America's Got Talent recap: Semi-Final 1
We’ve reached the semi-finals on America’s Got Talent and the judges are encouraging voters to consider which acts are good and which acts are great. Only five will make it to the finals. Which will be as exciting as Nick Cannon’s sparkly red shoes? And which will be as disappointing as Mel B.’s eye infection? Let’s break them down…
I’m all about a whimsical puppet show set to the tune of Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana,” but I have to agree with Howard on this performance. It seemed like a repeat of the Tom Jones number from two weeks ago. Even Ira’s mom’s beefcake dancers were back to cha-cha on the sidelines. I’m not sure it deserved a buzz from Howard, but when Mel B. says that you’re “kind of entertaining,” I think it’s time to write the beefcakes a check and pack up the feathers. Something tells me this is the end of the road for Ira.
Mountain Faith Band
Even though the Mountain Faith Band is from a tiny town in North Carolina, they plan on taking New York City by storm with their bluegrass music. The best way to do this is by a sneaky song selection. They take a current hit (The Weeknd’s “I Can’t Feel My Face”) and add a stand-up bass and banjo. I have to say that I missed the main woman’s fiddle, but I did like the folksy vibe they embraced as they sat around the stage in a bed of autumn leaves. The judges felt like the vocals lacked a “wow” moment. It’s the semi-finals and the song did not produce chills. The crowd and the Twitterverse did not agree.
Metal Mulisha Fitz Army
You might be wondering why the Metal Mulisha Fitz Army is in the semi-finals since Freelusion beat them out last week. It just so happens that the judges brought them back as their wild card. Most likely Howard complained that there weren’t any daredevils left in the competition and he’s still rooting for someone to break a bone on live television. Metal Mulisha does everything they can to make that happen. They even go a step further and introduce pyrotechnics into their act. Light them all on fire, because, why not? IT’S THE SEMI-FINALS. Go big or go home or go to the ER.
Samantha Johnson reminds everyone that she was rescued by the Dunkin’ Save voters and she does not want to be in that position again. She decides to straighten her hair, wear a short burgundy dress, and invite an entourage of violinists to join her on stage. The Weeknd gets another shout out with Samantha’s version of “Earned It.” She seductively walks through a ton of vertical fluorescent lights, showing off her amazing legs, as well as her amazing voice. The judges go crazy. They all agree that Samantha took it to another level and deserves to be in the finals.
I don’t know what it is about this guy, but I find myself rocking nervously during his act because I want him to do well. And when he walks on the stage wearing pajamas, I get even more anxious. His bit is simple: he’s reading a bedtime story to his children. It’s a long, drawn-out poem about Humpty Dumpty. Mid-way through, he tears up the newspaper-like story into several pieces. He accidentally drops a few and hastily picks them up. Then he wads the paper into a ball. One tiny piece falls to the ground and he just leaves it. I may have taken a mild sedative when that happened. Then he opens up the paper and the story is intact! Except for one tiny piece, which he picked up off the ground. It had a smiley face on it. It wasn’t a mistake! Hooray Derek! This guy definitely has a seat on the Hogwarts Express. Sadly, Mel B. thought it was boring. Derek graciously took the mic from Nick and explained that he wanted a few lighter, softer magic tricks in his repertoire because he plans on winning and every trick can’t be outrageous. Howie applauds the fact that he’s thinking ahead, knowing that his act needs range.
NEXT: The string section gets a workout
Drew Lynch is America’s darling. He publicly dissed Sprint on national television, which makes him Howie’s hero. Speech impediment or not, Drew is pretty funny. Because he can’t technically control his timing, he brings a lot of comedy using only his facial expressions. And I agree with Heidi—I like it when he laughs at himself! There’s no doubt he will be in the finals. He might just win the entire competition.
The CraigLewis Band
The CraigLewis Band are mama’s boys and I think that’s adorable. They borrowed Samantha’s string section for their performance of “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cook. And they rocked the house. It was like honey. Sweet and dripping with goodness. It was soulful and passionate. Their harmonies were amazing. Yet somehow, Mel B. didn’t care for it. Howie blames the eye infection. Since she’s not using all of her senses, her ability to recognize great talent is off tonight.
First of all, Oz has some nice legs. He showed them off in his introduction package and I definitely noticed. Moving on. He invites Howard and Heidi on stage so he can predict which drinks Howard will choose while Heidi covers his eyes. As Howard picks up the water, Oz talks about Howard hydrating himself with water. This goes on with orange juice, cola, and wine. Why Howard left the beer alone is a mystery. Then Oz correctly guesses what drink Mel B. is imagining. The next time you’re in a bar and Mel B. is there, order her an extra dirty vodka martini with lots of olives. You’re welcome, America.
Congratulations are in order for Benton Blount. His wife is going to have another baby! With one more mouth to feed, it’s important for Benton to nail his performance. He chooses “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten and is backed up by a few band members in aluminum box cars. Although the beginning was a bit weak, he really hit his stride during the chorus. However, I don’t think the audience was as into the performance as The CraigLewis Band or Samantha Johnson. If I had to guess, I’d say that he’s in the danger zone.
SIRO-A always impresses me with their imaginative routines. This one was particularly entertaining because I could never tell if the person on stage was a digital dancer or a real live performer. It was a kaleidoscope of colors and boxes that was reminiscent of the early iPod ads from Apple. (Remember how a silhouette of a person was jamming in front of a colorful box holding a nano?) The judges absolutely lose it over SIRO-A, giving them a standing ovation. Howie even speaks Japanese (sort of) practically welcoming them into the finals.
The producers do a really good job reminding us that Arielle is a normal 12-year-old girl who loves hanging out with her friends and studying hard at school. They do this because she’s also a 12-year-old girl who attacks “Nessun Dorma,” an aria from Puccini’s opera Turandot, in a darling sparkly disco ball dress. This is one of the hardest songs to sing and she nails it for the most part. Samantha’s strings make another appearance and provide a swell of music, which helps Arielle hit the crescendo of the aria with dramatic flare. Well done, Arielle. Well done.
Who do you think deserves to go to the finals? Does Drew Lynch have it in the bag? Will Derek and Oz both get a ticket to the next round? How many singers should go through? If Nick clicks his heels three times, will he end up in Kansas? There’s no place like home…