America’s Got Talent Live Shows continue with Quarterfinals 2. Due to the COVID-12 pandemic, acts will perform on the Universal studios lot. Unfortunately, Simon Cowell broke his back last weekend, and is recovering at home. Last week, Kelly Clarkson sat in for Simon. But this week, SNL star Kenan Thompson will take a seat next to Howie Mandel, Sofia Vergara and Heidi Klum. Hosted by Terry Crews.
Performing tonight: Terry Crews’ Golden Buzzer Voices of Our City Choir; Filipino brothers and Diabolo artists Spyros Brothers; Kid soul singer Kelvin Dukes; Kid dog show Alexis Brownley & The Puppy Pals; Indian ballroom dancers, Bad Salsa; Kid singer Daneliya Tuleshova; Country singer Kameron Ross; Glam rocker Bonavega; Dance troupe The Shape; Impressionist Vincent Marcus; Danger act Jonathan Goodwin. Only FIVE will survive tomorrow night’s results show.
Terry introduces this week’s guest judge, Kenan Thompson, asking him to give the acts advice for performing live. Because that’s what Kenan does on SNL. “Turn those nerves into superpowers,” he says.
Kelvin Dukes – Kid dancer – 14 year old Kelvin has always dreamed of becoming a star! His video package features him living out his dream of being a superhero. He performs “Valerie” in front of a New York City facade. It’s an interesting song choice, but not as dynamic as his soulful audition. The song doesn’t show off his big voice. But he does have some dance moves. He’s a good performer. Howie can’t wipe the smile off his face “You seem to be a really good dancer, actor and singer,” he says. He’s one of Heidi’s favorites. She loves his energy. “What a way to open the show,” Sofia says. She calls him a born performer. Kenan agrees with everyone! “That was really entertaining to watch,” he says. Kelvin says he’s inspired by Michael Jackson, Beyonce…and Kenan. It’s a compliment the comic fished for.
The Shape – Dance crew – We haven’t seen this group yet–they auditioned online. The pandemic has been hard, because before everything shut down, they practiced at school. They perform a Charlie Chaplin homage, dressed in masks and bowler hats on a downtown Los Angeles rooftop. Enthusiastic and energetic, the group uses old fashioned canes as props. But sadly, without prior exposure, they don’t have a chance in hell to advance. Heidi calls it a masterclass of precision and timing. She congratulates them on graduating high school. Sofia loved it. She appreciates their determination and how hard they worked. Kenan compliments their precision. Uh oh. Howie says he was watching a different show. He didn’t think they were precise at all. Welp. Bye guys. We hardly knew you.
Kameron Ross – Country singer – When Kameron came out as gay to his family, his mother’s reaction “wasn’t the best.” They didn’t talk for a few years. But when his mother battled cancer, they reconciled. Kameron performs a countrified version of Lady Gaga’s “Million Reasons.” Hm. He starts off flat and sings just under pitch throughout. It’s not a great song choice for his range. He sounds whiney. He’s singing live in front of the judges, so maybe he’s nervous? His audition was much better than this. Sofia loves him, but she says she likes his first performance better. She’s really trying to be kind. Kenan thinks he needs a cowboy hat. “It was pretty ok.” Oof. Howie calls him a “pillar of acceptance.” But he didn’t like the song. Heidi REALLY wanted him to be good. “It wasn’t my favorite.” Howie and Kenan harp on him needing a hat. Uhm, that would not have helped.
Bad Salsa – Bollywood/ballroom dancers – Because of Covid, the duo must perform remotely from their native India. They dance in a beautiful gold Indian ballroom. At one point, the male spins his partner around for so long, it’s amazing she doesn’t hurl. Ha. Their style is an interesting mix of East and West. Unfortunately, being stuck in India will probably hurt them. I really believe the judges voted against Feng-E last week because he can’t enter the US from Taiwan. “You blew the roof off” says Kenan, noting a little stumble at the end. Sofia calls them “amazing!” Howie says, “THAT”s precision in dance, not like the other one.” Howie begs America to vote. The duo confess that they practice 8-10 hours a day.
Vincent Marcus – Impressionist – In his audition, he sang nursery rhymes like famous rappers. His video package is more rapper stuff. Hopefully his repertoire is wider. And nope. Tonight is basically a rehash of what he did last time. Yawn. This week should end Vincent’s run on the show. I mean SOMEBODY BUZZ HIM FOR GOD’S SAKE. Kenan calls it “amazing” and notes Eminem is his strongest one. He thinks he stepped it up from auditions. Heidi thinks Snoop Dogg and Eminem were the best. The rest, maybe not. Sofia thought the second performance was better than the first. Howie doesn’t agree. “I didn’t like it as much as your last one.”
Alexis Brownley & The Puppy Pals – Kid dog act – Nine year old dog trainer who used to be afraid of dogs auditioned remotely from her backyard. She’s performing indoors, but it’s a pre-taped segment. Her dogs are very cute. The little poodle is struggling a little to get to the top of a ladder, but he makes it. He lags behind the other dogs. It’s a little wonky, but it’s also very very adorable. The big dog is doing most of the heavy lifting this time. Heidi calls it “so sweet…I think I got a cavity from it!” Sofia calls her amazing and inspiring. “You make it look so easy and fun.” Kenan calls her precious and adorable. “You’re so good with your dogs.” Howie compares her to Dakota Fanning or Drew Barrymore. He liked it better than last week’s pig act. Alexis reminds me a little of Darci Lynne. She has that sweet charm.
Bonavega – Glam Rocker – He grew up in a “restricted” household in Ohio. Bonevega is a collection of “all the things I was taught to hate and fear.” Finally, he can be himself! He performs a Weeknd cover, 80’s hair metal style. But the “virtual stage” being used as a backdrop is distracting. He’d be better performing more organically. even without the energy of a live audience. The singer strips down, grabs his guitar…but it’s a little boring to me, I hate to say. Heidi calls him a “rock god.” Sofia liked the Jlo outfit he wore the first time. Sofia compliments his energy and presence. Kenan calls him bold and confident. Howie finds him confusing. “But you’re the king of confusion!” He means it as a compliment.
Spyros Brothers – Diabolo artists – One of the brothers was very shy and picked on as a kid. The Diabolo saved him, and it strengthened the brothers’ bond. The two perform in front of the Simpsons Krustyland ride at Universal studios park. Actually, the entire crew is on set for this pre-taped segment. They toss the diabolo long distances like last time. A couple of times, the boys kind of ignore social distancing guidelines. Oops. They are very good at what they do, but it can’t match the surprises from their audition. Then, the second brother wasn’t introduced until halfway through the act. Kenan jokes about not being present for the performance: “I ran to my car!” Ha. He calls what he saw on screen “Amazing.” He liked the acrobatic tricks the best, no need for choreography. Sofia compliments their joy and enthusiasm. She finds the act dangerous and exciting. She likes the choreography. Heidi complained they were too close. Howie thinks they deserve to go on. The bros note that the Diabolo is a giant yo yo. And that a Filipino invented the yo yo.
Daneliya Tuleshova – Kid singer – She recently turned 14. She performs a mumbly version of Harry Styles’ “Sign of the Times.” She has an interesting tone, and her voice is surprisingly rangy. The performance picks up on the second chorus, but her pronunciation is bugging me. The judges give her a standing ovation. Howie calls her “beyond your years…You’re already a star.” Heidi says, “We’re going to see more of you.” and compliments her maturity and grace. “You really brought your A game.” Sofia says, “Tonight was owned by the kids,” she says. “The world is yours.” Kenan was blown away, “You have so much depth in your soul.”
Jonathan Goodwin – Danger act – Once again, the entire crew (sans Kenan) are on set to watch the act. Heidi assists tonight’s stunt, which is an escape. He secures himself to a contraption. If he can’t free himself t0 pull a red handle, he’ll burn alive. DANGEROUS STUNT DO NOT ATTEMPT. He has 20 seconds…to not catch on fire. He catches on fire, while still trying to escape the contraption. He finally pulls the red handle that douses the entire area with fire retardant. Kenan calls him “insane.” Heidi calls him “fully insane…I kind of loved it!” Sofia is grateful that she’s not his mother. “I love the suspense,” she says, hoping people vote for him. Howie legitimately thought he was in trouble. Jonathan did a good job building suspense, but whatever he doused himself with before the stunt, which he claimed to be fuel, was obviously some kind of flame retardant. Because otherwise, he would have died once the flames caught his clothes.
Voices of Our City Choir – Choir – The choir is Terry’s Golden Buzzer. He was moved by their story–the group is made up of homeless people. The video package illustrates a few members’ touching stories. One man eventually got help, and his own apartment. They sing the crowd pleasing “Stand by Me.” It seems like only four members sang in front of the judges, and the rest of the choir was taped previously and superimposed behind them. Or was the the entire performance taped ahead, and the group blended in at the end via a form cut? I’m thinking Bonevega was filmed in a similar manner. I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.