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America’s Got Talent 6, September 13: Keep on Fighting ‘til the Endby Tyler Sandersfeld -- 09/14/2011
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Ladies, gentlemen, and Alaskans! Welcome to the final performance episode for this season of America’s Got Talent! After a long season of ups, downs, sideways, and pancreases on stationary unicycles, we are left with just four great acts: A shadow dance team from Denver; a crooner from West Virginia; a pop/rock band from Oakland, California; and a glowing dance crew from Los Angeles.
Host Nick Cannon, mean judge Piers Morgan, sweet judge Sharon Osbourne, and wacky judge Howie Mandel all look quite spiffy in their finals outfits. They’ll get a few minutes to break those suits in as we watch a montage of the season’s events. We see a lot of the good, the bad, the weird, and the frightening (many that fit more than one category). That’s all that needs to be said about this filler.
Let’s get to the first final performances, courtesy of Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. As we all know by now, Landau was just a normal car washer before he came onto this show. He never dreamed of being here. He’s had a rough journey, being homeless at the age of 19. His singing picked him up off the streets, leading him to a wife and kids and, just maybe, a million dollars. Piers sees this guy singing away in Vegas, and so do I. Question is, will he have enough juice to go first and still win this show?
Landau, predictably, sings the ever-popular finale song, “My Way.” The beginning doesn’t do all that much for me. It’s very good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not quite the Landau I wanted to see in the finals. However, Landau completely slays the second half of the song. His personality shines through, only aided by the velvety voice coming out of that dreadlocked head of his. He has a future as a tribute act, but a million dollar tribute act? Very, very likely now.
Piers knows Landau saved that performance for the end, as it’s a song so many singers get wrong. Landau sang it from his heart, delivering a million-dollar performance. Sharon got goose bumps from that performance. It was perfectly sung, contained the right amount of emotion, and didn’t play it safe. Howie believes there is a good chance that Landau just sealed the deal.
The act entering the final four neck-and-neck with Landau is next – well, after another filler video showing the top four what’s at stake. I don’t care, really. Let’s just get to Team iLuminate. Two-and-a-half years ago, the idea was born in a tiny apartment. Now, Piers is literally electrified by this team. Okay, maybe not that literally. Howie believes if the Team stays at the level they have shown, they also have a good chance to win. This performance will be taking a huge risk. Let’s hope it pays off.
Team iLuminate delivers a literally heartfelt performance. Along with the lighted hearts, we see kaleidoscope-like effects, floating, and generally great dancing. I would not be surprised if the effect is much better live than on television, but it’s still pretty darn cool on TV. While Landau is more technically proficient, Team iLuminate has the originality factor hands down. So far, this is looking like a tight finale.
Sharon loves this show because of all of the different talents, and iLuminate is so different from every other talent. She declares it an honor to witness what Miral created from zero. Howie once again found this performance fascinating, brilliant, and deserving of the win. He also feels they are at a disadvantage – many voters vote on personality, which means more love for an act like Landau over dancers in the dark. Piers believes this act is what this country is about. America needs smart young people with great ideas that can create jobs and prosperity. To him, Team iLuminate is what America needs.
Two acts in, and we’ve seen two potential winners already. Now, let’s see an act that already carries the title of America’s Got Talent winner. He is the second and overwhelmingly most successful champion, Terry Fator. For this appearance, he has brought Julius the soul singer. Julius starts with the soulful classic, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.” Hee. Terry reminds Julius that the song is more hoedown than soul. Julius explains that he had to sing that since Terry is the whitest guy he knows. “You make Donny Osmond look like James Brown,” says Julius.
Julius lets up and sings an actual soul classic, “Ain’t No Sunshine.” It’s a super smooth performance, which gets really funny as Julius takes a huge breath after a long string of “I know, I know, I know…” I so need to see this guy live, but I can hardly afford a ticket to his show, let alone plane fare and lodging. Terry says there is nothing for the top four to worry about, as they are all stars already. Julius adds that Nick is almost as sexy as he is.
POPLYFE has a lot of greatness to follow. Let’s hope they’re up to the challenge. They thought they were going home a long time ago. Indeed, I believe they may be the first top four act to receive a ‘no’ vote at the auditions. We know a lot about singer Kehlani, but 15-year-old Dylan is the genius behind the band, arranging all the music for the performances. No one showed up at their first gig, but now they will perform for millions. Sharon sees no reason why POPLYFE cannot win. They would love to be the first band to win AGT, and they hope to do so by performing Queen.
POPLYFE performs a medley of “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions.” Okay, it’s not so much of a medley since the two songs were part of one single to begin with, but I digress. “We Will Rock You” is pretty rocking, but “We Are the Champions” goes a little off-kilter. Kehlani gets way too emotional – enough to throw her singing off by a large margin. One of the guys sings over Kehlani near the end, and that’s not good. The performance still has a large number of highlights (like the guitarist), but after the nearly-perfect performances by Landau and iLuminate, this band has effectively taken themselves out of the running for the win.1 2 Next-->
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