Opening the show was the Chicago Boyz brightly festooned in gold track suits. They are fun to watch but tonight wasn’t their best night. The audience gave them a standing ovation but their routine didn’t seem as crisp and tight as usual. The judges pointed out their missteps while hoping nobody would notice.
Branden James trotted out Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah which has become a so much of a talent show staple it’s bordering on cliché. He did OK but the song is tired and giving it only 90 seconds doesn’t really do the song justice. The judges loved it. The audience loved it. Howard said he really felt it tonight. For me, he was too strong and too powerful. The song does best when the singer sounds more vulnerable than BJ does and possibly can.
Innovative Force, the troupe of young dancers, did their combination of acrobatics, dance and cheerleading. The crowd went wild for their routine which was pretty much like their other routines. Tonight is the finale of So You Think You Can Dance and when I watch that, I see real dancing. It isn’t fair to compare the SYTYCD dancers who are all older, more experienced and better with Innovative Force but it reminds me that dance is so much more than well executed moves.
The Kristef Brothers did an impressive show of strength, balance and humor. Howard so liked them he predicted they would be in the final six. Bold prediction.
Young ballroom dancers, D’Angelo and Amanda, who made it last week by the skin of their teeth, brought their usual blend of youthful energy and fire. They certainly had more heat and vibrancy than Innovative Force. They had more polish than Chicago Boyz. For my money, they were the best act so far.
Catapult Entertainment did their thing and from what I can tell it was awesome and the judges loved it. To be honest, while they were performing, the winners of So You Think You Can Dance were being announced and I’m way more emotionally invested in that show than AGT so I was watching that while Catapult entertained.
On SYTYCD Fik Shun beat Aaron which didn’t exactly please me because Aaron was my favorite male dancer of the season but Amy was the top vote getter of all and that was totally right. It was always a pleasure watching her dance. Hell, it was always a pleasure watching any of the top 20 dance on that show. The talent on that show was through the roof this season and the choreographers were on top of their game. I’m glad SYTYCD is coming back next summer.
Now back to AGT, Forte came next and sang something from Titanic in Italian. The judges loved it. The judges loved each other. The audience went bonkers for it.
Taylor Williamson, a very funny comedian, did a fine job and had good material for everyone but Mel B. who only got two words out before Howie and Howard prevented her from giving her full opinion. Howie lectured her on how hard it is to be a comedian and how good Taylor is. His prepared material was good but his post-performance banter with Nick and the judges was even funnier. He doesn’t wow the way singers or dancers do but he deserves a spot in the top six even if he has no chance of winning.
Teen magician Collins Key did a routine involving Nick’s expensive watch, two cheap watches and guessing what time Howie would arbitrarily set his watch to. It’s too complicated to explain but it was fascinating. Howard thought his pacing was too slow. I thought the pacing was OK but I know it could be a bit tighter. If I have any criticism it’s that his magic is small. He doesn’t have big props or tigers or beautiful assistants. I don’t know how well it plays in Radio City.
With his tribute to cardiac arrest and death, Kenichi Ebina showed his imagination goes to weird and amazing places. He also showed his dance skills are phenomenal. Had I been recording this show, this is an act I would have replayed over and over.
Country singer Jimmy Rose sported a Telecaster instead of his usual acoustic guitar but the twang was the same. Howie said it was good but it didn’t wow him. Howard said he was playing it too safe. Mel B. felt he was doing the right thing by staying in his lane. I can’t say I ever really liked him in the first place. He’s too country for me.
Cami Bradley lent her particular song styling to Bon Jovi’s Living On A Prayer. Her 90 seconds went by way too quickly. The judges loved her. For some reason, Heidi didn’t say a word for the last two acts.
If I had my way, Cami, Kenichi, Taylor, Catapult Entertainment, Forte and Collins would make the top six. I never get my way with these shows.