America’s Got Talent – Semi-Finals Part 2

It’s the second week of the America’s Got Talent semi-finals, and I’m beginning to think the TPTB really want a variety act to win this year.

The panel went on and on about how awesome the variety acts were compared to the singers. Well, Duh. It’s been that way all along. It’s just that  finally, at the semi-final stage, the judges are critiquing the singers honestly.

Debra Romer, who sang a tepid, off-pitch rendition of “Make You Feel My Love” and Nathaniel Kenyon, who is totally the Tim Urban of America’s Got Talent (but not nearly as likable) were called out on their mediocrity tonight. The show is done with them!

Alice Tan Ridley, the mom of Gabourey Sidibe, opened the show with a passable Whitney Houston impersonation, but it was nothing remarkable.

Video after the JUMP…

The only singer to get big props was the creepy little kid faux-opera singer, Jackie Evancho. There was a really good article in the LAT this morning that compared young Jackie to Charlotte Church, the Welsh kid singer who burned out in her teens, and is considered an unremarkable singer now that she’s hit her twenties.   Jackie could meet the same fate if her parents aren’t careful.

Maybe a magician will win this year.  Both Murray and Michael Grasso acquitted themselves quite well with showy magic acts.  The aerialists, Michael Lipari & Ashleigh Dejon are like So You Think You Can Dance meet Cirque Du Soleil and managed to hit an emotional sweet spot.

Young classical pianist, Maestro Alexander Bui, went for more accessible fare this week, but there’s still an emotional component missing there.

The dancers: Haspop is a fairly decent popper, but his act was a little dull tonight. The kids, Studio One Young Beast Society are talented and have tons of charisma. They could win.

The judges gave stunt bicyclist, Jeremy Vanschoonhoven, a huge break tonight. His act went wrong at the very start and never really got back on track. But the injury he recently sustained probably affected his performance.

And closing the show, Fighting Gravity, the eerie black light act impressed the judges once more. It’s a clever idea that probably could be fleshed out into a longer Vegas act. I think they are contenders.

The acts I predict will go through to the Top 10: Jackie Evancho, Fighting Gravity, Studio One Young Beast Society.  The next two acts will probably be Murray, Michael Grasso, or maybe Nathanial Kenyon for the upset. Michael & Ashleigh have a shot, too.

Video after the JUMP…

Alice Tan Ridley

Haspop

Maestro Alexander Bui

Michael Lipari & Ashleigh Dejon

Michael Grasso

Debra Romer

Studio One Young Beast Society

Jeremy Vanschoonhoven

Nathaniel Kenyon

Murray

Jackie Evancho

Fighting Gravity

About mj santilli 33680 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!

16 Comments

  1. Thanks for the videos, MJ. I missed the show tonight. It was a good one, too, for a change.

    I like the variety acts this year like the magician, Michael Grasso, and Fighting Gravity. I also really like There isn’t a singer I like Michael and Ashleigh.

    I couldn’t watch Studio One Beast Society. The camera work was driving me crazy. And don’t get me started on Jackie. Why oh why didn’t they give her five more years before they started her training? I can’t watch her either. It’s too disconcerting. I hope, for her sake, that she doesn’t lose that voice of hers before she actually grows into it.

  2. I actually enjoyed the show for the most part last night. My top 3 would be Fighting Gravity, Michael Grasso, and then Michael and Ashleigh.

    The opera singer girl just seems like she is mmicking an opera singer. I didn’t like the dance troupe that much- ABDC has tons of acts like that that are much better. I do agree the singers have to go. They probably should’t even have them on there at all- leave it to the billions of other shows that try to find new singers. This show would be so much better with acts that could actually make it in Vegas. I hope Fighting Gravity wins- those guys are full of original ideas.

  3. I would laugh my face off if the creepy-kid (Jackie) did not make it. C’mon America, let’s have a little fun…

  4. I actually liked the variety acts more than any of the singers tonight. When I watch the different acts, I think more of sitting through one in Vegas rather than listening to more singers. Although people have said that Fighting Gravity is doing something that has been done before, I think their creativity is great and I probably enjoyed them the most so hope they move on. I liked Michael Grasso’s presentation. (I liked Antonio and was unhappy he got voted off. Studio One kids are talented and would like to see them move on, as well.

  5. Glad to see that I’m not the only one who thinks they’re probably encouraging Jackie E to jimmy with her vocal production to get that “older” sound, and that there’s a decent possibility that this will pose some difficulties for her as she tries to grow up into a professional singer:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/aug/31/entertainment/la-et-jackie-evancho-20100831

    ‘”A woman training to be an opera singer doesn’t develop her voice fully until she is at least in her mid-30s….

    ‘”[The voice] needs to be able to function as it is and at the stage of development it’s at,” says Mike McCarthy. As music director at the National Cathedral in Washington, one of McCarthy’s main responsibilities is training the child sopranos to sing in the traditional Anglican men and boys choir. “There is a question of the development of the voice in its more natural form, and by natural I don’t mean like an innocent, sort of treble white — I just mean as it matures, it doesn’t try to sound too old, doesn’t try to imitate the sound of an older singer.”

  6. Reminder:

    I have to edit comments that cut and paste large chunks of newspaper articles. Summarize what you’ve read, and post a link please.

  7. I caught part of the show last night. Fighting Gravity cracked me up, in a good way, because I remember pretty much every frat house in college had a dude with a blacklight in his room. And when you’re, um, buzzed, it’s pretty hilarious to make shit glow in the dark with the blacklight. Their act seems to have evolved from that, which is awesome. Most creative use of a blacklight evah! I hope they win, I guess?

    That Jon Benet opera singer, however, kinda creeped me out. I half expected Michael Crawford’s voice to boom “SING for MEEE!!!” from the rafters. I’m sure she’s a very nice kid who works hard and likes to sing, but it’s like she opens her mouth and is possessed by the disembodied spirit of Sarah Brightman or something.

  8. the creepy little kid faux-opera singer, Jackie Evancho.

    I don’t find her creepy at all. She’s seems like a very bright, sweet and talented young girl.

  9. Reminder:

    I have to edit comments that cut and paste large chunks of newspaper articles. Summarize what you’ve read, and post a link please.

    Sorry, mj! I got carried away with my concerns about opera-girl’s throat!

  10. re Debra Romer – did you all catch her attitude when she got judged. firstly, she needs lessons on how to speak intelligently.. she starts off saying “I’m saying… ” and then she brags about how she is being asked to peform in so many places, and then has this self-satisfied look on her face like Im so fabulous, too bad what you think, im a star.

    that other dude cant sing, the one with the Beiber haircut, Nathaniel Kenyon, he has massive hands when he put them up to his face. boring and cant hold a note, but prolly will get by on the pretty-boy (allegedly) vote to tweens.

    LOG reminds me of the creepy exorcist voice coming out of Linda Blair’s mouth.

    I give props to the bike guy, he was sore, tore up, etc. but yet “the show must go on” now, he gave a sob story but it was the first legitimate story about his pain, but not given in order to feel sorry for him, but his attitude was that he gave his all in spite of the pain. I was truly scared that he was gonna fall, but he did not! so i hope he goes forth.

    I liked the acrobats with the white outfits, i think the guy is totally Adam Lambert’s type ;) He was very cute!

    I actually like this show, but wonder how much longer they are gonna show it.. is next week gonna be the final 10 and then we have 10 weeks with 1 elimination each week?

  11. I voted for Fighting Gravity, Jeremy the biker guy and Maestro. I watch IDOL for singing, SYTYCD for dancing and Cirque du Soleil for the acrobatics/ballet/dancing.

  12. I don’t really see what’s so odd or creepy about Jackie and how she sings. Having been around plenty of vocal majors and hearing/seeing what they do and how they sing, she does what they do. You can’t force something about your production to create the resonance that she has in her voice – you either have the ability to do that, or you don’t. Yes, generally you have to grow into being able to, but there’s nothing to say that it can’t happen to someone as young as her. Trying to stretch your range or sing too loud are the ways you actually physically hurt something. The guy quoted as saying that singers don’t develop their voice fully until they’re in their 30s – well, in whose opinion? What’s “developed?” For an operatic voice, I tend to prefer the really fine sopranos that are generally in their 20s, BECAUSE they’re slightly lighter in voice. Jackie has a very similar voice to that – she does NOT sound like a overweight 50 year old soprano with vibrato a foot wide, and that’s actually what makes her sound good. IMO, of course. I’m sure plenty find her creepy and just plain don’t like opera either.

    I also have to disagree, kinda, about Debra. I mean, to get it out of the way right off, she’s not a Vegas sort of act. But I actually love the sensitivity and vulnerability of her singing, and just of her herself. Howie mentioned Jewel when critiquing her – I could see Debra developing into that sort. She’s obviously still getting over nerves, but I think she has a wonderful heartfelt vibe to her singing.

    There was so much variety in all honesty that no matter what happens, you could say that a couple people got a raw deal. I know my mom was voting – I’m not sure for who, I think it was Jackie and Fighting Gravity (and I made the same comments as sunchick about guys being “buzzed” (or maybe I said tripping on acid) and messing with a blacklight…and look at where they are now).

  13. I don’t really see what’s so odd or creepy about Jackie and how she sings. Having been around plenty of vocal majors and hearing/seeing what they do and how they sing, she does what they do. You can’t force something about your production to create the resonance that she has in her voice – you either have the ability to do that, or you don’t.

    I don’t think she’s odd or creepy. But I’m a singer and, in the case of a kid, yes you *can* force the kind of sound she’s getting. In fact, you have to force it because your body isn’t ready to produce it as easily as an older, bigger body with a fully developed vocal apparatus and such is.

    Because of her body size and such, she is clearly manipulating her larynx and probably some of the musculature in her head and mouth in certain ways to get that “operatic” sound. … That’s very very likely not a good idea at her age both because it’s getting her into odd habits that won’t be relevant when she’s older — so she’ll have to unlearn them, which you’d really rather not have to do — and because, absolutely, it’s kind of over-developing some of her musculature and some of the way she approaches singing while neglecting some other stuff, and that, too can lead her into some nasty types of vocal strain over the next years, if they don’t watch her really really carefully ….

    To me, anybody who encourages a kid to go this route while undergoing the pressure of these big-time performances is probably not a person you can really fully trust to watch out for developing problems that might compromise her future.

  14. I also have to disagree, kinda, about Debra. I mean, to get it out of the way right off, she’s not a Vegas sort of act. But I actually love the sensitivity and vulnerability of her singing, and just of her herself. Howie mentioned Jewel when critiquing her – I could see Debra developing into that sort. She’s obviously still getting over nerves, but I think she has a wonderful heartfelt vibe to her singing.

    mozart4898, I like her. I see potential. And I thought this was her best performance of the competition. You’re right, she’s not a Vegas act but she’ll be better off after the competition than she was before.

  15. @ lucy – I can’t totally disagree with you considering you apparently are a vocalist – but at the same time, she has a vocal coach as they’ve shown. I would be surprised if they’re actually teaching her to do things that could be damaging, but there are those out there who will teach things like that just to make someone (and themselves too) rich and famous regardless of what damage it might do. I guess I would see it being more damaging if she was forcing the range, or the power, of her vocals from her throat and she really doesn’t appear to be, to my ears and eyes. She seems to have well developed breath support and doesn’t sound tense or tight when she sings. However, as I said, you being a vocalist would have a better idea – I’m a wind instrument player myself and while breath support is the same concept, the actual tone production isn’t, obviously.

    I do agree as far as the pressure though – I really hope this is something Jackie herself really really wants to do and she’s not getting pressure from anyone (her parents, etc.). Encouragement, yes of course, if it’s what she wants, but I hope they’re not exploiting her (and of course some people do even if they don’t consciously mean to).

  16. If you’re a cook, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a good cook. So I would have to presume that not all vocal coaches are created equal either. I think only time will tell whether Jackie’s coach and/or her parents have done any damage.

    Regardless, as a parent, I would have waited until she was older. Nobody wants their child to be considered a freak. For all of those who think she’s amazingly gifted and talented, there are just as many who think it’s freaky. That’s not a position I would have put my child in for anything in the world.

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