‘America’s Got Talent’ review: Grace VanderWaal, Elevenplay, Edgar family band perform in second audition episode

AGT -While we would not necessarily say that the premiere of “America’s Got Talent” last week on NBC was a show-stopper by any means, it did serve a couple of purposes: It introduced Simon Cowell to the judging panel, and it also brought us two really interesting acts in the Clairvoyants and Tape Face. We love this show when they give us something we could never possibly imagine seeing, and these two qualify!

So are we going to be blown out of the water in a similar way tonight? That’s what we are waiting to say, as we are writing this before the acts have taken the stage. We enjoyed the live-review format last week, and we are therefore rather happy to report that we are doing the same thing once more. Refresh the page throughout the night for more on some of the performers!

Alla & Daniel – The challenge with any ballroom-dancing duo on this show is that they’re going to have a really hard time of winning when there are so many things we haven’t seen before. Still, this mother / daughter team could end up making it to the live shows off of the strength of their story and little Daniel’s personality. They do have some dance ability as well, so we’re not going to say this was a mess by any means.

Jonathan Nosan – Let’s be real: How many contortionists do you end up seeing a contortionist over the age of 40 on one of these shows? He is going to need a bigger theme or production around him later on in the show, but there’s no doubt that what he does is absolutely crazy.

Musicality – This feels like one of those glee clubs spawned thanks to the Fox show that is trying to prove that there is a place for this sort of act in the real world. We’re not gonna lie that their harmonies were somewhat sublime, and their whole “we rehearse in a stairwell” story was inspiring in its own right. If we had to nitpick, we’d say that we would have picked a song that was a little more upbeat.

Edgar family band – After some dud acts, which included some woman whose talent seemed to be laughing repeatedly like a crazy person, we finally got to this act, featuring a former Christian singer who was effectively kicked out of the industry after being a teen mom. It wasn’t perfect, but there were some strong vocals in here that make us want to root for them a little while longer. Most family bands are hokey, so we’re thrilled when we have one that is not terrible.

Gary Sladek – One of the best hand-balancers we’ve ever seen, and we’re not someone to throw that around lightly! He is genuinely good, and the fact that he was 58 really was just a part of his story more so than a deterrent. Let’s be real: Who would want to do this at 28, let along 58? It’s just the sort of crazy-dangerous thing that makes your hair stand on end, especially the part where he was standing right below the Xs.

Malevo – It has been a good while since we had someone on the show who was skilled in percussion, and then you add to that clog dancing. What you get is a really strong, passionate act! We’ve never seen anything quite like them, and their Argentine flair gives them a different spirit than anything we’re accustomed to seeing.

D.J. Demers – A really fun comic. It’s odd that for two straight seasons we have a comedian with an inspirational story, but hey, it works! What’s important more than anything else is that he brought some really original material that we haven’t quite heard before, and he continually kept the crowd on the toes and wouldn’t them figure him out.

John Hetlinger – Yes, it’s an old guy screaming heavy metal. There’s really not too much to see here, so let’s move on.

Elevenplay – It’s a Japanese drone dance group. It’s odd, but we saw something similar on the British version and it is innovative, interesting, and imaginative. We do think they need a different pace for the next audition, but there is still no doubt that this is the sort of act that could really end up impressive as we get further and further into the competition with higher production kicked in.

Grace VanderWaal – We have a golden buzzer! We felt like Howie did a great job in his technique this time, actually pressing it before giving away the surprise. Also, we’d be more cynical about two straight singers getting the buzzer if Grace wasn’t so naturally talented and legitimately fantastic. With her personality and natural singing voice, we think she is the rare contestant in the vocal realm who is legitimately the real deal.

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