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‘America’s Got Talent’: Academy Of Villains Delivers Halloween Early

Wed, August 15, 2012 12:59am EDT by 1 Comment
Courtesy of NBC

Halloween is one of the best holidays ever, right? So it was no surprise the theatrical dance troupe stole the show with its delightfully succinct and haunting performance.

On the August 14 episode, America’s Got Talent returned after a three-week Olympic hiatus with a two-hour stroll down viral YouTube land. Twelve acts — all of whom participated in the online audition process — took to the flashy stage to impress. “They went from their room to our room,” judge Howie Mandel commented in the opening video montage. But whether it was nerves or simply a lack of talent, most of the performers failed to live up to the hype of the evening.

Clint Carvalho and his Extreme Parrots — Kitten the Stunt Parrot:

After position his Kitten atop a nearby building, Clint took to the stage in front of the judges for his performance. After cattle calling “Kitty, Kitty, Kitty” about a half dozen times, Kitten swooped and swirled through the open doorways of the arena and over the audiences heads. Very cool trick, but can the bird do anything else? Clint said yes.”You must be the bird whisperer,” Sharon commented.

Reverse Order (pop/rock band) — “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry:

While the idea of flipping a delicious pop anthem on its head and reworking the arrangement isn’t original, these band of cute guys are extremely talented vocalists and musicians. Those electric guitar licks were killer! “I think you need time to gel,” Howard pointed out. (Well, obviously, the at-home experience was quite different.)
Rudy Coby — Magician / Illusionist — “Puppet Boy” by Devo

In his routines, he tries to “make a nightmare come to life,” he said in his intro package. Bizarrely enough, his entire performance consisted of the manipulation of various wooden and electronic creepy-eyed puppets. It certainly was different and “out there” enough, but he lacked a rigid discipline and cohesiveness. “You have something interesting going,” Howard pointed out, but noted that in the middle of the act, the crowd got bored.

7 in Unison (dance crew) — “Fever” by Peggy Lee:

Set to a slow jazz standard, the troupe of young girls took the stage in Las Vegas-style red and gold dresses decked to the nines in sparkly frills. The performance lacked energy and a definitive wow factor. “I wasn’t as wowed as I was bored,” Howie critiqued. (That pretty much summed it up.)

Drew Erwin (singer/musician) — “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia:

As noted by host Nick Cannon, he received the highest number of votes during the online contest. Typically, I’m opposed to acoustic flips of popular hits, but this dude was groovin’! While his vocals are smoothly decent at best, his arrangement and guitar skills should be commended. “You’re not ready for this competition,” Howard comments.

Melinda Hill (comedian):

Did she crash and burn? Her standup consisted of jabs at old boyfriends, Facebook relationship status updates, her mom, and a recent London trip. She set the bar pretty high at the outset and quickly nosedived into oblivion. There were several completely awkward moments when she was waiting for an audience reaction…and nothing. “I loved the beginning and then it kind of went downhill,” Sharon commented. “The atmosphere [in the room] was a little bit icy.”

Eric Buss (performer):

If Mickey Mouse was a human being, it would have been Eric. It was as if he was plucked straight of the streets of Disney World and plopped on stage. His styrofoam french fry act was mediocre, at best, and Howie dubbed it a “million dollar birthday.” Ouch! Not exactly what he wanted to hear.

Romeo Dance Cheetah (air guitar) — “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” by the Darkness:

Come again?! It was a real-life version of Guitar Hero, just not as engaging. After donning Queen-like attire, he took to the stage with unrelenting swagger. Dude has some moves, I give him that. “I don’t know where to begin. What is going on?!” Sharon laughed. Needless to say, she was at a loss for words. “You’re very good at mime,” she continued. (At least that’s something, right?)

The Magic of Puck (magician) — “Shake Senora” by Pitbull:

Set to reggae-inspired music, his stunt involved a cute little handkerchief that came to life. It wasn’t anything original, but his delivery was impeccable. Several moments, such as when the white piece of cloth jumped into his elbow, were timed with such tight precision that the judges predicted that he would be voted through to the next round. “You’re very confident up there,” Sharon comments. “I like that.”

Bria Kelly (country singer/musician) — “Gunpowder and Lead” by Miranda Lambert:

As far as singing acts go, she’s certainly one of the best. Her vibrato, however, was a bit too much throughout most of her performance. On the other hand, when she crescendoes into her higher register and belts the notes, she possesses quite a lovely grit to her voice. A definite standout of the evening.

Cast in Bronze (musician/performer):

“Now I’m just a spirit of the bells,” the mysterious contestant said in his pre-performance package. He’s a modern day Phantom of the Opera! Clad in an eerily gold bird mask and black ensembler, seated in front of carillon bells, he stroked the keys of carillon bells with a unique twist on “Carol of the Bells.” Christmas arrived early! (Where’s Santa?)

Academy of  Villains (theatre/hip-hop group) — “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen & “Whatevu” by Remy Ma:

Straight away, this act was something special. I mean, come on, they began the act as a lead dancer entered the stage through a casket. Entertaining, engaging, crisp, cool would be the words to describe this performance. They mixed a fantastic theatrical element with intense hip-hop dance moves. After creating red-induced faces with their arms and hands, there was a cosmic shift in the performance as they broke out super hot dance moves. “We saved the best for last,” Howie exclaimed. (Yup. Indeed.)

Well, that’s a wrap, folks! As with previous rounds, four acts will be voted through to the semifinals tomorrow night.

Jason’s predictions: Academy of Villains, Bria Kelly, The Magic of Puck and Drew Erwin will continue on.

What are your predictions? What was your favorite act of the night? Drop a comment with the acts you think deserve to stick around, and which ones should say goodbye?

— Jason Scott