It’s the Semi-Finals, and it’s time for “the competition to reach a whole new level.” If only my excitement would follow suite.Ten acts will perform tonight and then be cut ruthlessly down to four, so the pressure is definitely on. The finish line is in sight, AGT viewers.
Nick Cannon clearly registered my disgust at his striped smoking jacket last week, and tonight we seem to have caught him after his junior prom but before he delivered the entrees to Table 6. Bizarre white jacket/lapel-flower combo aside, he does the standard opener and judges’ intro that we have now seen so, so many times.
Piers says that tonight in the Semis they’re looking to see how good the acts are and if they can carry an entire Vegas show. I’m not really sure how that’s different from what they look for EVERY OTHER WEEK, but I guess if we’re going to recycle Nick’s questions each episode we might as well recycle the answers, too. Sharon shocks no one by proclaiming that she wants to see the performers’ personality and “a sense of what they’re about” tonight. I guess I admire that she’s done pretending she ever judged based on talent, but that was still pretty blatant. David has run out of words that actually have the letter ‘F’ in them, so he just says that he’s “Hoffstatic” about the “Hoffstanding” talent. I don’t know what David plans to do next season, but I’m guessing his weekly answers might just devolve into him shouting, “Hoff! Hoff! Hoff!” at Nick.
And what would the Semi-Finals be without a healthy amount of time-wasting montages? In summary, all of the acts want to win, their lives have changed, and the judges comments are important. Groundbreaking, right? The montage then degenerates into random acts complimenting other acts. Drew Thomas on Grandma Lee! Arcadian Broad on Kevin Skinner! Voices of Glory pretending they don’t have this locked up! And for anyone who has been dying to find out if these ten acts actually want to do something silly like win, the answer is yes. I say again, groundbreaking.
So after a break, we’re finally ready to begin the actual competition. First up tonight is Acrodunk. They’ve given us two really impressive routines and they have the current monopoly on the fast-paced acrobatic market, so we’ll see if they can keep it up.
Along with a backstory, the montage is sure to highlight their token white member.
I’m not really sure why that guy with dreadlocks gets to do all the talking and sit in the coveted center seat during the interviews, but I suspect it’s part of Piers’ long-term plan to tear all acts apart with internal jealousy. Apparently one of the guys got to see his dad for the first time in twenty years after the Quarter-Finals, which seems odd to me. Either he didn’t know where his son was until he saw him on national TV, which would be a much cooler story than they’re making it out as, or he only chose to contact his son after he became somewhat famous. So, this feel-good montage really has the opposite effect on me.
After an intro so over the top I thought that Piers, Sharon, and David were entering again, Acrodunk does their thing. There’s less dunking and more dancing this time, so I feel that their last performance was better. At least, until the end, when they start lighting hoops and rings on fire and jumping through them. Like their whole act, it’s amazingly cool but I feel like it might get boring after a few performances.
Piers says it was unbelievable and he loved, and then tags Sharon in to his divide/conquer game. Sharon calls out Dreadlocks as her favorite and he of course takes the opportunity to talk to Nick Cannon while the others stand quietly. David agrees that it was amazing, and Acrodunk is now in our hands, America. Personally, I think they have a good chance.
“Yes, the fish course is excellent this evening.”
Speaking of good chances, it’s time for the Texas Tenors, who definitely have a good chance of going home. So segue is not my thing, but seriously, I don’t think they’re moving on. I think they belong to the Tony/Rory, Jeffrey-the-Piano-Player underclass that exists solely to fill five minutes between Voices of Glory and Kevin Skinner, but who knows, they could surprise me.
Seriously, the one in the middle has some sort of disease that turns him more into a boy band member every time we see him. I think they call in in(sync)fluenza.
The Tenors talk about how excited they are to be here, and there’s the montage of them riding mechanical bulls and voting for John McCain that any act with “Texas” in the title is obligated to have. There’s also the replay of David’s suggestion that they sing a ballad this week, and they say that they fully intend to do so. Because, really, who knows more about a unique blend of country and opera than noted musicologist David Hasselhoff?
They are indeed singing a sappy ballad, and the boy band one is singing way higher than he should be. The only one that actually resembles a Texan OR a Tenor helps to pull it out with some nice, deep vocals, but overall I just don’t think they’re that great. And compete with Lawrence or the EriAm sisters? Definitely not.
Of course Sharon kicks off the judging by falling all over the blond one and essentially offering to give him a million and fund the Vegas show herself. David follows it up with excitement over the billboard that would have their faces on it (they’d certainly never be on the other Billboard! Hi-oh!) and then puzzlingly calls them the front runners to win. WTF, David? Voices of Glory? Lawrence?? Kevin Skinner??? Hell, even Grandma Lee could give these guys a run for their money. Am I just way off on this one, TVgasm readers?
Piers teases me by pretending to be mad that the Tenors ignored his advice, but then turns it into one of his patented, “actually, I loved you” fake-outs. After Nick is done shrieking “He got you! He got you!” he asks a generic question about how they feel and then we get their phone number. I say again, front runners? Really?
Third tonight is Paradizo Dance, whom I have to say I really like based on their amazing talent and their genuine relationship. In the intro montage, David offers us this gem: “we like to do our honeymoon like Zoe is in my hands and I’m flipping her in the air.” Too much info, buddy. Zoe then talks about how Dave is getting into better shape (with a hint of panic, because his fat IS the act) and there’s some well-wishing from David’s eighth-grade class. Also, David apparently burned his hand either on a curling iron or when Acrodunk asked him to sub in on their new act, he can’t remember which.
Finally, something besides moody black-and-whites.
David and Zoe start off with her standing on his head, and already I totally love them even though they’ve apparently shopped at the Pam Martin House of Obnoxious Set Pieces. The two continue to be ridiculously adorable as they dance and flip around over fake couches and beds, and even though I love them I have to say that, like Arcodunk, their Quarter-Final act was better. It had the crazy lifts and flips, and this one just seemed a little lacking in those.
The Paradizo/Acrodunk combination act goes horribly wrong.
Sharon says that the lightheartedness was nice and talks about his burns for a million years. David, who’s shirt is never buttoned past his midriff, makes fun of their pajama-like costumes. Piers says that the two acts that they’ve already seen are in the finals (and again, Texas Tenors? REALLY?) and he’s angry that they didn’t get to see Zoe lift David. Zoe cleverly quotes Sharon’s opening monologue right back at them by replying that she wanted to show people who they are and that they have a large range, and then David (the dancer) mumbles something about “reading all the blogs.” Wait, what? David! You could have been a little more specific, but I’ll take the shout-out anyway. Everybody, support my new favorite: Paradizo Dance.
“I’m sorry, sir, I won’t have a table until eight.” Yes, this does not get old.
After the break Nick gives us some news: the winner’s show in Vegas is going to be hosted by Jerry Springer! So basically, the show at Planet Hollywood is just like an episode of AGT circa last year that you need to pay $75 for. Sign me up!
Time for act #4, Drew Thomas Magic. This is the Semi-Finals, so Drew has conjured up a daughter for his backstory, complete with a sweet/creepy montage of him wiping ice cream from her chin. So…I guess that was it. Kind of the most pointless montage we’ve ever gotten. And on AGT, that’s saying something.
Oh, but silly me, I didn’t realize that all of those “feelings” and “parenting” were actually a set-up for his act tonight! So it wasn’t a pointless montage, it was a montage that used his daughter for his own professional gain. Never mind, I feel like such an idiot. His act starts with a sappy “letter” voice-over from his daughter, and then Drew starts to set up a lemonade stand and finds skanky women hiding in boxes. Set-up to porn film: fine. Set-up to magic trick: dumb.
In case this whole “magic” thing doesn’t work out, Drew has a back-up plan.
And then a buzzer! Yes, your judge and mine Piers Morgan has grown tired of Drew’s self-indulgent antics and hit the button. I guess half of his act has gone by without any actual magic, so kind of justified. The act ends with Drew putting the three women behind a curtain and then opening it to reveal his daughter, so I guess it was a semi-impressive, if predictable, trick.
Piers says that he hated him. Not the act, not the magic, he hated HIM. The Piers I know would have just forced Drew to abandon his daughter in order to move forward, so obviously he’s getting a bit more vocal as the show winds down. He says the pacing was absurd, the trick has been seen, and he was bored. Mean, but kind of true. The best/worst part is that Drew’s daughter starts sobbing into her father’s sleeve, and while I admire Piers’ ability to make little girls cry I sort of wish he had unleashed that on another little girl who displayed WAY less talent even than Drew’s daughter, if you catch my drift.
Good volume, but you really need a bank of elevators and a fat teenager next to you to melt down on this show.
Drew says he’s wrong and Sharon attempts to smooth everything over by complimenting the act in the most patronizing way possible. David says it would be a nice segment for the bigger Vegas show and he liked it. If Drew makes the Finals, he has only his daughter to thank.
You know how Nick is always awkwardly dancing when we return from breaks? Do you think he does that during the break? How many security people do you think AGT employs to keep the studio audience from attempting to murder him?
Up next is Tony and Rory, almost assured of an X from Piers tonight. Sharon basically reminds us that she made the stupid decision to vote this guy through but she really likes him, and there’s a replay of Tony’s act inter-cut with really unflattering footage of Sharon clapping in delight like a five-year-old. Tony tells us that he had a homecoming in his hometown that hundreds of people attended, and I guess I’m happy he got to experience such fame before what is sure to be complete and utter humiliation this week. Also, Tony quit his job to be here. So…maybe not such a good trade-off.
Tony is adopting a strategy tonight in which if Piers does not understand the act he can’t buzz it, so the first part is made up of random people dancing. Finally, Tony joins them, but not before donning a shirt made of an entire roll of aluminum foil. Rory is barking a lot, which I’m taking as a bad sign, but apparently it’s actually good because they do a much better routine than in the Quarter-Finals; there are hoops and actual disk catching and everything. The only problem is that even at the very best, Canine Disk is not exceptionally thrilling. Some of you may disagree (Pam Martin, I know you’re reading) but after I’m done admiring the cuteness of the dog I’m ready for the next act. Overall, I think the lack of buzz from Piers should be counted as a victory.
Pam Martin: In Memoriam
Sharon says that Rory was great and caught all of “the dish-things” and then starts to bad-mouth the guy that fired Tony. Yeah, how dare he cut loose an unreliable employee! Sharon says that karma will be parked outside his house, leading me to believe that Sharon does indeed employ a hitman named Karma. David says something stupid about the dog’s outfit and Piers applauds them for actually catching the frisbees. Again, even when Canine Disk is great, you can’t do much besides talk about how frisbees were not dropped.
One day, she’s going to ask you for a favor.
We’re halfway done, and the sixth act tonight are heartwarming story and inevitable winners The Voices of Glory. There’s a montage to remind us that we’re supposed to vote for them (including that sweet, sweet Eleisha elimination), but it also makes an attempt to distinguish the kids for us. The Jock, the Artist, and the Good Singer. Thanks, AGT! We also get to hear from their father, who is without heartbreaking disability or adversity and so up until tonight has been deemed irrelevant.
The two boys start the song, and quite frankly they’re awful. Really, had this been the first round, I’m not even sure they wouldn’t have just been lumped into a Failure Montage. The real suspense is whether the judges will buzz the kids before the girl makes her way out, and luckily for them they hold off. I may make fun of Piers for his exclusion tactics, but he is so right in this case. She NEEDS to dump her brothers.
David says that they’re sweet and good and honest. I can understand his weird fabrication of their good personality (essential to getting them voted through) but honesty? That’s SO random. They might have knocked over a 7-11 this morning, Hoff, you don’t know. Piers says he’s impressed by their character (again, he’s reading into them a lot of what he WANTS to see) and he reminds them that the girl is way better than them. He also compares the girl to Janet Jackson, which I guess is supposed to be favorable.
You on the left, start looking into property in Santa Barbara County. You on the right, the American Idol set is two lots down.
Sharon says that she could do something ridiculous like judge their vocals, but instead she’ll just wait to see them in the Finals. Really. The kids say the money would go to their family, which is commendable. See, maybe if the judges had praised their character AFTER they say things like that, it would mean more.
The Fab Five gets to follow the VOG, and as always their montage is about their family and is really nice (read: boring). Even more frustrating is the way that their tight family backstory is essentially rehashed every single time that we see them. Apparently their dad missed their NATIONALLY TELEVISED QUARTER-FINAL PERFORMANCE for work (!!!) and so this is the first night he’ll see them perform. Those Mormons. Too busy working to make it for a TV taping, but just try getting them to lift a finger on a Sunday.
Their performance is good, just as good as they’ve been in the past. As far as consistency goes, these guys are definitely the most reliable performers. I guess the band outfits were a neat idea, but these gimmicks are so irrelevant to their acts that they could be dressed as Nick Cannon impersonators and the type of dance they do wouldn’t be affected.
“DO YOU LOVE US NOW, DAD?”
People in the audience freak out (their father?) and Piers says that they’re great but it’s a tight field of competitors left. Sharon comments on their energy and fast footwork and David says they just keep getting better. So everyone agrees that they’re talented, but the editors know that they would have to give us the same happy-family montage AGAIN in the finals so they definitely aren’t getting a lot of endorsement.
Next up is Grandma Lee, the act that I’m most curious to see if it can stay fresh. Unlike the Fab Five, there is another side of Grandma Lee to explore: apparently she’s been lonely after her husband died back in the nineties. He only saw her performance once and it was right before his death, which invites a joke that I probably shouldn’t make. Full time job to raise her kids, etc, etc, she’s excited to be here and make the most of her remaining years. Still pretty bland, but at least new.
The producers are giving Sharon way too much creative control.
Grandma Lee breaks up some hot guys that were dancing and then starts up a little stimulus package humor. Yes, it’s the double entendre that Trojan condoms has already been making for a year (not that I would know), and next she starts in on some hillbilly humor. With references to Kevin Skinner! Very confrontational of her. I hope he sings an angry song about her later. After more old person sex humor, she ends with the same exact underwear prop humor that she used last time. So funny or not, definitely not different from what we’ve already seen.
Sharon says she likes her because she’s naughty and dirty, and basically what Sharon wants to be in thirty (twenty?) years. Hoff says the backstory was sufficiently touching so he quit paying attention after the montage and Piers says her husband would be touched by her jokes about boning himself and Mr. Hasselhoff. And then it’s time to put her unwarranted likability to the test once again!
Next is Arcadian Broad, and Jesus Christ, has he always had THAT big of a gap between his two front teeth? Granted, there’s a lot to make fun of with this kid, but they should revoke my recapper license for not noting/mocking that like three months ago. So, in review, HUGE gap. Besides that, a creepy national proclamation about a girl he’s crushing on, and his continued resemblance to a far more awkward Erik (of Erik and Rickie fame) his montage has nothing new.
“Uh, yeah, I guess I can introduce you to David Hasselhoff…”
He is, however, working with a partner tonight, which is new. Supposedly she’s never danced for this big an audience or on TV before, and if that’s true then the producers must really hate Arcadian to give him such an inept partner. Also, what are the odds this whole “partner dancing” thing was engineered by Arcadian just to make that other girl jealous? I hope the crush hasn’t secretly replaced the dancing girl in a misguided attempt to impress Arcadian, much to Arcadian’s shock and our hilarity as she attempts moves far beyond her reach. If only AGT were a sitcom on FOX…
And UGH, really Arcadian? It’s a number that has been unceremoniously ripped from High School Musical, complete with original song. It takes years of training to become a certified Disney teen star, you can’t just jump into it like this. They have to make you sickeningly attractive and family-friendly, and then equip you with a really stupid TV show! Plus, there’s all the naked pictures they need to take to keep you in line! Arcadian has none of these (we hope).
They should just call this show “Arcadian Broad Acts Out All of His Self-Indulgent Fantasies.”
So besides being the only time Arcadian will ever touch anyone in a cheerleader outfit, the dance goes well. Sort of lackluster, and not really as creative as his last number. But once you’ve put the HSM CD into the stereo, I’m guessing creativity isn’t what you’re shooting for. David says he loved it and loved the girl, but Piers gives him a giant build-up that ends in him declaring that Arcadian is not at the point in his life where he deserves to win.
And then the night gets exciting! Arcadian is all, no way I wanted to do High School Musical, the producers made me. Sing it, brother! I’ve been trash-talking the producers since the beginning, so I’m just glad that my suspicions of hijinks has been confirmed. Piers says that doesn’t matter (I’m sure he’s getting a big bonus check) and Sharon cuts in and says it’s up to America. Nick slips in some bogus line about the acts having final say over their performance to cover NBC’s ass, the quickly gives the phone number. That was a ballsy move, Arcadian. It’s going to be way awkward backstage and I’m guessing you’ve blown all future invites to the Orville Lounge, but I’m proud of you.
I think Kevin Skinner might be contractually guaranteed to go last every night, because again he gets to close us out this evening. Tonight is montage is focusing on his rags-to-riches story (huge shocker) and he’s just so plum touched. Goddamn his folksiness. How can we not vote for him America? His dad isn’t well enough to travel and so tonight he’s thinking of his father, which single-handedly wins more sympathy from us and sinks the Acrodunk golddigging dad, the Fab Five workaholic dad, and the Voices of Glory nondescript dad.
As always, his singing is great and his common-man charm is overwhelming. Sadly, there are no Grandma Lee attacks. He abandons the guitar partway through and finishes singing to the crazy cheers of the audience. No way it is not him vs. Voices of Glory in the finals.
Piers says he was almost moved to tears and reminds us that he was a chickencatcher (“remember?? backstory??” AGT screams at us). Sharon says that he reminds her of Johnny Cash and she wants to see him smile more because she’s sure he’ll be back, and Hoff AGAIN makes fun of his accent and lifestyle, but of course it’s Hoff so there’s a free pass.
So. Piers says he’s the favorite to win. Plus, he got the coveted last spot. Can anyone topple Kevin? And what about Broad-gate 09? Who would YOU pay to see in Vegas?