‘America’s Got Talent’ live show recap: Angelica Hale & Puddles Pity Party

AMERICA’S GOT TALENT — “Live Show 1” — Pictured: Angelica Hale — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

This was posted Tuesday, August 15, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

For the first time, there are two Atlanta acts in the live shows. Unfortunately, both are competing on the same night and neither had their best night.

Nine-year-old Johns Creek singer Angelica Hale and Atlanta’s Puddles Pity Party are both going to need serious help if they are going to make it through. (Vote here until 7 a.m. EST Wednesday). Of the 12 acts, seven acts make it through.

Three singers are in for sure: Darci, the 12-year-old singing ventriloquist, underdog diva singer Yoli Mayor and underdog R&B singer Christian Guardino will appear to be locks. Who else, who else? I wonder if the military dancers In the Stairwell might sneak through. They are so likable. The roller-blading duo should make it as well. The comedian Preacher Lawson was pimped heavily and might get a spot as well. Angelica has an outside shot, probably a better chance than Puddles to grab the seventh and final spot.

Christian Guardino (singer): He is a dork who can sing great R&B. Let’s call it the Clay Aiken effect.  The man slayed it tonight with Ed Sheeran’s “Make it Rain.” Whatever nerves he had before had didn’t show on stage. Grade: A-minus/B-plus

Artyon & Paige (young dancers): Technically, these kids are not that great. But they make it up with enthusiasm and cuteness. It was hard not to enjoy this from pure entertainment value. Grade: B/B-plus

In the Stairwell (military dancers) – These guys are merely decent singers and the choreography is basic and borderline simple. But they have heart. And that garners votes. That’s why they are even here. And “Some Nights” by .fun is a great song, too. I can’t help but like them. Grade: B-plus

The Singing Trump (comedic singer): I came in not wanting to like him. And he sounded a bit off with “Shut Up and Dance” but the pure cheese of his “U Can’t Touch This” charmed me. It came out far funnier than it should have been. Grade: B/B-plus

Angelica Hale (9-year-old singer): She started a little shaky but she hit some great notes singing “Clarity.” The problem: song choice. “Clarity” is just so-so pop song and for her to get votes, she should have chosen something better known or more emotional resonant by the likes of Mariah, Celine, Sia or Adele. She was technically great but I didn’t get those goosebumps from a song that might have touched me more. I’m afraid the young singing ventriloquist at the end of the night will steal away her votes. Grade: B-plus/A-minus.

Bello Nock (comedic daredevil): This man manages to do something really scary and fascinating while looking almost like he isn’t competent. It works. He could do a great Vegas show. I’m in. Will the voters? Not so sure. Grade: A-minus

Just Jerk  (dance group): They are precise but kind of boring. The choreography is at times stereotypical (Fans? Really?) and other times just mundane. I’ve seen much better on “America’s Best Dance Crew.” Grade: C

Puddles Pity Party (singer): Our local Atlanta man quixotically chose “Royals” by Lorde. It lacks the emotional resonance of the songs he chose the first two times and it felt more hokey and borderline campy. Simon didn’t get it this time and buzzed him, the only time anyone was buzzed tonight. Heidi had mixed feelings. Mel B and Howie loved him. I can’t see him getting enough votes to make it to the semifinals. Grade: B

Preacher Lawson (comedian) – He uses a lot of physical humor. I don’t find him particularly funny but he has plenty of energy. Three of the judges gave him a standing ovation! What??? “You are great! I need you to go all the way to the finals!” Howie said. “There’s electricity. You are a star, buddy!” Who knows? Maybe the voters will give him a break. Grade: C-plus

Yoli Mayor (singer): She is an incredible singer and her vulnerability shines through doing “Human” by Rag’n’Bone Man. That one worked well and both Simon and Heidi gave her standing ovations. Mel B wasn’t quite as impressed. “There was something off,” she said. “I didn’t see you.” Simon was more supportive: “Talent like this cannot be thrown away.” This could get her through. Grade: A-minus

Billy & Emily England (extreme rollerblading duo): This brother-sister team. Stunt acts don’t tend to do well garnering votes. But “AGT” gave them a great spot second to the end. Clearly, the producers are giving them the best shot possible to make it through. They are really good at what they do. Simon: “This was perfection.” Grade: A-minus

Darci Lynn Farmer (singing ventriloquist): This 12 year old is charming and brings out a puppet mouse who sings a dedication tune to Mel B: “Who’s Lovin’ You” by the Temptations. She is incredible. If another singing ventriloquist wins “AGT,” it should be her. Terry Fator may have met his match! Grade: A


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