America's Got Talent-Season 8-D'Angelo & Amanda
Time is never on our side when it comes to our begrudging beloved America’s Got Talent.  While auditions always seem endless, somehow the last night of the quarter-finals is already upon us. The most important nugget to realize when contemplating the semi-finals is that as of yet, no second chance show has been announced. That means the super talented cast out of this round could be without the chance to fight their way back into the competition. Howie Mandel, Mel B., Heidi Klum, and Howard Stern would do well to remember how popular that night is; if ever there was a time to throw your weight around with producers, this is it. Perhaps that’s why Nick Cannon gifted our corneas with his subdued navy blue suit; the man knows when to throw us a bone. Dear Nick, if we’re too hard on you it’s because we know you have the potential to look as good as you did last night always.

Virginia State University Gospel Chorale

Dressed in all white the Virginia State University Gospel Chorale belted out Madonna’s hit “Like a Prayer.”  Their voices were powerful, featuring two lead singers that hit all the right notes.  What it comes down to is whether America feels there talent matches up to those already waiting in the wings for next week to start.  Most of the judges agreed that this talented chorale’s fate was out of their hands, though Heidi encouraged them to pick a more unconventional song next time, as if the fact that the group is a gospel choir completely escaped us.  “Like a Prayer” has a decidedly gospel element, though we would have been happier had they picked a more traditional tune.

Melody Caballero

A last minute replacement for the waylaid Red Panda, ten year old contortionist Melody Caballero set out to make America proud.  In a glittering gold leotard Melody slowly contorted herself into all the usual shapes before breaking out the headstand bar.  Folded over and balancing her body with her mouth on the bar, she spun discs on her arm before attempting to bend backwards and grab a rose with her teeth a few times before she was successful.  Howie thought her performance was the same as before but the rest of the judges praised her abilities.  Whether her routine is enough to please depends on the success of the other competitors though.

Dave Fenley

Adding no frills to his appearance, Dave Fenley performed “Trouble,” Ray Lamontage’s soulful hit.  It’s hard for Dave to fail with his wonderfully raspy voice, but we wish he’s picked a song that showcased his rich vocals and passionate tone even more.  Continuing in a trend, the judges loved Dave’s performance, regardless of Howie’s complaint that Mr. Fenley dress to match his surroundings.  Singers as powerfully as Dave rarely have problems gaining a fan base, let’s just hope they’re one that votes.

2Unique

The young female rap duo known as 2Unique took over the stage.  Performing a melody of “Rapper’s Delight” and “Can’t Touch This” the two young girls powered through after a small starting flub.  The stage was filled with dancers, distractingly so, and as such the judges thought the girls got lost of stage.  Sometimes when you overrun your performance with backup dancers they steal the spotlight.  Hopefully they were able to push their way into the hearts of voters.

Sam Johnson

Joining the circus at age eleven and performing with them for 20 years prepared Sam Johnson for America’s Got Talent.  Nothing could have prepared us for his performance though: first he climbed 80 feet in the air before purposefully making the bar sway high in the sky.  Then Sam tethered his leg to the bar, hanging upside down before the bar released and swung down to the ground like a pendulum.  Most of the judges were impressed, but felt like Sam should have kicked things up a notch, though danger light lover Heidi was thrilled with his act.  Sam’s counting on America’s votes to push him through; hopefully he won’t be disappointed

Duo Resonance

The pair of lovebirds brought their unity to the stage.  Performing the kind of strength and balancing act that has been successful in the past.  Moving with grace, the two balanced on one another, and though there was visible shaking and a minor flub during their final trick, neither distracted from the awe of watching the duo hold each other up while supporting their bodies’ one handed.  The judge’s commentary went off the rails, likening their performance to “porn for the family.”

D’Angelo & Amanda

Performing the Paso Doble, D’Angelo & Amanda owned the stage with a power that outshined their twelve and thirteen years respectively.  Their choreography was utterly stunning, more amazing than most routines on Dancing with the Stars.  It was obvious these two have been paired for more than half their lives; their passion and chemistry were matched with their precision and prowess.  The well-deserved standing ovation they received from all the judges should be a hint: these two are the first of the night that

Selena Mykenzie Gordon

Gorgeous and young, hopes were high for Selena Mykenzie Gordon.  Unfortunately her performance of Rascal Flatts “What Hurts the Most” was plagued by her nerves: she was off key, quirt, and unimpressive.  The judges spoke to that, but they also vehemently championed the talent they know she has—Selena’s voice is usually beautifully beyond reproach.  As much as we’d like to see this beauty get a second chance the sad fact is it’s a stretch that voters will be as forgiving to a young girl as they were to an overly emotional country man. (cough Marty Brown cough)

John Wing

It’s refreshing that this competition has become one that fosters comedians; so far three are already in the semi-finals.  John Wing made a play to be the fourth, centering his comedy on his teenage girls and raising kids on the whole.  His genius was picking an easily relatable topic while still doing his best to test the limits of family friendly comedy.  Lucky for him Heidi still found his comedy permissible, while the rest of the judges simply gushed.  John was clever, but if we had to choose, we’d go with Taylor Williamson every time.

Sprice

Building a Rube Goldberg is no easy feat—our ninth grade self can attest to that.  Precision is key, much like every performance, but if Sprice’s device is of by even an infinitesimal inch the entire thing is ruined.  His chain of reactions began on the judges table and went off without a hitch, ending in a sparkling display of fireworks.  Though Sprice’s performance was perfection Mel B. found the whole thing a tad boring, and as much as we enjoy the success of such and intricate endeavor, we have to agree.  America has to decide whether a series of well-constructed events is enough to win their favor.

Ruby & Jonas

To ignite the fires of sibling rivalry, the uber competitive Ruby performed after her brother D’Angelo. It was always going to be a tricky moment, judging a talented young duo of siblings not only against the entire pool of hopefuls but against each other. As far as the rest of the competition goes, Ruby & Jonas are a formidable pair. Their energy bolstered their routine, though Heidi took issue with Ruby and Jonas’s appropriately exaggerated facial expressions. However, when you compare their spirited routine with D’Angelo & Amanda’s it pales against their passion. Hopefully America doesn’t have to choose between brother and sister because if they do adorable little Ruby might be heartbroken.

Catapult Entertainment

Yet again we’ve been hit with another act whose appeal is a mystery. Catapult Entertainment performed a beautiful run-of-the-mill silkscreen dance routine. There are two or three acts like this every season, and they always project the same sentimental images. The story their moves told (growing, graduating, finding love, and starting a family) is so ordinary we’ve seen it all before, right down to their predictable background music, the ukulele version of “Over the Rainbow.” The judges were thunderstruck and thoroughly impressed, though it seems like the group’s dedication of their performance to the lost children of Sandy Hook might have swayed them. America hasn’t done a good job of objectively judging the competition this season so this is particularly worrying. Tragedy should never outweigh talent, no matter the case.

Who Should Advance: D’Angelo & Amanda, Duo Resonance, Sam Johnson, Dave Fenley

Wild Cards: Catapult Entertainment and Ruby & Jonas