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'America's Got Talent' recap: An evening of blown chances

July 20, 2011 |  9:28 am

A little more than midway into "America's Got Talent" on Tuesday night –- another live Hollywood episode in which 12 more of the top 48 contestants vied for viewers' votes -- Piers Morgan said what some of us may have been thinking. Hipster juggler Thomas John had just blown his irreverent act, dropping his pins and drowning his previous charms in tongue-in-cheek stage hoopla.

"Terrible, absolutely terrible," Morgan, who had been in particularly nasty form all evening, said, to audience boos. "I'm really disappointed tonight because last week, two or three acts went home that were potentially really good acts and now we've entrusted our faith this week into a lot of acts that just aren't delivering."

However you feel about Morgan's over-the-top meanness (he'd tried to bully another act, the Rhinestone Ropers, into conceding that they'd blown it, which they had, but still…), it was hard to argue with his basic point. Act after act had fallen flat: some ho-hum, some out-and-out horrible.

Attack Dance Crew failed to impress with their "drilling" routine; the judges rightly criticized them for their unexciting choreography. (The judges might also have taken issue with those glow-in-the-dark tracksuit/headband getups, if they weren't too busy taking jabs at one another; Howie Mandel even made a hacking joke at Morgan's expense. Bold!)

Bieber lookalike Dani Shay and pretty-boy singer Dylan Andre both looked frightened and sang off-key, and quivery-voiced twin singers Mona Lisa seemed more like a gimmick than like true talents. Comedian Geechy Guy returned with his rapid-fire one-liners, which were not unfunny but were also not something you'd want to sit through a whole lot of.  And Sharon Osbourne wasn't the only one who was left confused by magician Landon Swank's odd one-trick act.

The Rhinestone Ropers were probably the evening's biggest disappointments. During their audition, they had shot guns, thrown knives, spun wheels, courted danger, and built excitement and suspense. Then this time they came out with a recalcitrant horse named Lucky Joe who picked up a hat and shrugged off a saddle blanket. Mandel noted the startling disconnect between the dramatic music and the lack of drama onstage. (Has anyone ever looked so smug about jumping on a horse and swinging a lasso?) Osbourne summed it up as something you might see at a kids' birthday party. She was being generous.

Anyhow, the four acts that deserve to proceed to the next round are …

Smage Bros. Riding Shows: Who knew that watching a couple of kids jump around on motorbikes could be interesting? And when a too-close wheel took that poor kid's hat off? I don't know about you, but I was vaguely alarmed.

The Silhouettes: It does sort of bug me that the judges keep going on about how "unique" and "original" their dance style is when Pilobolus has been doing the same thing for years. On the other hand, the patriotic theme choice was a shrewd move – and they're pretty remarkable for a group of kids.

Steven Retchless: His pole dancing is so controlled and beautiful to watch. And he bled for us!

Daniel Joseph Baker: His rendition of Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory" prompted Mandel to dub him Lady Guy Guy, and he is talented. He needs to tone down the "fierce" talk though; it's getting old fast.

I could be convinced that Geechy Guy deserves the fourth slot more than Daniel Joseph Baker. What do you think?


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-- Amy Reiter