America’s Got Talent 10 – Live Blog and Recap – Judge Cuts 4 (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap of America’s Got Talent 10, as we prepare for the final round of cuts before live shows with “Judge Cuts 4”! Judges Howard Stern, Mel B, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and host Nick Cannon continue the search for a million dollar act from among those who’ve survived auditions.
But they won’t be judging alone, as they’ll be joined by guest judge and AGT original Piers Morgan! And he has his own Golden Buzzer to send one lucky act straight through to the live shows at Radio City Music Hall!
Tonight, we round out the list of finalists, as these 20 acts will compete for the last 7 spots: Aaron Smyth (Ballet Dancer), Alex Boyé (Singer), Alicia Michilli (Singer), Derek Hughes (Magician/Comedian), Duo Vladimir (Hand Balancer Duo), Duo Volta (Trapeze Duo), Duwende (A Cappella Group), Gary Vider (Stand-up Comedian), Jamie Costa (Impressionist), Kacey Jones (Comedy Singer/Guitarist), Kayvon Zand (Musician), Leroy Patterson (Pain Junkie), Semeneya (Latin Dance Group), Siro-A (Video Projection Dance Group), Stevie Starr (Regurgitator), Technicianz (Dance Group), The Gentlemen (Hip-Hop Dance Duo), The Move (Dance Group), Vox (Opera Group), and Xavier Mortimer (Magician).
Keep it locked right here as I’ll be updating with commentary and videos as the night rolls on!
Let’s get this show on the road!
-Before we get this started, we might as well remind everyone of where we stand. Over the last three weeks, 21 acts have advanced. They are: Piff the Magic Dragon, Chapkis Dance Family, Myq Kaplan, Freelusion Dance Company, 3 Shades of Blue, Silvia Silvia, Samantha Johnson, Daniella Mass, The CraigLewis Band, Ira Fennelbloom, DM Nation, Benjamin Yonattan. Uzeyer Novruzov, Selected of God Choir, Paul Zerdin, Oz Pearlman, Vita Radionova, Mountain Faith Band, Triple Threat, Animation Crew, and Benton Blount. They join the four Golden Buzzer recipients who advanced to Radio City Music Hall automatically during auditions: Drew Lynch, Freckled Sky, Sharon Irving and Arielle Baril. This is a pretty stacked field of talent, so I’m excited to see how this week’s acts hold up, since I would argue this is the strongest group of the Judge Cuts so far.
-Anyway, we open the show with the standard introductions from Nick, as Piers Morgan is also here to join Howie, Howard, Heidi and Mel B. The Golden Buzzer is back in play, so let’s get to it!
-The boys talk about their love of dance, with one of the boys stating that sometimes he just dances to get girls. Their parents are incredibly supportive, and the brothers are very close. Once onstage, Piers asks what the boys would do if they won the million, and the older brother says they’d save up for college…and also get the dog their parents would never let them have.
-The boys dance a really cool routine to “Bad Girl” by Usher, and I’m not sure what to think. Part of me is weirded out that they’re dancing with such sexual suggestiveness, considering how young the other. But another part of me was really impressed with the fluidity of their choreography, and just how much swagger they showed on a stage that, realistically, should have swallowed them alive. I just think these two kids are so freakin’ cool, and I’d love to see them advance.
-Heidi loves how they got the crowd on its feet. However, while Howard thinks their choreography and music choice is really smart, he fears their routine is getting a bit repetitive. Piers concurs, stating that the stage was ultimately too big for the boys. Mel B couldn’t disagree more, praising the boys for their skills, while Howie calling them a total package act. Backstage, their mother tearfully embraces them and lets both boys know how proud she is.
-The Gentlemen aren’t the only dance act, however, as we return from break with a mind-blowing dance act called the TECHNICIANZ. Howie, Howard, Heidi and Mel B adore the act, but Piers Morgan accuses them of “taking leave of their senses”, calling it a boring act. DUWENDE, an a cappella group, also gets on Piers’s bad side, stating he has no idea how the singers (who perform “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne) even got this far as a group. He also hates pain junkie LEROY PATTERSON, saying he’s making him rethink how good it is to be back on AGT.
-Derek talks about how well things went during his audition, while also explaining the awesome responsibility he now has as a father. When he was single, failure meant he would starve. But now that he’s a father, that means his family starves. And he can’t have that. “Failure is not an option,” he declares. I really respect his determination.
-He asks Howie to think of a city, then asks Mel B to think of a man’s name. He then chides Heidi for also thinking of a man’s name, since her brainwaves are interfering with Mel B’s. Throughout the routine, Derek pretends to be bombing, claiming to have guessed the wrong city for Howie (“Toronto”), and the wrong names for Mel B and Heidi (“Bob” and “Gunter”). He then brings Howard onstage and hands him a dictionary. Derek writes down the word “Morbid” and shows the audience on the cue card, but doesn’t show Howard. He flips through the dictionary, instructing Howard to tell him when to stop. Surprise surprise, he stops on the word “Morbid”! But Piers isn’t impressed, so Derek picks up the discarded guesses from earlier, the crumpled up pieces of paper he threw away. On them, it turns out he not only correctly predicted Howie’s favorite city (“Toronto”), but also the names “Bob” and “Gunther”, with Gunther crossed out because it was the name Heidi was thinking, not Mel B. I dug it.
-Piers admits Derek has talent, but states there was no wow factor. But Howie thinks Derek is funny and entertaining. Howard loved him too, saying the good news is that Piers will be gone soon (“Piers, I love ya, but you’re wrong about this guy!”). I like this guy, and I would put him through. We’ve got a real lack of magicians in the live shows this season, and I think this show could use a whole lot more of them.
-Back from break with competing acrobatic acts, DUO VLADIMIR and DUO VOLTA. We get a backstage segment in which both acts size each other up, since they’re each other’s biggest competition. Of course, they could also cancel each other out if the judges feel a hand balancing act isn’t all that necessary. I’m intrigued by this pseudo-rivalry.
DUO VLADIMIR VS. DUO VOLTA
-Duo Vladimir is up first, and it’s super impressive, with one man balancing on the other’s head with just one hand. Then then balance from their steel mouth guards once again (or are they swords? I can’t even tell. All I know is that I’m horrified). However, once they’re balancing mouth-to-mouth from the mouth guards, they start to lose balance, causing the judges to lose their minds. But they recover, and the judges are absolutely won over. Piers feel it’s a different act, and praises the duo for their talent. Really, I feel like these guys were overpraised a bit. Don’t get me wrong, they’re outrageously talented, but half of this act was pretty much an exact copy of their audition, except it didn’t go nearly as smoothly. Are they just going to balance from each other’s mouths in the live show too? Or is there more to this act?
-Duo Volta is now more nervous than ever, since the judges gave such glowing praise to Duo Vladimir. But once onstage, things loosen up a little, as the ex-lovers joke about still being broken up. With the underdog edit they’re getting, I’d be shocked if Duo Vladimir made it in over these two. Anyway, onto the act, as the trapeze artists do some incredible balancing from the trapeze. How neither of them fall during all those flips and swinging movements is beyond me. This is a monument to their talent, sure, but it’s also a clear example of just how far good training can get you. Howard compares their performance to a dream, and declares it “magnificent”. Piers states they could go a long way, saying they have real chemistry, but warns that they’re facing serious competition from Duo Vladimir, since they can’t afford to have two similar acts go through. Mel B assures the duo that they’ve just made this decision really hard on them.
-Back from break with impressionist JAMIE COSTA, whom I love. He’s really good at what he does, but this was an absolutely painful act, not because his impressions are bad but because his stand-up just isn’t funny at all. Magician XAVIER MORTIMER also bombs onstage, getting four Xs like Jamie before him, prompting the judges to theorize that the pressure is getting to the contestants backstage.
-Alicia is a singer who struggles with her confidence, and her desire to make it. Her parents recall how she’s wanted to be a singer since she was a little girl. Her mother breaks down when talking about how great it is to finally see her dream come true. Alicia recalls moving away from her family to try and make it in the industry, playing gigs for almost no money and an empty audience. But this is her dream. Onstage, Alicia declares that she feels “ready”. When Piers asks if she’s intimidated by the other acts, she simply states that she’s going to “live it out and see where it goes”. I really like Alicia. I promise it has nothing to do with her being outrageously pretty either.
-She sings “Who’s Loving You”, and while I wasn’t feeling the first half of the song at all (less because of Alicia than for the cheap-sounding karaoke backing track), I thought she absolutely sold the emotion in the second half. This was a lovely, smoky soul vocal. I think the singing category really needs a vocalist like her, an Emily West type who can bring that classy vibe to the competition.
-Mel B says it was an ambitious song choice for Alicia, but she really liked it. Piers thinks she has a raw talent, and adds that she really has a way of captivating an audience. Howard, however, thought Alicia overcompensated and needing to pull back a bit. He’s afraid they’re going to lose her today. Howie somewhat agrees with Howard, but thinks Alicia is still really talented. Heidi sticks up for Alicia and says she heard all she needed to hear. “I’m gonna fight for ya,” Heidi tells Alicia.
-Back from break, as it’s all-out war between the remaining dance groups: THE MOVE does an awesome, sexy routine that feels partially Latin but also with a hint of contemporary burlesque. The judges absolutely love it, with Howard saying he’s in their corner.
But SEMENEYA is back as well, this time as a trio, since their injured fourth member couldn’t recover in time after injuring himself at the first audition. This act is awesome, as it’s got Latin flavor with acrobatic ambition. Not only does the male spin the two women like helicopter propellers around his body, but he also hooks them upside down around his body, and plays their butts like drums. The judges now seem conflicted on which act they’re going to pick. I think they sounded more enthusiastic about The Move, but I personally preferred Semeneya.
-However, those two aren’t the only dance acts left this week…
-Aaron talks about what ballet and dance means to him, saying he’s worked for this since he was eight-years-old. His parents tried to put him into every sport and extracurricular activity imaginable, but it wasn’t until he discovered dance through his sister that he realized what he wanted to do with his life. He’s an accomplished track-and-field star, but he ultimately decided to pursue dance, since it allows him a freedom of expression like nothing else does.
-Aaron’s routine is elegant and features elements of contortion, as he bends his body into painful-looking poses. There’s tremendous drama to this as well, in how he moves his body in time to the music, and seemingly tells a conflicted story of freedom and loneliness. I dug it.
-Piers thinks Aaron delivered a very impressive performance, as the audience instinctively rose to its feet for him. Howie thinks Aaron is an amazing performer, but doesn’t think he stepped it up enough from his audition. Howard disagrees, saying he feels Aaron DID step it up. I’m really thinking Aaron is the dance act that gets through, and I wouldn’t be the least bit mad about it either. But I’d like to see Semeneya make it too, if at all possible.
-I keep forgetting that there are so damn many dance acts in this competition. But I’m thrilled that they didn’t montage Siro-A. These guys are badass, and we get to take a look at their process, as Yoshiko Maedo (their friend and manager), talks about how she comes up with the concepts for their performances. The dancers want to show America what they can really do, and I can’t pretend I’m not excited about this.
-I don’t even have words for how awesome this was. Their dance involves an X-Ray, a rolling head, one of the dancers growing and looming over the others, and other dancers freezing in mid-air. Seriously, I lack the descriptive powers to tell you how awesome this routine is. I can’t wait for the video to get posted.
-Howard says these guys are the definition of stepping it up. Heidi was bouncing in her seat through the whole routine, saying it was a very original and modern act. Piers, however, didn’t like it…he absolutely loved it. “I did this job for six years on America’s Got Talent, and I can’t think of an act that quite rivals the level you’re already at.” He then asks if these dancers think they’re worthy of the Golden Buzzer. Yoshiko says she believes so, and Piers agrees with her.
PIERS MORGAN HITS THE GOLDEN BUZZER FOR SIRO-A!
SIRO-A ADVANCES TO RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL!
-Piers declares that these guys have a very good chance of winning America’s Got Talent this year. The guys celebrate backstage as Piers notes that he could see these guys headlining in Vegas just like Terry Fator, noting that you feel a certain pride with acts you first see on this show.
-Back from break with country singer KACEY JONES, who sings about how everyone she ever loved was either married or dead. Piers found himself smiling, against his better instinct. Mel B thinks Kacey will have to amp up her performance though.
-Stand-up comedian Gary talks about his job as a dog-walker, saying he wants more out of life than waiting for dogs to do a number one or number two. That said, he notes he’s up against an incredible amount of talent, so he’s understandably nervous. In a funny moment, he tells Howard he didn’t tell any of his loved ones he made it to this round, so he could keep the money to himself if he won.
-Gary talks about making only $11,000 a year, meaning he’s so broke, the government doesn’t even make him pay taxes. He wants to ask his parents for money, but he can’t…because they told him not to. So he sent them a nice letter: “Mr. and Mrs. Vider, we have your son. If you want to see him again, please deposit $60 into his checking account.” It’s a joke that largely relies on Gary’s delivery, which is incredibly dry, making this even funnier.
-Howard likes Gary a lot, as does Mel B, although Howie worries Gary’s comedy might be a bit too subtle for audiences. But he loves Gary all the same, saying he’s hysterical. I’m not sure I’d put Gary through, but I can’t say I’d be surprised if he advanced. Comedy routines are the new magic, it seems.
-Singer Kayvon Zand talks about how his audition didn’t go as well as he’d hoped, as the judges were harsh with their critiques. But he says he’s done a lot of work to bring more. Once onstage, Howard warns that since this act is no longer new to them, it’s not enough to just be different. He agrees, and even tells Mel B that she was right in her critique during his audition. He tells her he plans to speed it up this time.
-Kayvon is in a weird outfit that looks like a mix between something Boy George would wear and something Lady Gaga would rock. He sings “You Spin Me Round” by Dead Or Alive, and his voice honestly isn’t the worst ever, although all the dancing is doing a number on his voice, and the dancers are as distracting as his blue contacts. This isn’t a million dollar act at all, and the buzzers he gets from four of the judges (only Howie holds out) illustrates this.
-Howie likes Kayvon because he’s funny and weird, saying he feels like Kayvon is being outrageous and entertaining. He doesn’t get why the other judges don’t get this. But Kayvon is being serious, and takes offense when Howie says he’s lousy at piano. He tries to change Howie’s mind by playing piano, and he earns a fourth X, as Howie turns on him. Howard says that the fourth X will keep him from advancing now, but Kayvon starts arguing with the judges, saying they aren’t giving him fair criticism. Mel B appreciates that he’s trying to put on a show, but feels he isn’t bringing the goods from a technical standpoint. Kayvon asks, point-blank, if Mel B thinks she’s a better singer than him. Mel B handled it far more tactfully than I was expecting, saying she’d never say something like that to a contestant. She simply feels he’s lacking the technical prowess needed from a singer in this competition. Kayvon tries to argue that he doesn’t think Mel B is a bad singer at all. He likes her a lot…he just doesn’t think she’s a Whitney Houston or anything. And at this point, Piers has to speak up, saying that if this were America’s Got Obnoxious Little Brats, he would win. He chews Kayvon out for disrespecting an artist who’s had #1 hits all over the world like Mel B, and calls his entire attitude an insult to this panel. That was an oddly satisfying retort from Piers.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Angry Rejected Singer Calls Out Mel B on America’s Got Talent 10 (VIDEO)
-Back from break with the last act I ever expected to get montaged, as VOX sings “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables, one of my absolute favorite songs. I wish we could have heard the whole thing, but I loved what we did hear. However, only Mel B and Heidi seemed to like it, as Piers thinks they’re boring, and Howard straight-up calls them forgettable. What a complete turnaround. I thought they’d go all the way.
-Alex talks about his dream of making it as a singer for as long as he can remember. He recalls his youth, as he didn’t really know his father, and his mother remarried and moved back to Nigeria without him, causing him to be placed in foster care. He didn’t always make the right choices as a kid, but he’s looking to make it all count now, stating that he plans to perform like this is his last time on the stage. Onstage, Alex reaffirms to Howie that this means everything to him.
-Alex sings “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars, and while it’s not as good as his audition, I think the amount of energy and personality in this performance makes it instantly memorable. It isn’t the best song to showcase Alex’s vocals, but I’m not even that sure Alex is trying to present himself as a vocalist, so much as an all-encompassing entertainer. And to that end, I feel like he succeeded, even if I’m not sure there’s room for him in the competition (although I’m leaning towards thinking there is).
-Mel B likes Alex more as a solo artist than as an entertainer with a band. Howard says Alex slipped into wedding act territory. However, Heidi thinks Alex and his band are both great. But Piers declares that he doesn’t think this is an act America will pay to see. Howie wishes Alex luck, and says he hopes we’ll see him again, which seems to indicate he’ll be fighting for Alex in the deliberations. He DID call Alex the best singing act he’s seen as a judge, back during the audition rounds. I guess we’ll see.
-Stevie talks about how he got into this act, saying he used to swallow his pocket change as a child to keep others from taking it from him. Stevie only just met his family seven years ago, saying his sister reached out to him and showed him a picture of their mother — and he was emotional upon realizing he is the spitting image of her. That said, he has a lot to live up to as Heidi’s favorite act so far.
-In a rare bit that shows just how serious Stevie’s act is, we get an on-screen disclaimer warning viewers against trying this at home. Stevie swallows a grape tomato and then a razor to cut the tomato in half. He mixes them in his stomach, cutting the grape tomato in his stomach with the razor he sent down. And, sure enough, he regurgitates the tomato in perfect halves, along with the razor. Stevie then does an impressive trick in which he swallows several coins, each with a letter on them. He then tells the judges to think of a word with those letters. Piers chooses the word “Pots”, so Stevie regurgitates each coin in perfect order, which is all the more awesome when you consider that each coin was identical. He then sends a clip down his throat to retrieve the last remaining coin. And, sure enough, he regurgitates the clip with the coin locked between its claws. Amazing.
-Heidi wishes she had another Golden Buzzer, saying Stevie HAS to go to the live shows. “I’m blown away!” she says. Piers jokes that if he knew Heidi would be that impressed, he’d have learned to regurgitate years ago. He tells Stevie he’s disgusting and repulsive, but unmistakably compelling. Mel B calls him a great guy with a disgusting act. Howard says Stevie is what he loves about AGT. Howie, however, says they’re facing a serious problem, since there are more than just six acts they want to put through. I think they’d be crazy to let Stevie go. Sure, it’s a dangerous act that could put the show at risk if someone tries this at home and dies, but…well, you can’t really penalize a guy just because other people can’t listen to “Don’t try this at home” warnings. This is one of the most impressive acts of the night, in my opinion.
-We kick things off with eliminations as groups like Semenaya and Duwende going home. However, one act manages to go through.
The first act advancing to the live shows is…THE GENTLEMEN!
The second act advancing to the live shows is…STEVIE STARR!
The third act advancing to the live shows is…DUO VOLTA!
The fourth act advancing to the live shows is…GARY VIDER!
The fifth act advancing to the live shows is…ALICIA MICHILLI!
The sixth and final act advancing to the live shows is…DEREK HUGHES!
Some really heartbreaking cuts, but Howard swerving Derek to make him think he was going home was almost worth it.
-So the seven acts going through to Radio City Music Hall are…
Siro-A (Piers Morgan’s Golden Buzzer act!)
I actually have no problems with this seven, although I feel like a lot of the eliminated acts would have gone through if they’d competed in a different week.
-That’s a wrap! What did you think of tonight’s show? Did the judges make the right choices? Was Piers Morgan right to give Siro-A the Golden Buzzer? Sound off in the comments!
And be sure to join us for next week, as the live shows begin!
Until next week, thanks for reading!