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America’s Got Talent – Looking Back

September 11, 2010

Now that America’s Got Talent is down to only four finalists, I thought it would be fitting to look back at some of the contestants who left lasting impressions on us this season, along with some ideas on why they didn’t make it to the end. If you’ve also invested Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the last eleven weeks, let’s indulge each other.

ANNA AND PATRYK

What fantastic 12-year-old dancers; technically perfect, polished and professional. One hopes that Anna realizes her unfortunate fall in the semi-finals had no negative impact on the voting; everyone overlooked that because they’re both so good. But they are just too young and too ballroom to pull in a Vegas audience. There’s no doubt that they’ll have enduring dance careers in a more appropriate and family-friendly environment.

CHRISTINA AND ALI

Sweet little gals with a sad backstory. If only they had sounded better together, but their harmonies were frequently off. Their inspirational songs were crowd-pleasers and it was also nice to see them pick up the pace and dance their last time out. It wasn’t just sympathy votes that got them to the final ten, it was their overall charm factor. Good luck and good health to them both.

JEREMY VANSCHOONHOVEN

The extreme bicycle stunt guy. Enjoyed what he did but was always worried for his safety, in a distracting way. I’m rather relieved that he was voted out before he killed himself.

TAYLOR MATTHEWS

This young singer/guitarist was my favorite underdog. While not as strong a singer as Michael Grimm, his personality made him a winner in my book. If a performer can make you feel good sometimes that’s what matters most, and Taylor Matthews always shined. May he find his niche out there somewhere.

STUDIO ONE YOUNG BEAST SOCIETY

They had some pretty original and even dangerous moves that were very exciting. Dance troupes rarely catch my eye, but this one really has something new going on. Hope they’ll show up elsewhere too.

HASPOP

As a contortionist-dancer he was always entertaining. I especially liked his interaction with the big video on his last sojourn. He never was likely to win this competition, but his presence added the right kind of variety.

ANTONIO RESTIVO

This muscle-bound fire magician was a true showman and managed some powerful illusions. I really enjoyed Antonio and wanted him to make it to the finals, but I suspect word got around that he already has a Vegas show, Ignite, in which he plays a fire demon. The rules related to amateur vs professional in AGT must not be that stringent, since a few of this year’s acts have been out in public performing for years.

ARC ATTACK

Using tesla coils and other high-tech devices, these engineers achieve impressive feats with electricity, but the music generated by their dangerous toys just didn’t sound that good. Admittedly, their act has to be seen live to be appreciated, as was mentioned many times. Sadly, on TV it was akin to watching fireworks on an iPod.

ASCENDANCE

Clever name and an original concept, that of ballet on the rocks. It might be my own aversion to rock climbing, but beyond my appreciation for their skills, it’s not something I needed to see more than once.

CONNOR DORAN

I won’t say anything bad about him. He did what I could never do, which is get a kite off the ground.

DAN SPERRY

This is the Tim Burtonesque magician who freaked Howie out by getting too close with used dental floss. Sperry was great until his last unconvincing sawing-off-Nick-Cannon’s-arm trick. Everyone has a bad night. The truth is, he’s already a major award-winning illusionist who I hope will make future appearances on TV shows.

DEBRA ROMER

Very, very nice voice, but frequently off-key, not to mention a breathy mic technique. With vocal training and the confidence of experience she could still be a successful recording artist. She’s got the look and there’s nothing sexier than a girl who plays guitar.

FUTURE FUNK

Wasn’t sorry to see them go. Cute as bugs and just as unnecessary.

AIRPOCALYPSE

Air musicians. They dress up and pretend they’re rock stars. As entertaining as drunk fratboys wearing grass skirts and coconut bras. Thanks anyway.

KRISTINA YOUNG

I didn’t think she was all that bad, though her song choices were regretful and the overall presentation never quite hit the target. Like Debra Romer, some vocal training could still help her get where she wants to go.

HANNIBAL MEANS

This jolly and flamboyant baritone who did inspiring takes on “Circle of Life” and gospel numbers is a voice coach and also crochets hats by hand. Likeable and loud, he seems like he’d be fun at a party. He has a Facebook page. We should all Friend him.

DOOGIE HORNER

I liked Doogie! He looked funny, he sounded funny, and even when his jokes didn’t work he made that funny. Loved when he brought his own cheering section and even they were booing him. Doogie should have made it to the top ten.

SPONJETTA PARRISH

Does anyone else remember Sponjetta? In one of the very first auditions way back in June she sang her original composition, “Studio”, which basically consisted of the lyrics “I’ll be in my studio, studio,” repeated over and over. She got buzzed by all three judges within a minute, but I kinda dug it, ’cause I’m up in my studio right now, y’all.

RONITH

He’s the worst impressionist of all time (not counting some of the ones on YouTube). The jury’s still out on whether Ronith really thought that he had talent, or if he did know how awful he was and created a brilliant act around it. I just thought he was hysterical in his badness. A million dollars worth of hysterical? No, but I still hope ‘he’ll be back’.

MARY ELLEN

Can’t finish the list without mentioning this beehive-wearing, Casio-playing, virus-spreading octogenarian. Like Ronith, it was uncertain whether she was in on the gag or not, but eventually it just became too painful to watch. Even dancing cows couldn’t make her act any more ridiculous than the absurdity of an old lady who can’t sing and can’t play being allowed on stage in the first place. She was there for Howie’s amusement and little else.

Well, there you go. There were many more contestants, some of whom also deserve mention. Give us your impressions. (Not you, Ronith.)

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