The first week of quarterfinals had been very good and very competitive, and resulted in some very strong, very talented acts being sent home.
The second week, in contrast, had been very weak, and resulted in some otherwise mediocre acts advancing into the semifinals.
This third week was a repeat of Week #1. It may have even surpassed it. Tomorrow, at least one of America’s favorites will definitely be going home.
The third round quarterfinalists were:
#1: Summerwind Skippers (no Xs)
This needs to be said before anything else: The Summerwind Skippers are absolutely talented. What they did tonight was nothing short of incredible.
The problem, however, is that the small screen likely prevented a lot of viewers at home from seeing that. Against the lights and the flashing monitor behind them, it wasn’t always easy to see what exactly was being done with their ropes. Morgan and Mandel both mentioned seeing a couple of hitches during the performance, and since their ropes were sometimes barely visible on camera, America may have to just take the judges’ word for it.
The judges were mostly positive. Morgan commented that, “unlike so many acts last week” that failed to deliver, the Summerwind Skippers “went the other way.”
Osbourne agreed, calling the difference between their Vegas performance and this live performance “like a hundred years apart.”
The only real criticism came from Mandel, who issued his usual ‘Is it an act?’ argument. “I think it’s amazing to see in a short dose,” he said, but “I don’t know if I could sit through one more song of it.”
Mandel may have a point. The Skippers absolutely validated their talent, but they may be going home for no reason other than because the small screen does not do it justice.
#2: The SH’Boss Boys (no Xs)
During their video, the SH’Boss Boys were showing saying “We’re never gonna’ get Xs” and asking a stagehand “Is this where we’re gonna’ be standing when we win?”
Much like some of their predecessors, the SH’Boss Boys were more preoccupied with acting like they were already superstars than working on becoming them.
And it showed in their performance. They were supposed to be covering the Jackson 5, but instead came off as a really bad copy of the Beastie Boys.
The comments from the judges were mostly fluff, with Morgan being the only one to really offer any useful comments. He stated that the singing was “too cutsey” and “too silly,” but otherwise offered the same soft comments on their rapping.
On any other week, the SH’Boss Boys might have gotten away with just being cute, but with two other youth acts to compete against, their edge is all but gone completely.
#3: Mauricio Herrera (Xs from Morgan and Osbourne)
From little boys too busy pretending they’re already superstars to rehearse to a grown man too busy pretending he’s already a superstar to rehearse. Herrera’s introductory video revealed that he was more concerned with getting his best side, showing off his “million dollar smile” and performing for random spectators in restaurants.
To be fair, this was Mauricio Herrera’s best performance so far. To be equally fair, that is by no means an accomplishment. Herrera’s two previous performances had been so awful that the only thing he could have done to make them worse were go over his time limit or fall off the stage. For one brief moment, he actually sounded like he was singing for real, therefore it was his best performance ever.
Not surprising, Mandel was a huge fan. He even stood up to reveal that he was wearing a belt just like Herrera’s.
The last performer Mandel got dressed up to show his support for was Mary Ellen, the current reigning worst act ever on AGT. That should be all you need to know.
#4: Seth Grabel (no Xs)
“What’s bigger than risking your life?” asked Grabel in his introductory video.
The problem with his act is that, to be fair, he didn’t. He just dressed his act up to make it look like it was dangerous.
He introduced the act as him trying to get out of a straightjacket before he was dropped into “boiling hot tar,” but of course, the performance did involve him dropping into it.
Then after he dropped into it, the “boiling hot tar” opened up, a precession of lady assistants came out carrying a man-shaped bag, loaded it into a cannon, and fired said cannon at a tank of water, into which Grabel appeared.
“I cannot see for the life of me how that was done,” said Mandel.
“I’ve never seen that one before,” said Osbourne.
So at the very least, Seth Grabel was successful in fooling two people who are infamous for being idiots. But the severe problem with this act is that, just like his open call performance and his Las Vegas performance, it doesn’t really take a lot of thought to figure out how it must have been accomplished.
Once again, there was a moment in the act where Grabel drops out of view completely. That, obviously enough, is when the switch is made. Grabel was not loaded into the cannon; that was just a dummy.
And it was perfectly obvious that it was not Grabel because, while dangling above the “tar,” Grabel had freed his arms from the straightjacket, whereas the dummy still had its arms bound. And of course, while the audience was watching the dummy, that was when Grabel sneaked into the tank that, up until it was fired at, they may very likely not have even noticed was on the stage until that time.
Even if that really isn’t the way it was done, that’s how it appears to have been done. And the more viewers at home that could have pointed at their TV and say “I could have done that,” the fewer votes he will have received.
#5: POPLYFE (no Xs)
In their introductory video, Morgan stated that he did not see the point of the band and that, for their live performance, “I need to be convinced that I am wrong about that.”
They did just that.
They chose to cover “Rolling In The Deep” by Adele — a very risky song, and they absolutely nailed it, vocally and instrumentally, with a truly stellar first showing by their lead guitarist, who almost sufficed to steal the show from the lead singer Morgan had previously identified as a solo act.
It was stated in their individual that they needed to get Morgan to admit that he was wrong.
He did just that.
“I said in Vegas, I didn’t see the point of the other five. I couldn’t see the point of the band,” said Morgan. “Tonight, I saw the point of the band. Because you guys were brilliant tonight. The whole thing was great.”
The other two judges offered equal amounts of praise to POPLYFE, with Mandel outright lobbying America to vote for them.
Had they performed last week, they would have been an absolute definite for the semifinals. This, however, was a much more competitive week, so their chances of advancing may not be as set in stone as they deserve to be.
#6: Ian Johnson (X from Morgan)
What monkey was working the cameras on this poor kid? The problem with Ian Johnson’s act is that it can barely be seen by the cameras even when they zoom in for a close-up. Yet whoever was directing the cameras kept panning back for the entire stage to be seen.
During these shots, Ian Johnson could have just stood completely still and it would not have looked any different.
Much like the Summerwind Skippers, this is an act that was ill-suited to a stage like AGT’s right from the beginning.
This was basically Morgan’s criticism of the act. “You gave it everything tonight,” he said, calling it “as exciting as you could possibly make it,” but went on to stay that “it’s still bloody boring.”
It’s true enough. Johnson would have had to be standing right in the living room with you to truly see and appreciate what he was doing. It was a mistake to put him in the Top 48 in the first place.
#7: Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. (no Xs)
Murphy chose to sing yet another Frank Sinatra song for this performance. This is actually kind of unfortunate, because Murphy’s voice is so good that he should not feel that he has to limit himself to just Sinatra.
Yet even while limiting himself to Sinatra, he was still declared by one of the judges (Mandel) to “have the opportunity on America’s Got Talent to go all the way.”
Morgan mentioned overhearing a rehearsal by Murphy that he thought was atrocious, which he compared as being the complete opposite of what he had seen tonight. “You’ve got that factor we look for,” said Morgan, referring to his comfort and confidence on the stage.
Murphy is indeed a favorite. And if he could only stop limiting himself, he would be a huge favorite.
#8: Purrfect Angelz (X from Morgan)
The group of all former NFL cheerleaders (gee, I never would have guessed) evidently must have known that they were a filler act, because they tried to dress up their dance routine as some kind of wild west aerial show. Some of their “additions” were impressive, though still mostly underwhelming.
Morgan’s buzz came late into the performance, and his given reason was not that there was anything wrong with the performance, but just that he didn’t think it compared with what they had seen (and were about to see) and that they didn’t have a chance of going through.
Mandel meanwhile expressed a desire for wings and called it “The best Hooters I’ve ever been to,” to which Morgan scolded him and demanded he apologize. Which, of course, he did not.
Osbourne offered the equally useless “Is it worth a million dollars?” question, which, of course, did not come followed by her opinion.
#9: Monet (no Xs)
This was a huge moment for many AGT fans because Monet had gone through the open calls and Vegas Week without even having her name given. Then in her introductory video, we find out that she actually had a great-for-TV story that would have been perfect for the open calls. Monet’s family’s house was destroyed by Hurricane Norma, forcing her and her family out onto the streets.
Monet was homeless? Why didn’t we ever hear this?!
Monet’s voice was mature by comparison to the other youth vocalists of this season, but she chose a song that didn’t really suit her voice. It was an obviously sentimental choice for her, with lyrics stressing the value of home and family; a song of great significance to Monet, but not necessarily good from a tactical perspective.
The judges were all gentle with their criticism, but the general consensus was that Monet was a rough diamond; that she entered the competition too soon and that her vocals were not matured, but that, given a little time and a little training, she would one day be a star.
“The reason I didn’t buzz you is because I see real promise,” said Morgan. “Three or four years time, you could be a real good singer.”
It’s the bitter truth, as it were. Monet’s chances are fairly slim, but she will walk away from this competition with the exposure and experience she needs to get an agent, get training, and get on the right track to long-term success.
#10: Captain & Maybelle (no Xs)
The only reason this act didn’t get any Xs is because none of the judges could watch it. Either that or because they were afraid buzzing him would distract him and kill him.
The act basically involved Captain and Maybelle inserting hooks into various body parts and using them to lift objects. Captain hooked his tongue and eyelids, while Maybelle hooked through her nose.
The most amusing thing about the act, honestly, were the moments when the cameras panned over towards the judges as they tried to watch it (seen left).
#11: Lys Agnes (no Xs)
Lys Agnes chose to do a piece that was “a bit of a challenge,” stating that “If I can do this piece, I can do anything.”
That piece, unfortunately, was “Habanera” from Carmen, the most overused, most cliche, frequently mocked and parodied piece of opera in existence.
This is a piece that has sufficed as background music to the antics of Bugs Bunny more than once. For Lys Agnes’s part, she did the best she could have done with this piece, but it still may very well go down in history as the worst song choice on AGT ever made.
Morgan could only complain that “It didn’t knock me out,” though expressed a belief that she was still phenomenally talented.
Mandel likewise stated “I couldn’t see you being better than you were,” also an indirect stab at the song choice instead of Agnes herself.
Agnes is still a top contender, but this song choice put a serious dent in what otherwise could have been a guaranteed pass into the semifinals. This was a very bad night for her to choose to challenge herself with a bad song choice.
#12: Professor Splash (no Xs)
Professor Splash performed a jump from thirty-six feet: A new world record. That by itself is pretty hard to argue with. The performance, for all intents and purposes, was flawless.
Though there are two problems that came up, one during the performance, and one after. The problem during the performance is that, like the Summerwind Skippers and Ian Johnson, the cameras don’t really do it justice. This is another instance in which America will largely have to take the word of the judges that it was a fantastic thing to watch, and so far this year, they haven’t done that.
The other problem was, of course, brought up by the judges. What now?
“How do you make that an hour though?” asked Mandel.
“What will you do next time?” asked Osbourne.
Both times, Professor Splash mentioned fire, and the second time, promised that he would be “jumping through fire, into fire.”
What Professor Splash does is, without question, amazing. The only question is whether or not the people at home could see that.
The week before had been tough to call because most of the acts were lackluster and mediocre. This time, it’s the exact opposite problem. With only four acts advancing, someone who had been very good is going to have to go home.
There’s no telling who that will be, but taking into account the quality of the acts, the feedback from the judges, the acts they were competing against, and America’s previous voting records this year, these are the ten acts as organized from most likely to advance to least:
- Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.
- Professor Splash
- Lys Agnes
- Seth Grabel
- Summerwind Skippers
- The SH’Boss Boys
- Purrfect Angelz
- Ian Johnson
- Captain & Maybelle
- Mauricio Herrera