America’s Got Talent 10 – Live Blog and Recap – Live Round 1 (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap of America’s Got Talent 10, as we finally arrive at Radio City Musical Hall for “Live Round 1”! Judges Howard Stern, Mel B, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and host Nick Cannon continue the search for that million dollar act! It’s the best of the best competing for the million dollars now, with America holding the deciding vote in the competition! So be sure to vote for your favorites to keep them alive in the competition!
The 12 acts performing on tonight’s show are:
Benton Blount, Country Singer/Guitarist
Drew Lynch, Stand-up Comedian
Piff the Magic Dragon, Magician/Comedian
Triple Threat, Vocal Trio
The Gentlemen, Hip-Hop Dance Duo
Paul Zerdin, Ventriloquist
Siro-A, Video Projection Dance Group
Alondra Santos, Mariachi Singer
Vita Radionova, Contortionist
Showproject, Gymnastics Team
Craig and Micheline, Dancers
Samantha Johnson, Singer
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!
-So Nick introduces the judges, who are accompanied by the Radio City Rockettes, in an awesome little moment. Seriously, I love the Rockettes and always have. Anyway, we don’t spend any time chatting with the judges, as we get right to the first act…
SIRO-A opens the show!
-The members of Siro-A met in high school, and fed off of each other’s love of dance. Of course, they’re feeling a lot of pressure to live up to being Piers Morgan’s golden buzzer act. They simply have to go bigger than they’ve ever gone, and that’s pretty much what they plan on doing, even while their producer feels their imagination makes it difficult to come up with a routine sometimes. I’m excited to see what they do here.
-The dance act starts out like a rock show tribute, with one of the guys playing a video guitar while Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way” blares from the speakers. But it actually gets more complex once the other dancers get involved, as the screen behind them blares a ton of different shapes, images, and even a laughing Howie head. This isn’t to undersell their choreography either, as their dancing is really on-point. Loved this, and so did the judges, who give the guys a standing ovation.
-Mel B says that’s the way you open up a show, calling it exciting and full of creativity. “I wanna buy my ticket now, and come and see your show!” Howie makes note of the Howie head on-screen, saying, “I know I seem big-headed, but it’s even bigger in person!” He states he doesn’t even know what these guys are, whether they’re dancers, acrobats, or something else altogether. All he knows is he wants to vote for them NOW! Howard states that if there were an America’s Got Talent college, these guys just graduated with honors. He goes on to state they’ve set the bar really high. Heidi, meanwhile, says they should change their name to Siro-A+, stating they didn’t miss a beat.
-Nick announces that you can vote NOW during the show either through the AGT app, phone, or through NBC.com. So if you love Siro-A, get right on it!
-Back from break with our next act, a 13-year-old singer…
ALONDRA SANTOS is up next!
-Alondra’s father talks about how all the sacrifices he made to come to America has been worth it, since she now has a chance to make it. However, she recalls getting eliminated during Judge Cuts, which was devastating…until she got the call that a spot opened up. Strangely enough, this seemingly happens every year, with random acts advancing to the live shows even though they were either cut during Judge Cuts, or never even appeared on Judge Cuts at all. This year alone, Alondra joins dancers Craig and Micheline, flyboarder Damone Rippy, dance group DADitude!, motocross team Metal Mulisha Fitz’s Army, and gymnastics team Showproject as an act that advanced despite either getting cut or never appearing after their initial audition. Makes sense though, since they were four acts short of a top 36 anyway.
-YES! Alondra performs one of my favorite songs, “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” by Selena! And this is a far different Alondra than we’ve seen before, as she not only delivers a tight vocal, she also works the stage like a pro. Dancers! Energy! A contemporary arrangement! Seriously, I couldn’t have been more surprised by this, in the best way possible.
-Howie is so glad Alondra got called back, and says he couldn’t stop moving his “bidi bidi bom bom”. Howard reminds the audience Alondra is only 13-years-old, and states there must be something in the air tonight with how good these acts are being. He tells Alondra she made herself contemporary tonight, going from a regional act to a national one. “That was a fantastic performance!” he states. Heidi loved it, saying she couldn’t take her eyes off of Alondra, because she has that star quality. She thanks Alondra for sharing her culture with us. Mel B loves that Alondra started the song a cappella, because it allowed us to hear her voice, and it sounded beautiful. Mel asks if Alondra had fun, and she responds that she did, although it was quite a workout up there. After the performance, Alondra says that receiving these comments from the judges feels amazing, and that not everyone gets the chance to perform on this stage, so she’s very thankful.
-We keep the show moving with a contortionist…
VITA RADIONOVA is up next!
-Vita talks about getting into this profession after being taken to the circus as a girl. However, she states that she doesn’t see her family as much as she’d like, since her father is a miner and her mother works in a restaurant. But she wants to succeed for them, so she plans on putting her heart and soul into this performance. I’m genuinely intrigued to see how Vita escalates her act from her Judge Cuts performance, since I would imagine there’s only so much you can do to your body that we haven’t already seen before. Color me intrigued.
-Vita is dressed in a sparkling body suit that makes her look like she’s wearing stars. However, the multiple mirrors that serve as her background make it a bit difficult to tell what she’s doing at first. But once she takes center stage, it becomes easier to see and appreciate what she’s doing. Granted, I wasn’t that floored by it, but she does have talent in the way she bends her body. Her flexibility is insane, and she looks like a superhero up there just from the way she moves.
-Howard loves this act, but feels everyone is so strong tonight that he worries about Vita in the voting. Heidi says the boys are going to love this act, and even compares her to a superhero, reaching inside my brain and proving she and I are linked telepathically, maybe. Mel B, however, doesn’t feel the act met the high standards set for tonight, stating that Vita will likely be forgotten by the end of the night. Sadly, I can’t help but agree. As for Howie, he abstains from comment, since all the comments he’s thinking of making are “pervy”. Yeah, Vita didn’t seem to love that response. But hey, at least Howie showed restraint, I guess.
-Back from break with a the world’s most unconventional boy band…
TRIPLE THREAT is up next!
-The members of Triple Threat talk about meeting on their high school football team, although the school trainer says they spent more time with him than with the coach or their other teammates. The guys talk about recently graduating college, which means they now need to make some real life decisions about their future. This includes figuring out what to wear to Radio City Music Hall. Smartly, they end up going with letterman jackets.
-They sing “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child, and I actually like this, even though it’s a departure from the pure vocal approach they’ve brought in the past. In fact, the dancers and the choreography are a bit much, particularly since they’ve repeatedly stated that this isn’t really the type of conventional boy band act they’ve been in the past. I like the vocals, but it felt like they were taking this too seriously, whereas this really ought to have been a tongue-in-cheek performance. Unfortunately for the boys, they start getting Xs: first from Howard, then from Howie, then from Mel B. Heidi is the only holdout. The guys DO get to finish their performance, but they took three Xs overall in the process, which I think is kind of ridiculous. In no way did these guys deserve three Xs whatsoever.
-Howard loves Triple Threat, but felt like this was a parody of a boy band act, stating that all the charm of the act was gone. Heidi disagrees completely, chiding her fellow judges for hitting their buzzers on an act that didn’t deserve it. And I’m with Heidi on this one. I could get Howard hitting his X, but for these guys to get three Xs just felt like manipulation so they could at least come across like they’re not just blindly loving every act tonight. Mel B takes things a step further by saying the boys “butchered” the song, while Howie says this is all Howard’s fault for jinxing them by saying no one is cracking under the pressure, because that’s exactly what happened to these guys. Again, totally disagree there.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Boy Band Gets Questionable Buzzers on ‘America’s Got Talent 10? (VIDEO)
-Back from break with a pair of brothers with crazy dance skills…
THE GENTLEMEN are up next!
-The boys talk about their brotherly connection, from how much they love dancing, to how frequently they argue over who’s the better dancer. Their parents recall how they loved the boys’ talent but didn’t really know what to do with it. However, the guys have charisma and ambition for days, so it’s not that surprising to find them here. I admit, this is one of the acts I’m looking forward to the most tonight.
-They perform a really awesome routine set to “Time of Our Lives” by Pitbull and Ne-Yo, and there are some damn cool moves here: there’s this lift where they link heads and use each other’s shoulders to rise off the ground. They also have a cool bit where they get dressed through dance, pulling on their suspenders and their suits without missing a beat. I don’t know about the judges, but I really liked this.
-Mel B loves The Gentlemen, and thinks they’re really talented and twice as cute. But she felt they did a lot better last time, stating that she saw a lot of repeated steps here. Howie sticks up for the boys, saying that even with repeated steps, he just plain likes these guys, and think they have a good act. Howard agrees, although he gets where Mel B is coming from, as he reminds everyone that he noted this a repetitive act during Judge Cuts. That said, he likes the guys, but feels they might not have done enough to advance when compared to the other performers so far (you know, he says that, but they’ve really only given good reviews to two acts out of five so far). Heidi defends The Gentlemen, accusing the judges of getting cranky, all of a sudden. After the performance, Nick interviews the boys, who state they’re simply happy to be here.
-As we head to break, we get a painfully awkward bit from Piff the Magic Dragon that I think might actually hurt him, as he introduces his personal assistant (a busty princess) and claims she’s on his “To Do list”. The silence that followed was a cringe-worthy bit of business.
PIFF THE MAGIC DRAGON is up next!
-Piff does his pre-performance package in character, saying that many people assume from his accent that he lives in England, but they have a thing about slaying dragons. He then recalls how well Judge Cuts went for him, before ending with a sketch in which he walks into a deli and asks the befuddled employee, “What? You never seen a magic dragon before?” Piff comes onstage and the performance opens with a mock version of the Game of Thrones intro, titled “Game of Bones”. That totally doesn’t sound like a XXX parody at all.
-Piff sits on a mock version of the Iron Throne, and reveals a series of boxes suspended overheard. Piff brings Howie onstage to guess which of the four boxes contains Mr. Pickles, his dog assistant. He picks box #2…and the box instantly drops from the ceiling! His princess assistant then stomps on the box as a shocked Howie looks on. Luckily, Pickles is not in the box. Nor is he in box #4, which the princess destroys with a bat after it falls from the ceiling. So Howie picks box #1, which gets dropped into a machine and destroyed, to Howie’s horror. Pickles isn’t in the box, so Piff congratulates Howie by stating the dog must clearly be in box #3. He thanks Howie and sends him on his way, but Howie isn’t convinced the dog wasn’t in the box they just destroyed. So Piff pulls down box #3…which contains Mr. Pickles! The crowd isn’t sure what to think.
-Heidi didn’t like it, calling it “Game of Groans”. She feels he doesn’t need all the theatrics, because he’s larger than life on his own. Mel B says Piff took a risk, but only part of it worked. In the middle of Mel’s critique, a delivery boy arrives onstage to deliver Piff’s mid-critique food. Mel B actually thinks this bit is better and funnier than his actual act. Howie sticks up for Piff by assuring the audience he wasn’t in on this trick. Howard is a fan of Piff’s, but didn’t love this act because it didn’t have enough humor. But he hopes America remembers his prior two performances when consider whom to vote through. I don’t see what the problem was with the act. Sure, it wasn’t as flashy or funny as his previous performances, but this is still a unique act we aren’t getting from anyone else. And that WAS a pretty cool trick that borders between luck and precognition (I would imagine if Howie had called out Box #3, Piff would have been screwed. Mr. Pickles, more so. Then again, I have no idea how this trick is even pulled off, so never mind me).
-We keep things rolling with our next act, a stay-at-home act with a killer voice…
BENTON BLOUNT is up next!
-Benton has been singing for 16 years, trying to make it in the business. But once his son, Jackson, was born, he became a stay-at-home dad. “I want to be a good dad, because of the fact that I didn’t have one growing up,” he says, in a touching admission. His wife states that it’s hard to live in a one-income household, but she refuses to allow Benton to give up on his dream. Benton wants to be able to provide for his family, which is why this performance is so important to him. Honestly, there are better voices in the competition, but I just can’t help but root for this guy.
-Benton sings “Say Something” by A Great Big World, and while I didn’t love the vocal, I want to marry this arrangement. Seriously, it’s grandiose and very moving, with an orchestral flavor mixed with soft rock. I got goosebumps from this arrangement. That said, I really wish the vocal had been stronger. It wasn’t bad at all, but it was largely unspectacular. I know Benton could do better, and I think it was ultimately a matter of song choice. For as much as I loved this arrangement, I think he might have been better served with some classic rock, maybe “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd or “Turn the Page” by Bob Seger. Something smokey that also tells a story.
-Howard compares Benton to Aaron Lewis, the lead singer of Staind. He notes that while he worried about Benton adding orchestration to his act, he ended up really liking how Benton held it all together. Heidi tells Benton to keep doing what he’s doing, because it’s working. Mel B admits that she felt Benton’s nerves at the start of the song, although he recovered about halfway through and really took hold of the performance. She says that she hopes he’s focused from the start next time. Howie states that the look in the eyes of Benton’s wife says it all, noting that this is a real moment for Benton and his family. After the performance, Benton tells Nick about how he saw his family backstage before the performance, and how it put things into perspective. I really like this guy, and wouldn’t be surprised if he went through, although I’m not sure the vocal was strong enough for it. That said, the Aaron Lewis comparison from Howard was spot-on.
-Up next are two dancers brought back after elimination…
CRAIG AND MICHELINE are up next!
-Craig talks about how he and Micheline are bets friends, noting that their dream is to have a show in Las Vegas. He notes that their close friendship leads to a certain level of passion in their act. Micheline, meanwhile, states that their act is “intense” and “hardcore,” and that while she’s been injured in the past, she feels Craig is the best in the world at what he does. Should be interesting to watch.
-I liked this act, but felt there was a bit too much going on behind them. Basically, Craig flips Micheline around his body (after deadlifting her off the ground with just one arm), and their act graduates to some really impressive lifts and mid-air poses. But the flashing lights and lightning filling the background is very distracting, and makes it difficult to see what they’re doing, at times. That said, I dug their song choice, Marilyn Manson’s cover of “Tainted Love”. It matched far better than I thought it would, all things considered. I’m just not positive if they did enough to get through. It all depends on how these last acts fare.
-Howard says that while some people might argue it’s clumsy for a dancer to just throw his partner around, but he loves this act because of the combination of Craig’s strength and Micheline’s sex appeal. Mel B says this is an interesting act because they do a bit of everything, from dancing to strength and acrobatics. She’s interested to see what America thinks, because she really liked it. Heidi loved how Craig through Micheline around like a ragdoll, while Micheline used Craig like a jungle gym. Howie thinks the strength and beauty of what their doing is great, but now they need to see if they did enough to inspire America to download the app and vote for them.
-Up next is Howie’s Golden Buzzer recipient…
DREW LYNCH is up next!
-Drew says it’s weird watching old videos of himself. “Who is this guy who thinks he’s got it all figured out?” he says. His girlfriend recalls meeting Drew in an acting class, and Drew states how much she’s meant to him, calling her his rock. For her part, she’s proud of Drew, who wipes back tears when recalling the response his audition received, since he never thought he had the ability to inspire people. Drew is very hard not to root for, although I’m hoping his act is up to snuff.
-Drew talks about having a service dog, although he has no idea what the dog does. “People are crazy, because they’ll come up and ask questions to my dog! I’m the one that can talk! Kinda!” he says. “But they’ll come up and say ‘Hi, what’s your name? How old are ya?’ And just wait. So now I have to answer in a voice I think she might have. So I’m like, ‘Hey, I’m Stella! And I’m two!’ And then they look at me weird and walk away, and I realize it’s because they never heard my voice from me. So now I look like a guy who just gave his dog a stutter.” This sends Howie into hysterics, as he and the rest of the crowd gives him a standing ovation. Honestly, this is an act that doesn’t translate well in text. You really have to see it and hear Drew’s delivery. This guy really does have talent, and he earned those standing ovations from Howie, Heidi and Mel B.
-Howie calls Drew “triumph in the face of adversity. You are a symbol, you are an inspiration” and goes on to say, “I wish I could be as good as you!” Mel B doesn’t think Drew has given himself enough credit about how good he is, saying he’s brilliant and funny. Howard can’t believe Drew picked stand-up comedy as a career, saying it would be like if he tried to be a leading man. But he thought Drew’s material is great. Heidi says Drew is hilarious, and she actually loves when he laughs at his own jokes. I kinda don’t, but to each her own. After the performance, Nick asks Drew how he thought his night went, and he said, “I think it went well. I laughed.” Okay, that was cool. I hope Drew advances.
-We keep things rolling with another act that was cut earlier but brought back for live shows…
SHOWPROJECT is up next!
-The guys talk about how, for most gymnasts, the dream is to go to the Olympics. They were lucky enough to accomplish this dream. Now, they’re looking to get their own show in Las Vegas, and to go to Radio City Music Hall and show America what they can really do. If nothing else, the guys seem supremely confident in their ability to blow the audience away, and that sort of attitude really is necessary at this stage of the competition.
-The guys perform a routine on bars set to “Chains” by Nick Jonas. I wasn’t that impressed to start, but as they started flipping from bar to bar with increasing speed, I couldn’t help but get into the act. I also loved the light-up pants. Yes, I’m supremely easy to please, but seriously, I want those pants, man! Ultimately, I think these guys needed to bring a flashier routine, because the judges aren’t privy to the overhead camera shots that the production used here to make the act look cooler, for example. It was a good act, sure, but not a great one.
-Heidi liked the act, and adds that she loved the outfits, particularly the top part (their tops were bare, for the record). Mel B gets critical, saying they weren’t always in sync, and that it wasn’t as good as past auditions. That said, she does love the act. Howie says the guys bring an edge to gymnastics. Meanwhile, Howard thinks it’s crazy that the talent is so deep that these “great athletes” are now going to have to wonder if they’ll get enough votes to advance. He isn’t sure if they’ve done enough to go through, agreeing with Mel B that their timing was a bit off. But he does admit that they’re tremendous athletes who are great at what they do.
-Up next is another Golden Buzzer act, a ventriloquist…
PAUL ZERDIN is up next!
-Paul talks about how ventriloquism helped hide his shyness as a kid, since he could talk to people in a voice other than his. He notes that a puppet can say more than a normal person, and we get to see Paul and his dummy, Sam, hitting up the town in NYC. It’s kind of adorable, actually. I wish I had my own ventriloquist dummy.
-Paul says Sam is giving him attitude, and tells the dummy “If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t talk.” Sam responds, “If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t eat!” Paul decides it’s maybe time to get a new dummy, prompting Sam to single out Howie. There’s a great joke here, where Sam repeatedly tells Paul not to put him back in the bag by saying, “Read. Your. Lips!” Sam then insists he can do better than Paul, so Paul basically bails and leaves Sam onstage. It seems this is the end of the act, until Sam comes to life! The crowd loves it, and Sam wins over the judges by asking Howard if he’s drunk. When Howard says no, Sam responds, “Then why the hell are you talking to a puppet?!” Awesome. Paul then comes back onstage, and Sam basically mocks him by coming to life again when Paul insists that he’s just a puppet. He gets a standing ovation and the biggest crowd reaction of the night. Insane. Just insane.
-Heidi talks about how you normally see a ventriloquist’s lips move during their act, and somehow Howard coaxes the crowd into booing her for this, even though she absolutely loved Paul, saying he’s the best ventriloquist she’s ever seen. Howard calls it downright genius, noting that Paul even switched to a muffled voice for Sam when he tried to put the dummy back in the bag. He declares Paul his favorite act of the night, and I can’t help but agree. This was superb.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Hilarious Ventriloquist Steals the Show on ‘America’s Got Talent 10? (VIDEO)
-And now with our final act, a singer who’s closing the show for a second time…
SAMANTHA JOHNSON closes the show!
-Samantha talks about wanting to go to college after high school, but having to set that dream aside when her mother left. She had to drop out of school and become the fill-in mom for her younger siblings. In a surprise, we actually get to hear from Samantha’s mother, who talks about how much she regrets leaving the family, and how she basically picked the worst possibly time to leave. However, Samantha is forgiving of her mother, insisting it’s alright. All that matters to her now is that both her mother and her father will be in the audience at Radio City Music Hall tonight. Well, I’ll say this, Samantha showed far more maturity in forgiving her mother many would have shown, had they been in her situation.
-Samantha sings “California Dreamin'” by The Mamas and the Papas. In my opinion, this is her best vocal of the competition, with several caveats: 1) the arrangement of this song is awful, sounding like a cross between an 80s dance track and a discarded song from the second act of a Broadway show, and 2) the sound is all sorts of off, as the microphone doesn’t seem to be picking up her full vocal. But I blame the techs for that one. Lord knows, it happens frequently enough on The Voice, you’d think NBC would be better at this by now. Still, I can’t front on Samantha. This was a sensational vocal, and she earned the four-judge standing ovation.
-Mel B is floored, calling it an amazing performance, while Howard says she sounded like an absolute star. Howie goes one further and says she looks like a star too, and says performances like Samantha’s are why he’s so proud to be a part of this show. Heidi quickly wraps things up by calling Samantha the best singer we have on the show. I can’t really disagree there, honestly.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Awesome Singer Goes ‘California Dreamin’ On America’s Got Talent 10 (VIDEO)
-That’s a wrap! What did you think of tonight’s show? Which seven acts will advance to the semifinals on tomorrow night’s results show? Sound off in the comments! Oh, and VOTE in our poll to add your predictions on who will advance!
And for more on AGT, check out our report on the “school yard bullying” accusations of Kayvon Zand!
Until tomorrow night, thanks for reading!