America’s Got Talent Live Shows continue with Quarterfinals 3. 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. In the house, however, are Howie Mandel, Sofia Vergara and Heidi Klum. Hosted by Terry Crews.
Performing tonight: Heidi’s Golden Buzzer Cristina Rae; Aerialist act Alan Silva; DC drummer Malik Dope; kid singer Annie Jones; Dance crew Dance Town Family; Dance/contortionist crew Bone-Breakers; singer Sheldon Riley; magician Max Major; singer Thomas Day; comedian Usama Siddiquee; Simon Cowell golden buzzer and dance crew W.A.F.F.L.E. crew. Only FIVE will survive tomorrow night’s results show. (Nolan Neal performed instead of Thomas Day as originally promoted)
There is no guest judge tonight. And Terry’s remarks made it seem like like it will only be the three judges for the rest of the season? Howie sends out a big “WE MISS YOU” message to Simon.
Dance Town Family – Ballroom dance troupe – Kids of various ages make up the group. We haven’t actually seen this act perform before tonight. They auditioned online. Therefore, they have literally ZERO chance to advance to the semi-finals. The kids perform on top of a checkerboard roof in front of the sea. It looks to be somewhere in Florida maybe? To be more specific, they perform group Latin dances. Not a new thing on AGT. So, how did this huge group get through rehearsals while staying safe COVID-19 wise? Sofia calls them “perfection.” She loved that the kids were all ages. Howie thought they were in the moment and calls it “COVID meets Conga.” I guess because of the face masks? Heidi loves their passion and determination. Terry tries to ask them the question I posted above over Zoom, but technical difficulties prevailed, alas.
Nolan Neal – Singer-songwriter – This guy appeared on two different seasons of The Voice two. When he got chair turns on his second try, he made it to the Knockouts. His backstory: Dad committed suicide, he drank like his dad did, but eventually got sober. In his audition, Nolan sang an original song about getting clean and sober. He’s been a songwriter in Nashville for years. He’s a a pro. It would be weird if he didn’t sing another original song, at this point. The song is very emotional. Nolan even manages a glory note, in his own gravelly way. Singer-songwriters typically don’t get far on AGT. Tonight he’s performing second, which isn’t a great spot. But we’ll see. Heidi call his performance “beautiful.” She hears both “hope” and “sadness.” Sofia thinks this song is even better than his first. Howie agrees, “You are inspirational.” Howie adds, “We relate, you give the world hope. So far my favorite performance.” Well…No 2.
Usama Siddiquee – Comedian – In his video package, Usama impersonates his Bengali immigrant parents, and it’s actually pretty funny. On stage, goofs on his name, which phonetically sounds like a notorious predator’s name. He jokes about how being a middle eastern looking dude with a terrorist-y sounding name makes airports a challenge. It’s funny, but also filled with unease. He jokes that raising his hand and acknowledging a a friend who shouted his comes off like he’s signaling something sinister. Ouch. He walks right up to the edge, there. He finishes a joke about feminism, which ends with calling Heidi a sl*t (sort of). Cut to Heidi, and as you might imagine she is NOT AMUSED. Heidi says, “Being called a tramp was my least uncomfortable moment.” Oof. Sofia noted that his choice of material was “risky.” She’s right. That stuff may fly in the club, but not in front of middle America. He’s done.
W.A.F.F.L.E. crew – Dance crew – The group is Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer. In their package, the group, from New York City, talk about this year’s challenges, from the murder of friends, COVID-19 to Black Lives Matter. They are determined to make “a big difference.” The group performs–where else–on Universal’s New York City lot. They dance from the streets through a fake subway. The colorful setting gives the routine a music video vibe. They finish in front of a fake Texaco with pyro shooting off in front. The imagery is a little unfortunate, considering the videos of neighborhoods burning featured on the news. Heidi compared the performance to an old Hollywood musical. She loved the tricks. “You are in your element…coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time,” says Sofia. “I hope everybody votes for you tonight.” Howie calls them golden buzzer-worthy. He loves their striving. “You are my NEW favorite act of the night.” Ha ha “Read the manual before getting on a scooter!” one of the dancers advises Simon as the group sends him get well messages.
Annie Jones – Kid singer – Annie is from Australis, which means she struggled to get permission to travel to the US for Live Shows. But she’s here! Which is kind of amazing, actually. I remember her sounding very young in her audition. The delivery is more mature this time. But she’s still got a way to go as far as intonation and phrasing is concerned. Possibly she’ll be very good in 10 years–she’s only 12! But not yet. Heidi is so excited that she’s here. “It’s probably not an easy song,” Heidi observes, careful not to criticize. “You look and feel so comfortable,” says Sofia avoiding commenting on the vocal, adding, “I love your outfit.” Howie, the truth teller, says her last performance was better. Regardless, he thinks she’s a little star.
Malik Dope – Drummer – His father was in a terrible accident years ago, from which he never fully recovered. Now, he’s living out his last days. Malik is hoping to make him proud before he goes. Very sad. Malik mashes up dance, hip hop and drumline influences into a unique blend of drumming styles. He’s even got a gong up on stage. He’s using some of the same music that WAFFLE used. Maybe they should have performed on different nights? He performed in front of Universal’s “monster mural” says Terry. Sofia calls it “spectacular” and “better than the first time.” She hopes America votes for him. “NOW YOU’RE MY FAVORITE ACT OF THE NIGHT,” says Howie. Now, it’s schtick. “You become the music,” Howie adds. Heidi calls it a “musical obstacle course.” She loves his enthusiasm.
Max Major – Mentalist – In his video package, he talks about the psychology of reading people. And tonight, he’ll work with the wall of virtual audience members. He also asks Howie to pick a time, which appears on Max’s wristwatch. He says he set the watch? But the way he spun the winder looked very very fake. Hm. The next trick, where Max matched a picture Howie drew was more convincing. Then, Max illustrates how his video package was full of subliminal messages that also matched Howie’s drawing. But also, the entire virtual wall drew suns, just like Howie. OK. That seems fishy. Anybody out there who was part of that virtual audience? I’d love to know more about how that went down. Heidi calls it “Very cool.” Sofia really enjoyed it “That was fun.” Ha. He’s barefoot!
Former NFL football player and magician, Jon Dorenbos, will perform on tomorrow night’s results show.
Bone-Breakers – Contortionists – The group is from Guinea in Africa. In their video, they talk about extreme poverty in their country. Right off the bat, they’re striking hard-to-look-at poses. Dressed in bright yellow, the trio performs to upbeat African music. An understatement from Heidi: “You guys have some strange moves.” Howie says…SAY IT WITH ME…it’s his favorite act of the night. He compares the performers to wishbones. Sofia loves the choreography and their personalities. “They’d bend over backwards to win this thing,” quips Howie.
Sheldon Riley – Singer – He’s been on The Voice and X Factor Australia. Tonight, he’s performing from what looks like a theme park stage in Australia. He talks about being bullied as a kid. Also, in his video package, viewers watch him sew the outfit he’s wearing tonight. He’s been wearing masks for each performance, and tonight’s is the most elaborate yet. He sings Kylie Minogue’s “I Can’t Get You Out of My Head.” His presentation is very dramatic, working slowly to a big crescendo. Sofia loves the “magic and the mystery” and his costumes too. Howie calls his style, talent and sense of fashion unique. Howie thinks he should never reveal himself. Heidi calls him “really cool.” Oh. He’s so excited to meet Heidi, he’s shaking. He gushes over something she said on her fashion show. He’s totally a Heidi stan!
Alan Silva – Aerialist – A little person, Alan talks about being bullied as a kid. But in the air, he feels free. He shares that during a rehearsal, he fell and broke his neck. It took a year to recover. At first, he was afraid to get back on the silks. Tonight, he will perform the nearly career ending move. “I can’t let fear stop me,” he says. Alan performs at night, outside, with the judges watching. At one point he does a triple spin and drops down the silk. But wait. There’s a trick at the end. DRAMATIC MUSIC. Worker bring out spikes. Alan does a death drop above the spikes, ending just inches above death. Afterward, Terry is so freaked out, he almost forgets to social distance. Heidi says, “You radiate joy when you fly through the air….it was beautiful to watch.” Sofia calls it breathtaking, exciting, nerve wracking. Howie notes that the stage was wet, and there was too much wind. But bravely, Alan went through with the act anyway.
Cristina Rae – Singer – She’s Heidi’s Golden Buzzer, and a single mom, looking for her big break. Oh geez. She’s singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Zzzzzzz. What I mean is, this is a tired tired tired song pick. But, I have to admit, that it’s usually a smart pick. Although I may be tired of it, the audience always responds favorably to a good performance of the song. And this is a very good performance. She adds some rangy high notes that will surely get fans firing up their AGT app. Aw look, her cute son is zooming in. Heidi calls the performance “flawless…crystal clear.” Heidi wants her to WIN SO BADLY. Sofia calls it “gorgeous…you’re already a recording artist.” Howie also calls it flawless, complimenting her range. He calls the entire night “spectacular.”
Tonight’s acts were WAY better than last week’s boring fare. I’ll give Howie that.