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America's Got Talent Anal-ysis - Quarterfinals - Week #4

Welcome to the final week of first round AGT action. Haterade's here to let you know who he think should see the semis - and who should take a semi and go home.

Nick Cannon? Check. Judges? Check. 12 Acts? Check. Let's go!

Ishaara is a Bollywood Dance group comprised of kids from Berkeley, CA. They want to be the first Bollywooders to headline in Vegas. Can they get there?
The Good: I liked the storyline that was built. Their act tonight - the search for love - boy meets girl, boy loses girl, everyone comes back for a duo embrace. It wasn't dark and brooding - it was fun to watch and the outfits were colorful. The fact that there was minimal clothing featured during the act also didn't hurt.
The Bad: The lip-synching on the backing track, though very Bollywood, was cheesier than a triple layer quesadilla.
The Verdict: Until last week, dance groups did not have a good record getting to the next round. Based on dancers previously performing in that similar genre of Bollywood (Kashif, etc.) and based on their competition this evening, they could have problems making the Top 4. If they place in 5th or 6th though, I can easily see the judges pushing them through.

Barbara Padilla is a cancer survivor who is trying to show her adopted daughter that you need to try as hard as possible, and you can succeed. Can she succeed just as well on the stage this evening?
The Good: She's definitely got pipes. That was an amazing performance that got a triple standing ovation from the judges. She's also one of the rare performers who's blue dress matches the mood of what she sang. Brilliant.
The Bad: I don't know the song that she sung (which is 'Time to Say Goodbye', by Andrea Bocelli). Now why is that bad? Because in any sort of singing competition, you should sing something that the audience can connect to. There's enough famous operatic pieces not sung to death that she could have used and would have made a better connect point.
The Verdict: Neal E. Boyd showed us that opera singers can win this competition. Now we have someone who I think technically blows him away. Based on America's voting history, I think she easily makes it to the next round, but will America want two opera singers winners in a row?

The good news for Pam Martin is that one dog act has gotten into the semi-finals. The bad news is that America didn't vote the dog in - 2 loony judges who must have been borrowing Paula Abdul's cup put them in. They won't put in a second dog act and Pam must deliver. Will she?
The Good: From a technical standpoint, the dog was flawless. It's very impressive to see those sorts of acts performed live on stage - and based on the miscues in another act that happened 2 weeks ago, we can see how impressive a clean performance is. The 'adopted' sign at the end was a nice touch and a cute PSA.
The Bad: From an entertainment standpoint, I was bored. It was only one dog who had a lot of slow pause time between each act. And I'm not sure if the dogs legs in the air were because he wanted to please or because he wanted to go to the bathroom, which I wanted to do because it felt it was breaktime.
The Verdict: Two weeks ago, we had a lousy dog act filled with techincal erros that got in. As good as Pam Martin and Spy the dog was, I have a feeling that based on the talent level I've seen so far, America is not going to give the judges the opportunity to put in a second dog act.

The African High Flyers come to us from the beaches of Kenya. Can they cause a splash in the competition?
The Good: They can jump. They can build pyramids. They can jump over and do limbos under fire. They can do some nice contortions.
The Bad: They can't build a cohesive storyline. They also can't improve their game, because I saw this already in their auditions. If Spy, the dog from Pam Martin's act, came over to the pyramid, jumped to the top and decided to release on the top pyramidder's head, at least that would have been more creative than what we got.
The Verdict: When you get to this level, you must raise that bar of not only difficulty, but uniqueness, and the flyers failed at both. The Beale Street Flippers did an act close to what we got and was sent off, stage right, the next evening. I think the Flyers need to learn how to build a pyramid and walk off the stage while in that position, because I think that's what's going to happen - and that would also be more uniquie than what we saw tonight.

Mia Boostrom tried out last year and didn't get past Las Vegas. This year, she gets in at the expense of Kelli Glover, who should have been in the Top 40. Can Mia justify the judges' pick in her?
The Good: Her rendition of 'Hallelujiah' (sung by K.D. Lang and a lot of others) was pretty. She has a very nice voice and her dress complimented the style of song she sang.
The Bad: However, Piers was correct when he said that she missed a number of notes, because despite the booing, he's right. She did miss a lot of notes, and the level of 'Wow' difficulty was not there that was with Barbara Padilla. And the beauty of her dress was marred by the scary dancers who threatened once again to take out the wire connected to her piano. What's up with the dark scary dancers?
The Verdict: Mia had the better story. But Kelli Glover would have been the better choice to advance in the competition due to her vocal range and the fact that she could vocally rock out any song. But Kelli is not the reason why I think Mia has trouble brewing. Barbara is. The fact is that Barbara Padilla raised the bar and Mia, as sweet as she is, did not meet that level. If the vocalists continue to impress, I think Mia's story ends here in round 1.

The African High Flyers come to us from the beaches of Kenya. Can they cause a splash in the competition?
The Good: They can jump. They can build pyramids. They can jump over and do limbos under fire. They can do some nice contortions.
The Bad: They can't build a cohesive storyline. They also can't improve their game, because I saw this already in their auditions. If Spy, the dog from Pam Martin's act, came over to the pyramid, jumped to the top and decided to release on the top pyramidder's head, at least that would have been more creative than what we got.
The Verdict: When you get to this level, you must raise that bar of not only difficulty, but uniqueness, and the flyers fail at both. The Beale Street Flippers did an act close to what we got and was sent off, stage right, the next evening. I think the Flyers need to learn how to build a pyramid and walk off the stage, because I think that's what's going to happen - and that would also be more uniquie than what we saw tonight.

If Rickie wins the money, she wants to take her family out on vacation. If Erik wins, he wants a Ferrari. Nice. Pretty strong thoughts from 8 and 9 year olds. Can Erik and Rickie's ballroom dance of passion do the one thing that kids 10 and under haven't done yet - make it to the next round?
The Good: For 8 and 9 year olds to be doing the moves that they accomplished is impressive. What I also liked about the act is their attitude and passion that they poured into the performance.
The Bad: They did blow a noticeable spot in the dance, leaving a hole big enough to drive a bull (or bulldozer) through. But they are 8 and 9 year olds, so I'll give them a break here.
The Verdict: When you're in the kid set, you have to do something that compels people to vote for you. I don't think what they did is going to be good enough, but they could surprise. They must land in the Top 4 though, because based on what we've seen with the judges, they are not going to put the kids through if they finish in 5th or 6th.

When we last saw Coney Island Chris, he was eating a light bulb. Piers wants him to raise his game by shocking and horrifying. Can Chris do both by playing with fire and not getting burnt?
The Good: He breathed fire and put some on his fanny. He also transferred fire from his mouth to a baton. That has to count for something, right? Ok, maybe not, but the two babes holding the fire extinguishers were hot.
The Bad: I was trying to focus on the babes, who were much more entertaining than something we've seen on every Boardwalk or circus side show. And a special boo for Sharon for asking how he got that far. He got that far because you three put him in, you morons.
The Verdict: The only thing horrifying was how the judges put him in and kept Kelli Glover out. His chances of getting into the next round hath been extinguished.

Matt and Anthony. Guitar playing and tap dancing. Chocolate and peanut butter. Can they show that 2 great things belong together?
The Good: It's a nice silvery set. They did create a higher level and lower level version, which made it fancier. It's much more pleasing to the eyes.
The Bad: All of the nice fancy set work doesn't matter if the singing doesn't work. The song was not challenging or creative enough to do anything with. I agree with Piers that the singer is not strong enough vocally, but the problem more lies in the song. Not only was it not challenging, but there's no synergy or connection between that and the dancing. The choreography must justify the reason why you chose that song instead of any other song, and the dancing didn't do that.
The Verdict: Here's the problem. The combination, which previously worked, didn't this week due to the wrong choice of song and the excessiveness of the set. You had way too much style over substance. If your singer just sat there with a high power song that he could play with his guitar and let the dancer do the work, it would be a much better act. They will probably learn that the hard way tomorrow.

We get to our first 'Second Chance' act of the evening. They are they burlesque act The Lollipop Girls. They strip tease to the dulcet tones of 'Hey Big Spender'. Can they get America to spend their votes?
The Good: From a technical standpoint, they were surprisingly good and clean. The variety of what they did worked. And who doesn't like to see 10 women parading around in their negligees?
The Bad: It was clean, but not sexy enough. Michelle L'Amour set the bar of what you needed to do to make it 'sexy' and 'excessive', and I don't think the ladies hit that excessiveness for their act. One of the problems could be that the camera's angles was mostly stage shots and almost no close-ups of the ladies or their assets. Boooo, camera people.
The Verdict: It's a fun kitschy act but I don't think they get the votes to make it to the Top 4. However, this is one of those silly 'Made for Vegas' acts that the judges will push through should they be fortunate enough to make the top half of the standings. Should America put them there, they could be a dark horse to surprise.

The other 'Second Chance' act this evening is Drew Stevyns. He's singing about 'How to Save a Life', but from a competition standpoint, can he save his own?
The Good: This is the first 'Contemporary' performance that we have gotten today. A stripped down guitar-style song was the right way to go for this performance. Substance clearly triumphed over style.
The Bad: VERY shaky at the beginning of the song. And the weak vocals of the background Karaoke singers tempted me to get the rubber plugs to save the life of my eardrums.
The Verdict: This is the first 'Contemporary' act that we've seen this evening. The audience, although skweing old, likes to vote for contemporary. Hence, I think Simon Cowell finally gets one of his wild card acts into the next round.

Now I'm a drummer (I won a bunch of regional and state awards in high school), so I'm already a fan of Recycled Percussion, who could be the next Stomp or Blue Man Group. However, they absolutely must take their act to the nth level. Can they?
The Good: They definitely ramped the level upwards. Performing to 'Ballroom Blitz', we had 2 levels of percussion, power sanders on oil drums, drills on electric guitars, and an electronic backbeat to it. Complete with the fire, a 45 degree tilting stage, and the nice new duds, it was very impressive, and rightfully earned a standing ovation from the judges.
The Bad: David Hasselhoff wants to break things. In that case, can I suggest the Karaoke equipment that contained the backup tape of the lead vocalist, who was weak? That power sander in the corner should do the trick nicely.
The Verdict: What I liked about this act was that it went from just people banging on things to an actual rock band-style song. Like Stevyns, that sort of act will get the people that like that genre to call in, and I think there's more than enough of those to advance the act to the next round. Very high energy. Very nicely done.

We end the 2 hour performance show with The Eriam Sisters. They are looking to go all out with dancers and bikes, but the most important thing is the singing that they are bringing with Beyonce's 'Crazy in Love'. Can they sing their way to the next round?
The Good: I was wondering how they would pull it off, but they do. This is the first time that the background dancing actually ADDS to the act, as they use the guys to aid their choreography.
The Bad: That was the last 70% of the performance. The first 30% was incredibly pitchy, though I attribute it to nerves. Piers is right though - less dancing, more singing.
The Verdict: I liked this act, but I want them to bring something different to the party next week so they can display their true vocal ability. If the explosion of the audience after the act is any show of agreement, then they make the next round easily.

Overall: This was a pretty good week. You had a lot of very good acts. However, there is a clear line between Good and Great, and the 5 that get in will be 5 of the 6 'Great' acts.

Haterade's Picks:
Barbara Padilla
Drew Stevyns
Recycled Percussion
EriAm Sisters

Wild Card: Lollipop Girls Vs. Ishaara: Ishaara get in.

We'll see what happens tonight when our semi-finalist card is filled.
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3 Comments

No offense meant, Haterade, but is anyone but you actually watching this show? When is it even on?

said Cindy on August 26, 2009 5:53 PM.

Haterade, Scara told me I sounded mean when I posted this comment..not my intention at all. I appreciate the hard work you put into it..

I love your Idol Analysis column and look forward to reading it again come January :)

said Cindy on August 27, 2009 8:11 AM.

Cindy is covering her ass.

said Echowood on August 28, 2009 3:39 PM.
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