By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
This is it!
After countless auditions and four celebrity-packed episodes of Judge Cuts, we are now down to 36 acts. In addition to the 9 Golden Buzzer acts, who received automatic golden tickets to the Season 11 party, 24 acts were invited by judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Mel B, and Howie Mandel to join them in Hollywood. Finally, three fan-favorite acts who were previously eliminated were given one final chance to impress them and all of America as Wild Cards. The Season 11 Wild Cards are Rubik’s cube magician Stephen Brundage, dance group Flip and visual performers Silva Sveta.
Tonight, the first set of acts performed at AGT’s new home: The Dolby Theatre! Which acts rose to the occasion? Whose dreams came crashing down? Read on to find out!
Before we continue the recap, I wanted to let everyone know that letter grades are back, and I will be offering my opinion on who America should vote to the next round!
To kick off the night, 14-year-old Jayna Brown! She earned her spot in the Hollywood live shows when guest judge Louis Tomlinson pressed the Golden Buzzer. For her performance tonight, she sang Ed Sheeran’s “Make It Rain.” This song helped both Koryn Hawthorne and friend-of-the-blog, Clark Beckham, make it to their respective show’s finale. She has a great voice, but at times I thought the band was louder than her. The last few notes were impressive, and she received a standing ovation from Heidi. It was a great way to start the show. B+
Up next to face the judges and the country was one of my favorite acts this season: illusionist Hara! Throughout this season, Hara has delivered impeccable routines and for his first live show performance, he dedicated it to his mom. For two spectacular minutes, Hara combined magic and excellent visuals into a magnificent piece of storytelling. He is worthy of moving on to the next round! As Howie gave him a standing ovation, Simon stated that this round made him and indicated that he needs to be entertaining in Vegas! A
Dance crew (and one of my friend Becky Wilson’s favorite acts) Outlawz went next! The quintet is this season’s underdogs, and they capitalized on the Ghostbusters popularity for their routine. But, the moves were okay, and I thought I was back at Blue Valley Northwest, watching the “popular kids” do a mediocre spirit day dance. I have to agree with Simon (who buzzed them) that they disappointed America this time around. D
As the Outlawz left the stage, one of my favorite music groups took to the Dolby Theatre stage. Musicality Vocal Group made their hometown of Chicago very proud in both the Auditions and the Judge Cuts rounds. They made their Hollywood debut with Ariana Grande’s “One Last Time.” They gave me the first case of the goose bumps and Musicality continued to inspire the country with their music. While Mel B stated that she loved them, Heidi added that this is the best they ever sounded. A-
Lori Mae Hernandez reminds me of a younger version of Kathy Griffin and the late Joan Rivers. After she had walked out to Meghan Trainor’s “Me Too,” she got down to business. Her material included the Oscars, Donald Trump, Harry Potter and her case for “braces should be illegal.” Lori Mae Hernandez’s material was spicy and made me laugh. During the judges’ feedback, Simon called her “naughty, edgy, cool and current!” and I agree with him. B+
After a warning from Nick, Las Vegas natives Danger Games made their Hollywood debut. They dedicated their America’s Got Talent run to their young daughter. This time around, the husband blindfolded himself and threw giant metal star wands at his wife. After successfully not hitting his wife five times, they advanced to the Flaming Wheel of Death, where he lit up flaming knives and threw them at her. That performance was crazy! B
NFL star Jon Dorenbos received the Golden Buzzer from Ne-Yo in the Judge’ Cuts. Tonight, he went live for the first time. He asked the judges to draw images while he executed a personality test on them. After Mel B collected the drawings and shuffled them, he correctly predicted a small heart (Mel B), a sweater (Howie) and a butterfly (Heidi). Jon now had to draw what Simon drew on his paper (which was a small dog). Jon’s premonition of not only what Simon had drawn, but all four judges pieces of artwork. That act was impeccable, and he might guarantee his place in this finale. A
Daniel Joyner is an amazing singer, but he had to step it up this round! Brian Justin Crum is still the top male singer in this competition. He dedicated his song to his girlfriend, Caitlyn. He covered Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” Daniel has the chops and charisma, but I thought it was the wrong song to sing at this stage in this competition. D+
Tape Face is one of the most mysterious acts that has ever been on America’s Got Talent. At times, this silent mime has made laugh and drove me nuts at the same time! After Nick “pushed” him on stage, Tape Face summoned Heidi to join him on stage. He reenacted Ghost’s classic clay moment with the Project Runway host and asked Nick to join him in “The Danger Zone.” But every time Nick put on the shades, it played Madonna and Cyndi’s music until Tape Face joined him a quirky dance number. His performance was quirky but memorable. B-
Nick Cannon’s Golden Buzzer act, 90-year-old Dorothy Williams, was the next act to take the stage. For her act, the elderly dancer transported the audience to Hollywood’s Golden Age. She has great hip action for her age, and it was a good strip routine that received a standing ovation from Simon, Howie, and Heidi. She is inspirational but not a Vegas act. C+
Wildcard Sila Sveta for the ultimate second chance. This act was visually mesmerizing, and the choreography was out of this world! Unfortunately, Simon did not like their act and hated the music. In all honesty, I have to agree with Howie, Mel B, and Heidi because this was a great act that could be in Vegas tomorrow morning. B+
The final act of the evening was Mel B’s Golden Buzzer pick: Laura Bretan. I had the privilege of seeing Laura perform live in Pasadena at her audition, and she blew me away from the first note of “Nessun Dorma.” This time around, she sang “The Prayer” and Laura’s vocals immediately captured my attention. She stole the show and gave me the chills! I hope that Laura gets the chance to perform with Barbara Padilla or the Forte Tenors in the future because that combination would take the show to new heights! A+
Acts who deserve to go through to the next round: Jon Dorenbos, Musicality Vocal Group, Hara & Laura Bretan
Tomorrow night, Seasons 9 and 10 winners and current Vegas headliners Mat Franco & Paul Zerdin returns to provide the entertainment, and we learn which acts will advance to the Semi-Finals!