America's Got Talent Review: Who Raised the Bar?

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We're down to 10 acts on America's Got Talent, 10 performers who are mere days away from fulfilling their dream. Who bombed? Who rose to the occasion? Who ought to advance? The answers await...

Miami All-Stars - Had the disadvantage of going first in a very important week. I didn’t understand the football/cheerleader theme and the dancing was too frantic. The group gets extra points for the big dancing chicken. The whole performance lacked direction and the music transition was executed really sloppy. My Grade: C+

Lys Agnes - Was aiming for a rock/opera hybrid that the vocal coach didn't like. I wouldn't listen to her because she sabotaged several of the kid acts this year. Lys reminded me a bit of Des'ree in the beginning, her lower range sounds like Cher, which Sharon noted as bad. I appreciated the increased production value and the epic ending, but did it take too long to get to the end? My Grade: B+

Landon Swank - Decided to go with a simplistic routine, which was an interesting idea for a finale. The close-up magic worked for the TV, but if this was a Vegas act, I wouldn't have approved. It took too long with him removing the tie and changing the channel. I liked the concept of the glass fish tank, but there was a minor slip-up with "closing" the hole he had. I'm not sure where the fish ended up. My Grade: A-

Anna Graceman - Small town Anna took her risk by not being in front of a piano. Her rendition of "True Colors" was wobbly in the beginning, but by the chorus she got to use her upper register. I hated her pronunciation of "rainbow" before the second verse. Whoever chose her dress should be fired because she looked like a cupcake wrapper. The performance was nice, but the song choice was sleepy. My Grade: B-

Silhouettes - The combination of national monuments with really strong shapes was probably the groups' attempt to listen to Piers' suggestions last week. They managed to get colors and still create motivating shapes. Ending with the "Believe" and the final shot of all of the little storylines put together was the winning touch. My Grade: A+

Smage Brothers Riding Shows - The Smage brothers finally introduced the non-brother Troy and gave him as much praise as possible. After jumping over grandma, the brothers decided to go with a very trick park theme. Troy got a lot more abuse this time around where I’m pretty sure he got smacked in the head. Poor guy had to run to every box to prepare to get almost-killed. Most of the tricks were solid, and the bottle opening with the wheels was a cute finish. My Grade: B+

PopLyfe - After taking on the Beatles, PopLyfe went for the next bar: Michael Jackson. It's interesting that they still had the gall to pick MJ after The Fiddleheads bombed. The Jackson 5 approach was a smart decision to integrate the young ages plus the cute choreography. I didn't like that they didn't end with an epic vocal run, but it was a solid performance. My Grade: A

West Springfield Dance Team - The dance troupe decided to go darker than their prior performances, but I have to think that high amounts of makeup are a problem for dancers. The group used more dub step to emphasize their movements, which helped show a clean routine. I could see why Piers would dislike the routine because it was one-dimensional with the formations and the transitions. My Grade: B

Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. - West Springfield was criticized for performing the same thing over and over again, but Landau will never get the same criticism. Landau is an endearing person and his vocals were strong, but his music selection has gotten a bit stale even if it was Dean Martin instead of Frank Sinatra. My Grade: B+

Team iLuminate - As the closing act, iLuminate already has the advantage of being fresh in mind, but they raised the bar even though they didn’t experiment with new colors. By changing the genre of music, adding a person, and the dimension of height, they kept their routine fresh and it was moving to watch. They even managed to throw a bit of Silhouette touch of the ending of the person on the top of a mountain. My Grade: A+

So, who should end up in the final four? Silhouettes, Poplyfe, Landau and Team iLuminate.

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First of all, I could only dream of having Top 10 talent (heck top 100 even). I would pay to watch most of the top 10, and perhaps will in Vegas very soon.
Tough to knock an 11-year-old girl and a car washer or high school dance group cuz they took a dream and maxed it, whereas so many of us sit on our butts and do the shoulda-coulda-woulda thing.
The top 4 all deserve to be there, albeit I wish the magician was given a judge's vote to advance. He kept raising the bar and was entertaining.
And if I was to ever lose I'd hope to be as classy as the Maimi All-Stars.
Finally, as a Canadian, I can only hope for a safe 9/11 in the U.S. We are all united by the goal for world peace and may the only "disagreements" we have in the future be over our winner for AGT!
Peace and respect

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I agree that Landon's trick was too slow and the fact the fish completely disappeared didn't go over well! PopLyfe was really good, I liked the song choice and the energy they had. Landau has a great voice, but I'd like to see him branch out - the judges are always saying they need to "step it up" but Landau does the same variation of what he's always done, over and over. Stick to what you know, I guess. Not my cup of tea, I admit. Silouette I didn't find special - the Believe at the end was good, but all that passing of the rose was monotonous. I thought that they were making a torch and going to turn into The Statue of Liberty when they made the space ship, very meh for me. Team ILuminate I love - only ones I'd pay to see in Vegas.

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I agree with your choices for top 4 100%. Especially iLuminate and Landau. PopLyfe was pretty good too, I missed the last silhouettes performance but I have seen them before and they are pretty good, just not as entertaining as the others perhaps.

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Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. will have a career in Las Vegas - done deal. And sorry, but that little girl is annoying as f.

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Seriously, Radio Blah Blah? A B+ for Lys Agnes BIZARRE self-parody, and a B- for Anna Graceman? Everytime I read this column I am reminded that there is no method to your madness. It makes me skip the rest of your "review" and go straight to the comments...

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Landau - I would love to see him perform live and pay. That suit he had on was awesome. He can be a star. Anna - pitch was off Lys - too bad her choice of songs. Didn't do it for me

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I would love to hear Landau sing (New York, New York) in the finals next week. That could get him the win!

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i agree for the most part.....I love Anna thou .... her voice is beautiful and she full of soul..... Silhouettes, Anna Graceman... Landau and Team iLuminate...

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I agree with the picks for the final 4..I hope Landau wins it..I would pay to see him too..anna is just not ready..she should practice, grow up alittle and try out for Idol in a couple years..nobody would pay to see her or sit through 1 1/2 hours of her off key singing, at least I wouldn't..and Illuminate is pretty good too, but I still like Landau.

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Anna was amazing as always. I don't know if a headliner in Vegas is the right gig for her, but someone would be very smart to scoop her up. She's 11!! That voice is AMAZING!!!

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