America’s Got Talent Recap: Quarterfinals Week 5

agt2Last week, the America’s Got Talent producers dedicated a segment to prop comic Al Harris. The old man had previously botched his audition, and he used his second chance in the spotlight to hungrily grasp for attention. Harris rattled off lame joke after lame joke, using every limp tool in his arsenal to prevent host Nick Cannon from cutting to commercial. It was a sad portrait of a desperate entertainer clinging to a disinterested audience.

This scene provoked a question: is this the fate of AGT‘s losers? Once all but one contestant returns home in defeat, will they succumb to the madness of dashed dreams and shattered fame?

Worry not. There’s hope. Last year’s runner-up, comedian Tom Cotter, took the stage on Wednesday night and killed it. He riffed on his experience on the show before rolling into somewhat-standard airport material, but he found the laughs he was looking for.

Hopefully, Cotter serves as an example to the brave men, women, girls and boys who leave empty-handed. You might not win the million dollars, but you can still launch a career.

ROUND ONE: The Virginia State University Gospel Chorale v. Dave Fenley v. Selena Mykenzie Gordon.

This was an easy one to call. Selena’s performance of What Hurts the Most was one of the weakest acts we’ve seen in the quarterfinals. Her voice came across very thin and weak, and her accompanists almost completely drowned her out. She was a misfire from the first note.

The Gospel Chorale went with Madonna’s Like a Prayer. They had vibrant energy with arm-bumping flair, but it was a good act on a program searching for greatness.

America (or rather, the portion of America that watches this show) has been very fond of Southern guitar players this year, so Dave’s raspy, heartfelt rendition of Ray LaMontagne’s Trouble was a virtual lock for a spot. Let’s shrug and move on.

ROUND TWO: 2Unique v. Sam Johnson v. Catapult Entertainment v. Melody Caballero.

Again, no surprise. 2Unique, a pre-teen rapper and DJ act, didn’t knock my socks off at their audition, and their take on Rapper’s Delight and Can’t Touch This was more of the same.

Sam climbed up an eighty foot pole that swung down to the ground. It was an impressive feat, but it earned polite golf claps instead of the awe-stricken shrieks he previously generated onstage.

Melody’s contortionist skills were brought in after Red Panda, a phenomenal acrobat, withdrew from the competition. Melody’s rubber band spine defies belief, but she doesn’t have any other tricks up her sleeve. Regardless, she’s an absolutely remarkable ten year-old.

The winner here had to be Catapult. The group projected their shadows onto a large screen and enacted a woman’s life from child to mother. It was a Hallmark card brought to life, but the imaginative body-constructions and seamlessly choreographed storytelling made this a crowd-favorite.

agt1ROUND THREE: D’Angelo and Amanda v. Ruby and Jonas.

So here’s the thing: D’Angelo and Ruby are siblings. All four of these children are top-notch dancers. The latter team goes for bright colors and splashiness. The former opts for red, black and “intensity” (the show’s word for age-inappropriate sexuality). Ruby and Jonas actually fell down during their last audition, so I have to wonder if they made it through solely to fuel audience interests. A brother competing with his sister? This time: it’s personal.

When D’Angelo took the crown, Ruby burst into tears. D’Angelo held Ruby in a warm hug and refused to celebrate his victory while his little sister wept. It was a tender moment of brotherly love adorned with massive amounts of glitter and hair gel.

ROUND FOUR: Duo Resonance v. John Wing v. Sprice.

Controversy! Sprice was shown the door fairly quickly. The teenager is a true maverick at constructing Rube Goldberg machines, but his skill falls just outside of AGT‘s interests.

John Wing is a solid comedian with a humorously gruff demeanor, but I swear I’ve heard his “three word phrases you say to your kids” bit somewhere else.

Duo Resonance should have taken this easily. The young couple gracefully slithered around each other until the man did a handstand on the sitting woman’s shoulders. That trick alone should have granted them a golden ticket, but this final decision was left to the judges, and they went with John.

But surprise! Heidi Klum deployed her Wild Card to bring Duo Resonance to the Semi-Finals! Huzzah! All is well.

Howard Stern and Howie Mandel will reveal their Wild Cards next week, but Mel B elected to Wild Card an infamous one-hit wonder.

Next week: B. Double O. T. Y.


America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays 8/9 Central on NBC.

Season 8, Episode 18: Live From Radio City, Week 5 Performances (originally aired August 20, 2013).

Season 8, Episode 19: Live From Radio City, Week 5 Results (originally aired August 21, 2013).

Follow @elliotcampos on Twitter.

Images courtesy of NBC.

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