‘America’s Got Talent’ review: Siro-A, Benton Blount, Arielle Baril, The CraigLewis Band take on semifinals

AGTThe “America’s Got Talent” semi-finals are here! Eleven acts are performing tonight in hopes of getting a spot in the big finale, and only five are going to be getting through. As we typically do during these particular articles, we’re going to be offering up some of our take live as time goes by.

We will say this before getting to all of the acts on the night: It does feel pretty obvious by the sorting of the acts tonight who the producers are interested in having in the finale, and those who they are fine to cast aside at this point. A certain BMX group probably has little chance, and we don’t have much hope for a puppet and his mom.

Ira – This has always been hokey. Watching Ira sing “Copacabana” was as terrible as you would expect. It was just too hokey, it wasn’t really funny, and the set seemed like it was put together at the last minute. We do think that there is potential for this, but it’s so much better suited for something with a story rather than short musical numbers. Also, we still feel like Ira is Howard Wolowitz circa season 1 of “The Big Bang Theory.”

Mountain Faith Band – Another cover of a super-current song from the band, this time “Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd. They’re really good; we do still wish that they’d get more down-and-dirty, but we’d say that vocally this may be the best performance that they’ve done on the show. They have a solid following, so that’ll at least give them a chance of moving on.

Metal Mulisha Fitz Army – Howard Stern’s take on special effects was pretty spot-on here when it comes to it impacting Metal Mulisha’s ability to really get a huge following for a live show. Still, there’s no doubt that what they do is awesome, and they did some pretty cool tricks tonight. Making it film at night at least helped to make it feel a little more live; not only that, but the fire added that something new to make them even more impressive.

Samantha Johnson – We hate it when someone says / is told to say “this is my last shot” in any context, mostly because it gives this show way too much credit. That aside, loved the performance tonight since it was such a cool choice in music, and there was a nice build to show us everything that she can do. Also, really strong stage presence! This is the side of Samantha we can get behind.

Derek Hughes – This was a cute little trick designed as a “bedtime story” for his kids, but it was probably something that, as Derek said, is another side of his act during a full show. It was really cool, and something completely different than what we’re used to seeing. We’re just not sure it is punchy enough for primetime at Radio City with a viewing public known for short-attention spans.

Drew Lynch – The thing about Drew is that he’s so likable, he can really make you laugh even without making the joke all of the way. The part at the end of his set didn’t entirely land, but only because the audience started cheering too soon! We do somewhat agree that he doesn’t need to laugh at himself as much, but we like that there’s a little bit of that wedged in here still.

The CraigLewis Band – Consistently this season, we’ve thought of these guys as having a ceiling that maybe extends to around fourth or fifth place in the competition. Tonight is really the first time we legitimately envisioned them as possible winners. It’s not just their vocals, but it’s their harmonies, their style, their stage presence. They are truly professional, and could really have some good records.

Oz Pearlman – Oz is a tremendous showman. Here’s the problem with mentalist acts: You really do have to suspend that cynical part of your brain. We’re not entirely sure that everyone at home will be able to that, since so much of this is about trust, whereas someone like Derek is more visual.

Benton Blount – Benton’s a nice guy, and he did give a pretty solid performance. We feel like regardless of what the judges told him during his critique, though, he would be going through to the next round. He’s the sort of guy who “AGT” voters always love, sort of in the vein of a Michael Grimm.

Siro-A – We would probably like to see them do something a little more artistic and emotional in the finale, mostly because we feel like we’ve seen something similar to this a few times already. With that said, what they are still doing here visually is far and away better than any other dance act that we’ve seen on the show this season.

Arielle Baril – She closed the show tonight, which made sense given her performance was pretty brilliant. When we look back at the final five acts tonight, we could see all of them, with Drew maybe replacing Oz or Benton, getting into the next round. Great news.

Who was your favorite from the show? Vote now in the attached poll, and head over here to see where we ranked everyone going into tonight’s episode! Also, you can sign up now to get some more TV updates on everything we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: NBC.)


Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!