‘America’s Got Talent’ review: Tom Cotter shines; Big Barry drama

One week after starting off the “America’s Got Talent” live rounds with some pretty good performances, the first ninety minutes of this week’s show was almost the equivalent of a a record scratch sound effect that you hear when things turn out weird on a sitcom. There were so many disappointments when it comes to some early favorites, and we’re honestly not even sure anymore who is going to make it through to the next round.

Liondanceme – How can you not feel bad for these guys? You knew they would be in trouble courtesy of starting off the show, which is the spot where acts go to die. They were also victim of the show’s hypocritical treatment of variety acts — while singers are not criticized for singing every week, these guys were criticized for doing the same sort of lion dance that they have done in every round.

Turf – We know that Turf has received one of the greatest edits imaginable on a show like this, and he has both screen time and a pretty memorable story. When it comes to his performance, he’s a pretty solid dancer — but the problem is that we really didn’t see anything special that stood out here. There’s only so many times that we can watch a guy contort himself while dancing, even when they are as good as Turk is. We prefer our dancing to have a little more of a story.

The All Ways – If you love noise, this was the act for you. They are loud, daring, and look like something stuck in 1984 — to the point where there is really no way that you can take them seriously at all. Their cover of Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” was interesting in that they took a pop song and made it rock, but their singer unfortunately is just not good enough to bring the house down.

Hawley Magic – This was just cool. It was a dramatic illusion themed all around the concept of mother nature, and there was also an incident involving an impaling. We are so desperate for a magic act, and these two could be the ones who deliver. Really, it was the only part of the first hour that stood out.

Lisa Frank Dancers – This had to be the disappointment of the night. We thought this team was really pretty spectacular when they were on the show the first time during their audition — but when they came out and performed this time around, it was quite frankly  just awkward. The routine didn’t have the same charm to it, and that was their whole appeal. Otherwise, they are the same as every other dance act we have seen.

Aurora Light Painters – Speaking of disappointments, we loved this group so much the first time around — so much that we even put them at the top of our rankings going into this show. Unfortunately, we really just didn’t get it this time. There did need to be more of a story, and the talent needed to be shown off more than it was.

Danielle Stallings – We still don’t remember ever seeing this girl before tonight, but it looks as though we could have yet another singer who makes it far on this show. She has such a big voice for a little girl, and her rendition of Bruno Mars’ “Let It Rain” actually contained some of the pain of the original — despite her being so young.

Donovan & Rebecca – Outside of Hawley Magic, this was the first time on the show that we saw something that was different and amazing. There wasn’t quite anything that was new to the act, but the acrobatics that these two show off night in and night out are fantastic.

Big Barry – Run … just run. Big Barry’s not entertaining. Really, he’s the singing equivalent of getting a splinter — it hurts, and it takes a while for the pain to go away even after they’re gone. The fight between Howard Stern and Howie Mandel over him as justified, and it shows Howard’s desire to be the true voice of the people for this show. We all know that Andrew De Leon should be here over Big Barry, and instead we’re stuck with this guy thanks to Howie wanting him there. Does he have a memorable personality? Sure, but this isn’t “America’s Got Personality.”

Tom Cotter – Tom may be the only person we had super-high on our rankings that he ended up actually getting right. Comedians have the toughest job out of anyone on this show in that you have 90 seconds to introduce yourself, and then make people laugh. The thing is that we think Tom, with his Steve Carell-like look and sharp wit, could be the best comedian this show has ever seen.

Ben Blaque – Ben has some great talent as an archer, and we think that he could be a candidate for a wild-card show. Unfortunately, we think that one of his balloons not popping at the end of the stunt could hurt him. Was it his fault? Not really, but these acts have to look and be perfect.

Tim Hockenberry – For the first time, we completely understand why Tim gets the hype that he does. He showed that he was more than just Joe Cocker 2.0 with his performance of Katy Perry’s “Part of Me” — a song that he made his own to such an extent that we barely even recognized it. He didn’t need the heavy arrangement that was behind him, but he showed off more in his voice than we have heard all season … and we didn’t want it to stop.

Who was your favorite act from this performance episode, and whose side are you on when it comes to the Big Barry debate — Howard Stern or Howie Mandel? We want to hear from you below! If you want to know our four picks, we are betting on Tim, Tom, Hawley Magic, and Donovan & Rebecca.

Also, be sure to check out more of our “America’s Got Talent” news.

Photo: NBC

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