America’s Got Talent 10 – Live Blog and Recap – Judge Cuts 2 (VIDEO)
America’s Got Talent 10 is back for “Judge Cuts 2,” as judges Howard Stern, Mel B, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and host Nick Cannon continue narrowing down the contestants who’ve survived auditions.
But they won’t be judging alone, as they’ll be joined by guest judge Michael Bublé! And each of them has his own Golden Buzzer to send one lucky act straight through to the live shows at Radio City Music Hall! The search for the next great million dollar act continues, as AGT Season 10 rages on!
Will the winner be among tonight’s auditioners? Which acts will advance to the next round, and which acts will fall short?
Keep it locked right here as I’ll be updating with commentary!
Let’s get this show on the road!
-So Michael Bublé is here, as Nick announced to the contestants that they’ll be competing for one of seven spots. Upon coming out, Michael gets a megastar reaction. His popularity can be easily overlooked, and I’m glad he’s here. Heidi brags that she brought the most handsome guest judge, which I suppose is right, depending on how you feel about Neil Patrick Harris, Piers Morgan and Marlon Wayans. For his part, Michael is anxious to give the golden buzzer a try, but Nick argues against it, lest we get a repeat of the mess Neil Patrick Harris created last week. Anyway, let’s get to the show…
-Aiden talks about how the first time he ever saw AGT was from prison, as he landed in the slammer for conning people. But he’s conning for the forces of good now, having learned card tricks while in prison. He’s living the dream now, and making the most of his second chance. Out in the studio, Howie applauds him for turning his life around.
-Aiden breaks out a pack of 52 cards, and tells the judges to flip through the deck, and then to stop on a card when he snaps his fingers. They then must remember that card. He then tells the judges to raise their hands. Their hands represent the card they picked. He’s going to name five cards, and if the card he names is theirs, he wants that judge to drop his/her hand. He names the five cards, and he’s correct for each judge! He scores a standing ovation from the judges!
-Howard, who notes he was the first one on his feet for Aiden, feels it was a tremendous trick. Mel B’s mind has been completely blown by the trick. Howie asks if Aiden was released from prison or if he escaped. Meanwhile, Michael says Aiden should name that trick “The Shawshank Redemption”. He considers it a pleasure to have witnessed this firsthand, and Aiden is humbled by his words. Overall, a cool act, although not the most riveting for TV viewers. Right now, I have him going through, but I think he’s right on the cusp. If there’s a better magic act tonight, he’s a goner.
-Back from break with singer/pianist Jenna Renae doing a somber version of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” that reminds me a bit of Ingrid Michaelson’s version. I like it, and the judges generally do too, although they tell her she needs to own the stage a bit more.
-Shirley has performed since she was 17, and notes how much the entertainment industry has changed. She declares that botox and other beauty shortcuts weren’t a thing in her day. What you saw was what you got. She states that she may be a senior citizen, but she just might find a fifth husband here! She goes on to add that, at 87 years old, she wants to prove she still got it. In a cute bit, she flirts backstage with some people, including Nick. Apparently, she likes chocolate.
-Shirley performs “The Best Is Yet to Come”, and I almost feel robbed of not being able to hear her sing when she was younger. She’s got a good voice even though she struggles a bit with some of the notes. It’s a cute act, although not necessarily a million dollar act. Still, she’s a class act, and I like Shirley quite a bit.
-The judges like her a lot, but not in a way that suggests she’s going to move forward. Hell, Michael focuses more on what a great match she is with Nick than on the act itself. But Shirley is a real charmer, so I’m glad we got to see her.
-Daniella talks about the transition from life in Colombia, in addition to talking about how much her mother means to her, adding this is the first time her mother will see her sing live. It’s almost a note-for-note replay of her original video package from her audition, which isn’t exactly a criticism either. She’s got a story, might as well tell it.
-Daniella sings “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” from Evita, and while it’s definitely a good performance, I actually liked her audition better. Maybe it was the absolutely terrible karaoke backing track that played along with her. Still, there’s no denying she’s got a hell of a voice, and three of the judges give her a standing ovation (with only Mel B and Howie abstaining). I think she’s a lock to go forward.
-Michael speaks Spanish to Daniella’s mother and lets her know how pretty her daughter is, and what a beautiful voice she has. What an awesome little moment. The other judges quickly follow suit, talking about what a great performer Daniella is, and what a great voice she has. Can’t disagree with them there.
-Back from break with the puppet looking to win Mel B’s heart…
-Ira recaps his audition, and how heartbroken he was to be rejected by Mel B, although the kiss was incredible. However, he realizes that his true calling isn’t necessarily Mel B, it’s to sing and make people happy. Tonight, his mother, Miriam, will be backing him up on bass guitar. Watching him prep is kind of adorable (warming up his voice by singing, “Me, me, me, me, me, me, me…and my mom!”). Onstage, Miriam gets on Mel B’s case for kissing and then dissing Ira, and the other judges pester her about it too. However, Ira declares his desire isn’t just to win Mel B’s heart, it’s to share that love with the world.
-Ira sings “Let’s Get It On”, and he’s actually really good! It’s not just that he’s funny, he’s got a great voice too, even if he is using comedic vocal inflections. This is my favorite act of the night so far, although it’s admittedly still reallu early in the night. After the performance, Miriam says this is a weird song to back up your own son on, but she says she explained to Ira backstage that “getting it on” means going to get ice cream together.
-Mel B says she actually wants to get it on with Ira this time. This leads to a funny exchange in which they talk about getting ice cream, and trying vanilla, but preferring chocolate. When Heidi says she’s upset that Ira never sings for her, he invites Heidi to get it on with them too. Michael finds the entire act charming and likable, whereas Howie seems conflicted on whether or not this is a million dollar act. Still, he says “We’ll see where it goes.” Afterwards, Howie reminds Mel B she’s married. “Yeah, but I feel with Ira, anything goes,” she says. Yeah, I NEED to see Ira go through to the next round, just to see how his “relationship” with Mel B will escalate.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Adorable Puppet Wins Mel B’s Heart on America’s Got Talent 10 (VIDEO)
-Back from break with Michael singing “Happy Birthday” to Mel B backstage while the other judges present her with a giant birthday cake. Howie pops out of the cake wearing a cat shirt, and happily declares to Nick, “Now there’s TWO cool cats in the room!” Cute.
-In a sweet moment, Nick offers to lead Benjamin out to the stage, and he says, “Are you sure? I’m a little nervous.” Howie says they see thousands of contestants every year, but they always remember Benjamin. Howie asks how Benjamin’s vision has been doing since his audition, and he states it’s actually gotten worse. In his video package, he states that by this time next year, his retinal dystrophy may rob him of all vision. His mother is torn up about it, but Benjamin feels now could be his moment. Howie, who looks like he’s fighting back tears, tells Benjamin that all he wants is for him to “just dance”.
-Maybe it’s the choice of song he dances to (“Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” by Phillips, Craig & Dean), but this actually reduced me to tears. I was fighting so hard against the lump in my throat through the entire performance. He has incredible rhythm, and his movement is impeccable. This is a downright majestic performance.
-Howie loved it, and reminds the audience that Benjamin is only 14-years-old. Mel B loves him too, although she’s worried because dancers need something to “spot”. Benjamin goes largely by instinct, which worries Heidi, who is concerned he’ll fall off the stage. But she also loves Benjamin, and Michael agrees, saying he loved Benjamin from the moment his audition started. Howard feels Benjamin is inspiring, tackling the world when most people would hide away. In a touching moment, the crowd chants “Benjamin!” as he leaves the stage. This kid absolutely deserves to go through.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Blind 14-Year-Old Dancer Stuns on America’s Got Talent 10 (VIDEO)
-Back from break with a montage of dancers and acrobats, including FACINET SYLLA and NASTASYA GENERALOVA. Ira Fennelbloom is loving it backstage, while Miriam insists she could do moves like that once. Howard, meanwhile, is worried he’s going to have to eliminate people he actually wants to put through, the competition is THAT good. We end the montage with WES BARKER, who escapes from a straitjacket while a timer screen counts down alongside a giant picture of himself with a black box covering his naked body that got smaller and smaller the closer he got to finishing, until just a single censor bar covered his junk. Heidi says she almost didn’t want it to work, while Michael says he really enjoyed watching Wes perform.
-Uzeyer recalls traveling with the circus for over 15 years, before quitting over the difficulty of the travel schedule. He talks about how his twins are his heart, his life and his future, and he wants to give them something more for their future. He and Nick chat backstage about their twins, and it’s really sweet, actually. I hope he goes far. Out onstage, Uzeyer gets Howie’s name wrong, calling him “Harvey”, and I’m not entirely convinced he’s not doing it on purpose. Dude is a jokester, and I love it.
-Uzeyer performs another ladder routine to “Puttin’ On the Ritz,” and it’s more dangerous than the first one! When he gets to the top rung, he starts shaking his head “No”, as if he’s not going to be able to finish the routine safely. But he powers through it, balancing on the top of the ladder. It’s awesome stuff, and it prompts the crowd to chant for the judges to “Put Him Through!”
-Howie says he could watch Uzeyer for hours, going as far as to say Uzeyer is what AGT is all about. Michael says he loved the act, even though he worried he would forever be part of a YouTube video, “Man Falls To Death From Ladder”. Uzeyer offers him a chance to try it out himself on a smaller ladder. Michael plays like he’s going to give it a go, but decides to just dance instead, using it almost like a stripper pole. Howard then BUZZES MICHAEL BUBLE! Madness, although I can’t say I blame him. Michael admits he did a lousy job, taking the whole thing in stride. Howard then asks if Uzeyer has ever fallen before, and he says he fell once 10 years ago, and was in a coma for three days. But Howard commends him for performing, and says this is exactly the kind of act this show should be promoting. After the critique, Michael notes how slippery the ladder was, noting just how dangerous Uzeyer’s act really is.
-Ryan talks about getting multiple Grammy nominations, in addition to being signed to Columbia records. He says he’s been so close to making it so many times, which prompts me to wonder when, exactly, he’ll consider himself to have made it. He’s been nominated for a Grammy! MULTIPLE TIMES! Anyway, he sings “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” and it’s a really impressive vocal, although much like with Daniella, the tinny, karaoke backing track is terrible.
-Mel B points out the bandages around Ryan’s fingers and asks what happened, and he notes it was a table saw accident. She states that at least it wasn’t an injury to his voice. Michael says Ryan is one of the strongest singers he’s seen, but hopes he’d have chosen a Jackie Wilson song to blow the roof off the place. Still, he thinks Ryan is great. Howard notes that the singing category is particularly strong this year, although I would argue last year’s was stronger.
THE CRAIGLEWIS BAND
-The guys note that they had trouble making ends meet for a while, but they’ve always wanted to realize their dreams, so they never gave up. They state that it only takes one yes for everything to change. Luckily for them, they got four yeses, and were fortunate enough to advance to this round.
-The guys sing “I’m Going Down” by Rose Royce, and it’s a really impressive vocal. In fact, this one actually gets all the male judges on their feet for a standing ovation. And I don’t blame them. These guys have got PIPES!
-Michael declares he never wants to be on the same stage as those two. He then states he doesn’t want to push the golden buzzer, because he honestly doesn’t think they need him to put them through. However, Howard says he would hit the golden buzzer, after that performance. So Michael reconsiders his decision, reaching out towards the golden buzzer. He then pulls back, saying he’s going to save it. Heidi and Mel B angrily ask why he’d do that to Craig and Lewis, so he rethinks his stance and starts inching towards the button. Or maybe it was always his intention to fakeout like he wasn’t going to press it, and then press it anyway. Either way…
THE CRAIGLEWIS BAND RECEIVES THE GOLDEN BUZZER FROM MICHAEL BUBLE!
-Honestly, if I were Michael, I’d have saved the buzzer, mostly because I think his first instinct was right. These guys were going to be put through anyway. Another act could have really used that vote of confidence though. That said, I can’t blame Michael for pushing the button, even if he did only change his mind after Mel B and Heidi made him feel bad about not pushing it the first time.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: The CraigLewis Band Earns Golden Buzzer on America’s Got Talent 10 (VIDEO)
-Back from break with Michael basking in the adulation of the audience. We then follow it up with a montage of daredevils.
DR. DANGER’S ALL STARS
-Dr. Danger states he loves being a daredevil, and adds that if they weren’t doing this, they’d be robbing banks (it doesn’t sound as bad as it reads). They recap their audition, stating that they didn’t know which way those buses were going to fall when they went crashing into them. Luckily, it all worked out. Tonight, they’re taking things to the next level, as Mini-Mike will ride through flames with the assistance of Texas Trash. I love the freak show quality of this act, from their looks to the names, and right down to the acts themselves. They’re just a good time.
-They head outside for the act as every part of the show’s safety personnel is on-hand. Texas Trash ignites the ring under the ramp, while the other guys in the act ignite their hats (yes, they have flaming hats). It;s a bit of a weird act, as Mini-Mike jumps through a hoop with a large opening on a ramp that isn’t particularly steep. The judges and the audience are underwhelmed. Howard and Howie hit their Xs as the crowd boos, and I can’t be entirely certain who they’re booing, the act or the judges. Luckily, the guys follow it up with a bigger stunt, as Mini-Mike drives straight through a flaming fence. THAT is what they should have led off with from the start.
-Howard and Howie note that they felt it was underwhelming. Michael, however, disagrees, saying it was a dangerous act. He adds that you’d never catch him up there, personally. He applauds the group for what they did, even while it’s not looking particularly good for their chances of getting through. Backstage, Mini-Mike somewhat bitterly declares, “I don’t see anyone else on fire out there.” But, dude, you gotta bring more than fire.
-Back from break, with all the dance acts nervously eyeing each other up, speculating on what their major competition is going to be. This leads to a montage of dance acts, including CENTER STAGE and DADITUDE!. I’d say both acts did better this time around than their auditions. And I say that as someone who loved all of these acts from the first go-round. In particular, Daditude! really brought it, I thought. We finish with DM NATION from Quebec, Canada, who perform a series of routines in different styles, from street dancing to a more complex, theatrical technique. I’m impressed, since they’re obviously really talented, but something about it just feels a bit disjointed and unfocused, like they’re trying to do too much. It’s clear that they’re going through over the other two acts, so maybe this is why I didn’t like it as much. But from the appearance to the choreography, it felt like something out of Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation routine. Michael is proud to call them fellow Canadians, while Howie says their act is the embodiment of girl power. Howard once again fulfills his roll as “Guy Who States How Heavy the Competition Is In This Category”.
-Back from break with THE CHIPPENDOUBLES, who accidentally say that when you go to Vegas, you’ll see “The Chippendales” musical. It’s an amusing act, with each of the dancers disrobing to reveal a different celebrity impression, from the Obamas to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Then Mariah Carey is the last impression, and Nick starts cracking up. Heidi is horrified and hits her X, which is terrible for them, since the other judges have already hit their Xs. And that’s that for The Chippendoubles, who Heidi declares were just awful.
-Chris is out, and Howie is still upset with the hypnotist over his last act, having tricked him into shaking hands without gloves. Chris asks Michael onstage to help with his next act, saying he likes hockey and promises not to embarrass him. However, when Michael is supposed to have fallen asleep, he reveals that the trick hasn’t worked. Michael is wide awake, and now Chris is PISSED. He says he doesn’t really like hockey at all, and seems about ready to storm off stage. Michael apologizes to Chris for letting him down, while Chris seems more concerned with getting business out of Howie, saying if he ever wants to get over “the germ thing,” to call him. A terrible act.
-Scott is a stand-up comedian/drag queen. He recalls his audition and compares it to being Cinderella and getting to go to the ball. However, what follows is an audition that’s almost as awkward as the one preceding it. Scott starts off with a joke about cake, but Scott completely forgets his lines and breaks down in tears. Howard feels awful for Scott, saying they loved him in his audition. Michael doesn’t feel bad for Scott, however, although he doesn’t seem to mean that as a put-down. He says everyone on this panel has messed up at one point or another, but they’re all still here. Seems like he wanted it to sound encouraging, despite how it might have come across. Mel B adds her support, saying Scott will bring it next time. Backstage, Howard comforts Scott and says he probably just got freaked out by how well his first audition went, and he’s probably right. Still, this was painful to watch.
SELECTED OF GOD CHOIR
-They honestly feel they’re the best choir in the world, even though they admit they do argue and it’s not always easy. In particular, the choir director recalls when he was out of work and not making any money with the choir, and felt he had to put the choir on hold. However, his brother talked him into giving it one last shot, and here they are.
-They sing “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child, and there’s absolutely no doubting how good they are. Still, simply from a personal standpoint, I liked their first audition better. “The Prayer” was transcendent, whereas “Survivor” was just good. Granted, it was VERY good, but still just good. But I’m not worried about their standing. They’re totally going through.
-Howard felt they took an act that was good and made it even better. Michael says he’s looking for any excuse to work with them, saying he’s in love with this choir. Howie said it was an inspiring act, but there are only six spots, so he isn’t sure. And now, deliberations begin!
-The judges are back from deliberation…
DM NATION advances while CENTER STAGE and FACINET SYLLA are eliminated!
BENJAMIN YONATTAN advances while NASTASYA GENERALOVA and DADITUDE! are eliminated!
UZEYER NOVRUZOV advances while CHRIS JONES and WES BARKER are eliminated!
DANIELLA MASS advances while SCOTT HEIERMAN and SHIRLEY CLAIRE are eliminated!
IRA FENNELBLOOM advances while DR. DANGER’S ALL-STARS and AIDEN SINCLAIR are eliminated!
SELECTED OF GOD CHOIR advances while RYAN SHAW and JENNE RENAE are eliminated!
The seven acts advancing to the live show are…
The CraigLewis Band (Golden Buzzer recipient!)
Selected of God Choir
Overall, a pretty good group, although I’m actually really shocked about Ira Fennelbloom getting through over Aiden Sinclair. But it’s a delightful kind of surprise, because I LOVE Ira Fennelbloom. This is going to be a fun quarterfinal round.
-And that’s a wrap! What did you think of tonight’s show? Did the judges make the right choices? Was Michael right to give the CraigLewis Band the Golden Buzzer? Sound off in the comments! Until next week, thanks for reading!