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S09.E12: Quarterfinals: Week 2 Performances

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Wow, that was boring. I loved Aerial Animation, enjoyed Mat Franco, and appreciated Andrey Moraru. Everyone else was either boring, forgettable, or bad. I wish I could say I liked John and Andrew, but the dance was meh, and their stage space was too small.


I don't understand the judges' takes at all anymore. 

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How scripted are these judges.  The conflicts seem a bit much.    I was impressed by the girl in the silks. The balancing guy was very good although once you've seen Cirque de Soleil a few times it's not all that new and exciting. The magician was also impressive.   

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Ok so screaming singer girl, Mara should be more subtle, but the nice young singer boy (sorry can't think of names right now) should be belting it out or peak as Heidi put it.

Maybe they should have switched song choices.

Juan Carlos is not even entertaining in the bad "Big Barry" kind of way.

I voted for the aerialist, magician, hand balancer and cowboy ( cause I have an irrational crush on him)

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My biggest disappointment last night was the opera singers.  The song they sang does NOT lend itself to opera easily and it was at times grating to my ears.   I was not a big fan of aerial animation the first time, but last night she won me over.  Mara also hurt my ears, while the young boy I thought did a nice job with his song.  Also liked the hand balancer and the magician.


But it was a pretty meh night.  Not unlike last week.  What happened?  The long weeks of nothing new ruined their momentum.  I will keep watching of course, because I do have some favorites, like Emily West and now the aerialist.  I prefer cute guy from last night to Miguel of last week, but I doubt he will go through.

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The comedian - I probably shouldn't laugh harder at your 'If ya wanna Mel B my lover' than I did at your whole set.


Ariel girl was my fav...but tonight's just fell flat.  12 year old girl singer - I just can't warm up to her.  Tries to be cute...and yet comes off to me as pagent kiddish...and her staging didn't help with the song at all (very kiddish dress with matching tennis shoes with a very grown up song...just felt off.)


Totally agree with the poster above who said the weeks of reruns killed the momentum.

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Aerial Animation and Mat Franco should definitely move on. Also Flight Crew Jump Rope from last week; any chance we can get them one of tonight's slots? Because no one else from this week really deserves one. (I suppose the hand balancer was good, too, but I don't really want to see any more of him.)


The musical acts this season seem especially terrible compared to years past. This week, we had one shouter, two performances that put me to sleep, and Acte II singing entirely the wrong song.

Edited by Avipedia
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How scripted are these judges.


Let's test it:  I said, as soon as I heard the music and saw the lights for the hand balancing guy, that the judges would love it (again, before seeing the act).  I was correct!


The rodeo guy with the fire rope was asked if people would want to sit through 90 minutes of that.  They called out the multiplying dancers for doing a similar act to the previous week.  They didn't say either of these to the hand balancing guy either of these, even though his act was arguably much "more of the same" and might be physically impossible for 90 minutes. (As the rodeo guy noted, they don't need a 90-minute act, but this was an inconsistent criticism.) 


The hand balancing guy was very "talented", no question, but the judges seemed to have no awareness of what they'd just said...and that might be because it was scripted.  Badly.  If I'm really cynical, I'll predict next week we'll hear:


No lighting/background music="I'm a fan of what you've done, but this wasn't your best." (Like the band that did Fat-Bottomed Girls on their way to under the bus.)

Lots of lighting/background music="I've never seen anything like this before" like the acts we saw that were just like everything else we've seen.

Some lighting/background music that distracts from the act, or a single-person act:  "Rememer that the level of talent this year is higher than ever."--I didn't notice this one.

Act with a good sob story="it's incredible not just for someone with your background, but for someone, period."--the two guy tap-dancers, for example.


I don't know which bothers me more--that it's scripted, or that it's not scripted well.  Maybe they think we want to see exactly what we've seen before, and don't understand that "variety" is a good thing in a variety show.  If the stand-up comics or Emily West don't win, maybe they can be hired on for some new material.

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My choices: Aerialist, cowboy (even if his whip-flames went out), magician (although you can totally see Heidi's card being forced if you rewind a couple of times) and Acte II, even though their song choice sucked.


Cannot get into the male samba dancing duo, or any of this week's solo singers. And the comdian...one big eh.


How bad is it that three of my top four choices have to have qualifiers?

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I have totally lost interest in this show.  Like someone said earlier it might be because of the weeks of re-runs they showed.  Do we even know why they had to do that? 


I liked the Cowboy guy too.......ok just for the fact I think Cowboys are hot.  I was born in the wrong era.


Do not like the opera singers.  What the hell was that?  It sounded awful to me.  So they are a sure thing to go through.


Yeah, bring back the Jump Rope group please.  They were better than most the acts we saw last night.

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These judges are so scripted that Heidi dropped an Emo Phillips reference. First, he hasn't been prominent on the scene for YEARS. Second, she's not a big comedian fan so it's unlikely she's at home Youtubing vintage Emo Phillips. As soon as she said that, I thought, nice work, producers.

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Mumbles:  Agree on how ludicrous it was for Heidi to reference Emo


Agree with every negative comment above about the judges and their 180 degree contradictions of their own prior criticisms.  This stuff makes your head spin and pop off.


Shouty singer girl shouts her way through her third shout-song, and the judges have the nerve to advise her to tone it down.  She isn't one bit different or better than she was at her audition, and the only reason she was able to be there doing a third screechfest was because they rolled out the red carpet for her the first time and the second time.  And on top of that, do they really, really believe that she is able to tone it down?  She is not a singer, judges, do you not get this?


I think hand-balancer guy is amazing and does beautiful work.  I hope he goes through, but at the same time, I doubt he has any chance to win.


Aerialist lady is wonderful, and I want very much for her to go through.  The addition of her mysterious male assistant/partner was great.  That poor guy didn't even get introduced.  Did you notice how he picked her up after the performance and carried her to the front of the stage?  She was standing straight up and he carried her as if she were a statue.  It was funny and cool.


I've liked the magician all along and hope he makes it.


Cowboy is entertaining and has a certain charisma.  The whip trick didn't fare well, but I'd still like to see him perform again.


Have a feeling that young male singer will get a lot of votes from pre-teen and teen girls, and probably go through.  I wish him well.


Thought the opera singing duo made a huge mistake in song choice.  At the end, when one sang alone, and then the other sang alone to wrap up the song, the one that sang last sounded very weak.  The song just faded away and died at the end.

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Mumbles - I was thinking the same exact thing. I remember Emo Phillips back in the 80's when he did a lot of guest spots on talk shows, and was fairly popular...maybe even had his own Showtime or Comedy channel special? There is no way in hell, someone who hates comedians as much as Heidi, would drop that name. Give me a freakin' break. I was a fan back then and even I had forgotten about him! Talk about scripted and contrived.


And the 12 year old girl singer - don't know her name - all I can say is whoever styled her last night should be fired. That outfit was ridiculous and unflattering to say the least. I don't think her singing is all that great, but they could have found something better for her to wear. I felt bad for her.


I hope we get at least two new judges next year. Mel B can stay. :)

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@daughtersofanarchy : 100% agree, especially about the aerialist's new partner who carried her down. It added another layer to the act, along with the addition of color to her animation. You know how the judges always say each time an act performs, they want to see it go to the next level? I can see how she'll do that, with the increase of complexity to her drawings, and maybe one more person either supporting her, or another actor she can meet in the animation.  Whatever; her possibilities are many, and she seems to have the imagination to take advantage of them.

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Just watched the recap show, and find myself mostly in agreement with Howard. Juan Carlos is not entertaining at all, he doesn't belong there. The opera duo were off-key in a few places, or maybe I should say their harmony was off. Also, I hate when opera singers sing pop. Their voices aren't suited for it, and they sound like they're either slumming, or they're overblown. The large dance group needs to change it up a bit.The indie trio was too small for the stage. I don't think it was nerves, just that their shtick is more suited to a small venue. I personally don't think they even belong in the quarterfinals anyway, but that's just me. Young guy singer, again, not outstanding, just nice.


The only act I thought was truly outstanding was the handstander. The rest were varying degrees of OK to good. Magic act was good, but he seemed nervous. I appreciate how he tried to bring a big effect for a big venue, though. The aerialist with the background animations was also good, but I'm just not sure about her because the biggest part of that act IMO is the animations. Her transitions are somewhat slow and clumsy, which takes me out of the act. Lasso act is good, but there's only so much of that I can watch. It gets repetitive. Speaking of repetitive, I agree with whoever said that the salsa dancers were repetitive.


Howie has to go. He is just so bad. Howard is right, he always champions these ridiculous acts. There's a reason he's out of step with the others. He seems to have no taste whatsoever. Also, STOP CALLING WOMEN "YOUNG LADY."


I thought there was gonna be fighting. Howard was really aggravated with him. "You're ruining the show." Yes, yes he is.

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I watched the recap and the only acts I watched were the aerial act, magic guy and handstand guy. Every other act I was reading my iPad within 20 sec. Snooze

Edited by TiredMe
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Meant to get my comment up sooner.  A lot of the acts were so boring.  The roller skating guy is just weird.  Not funny, and I agree w/Howard that he took a spot from somebody that deserved it more.  Don't care for the opera singers, and I absolutely cannot stand that little screamer Mara that the judges think can sing.  I couldn't understand a word she was singing and her performance was painful to watch.  Yet the judges love her.  Why?


Having grown up in the 70's listening to Bread, Brooklyn Bridge and the like, I found Jacob very appealing.  He was so sweet and I loved his performance.  A little old fashioned, maybe, but we all know that boy can sing.


I like Mat and his card tricks, too.  The comedian that Howie seems to love is just too bizarre.  And not funny.

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And the 12 year old girl singer - don't know her name - all I can say is whoever styled her last night should be fired. That outfit was ridiculous and unflattering to say the least. I don't think her singing is all that great, but they could have found something better for her to wear. I felt bad for her.



Did anyone else think that they way they styled poor Mara Justine, she looked just like Sue's friend Carly from The Middle?  Even the way she was dancing/flailing and how she stood during the results, she looked just like I imagine Carly would look if she was on AGT.  It was both awesome and offputting.


The only acts from this week that I liked at all were Andrey, Mat, and Aeriel Animation.  The rest were super meh.  

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Heh, she did look like Sue's friend. Mara is kind of - to use a term from Legally Blonde - unfortunate looking, but I think she needs to grow into her looks. She has fantastic hair, long and curly, that she may hate at some point, although curls might not be viewed with anathema by the time she is grown. She can get contacts and braces and she will be very distinct. She also needs to learn to tone it down. She does have a good voice, but like many young singers, she (and her people, I hardly blame the child alone) seems to think volume=skill. I bet she does "Call Me Maybe" next.

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Mat Franco - I really like him. I wouldn't mind seeing him win it all. He's able to do tricks with good presentation that doesn't drag on and doesn't get boring.


Aerial Animation - I like her, but isn't she really just Kenichi, but with aerial tricks instead of dancing?


John and Andrew - I agreed with Mel B. I was bored. I think their main hook is still being a male-male dance team and I don't find that exciting. 


Jaycob Curlee - He is totally getting by on his story and not on his singing. I find him really boring.


Darik I-forget-his-last-name - I'm just not into the comedy of repeating unoriginal jokes or lame puns with the idea that their whole persona is hilarious because they're being "ironic". Howie said that comics are people who say things funny and comedians are people who say funny things. Which one was he trying to say Darik is?


Mara Justine - I had to fast-forward through most of her song because I don't care for her singing, but did catch those weird, gyration-esque moves she was doing. What was up with that? It freaked me out.


I liked when Howie said that Juan Carlos is an acquired taste and then said "you either like him or you don't"...yeah, that's not what acquired taste means, Howie. 

Edited by wudpixie
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Aerialist lady is wonderful, and I want very much for her to go through.  The addition of her mysterious male assistant/partner was great.


Abigail and Andy Cook are actually an established duet. They're local to my area and I do circus, so I'm getting blitzed with emails to support them. Although they're local to me, I don't know much about them other than they're a partner acrobatics duet; she does aerials (obviously!); and he also does cyr wheel (which would be cool to see them bust out in semi's). The aerial animation act is several years old, and I think someone else did the actual artwork and animation (Mathew Melis of Non-Gravity). I don't know if Abigail conceived of the whole act, or if it was a partnership, or what. 


It's bothering me that only Abigail is getting credit for what is clearly a very collaborative act, but perhaps all involved agreed it would work better for the show. Since she's local, I want to love her act (and I think she's a top-notch aerialist... she's done some very difficult hammock work with grace and ease). But I the visual storytelling aspect of it is too simple for my preferences. If something's being presented to me as a glimpse into imagination, I want something more fantastic than chased-by-bear/chased-by-fish/i-the-wind/riding-a-horse. That's what I liked about Kenichi; he really worked the medium to have magical, complex effects.

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Zuleikha, thanks for that additional info about Aerial Animation. It has bothered me all along that they never said who did the art and animation, which, to me, is half the act. Abigail is definitely getting credit for everything, and it's giving her a big advantage that isn't really deserved. On Tuesday, she didn't even acknowledge her partner by name - I think she only did that on the results show after they had made it through. It just really bothers me. She's been positioned as this amateur teacher who dreamed this up, with the unspoken idea that she also executed the whole thing. The stories are more simplistic than what Kenichi was doing along similar lines last year. I'll allow that the acrobatics are more difficult than dancing on the ground. I just don't find it as amazing and creative as the judges and audience seem to.

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FWIW, I ended up somewhat randomly watching the Aerial Animation videos on Abigail and Andy's website today with my toddler, and I found the fuller versions are much better than what's on the show. They had the sense of whimsy that I've found lacking in the AGT pieces.


I don't think what Abigail does in the air is harder than what Kenichi does on the ground. I can do most of what Abigail does, but I couldn't come anywhere near what Kenichi does. It's just what a person chooses to practice. Any form of dance is difficult.


I am glad to see an aerial act getting appreciation, though. In past seasons, it seems like no one likes the aerial numbers, even though they've generally been very good. It's always made me sad.

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I am glad to see an aerial act getting appreciation, though. In past seasons, it seems like no one likes the aerial numbers, even though they've generally been very good.


I think aerial acts are getting hammered by the aspect ratio.  Television works best for more horizonal acts (the Big Family O' Singers Or Dancers, etc.)  Aerial acts are most impressive when they're doing a lot of vertical stuff, and that would show up best in IMAX.  Aerial Animation is doing better than average because their act is in front of a screen, so it's more television-aspect-ratio and thus television friendly. 

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Hart Dance Team: These girls are not exceptionally good dancers. I mean, they're technically correct but there is nothing spectacular about them. I thought their costumes did not translate well to television, as the lights reflected off the tiny mirrors and obscured their performance. Also, why would any dance team use camouflage as motif for their work? Dancers are supposed to be seen. Idk how many hours of my life have been spent sitting on a stage at dress rehearsal while a teacher fussed over the lighting because our costumes were a certain color and this other color lighting would wash us out, etc. No dancer worth their salt would want to rely on costume tricks and props to cover up something that they should have worked very hard on.


Loop Rawlins: This wasn't his most exciting performance, but I still love this guy.


John & Andrew: I appreciate what these two are doing for the salsa/ballroom community. So much of partner dancing depends on strict gender roles, so it's been nice to see these guys "break the rules," as it were. They are two very talented dancers (I could watch Andrew spin around for hours) but I'm kind of bored with them.


Livy, Matt & Sammy: First of all, I am so over people my age acting like they're superior because they don't listen to Top 40 Radio. Second of all, their first audition was a Bastille song, and Bastille are pretty much mainstream now so there goes your hipster street cred. Finally, there's nothing innovative about breaking down bigger songs into little indie diddies anymore. They were fine but nothing special.


Andrey Moraru: I know people are eventually going to get bored with this act, but I love him. You could literally see his back and shoulder muscles working during his entire performance. I was mesmerized.


Juan Carlos: I may be the only person left on the planet who still gets a chuckle out of this guy, but I agree with Howard that he has no place on this show and that he took a spot from someone that deserved it more. But shut the hell up about fake laughter, Howard, when you were clearly forcing yourself to laugh at Dustin's Dojo during their Judgement Week audition.


Mara Justine: Lord almighty, where do I even start? Her intro package...did anyone else get the vibe, when her mom was talking about how they were struggling financially, that she's pimping out her 12-year-old to get some extra cash? Then there was her outfit...look, I get it, 12-year-old girls are probably the hardest people in the world to dress. They're too old to dress like children but not old enough to dress like adults. But whoever put that shiny thing with matching sneakers onto that poor girl needs to be fired. I thought she dressed nicely for her first two performances. They should have left well-enough alone and let her pick out her own outfit. And then there's her actual performance. Nothing to add to what everyone else has already said, except that any singing career Mara might get out of this show will be over when she screeches one too many times and ruins her voice forever. Good luck using her as your meal ticket when that happens, Creepy Ass Stage Mom.


Aerial Animation: I love this act. It's just so nice to watch. I love how she picked up where the last one left off.


Jaycob Curlee: He's a cute kid but what an underwhelming performance. I think Radio City just swallowed him up and spit him out. He looked like a deer in headlights the whole time.


Mat Franco: Awesome. I love that he was able to make his act bigger for the Radio City stage without resorting to Twitter or selfies or the other Collins Keye-esque nonsense magicians on this show feel they have to do. It was a simple pick-a-card trick when you get down to it, but he made it interesting and kept the pace going.


Darik Santos: I wanted to like this guy but he has official worn out his welcome. I did laugh at "If you wanna Mel B my lover," though. That song came out how many years ago and no one's made that joke yet? Color me shocked.


Acte II: Totally wrong song choice. I'm not well-versed in opera but I hate when opera singers on this show go the pop/faux-opera route. I'd rather them sing actual opera songs. I realize that they probably try to mainstream it to attract more votes from non-opera fans, but ugh. They're clearly trained opera singers and I think their performance would have been much better if they'd just stuck to what they know.

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