserves. He is a skilled ventriloquist, but he just isn’t funny. The gimmick of a “talking dog” should not be enough to showcase as a talent. On Tuesday, he performed a routine with a talk show set up and his dog, Irving as his guest. Much of the material centered around cheap dog puns and unfunny wise cracks when Oliver read Irving his “fan questions.” The judges all seemed to love the routine, but there is clearly superior talent on the show. Oliver is done.

Donovan & Rebecca
Donovan & Rebecca had bad luck on Tuesday night. Their feats of acrobatic strength were captivating and certainly worthy of another performance, but they probably are not going to get one. The couple does a seamless job of balancing on top of each other and lifting each other up to the amazement of the crowd.  The act just did not translate well to television. It was very good. Usually, the quality of their performances has been more than good enough to advance. However, the show is finally getting a little exciting and acts that deserve to advance will face tough eliminations. Donovan & Rebecca is one of them.

Edon wanted to perform in a way that showed “a different side of [him].” He did that and unfortunately showed America his downfall as a performer. His rendition of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t good. The vocals were powerful, but Edon got a bit sharp at some points. The arrangement was certainly subpar. Edon has so much potential as a singer, but this was his worse performance since the audition phase. He will get votes, but the preteen girl demographic is not enough to carry him to the finals.

The Scott Brothers 
The Scott Brothers is one of the acts that never deserved a spot in the semifinals. Naturally, they don’t deserve a spot in the Top 6 either. The act is a glorified robot dance act that gets old fast. Howard championed the duo from the beginning, yet even he was bored by their performance on Tuesday. The Scott Brothers are very good at what they do, but what they do is not good enough to advance further in the competition.

Eric Dittelman
As intimate and small Eric Dittelman’s mind reading act seemed at first, he proved on Tuesday that he deserves a spot in the finals. This time around, Dittelman invited Howard on stage to participate. Dittelman presented Howard with an enlarged version of Howard’s self portrait. Then, he told Howard to color the different parts of the drawing with whatever color marker he chooses. As Howard was coloring, Dittelman told the viewers at home to think of a shape inside another shape that he could reveal at the end of his performance. When Howard was done, Dittelman’s version of the drawing matched Howard’s according to color. It is very tough to figure out how he succeeded and that is why the act is so fun to watch. For the finale, Dittelman revealed the other drawing to be a triangle inside of a circle, which the majority of the crowd acknowledged was their shape. Dittelman is, above all, an entertainer, and he will probably be back for the finals after a performance of such quality.

Turf had talent from the very beginning and was a bright spot in an otherwise bleak Top 48 acts. However, America has probably seen the best of Turf. The contorting hip-hop dancer is very skilled, but limited. His performance on Tuesday was very similar to his previous ones and certainly not very exciting. A big weakness for Turf is that he hardly moves around the stage. He contorts and moves from side to side briefly, but his movements stay static. His passion for dance is certainly admirable, but not enough for him to win the competition. Turf is out.

Bria Kelly  
Bria Kelly was one of the few promising acts to come out of the YouTube round. That being said, she’s still an amateur. On Tuesday, Kelly performed a country version of P!nk’s “Perfect.” It was good, but not great. Thankfully, at this point in the competition, good isn’t good enough. Kelly obviously has passion and probably has a career ahead of her. She just isn’t the best that the show has to offer. She’s out of the competition, but she may be back in the public eye soon.

Joe Castillo
Luckily for Joe Castillo, his talent is very unique and AGT provides an appropriate stage for it. However, his sand painting doesn’t seem to engage an audience. It’s hard to see a show like that in Vegas. Castillo’s act seems way too low-key and quiet. He got his chance to show America his skill, but it gets repetitive. As much skill as Castillo may have, his tenure on AGT has run its course.

William Close 
William Close is the front runner to win America’s Got Talent. He came as a huge and pleasant surprise during the last quarterfinal performances. He has continued to professionally and humbly assert himself as the best in the competition. Close performing on the Earth Harp is so unique and so worthy of a show in Vegas, it’s hard to believe it took him until now to get discovered. Tuesday’s performance was exceptional to the point that it was as if he was an invited guest on one of the result shows as the amateur acts were waiting to hear their fate. If Close does not advance to the finals, there is something wrong with the American population.

Tom Cotter
Comedian Tom Cotter is another clear finalist. He’s not only funny with a great personality, but is also slick and professional. He began his set by asking Howie to choose one of eight topics for him to talk about. Howie was shocked as the material is the most integral part of the performance. He ultimately chose “College.” Cotter’s timing was superb. His jokes were on point and kept the crowd laughing. He touched upon everything from his college days to the absurdity of a lower back tattoo on college girls. Cotter has the ability to get the crowd laughing and keep them laughing. He is hilarious and a joy to watch. He better be one of the Top 6 acts.

Academy of Villains
As strong as  Academy of Villains were in the YouTube round, that was just the luck of the draw. Everyone around them was horrible. This time, most of the acts to perform were above average. To prove they deserved a shot at the finals, Academy of Villains needed to be unique and exciting in a way that America had not seen. Instead, their performance was very similar to their initial one. It was nice to see a deserving act from YouTube enter AGT, but Tuesday was Academy of Villains’ last performance.

Who Will Go Through?
On one of the few nights of the season with more talent than spots to fill, America has a difficult decision to make. Eliminations will be tough and undeserving, but they have to be made. That being said, it seems the best acts to be in the finals are William Close, Eric Dittelman, and Tom Cotter. Normally, the decision is easier, but AGT becomes a better show when deserving acts are eliminated and the more deserving acts acts advance. America’s Got Talent was especially lucky to find William Close. As much of a letdown this season has been, the show may have finally found an act truly deserving of the Las Vegas stage.

Posted on August 29, 2012, in NBC, Network Television, Primetime, Reality TV and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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