America's Got Talent-Season 8 Episode 10-Special Head
There is no turning back now; America’s Got Talent has truly begun.  The feeling that things are getting serious has never seemed more real; for the first time in three years, there’s a chance this show might actually focus on talent.  Never before have the judges presented fans with such a deserving crop of hopefuls. Tuesday night many tried to make it to Radio City Music Hall; some of the ones that made it were Sam Johnson, Brad Byers, Brandon & Savannah, Forte, American Hitmen, Timber Brown, Krsitef Brothers, 2Unique, Taylor Williamson, John Wing, Kid the Wiz, Hype, D’Angelo & Amanda, Ruby & Jonas, Red Panda, David Ferman, and Deanna DellaCioppa.  As the judges finished viewing the categories and doling out decisions now is the time to pick your favorites.  After tonight, the ball is in your court.  Game on.

Child Musicians

The adorably terrifying sibling duo Aralyn & Izzy returned to scream a rock lullaby that left the judges a little less enamored than the original audition.  Chloe Chanell went the country route, singing Reba McIntire’s smug hit “Turn on the Radio” that didn’t really allow her to display her vocals.  Genesis Nava was nervous about performing without her father’s accompaniment for naught; her rendition of Carrie Underwood’s “Good Girl” was a success, even though the judges thought Chloe could sing it better.  Ciana Pelekai sounded much stronger than she did during her original audition, causing the judges to ponder their choices.  Unfortunately Genesis was the only young musician that didn’t make it to the big show.

Magic

Complaints that 90 seconds isn’t enough time to properly convey the necessary story for a proper illusion didn’t stop R.J. Cantu from levitating/disappearing his assistant with ease.  R.J.’s dependency on classic illusions seemed unnecessary when Naathan Phan took the stage.  It sounded like Naathan tried to work a Christopher Walken impression into his act, along with the some confusing joke about Samuel L. Jackson.  If he can remember to leave the comedy to the comedians he might have a chance; watching him make a cage of doves disappear is a lot more entertaining than the normal assistant shtick.  16-year-old Collins Key has mastered his craft already; not only does he bring new elements to seasoned illusions but he wows with small tricks, something that many can’t pull off.  Female magicians on are few and far between on America’s Got Talent so the train wreck that was Ariann Black’s performance was truly disappointing.  Howie was right: precision is key for magicians, so her sloppy presentation made her trick seem nonexistent.  Leon Etienne &Romy Low impressed everyone by balancing Romy’s body atop a pole by her shoulder.  They advanced, along with Collins Key.

Variety

Normally only one or two Variety acts manage to measure up to the rest and this year is no different.  Special Head did a Matrix-like back-bend over candles; contorting your body into an extreme 90 degree angle is as rare and his amazing levitation.  Kennedy Davenport’s act included a running split off of the stage onto the ground—the rest of her routine was lackluster but my love of drag queens makes it impossible not to hope for her. Singing ventriloquist Megan Piphus might be succumbing to her parent’s pressure to go to law school soon since her moving lips couldn’t be ignored.  Lil Mike & Funny Bone were so shockingly unprepared for their performance, forgetting lyrics and choreography, that the judges immediately kicked them out of the competition.  Special Head was the only variety performer to earn a chance to win the public’s favor.

Male Singers

As usual this overpopulated category was a tough one.  Dave Fenley’s throaty and soulful voice was as reassuring as Marty Brown’s piercing and rich country vocals.  Paul Thomas Mitchell vibrato filled tune would have been nice to enjoy if he didn’t rush through his song.  Jonathan Allen’s operatic rendition of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” showed the unpolished edge in his act.  Newly engaged crowd-pleaser Travis Pratt continued to astonish most with his high pitched vocals, though the male judges thought a woman would have sung “Ave Maria” better.  Ultimately the experienced sounds of Jonathan, Dave and Marty won the judges’ hearts and a shot at the live stage.

The quarter finals begin next Tuesday.  The first twelve acts on the chopping block are Branden James, Aaralyn & Izzy, Special Head, Anna Christine, Fresh Faces, Kevin Downey Jr., American Hitmen, Hype, Collins Key, Tellavision, Alexandria the Great, and the Kristef Brothers.  Saddle up friends; it’s going to be a wild ride.