Top ten things seen and heard backstage at 'SYTYCD'
What an amazing first night of eliminations for the top 20 dancers on "So You Think You Can Dance". Everyone in the audience (and I am sure at home) was shocked when Nigel Lythgoe announced that no one was going home this week, but four people would be eliminated next week.
MSN TV was at the show, and will be throughout the season, and was able to speak to Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and guest judge Megan Mullally after the show. Megan was just as cute and amazing in person as she was on "Will & Grace" but she was also incredibly nice. She stayed after the other judges to talk to us. Nigel kissed Megan on the cheek and dashed off because he had a plane to catch, but not before telling us about Debbie Reynolds spot as a guest judge next week. We are excited to see Debbie Reynolds but we will miss Megan.
This week's top 10 things seen and heard:
1. The opening dance, with all the dancers, choreographed by Sonya Tayeh and set to Keri Hilson's "Lose Control," was recorded earlier in front of an audience and played back during the live performance.
2. All the couples that beat elimination were standing and hugging each other throughout the show. They were so happy they were even dancing throughout the commercial breaks.
3. Cat Deeley is even slimmer, cuter, more talented and more charming in person than on TV. Everyone loved her silver, gladiator shoes and someone in the audience even asked her about them.
4. Megan Mullally was putting on her own make-up during the commercial breaks. She even sang "lipgloss" as she put on her... you guessed it... Lipgloss! She wiped her glasses and was so lively we wondered when Jack would make an appearance.
5. There are guys who have to wipe the floor between during breaks, much like an ice skating rink after a performance.
6. Nigel announced it was "Megan's idea" to keep everybody this week. While on stage, Jordan Casanova asked him, "Are you allowed to do that?"
7. Nigel told us that Robin Antin has already offered Jordan Casanova to "be a Pussycat Doll anytime she'd like."
8. "I don't think people necessarily vote in the first few weeks. There are too many people. They don't have the connection that they will get later on the series." (Nigel Lythgoe)
9. Nigel Lythgoe was throwing Jess LeProtto's hat back and forth from the stage to the judge's table. He tried doing a trick by throwing it down his arm and catching it. Better luck next time Nigel!
10. "When I first got the call I was nervous because I thought, 'Am I going to say stupid stuff? What am I going to wear? Once I picked out my earrings everything was better!'"(Megan Mullally)
Bonus Moment of the Night: If the SYTYCD contestants read this ... They might just win. "Lady Gaga will give great advice on how to handle yourself, how to be creative with what you do, how to be a fabulous performer. She has actually done what I want these kids to do, which is get an audience behind them. You have to be unique in this business. You can't just be one of twenty dancers, otherwise you'll disappear very quickly. It's the ones who make you pick the telephone up that will be around. Her help will be invaluable." (Nigel Lythgoe)
"So You Think You Can Dance" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.
The underdog takes the prize in the third season finale
Floyd, you beat Mary Sue! And Traci! You beat everyone!
Sometimes it felt like the only thing still driving Floyd Cardoz late in the season was his desire to beat Mary Sue Milliken. After he lost every head-to-head match up against her this season, we could practically see the mantra forming in his head: beat Mary Sue. But all those Quickfires and Elimination challenge losses are now just a distant memory. Floyd, you made a spicy beef rendang so elegant and delicious it trumped a lemon souffle from Mary Sue that nearly brought Ruth Reichl to tears. If that's not satisfaction in Chef World, then you are beyond help.
The three remaining chefs — Floyd, Mary Sue and Traci Des Jardins, who were whittled down from the original 12 — had to make a three-course meal for the finale. They were asked to make a first course based on their first food memory; a second on a dish that inspired them to become a chef; the third was based dish beloved by one of the judges.
Early on in the episode, Traci seemed to be a lock for the win. Her technique and precision throughout the season were a sight to behold, and when judge Gael Greene asked for a French dish of fried duck with bearnaise sauce, Mary Sue and Floyd felt like goners. Traci's first course of a deconstructed shrimp creole went over well with some judges and not with others. For her second dish, she combined French and California-style cuisine with roasted quail served with sweetbreads, mushrooms and pancetta that everyone seemed to adore. Her two types of duck was less of a success. Gael declared one duck breast tender and full of flavor, but the other dry and hard to cut. She also tasted no mustard. Is that a death knell I hear?
Mary Sue was the smartest about prep time, sticking with Whole Foods rather than running all around the city chasing obscure ingredients. She wowed the judges with her first course, an Asian take on steak tartare — a dish she grew up eating — but got mixed results with her two shrimp dishes, especially a shrimp and chervil mousse-stuffed rigatoni. But when Ruth Reichl, who requested a lemon souffle, calls your lemon souffle "heaven," I think you've gone to Chef Heaven.
But Floyd still pulled off the win with a refined version of upma, a simple Indian dish, a second course of snapper criticized for its heavy rice coating but revered for its tomato-fennel broth, and then, of course, the spicy and deeply flavorful rendang that judge James Oseland, who requested it, said moved him. Shocked by his win, Floyd said the title was for his family, which "has always sacrificed family life for me to do what I do."
I'll miss the master chefs. They're awfully cute. When they saw their panel of opinionators, including former Masters competitors Susur Lee, Jonathan Waxman and Susan Feniger, they waved at each other and later hugged. But I still don't love "Top Chef Masters" like I love "Top Chef." Even with super competitive, talented chefs like Rick Bayless and Susur tapped for past seasons and Naomi Pomeroy on this go-round, the series always lacks the sense of urgency that defines the original series. I'm less than fond of Masters head judge James Oseland and always wonder when Tom Colicchio will show up and take charge. But it's still a pleasure getting a glimpse into what motivates and inspires master chefs, watching their breakdowns (see Mary Sue's souffle breakdown below) and salivating over their food. Until next season!
Stars are born as the singers perform live
'The Voice' went live and the stakes skyrocketed. This week, we finally got to see the winners and losers from last week's performances from Team Christina and Team Blake and then were dosed with a new star in the form of Javier Colon. Oh, and other people from Team Adam and Team Cee Lo performed, complete with fire spinners and back-up dancers. The singing games continue!
Tori and Taylor Thompson, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"
Results: Team Xtina
Everybody loves Beverly! Beverly McClellan won the audience's hearts and votes with her heartfelt rendition of Melissa Etheridge's "I'm the Only One," bringing down the house and Xtina! Now, the diva in the cleavalicious dress must decide how to round out her team. She rambled on for quite a bit about how much she loves her ladies. Raquel Castro: "You're my little dynamo." Lily Elise: "You have an incredible, incredible vocal range, amazing power and soul to your voice." Frenchie Davis: "You have poise and presence and power." Ultimately, she has to go with the "superstar" voice and picks Frenchie. All hail the new Queen!
I gotta hand it to Cee Lo: the man knows how to put on a show. He dressed up the Thompson sisters in pert, nearly identical and very short dresses, gave them some hot, military-clad back up dancing men and drilled them on a challenging song. The girls worked the stage like they'd been doing it their whole lives.
The coaches say:
Adam: "Good, old-fashioned entertainment."
Blake: "I'm loving every minute of it. It was awesome."
Xtina: "Did i just step off the set of my candy man video? I love use of dancers, love use of costume. ... All I saw was legs coming at me. It was beautiful, luscious. I enjoyed it very much."
Cee Lo: "You made me proud today. The style, the performance, the articulation, it was all great."
Casey Weston, "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree"
Adam pushed her to do a more up-tempo song than the slow ballads she likes, but she pulled it off. Her real life baby voice disappears when she sings, and she pulled off her song while guys drummed on plastic buckets and back up dancers moved sassily behind her.
The coaches say:
Blake: "I’m about to download that in just a second. It was awesome."
Xtina: "That was really fun. Make sure in future that you don’t let your background overpower your performance. Throw out guitar. I wanted to reach in and grab that tiger I know is in there."
Cee Lo: "You did a wonderful job."
Adam: "I knew you were out of your comfort zone for this one. I know you were not so excited about this, but I’m telling you it was amazing. You killed it."
Vicci Martinez, "Jolene"
Vicci sported smoky eyes and rocked her version of the Dolly Parton song, digging in deep for her performance. She held back for most of the song but when she let go and gave it her all, it was totally worth it. Our vote is for Vicci.
The coaches say:
Adam: "Such a soulful, raw, honest amazing performance. I really just believed you the whole time."
Blake: "She truly is explosive. I'm a huge fan of Vicci."
Cee Lo: "You did such a wonderful job. Your voice is so big, so powerful, so commanding, it takes a very big person especially a big woman to admit that type of vulnerability in a song."
Devon Barley, "Stop and Stare"
There's something so adorably hot and geeky chic about this kid. I'm not alone; Xtina called him "sexy." He was a little pitchy and he kind of hid behind his mic stand, but near the end of his song, he dared to wander to the edge of the stage and even connect a little with the audience. Go for it, Devon!
The coaches say:
Blake: "I love [having] nothing else on stage. Just a guy who can sing his ass off."
Xtina: "I’m into you, Devon. You’ve got this thing about you on stage. I noticed you in the battle rounds, you really bring it on stage."
Cee Lo: "I still think it’s very cool you don’t look the way you sound, you have such a strong vocal. It's one of most fascinating parts about you."
Adam: "It was a little pitchy in the beginning. You beat those issues, you were so supremely confident up there. I'm so proud of you."
Nakia, "Sex on Fire"
I'm pretty sure Cee Lo had something to do with the fire spinners on stage, who were the backdrop to Nakia as he sang the Kings of Leon song. But Nakia also gave everything he had on stage, belting out the song and singing his heart out. You gotta love the fire.
The coaches say:
Blake: "You pointed at me and said, 'Your sex is on fire,' and I felt the burn!"
Cee Lo: "That was a great job, dude. You did everything perfect, attitude, timing."
Jeff Jenkins, "Jesus Take the Wheel"
The heartfelt crooner sang this Carrie Underwood song to make his mom, who passed away, proud. If that doesn't draw a tear, you are so, so cold. Perhaps it was all the talk of changing the key, but it sounded vaguely pitchy to me. Still, Jeff knows how to turn it on on stage and his voice is meltingly smooth.
The coaches say:
Xtina: "Beautiful, Jeff. It really was."
Adam: "You did such an incredible job, it’s almost as if I forgot this was a competition. There’s something about your presence and power of your voice that demands attention."
Curtis Grimes, "Addicted to Love"
Sorry Curtis, but I was bored before you even started. It's not the country thing; you looked cute in your hat. But there's just some kind of spark missing. Some of you may beg to differ, but we all know star quality when we see it, and he took the stage after Curtis.
The coaches say:
Blake: "Aside from the performance, which was good, I have respect for country guys looking sharp representing."
Xtina: "You have such a great, manly voice."
Cee Lo: "Curt, I think you did a wonderful job. We had issues during rehearsal about confidence and character on stage. It was awesome."
Javiar Colon, "Angel"
A star was born tonight. I love Javier so, so, so much. I am not alone. He wowed the audience, he wowed the coaches, he is the man to beat in this competition. Seated at the piano with his trademark baseball cap, his soulful rendition of the Sarah McLachlan song blew everyone else out of the water. Adam tried to hide his smugness, but I bet anything Adam was thinking: I win. Watch out world!
The coaches say:
Blake: "There’s nothing I can say about him everybody in this room doesn’t know."
Xtina: "The one that got away. Why did you do it to me Javier? Why? The audience makes it clear: you are a talent to be reckoned with. That’s one of my favorite songs. That’s tough to do a rendition of your own with but you really made it your own. It was truly special."
Cee Lo: "You really, truly do have have the voice of an angel."
Adam: "Javier was so passionate about singing this song. You really wanted to do it. Now I know why. It was absolutely perfect."
Results: Team Blake
Shy, sweet Dia Frampton seemed unlikely to make it far on "The Voice," but last week she proved naysayers wrong with her touching rendition of Kanye West's "Heartless." She won America's vote, while Xenia won Blake's confidence with her performance of "Jessie J." Jared Blake burns the house down, and Patrick Thomas is a solid country singer, Blake mused, but with Xenia, he can "affect change." In his gut, it's the right choice, he declares. Xenia it is!
Tune in next week to find out the results of Team Adam vs. Team Cee Lo!
"The Voice" airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
With four acts moving on, why did we go back to Seattle?
By Carla Patton
So "America's Got Talent" is back in Seattle. I'm not sure why this episode wasn't combined with the other Seattle episode, but I think we're just supposed to accept that (and the fact that the next episode will be in Atlanta again). Up first, we have a guy who wants to break a record and do something the judges will never forget. They see a lot of auditions, though.
The awesome thing is that this guy blows up hot water bottles until they explode. That's what he holds the record for. And really, who knew that hot water bottles could get so big? It didn't explode, disappointingly, and it upset Piers.
Things didn't get much better from there, with Buffo who "does comedy" and wears his hair like Guy Fieri. Kimo Presents Madonna was really my kind of act -- I thought it was great from what we saw! But the judges weren't feeling "20 years in 20 seconds." ROBO, the robot comedian was also my cup of tea, but not the judges'. They didn't even find much they could make fun of him for. I will say this, though: I liked the montage interspersed with clips of that guy blowing up the hot water bottle backstage. And I liked it when the robot fell down.
With another montage, we got to see the glut of bad auditions Seattle had to offer. Why does the Pacific Northwest always do so poorly on talent competition shows? And why is it so full of weirdos like Alaska? To Alaska's credit, I love the song choice of "What a Feeling" from "Flashdance." The dance was all but flashy, though. It's really starting to tick me off the way Howie makes fun of these people.
Uh, oh. Another comedian who might only be funny unintentionally. At least Geechy Guy holds a world record. Hey, what do you know, he's funny! Three cheers for Geechy Guy.
A men's choir gave an enlightened performance of "Baby (One More Time)" and everyone liked Soleil's pole dancing. Seth Grabel did a pretty great magic trick where he did some "Prestige"-like stuff. It involved a little person, so Howie liked it.
A Chihuahua walked around on a pool table putting balls in the pocket. You know who loved it? Piers!
The BGP is a band, and I sort of wish they'd bring back the dog acts. They're great, though. Too bad Haley Reinhart owns this song now! See you later, BGP, but hopefully not for too long. I want more magic and dogs and exploding hot water bottles! I'm not sure how much of a ploy it was to release the children onto the stage, either. I've become so cynical.
After the obligatory Seattle fish-catching, it's time for another child act. Future Funk inspired millions, I guess. It doesn't matter what they do at this point, it's going to be so cute and charming that they're definitely going through. The Art of Teknique is actually quite good, especially for kids. I approve of them moving through to Las Vegas.
Denver realtor, Marylee writes and performs her own music for dead people. She wrote a song for Piers, and had this completely hilarious "in memoriam"-style montage. The singing/performance was just alright, but pairing it with that montage was funny. She did not make it, and then Nick Cannon came out with a candle.
That pretty much sums it up. About four acts went through? Why did we go back to Seattle?
"America's Got Talent" airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. and Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
Ashley obsesses over Bentley even as the show moves to Thailand
By Diane Vadino
Special to MSN TV
Tonight: "Get ready to leave this mansion forever," Chris Harrison tells our bachelors with about twice as much drama as that statement deserves. Why? We're going to Thailand! I'd love to know if the show was always planning to move to Southeast Asia in this episode, or if they bumped it up to try to reboot following the ludicrous and disgusting misogyny (read: "drama") in last week's episode, courtesy of the horrible Bentley. The bachelors, en masse, are hoping Ashley can get it together and regroup. "There's still a bunch of really cool guys left in this house," West says, as well slightly under a million weeks left in this season. "I hope that she'll be able to move on with the process." I love it when they call it a "process" rather than a "journey," which makes it sounds like a mortgage application.
Date card #1 goes to heretofore under-the-radar Constantine, who looks like a slightly inflated version of Ben F. For some reason, the Thai guide is asked to relay the fact that the waves are too big in his native language before expressing the same idea in perfectly adequate English. Deprived of their sea adventure, the two walk around the town. "The mystery of Phuket is awesome," says Constantine, as is the mystery of Ashley. The mystery of Ashley seems to focus on exclaiming the word "Cute!" every time she rounds a corner. With the help of a young translator, they ask a man, whom they discover has been married for 36 years, the secret to a happy marriage: "Don't try to win." Thus emotionally fortified, they head off to a bar. This is definitely the least dramatic date in the history of this franchise. It's basically like watching any of my friends go a date, except in Thailand. "In my mind, I still think about Bentley," Ashley says. So it's basically exactly like watching any of my friends date, including the part where they obsess about this guy they almost dated, but didn't.
Next up is the group date. Or group volunteer project. It seems to succeed entirely on the second category, and not at all on the first. After the guys express some anxiety prior to the date -- "Everybody's going after the same piece of fruit," William summarizes to a nervous J.P. -- the afternoon itself, which is spent constructing an orphanage, is as fun and flirty as a PTA meeting. (A boring PTA meeting.) It is most notable for introducing Ryan Fatigue: "There are times when my Ryan meter reaches a max," Ben F. says. We don't see much of exactly how Ryan's being so annoying, but everyone interviewed seems confident that it's there. Otherwise, this is one limp handshake of a date, a fact that Ashley nervously notes. "This isn't a time for flirting," J.P. "We'll flirt later." They do, in fact, at the cocktail party, and said flirting ends with J.P. carrying Ashley off into the rain. (Ashley swears J.P. is the best kisser on the show, which makes me wonder again why we still have to listen to her mope about Bentley.) Everyone except Ryan is grumpy and only more so when Ryan "steals" Ashley away from the crowd. "On top of being beautiful, she's just freaking rad," Ryan tells us. Ashley and the guys both pester Ryan about why he's always so cheerful, and he basically calls them all a gloomy Gus. It's actually getting a bit easier to see how he's annoying them. Ben F., who earlier got a smooch, also scores the rose.
Finally, we arrive at the second one-on-one date, with Ames. Guess what? Yale/Harvard/Columbia man Ames has already been to Phuket a bunch of times, to mountain climb and then for a cooking class. Apparently he organized the trip on the spur of the moment. In some ways, Ames seems quite cool, but if he wants a girlfriend, it's one who won't mind when he decides to leave for a six-month backpacking trip in India. Ames proclaims that he wants a rose: "I'm trying to think of it more as a ... floral piece," he says about the rose as Ashley considers whether to give it to him or not. She does that same yes/no thing she did with Mickey, before giving it to him.
At the cocktail party, Ashley talks to West about his dead wife and to Lucas about his divorce, but she's mostly fishing as to whether or not they're ready for a new girlfriend. It's a completely drama-free zone, until she asks Chris if she can add another rose to the mix -- sending only one guy home tonight. "There are 11 men I could see myself with and I want to give them another shot," she says. Ames is offered as an object lesson in underestimating dudes. "We're not breaking the rules," Chris says. "There are no rules." I love that there are guidelines rather than rules. Ames, Ben F., and Constantine begin the night with roses; West leaves without one. Guess the dead wife was too much for Ashley to compete with.
Next week: I honestly don't even want to talk about it, because it looks like Bentley's on his way back and that would be nauseating. I can imagine lots of viewers not returning if he does -- and you know what? That’s the producers’ fault if it happens. They have to know that it’s not fun to watch a douchebag mistreat someone. I think at its best this show can be great fun, and occasionally quite illuminating. I haven’t enjoyed the sadism this season, and I think I’m in the majority. Here’s hoping the creative team behind the show is canny enough to get us away from it.
"The Bachelorette" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Win Seasons 1 through 3 on DVD!
Are you looking forward to return of E!'s "Keeping Up With The Kardashians," when Season 6 kicks off this Sunday, June 12? Here's your chance to catch up with the first three seasons with this 3-pack DVD giveaway.
Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your favorite Kardashian moment from the series and you'll be entered to win.
"Keeping Up With the Kardashians" kicks off Season 6 on Sunday, June 12, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on E!
Everything is bigger in Texas, but does that include the talent?
By Carla Patton
Everything is bigger in Texas, but does that include the talent? The first act up in Houston is a Texas knife-throwing, gun-slinging, Wild West duo. The Rhinestone Ropers were amazing! He threw knives at her, then shot at her, then spun her around and threw knives, and then she shot some targets While spinning! Finally, something all three judges can agree on.
Mona Lisa, a twin singing duo killed us softly with their song, then Charles Peachock put on a really cool juggling/light act. The Purrfect Angelz came to "rock this crowd," and rock the crowd they did. It was all kinds of sexy and strange.
What will America think of Daniel Joseph Baker, who compares himself to Xtina, Nicole Scherzinger and Lady Gaga? Sharon wasn't sure what to think, but I say, "Werrrrrk!" Nick Cannon and I were pleasantly surprised that he was awesome. Piers thinks Daniel will be polarizing, but he liked it. He will sashay away to Vegas!
THE TRON GUY! I don't know if you're familiar with The Tron Guy, but you should be. He made his own Tron costume, and his own fame. His talent is telling his life story as an internet celebrity, so ... he's a comedian? Howie had him start again twice, which I think was just for Howie's idea of fun. I feel sad for The Tron Guy.
To turn things around, Sandou Trio Russian Bar will send their star flying high into the air, only to land back on the bar. It was truly exciting. Girl got some AIR! They may not even need airline tickets to Las Vegas, they can just launch her there on the Russian Bar.
Status B.L.A.K. was not good enough for Las Vegas, but at least that one guy fell down at the end of his backflip. The Howie Mandel impressionist/comedian was also bad, but you're setting yourself up for failure when you aspire to be like Howie. I liked Asian James Brown for entertainment value, but the judges sent him on his way.
Is it Justin Bieber? Nope, it's a lesbian! Allegedly. Dani Shay played an acoustic cover of "Baby" with parody lyrics. It was adorable. I'm proud of her for grabbing the gimmick by the horns and using it to her advantage. I might have a new favorite in this competition!
A booty-shaking group of showgirls made it through, and then young Tanner Edwards went on stage to shake his very own booty. Maybe it's just this kid's southern accent, but Nick Cannon is not bothering me at all this episode. Howie Mandel asked Tanner if he has a girlfriend, and he said yes and the audience went wild. Ok, it was pretty cute when he said, "Hhhhhhhhh Abby, I love you?" The dancing was cute and Vegas-worthy, but CJ Dippa and Future Funk have taught us that child acts can only go so far. But for now, the pelvic thrusting to "Boom Boom Pow" was cute and hilarious. I didn't even mind when Nick danced with him. Did Tanner Edwards just melt my heart?
The most dangerous stunt ever attempted on "America's Got Talent"? This I gotta see! Darren Taylor (Professor Splash) will be diving from 26 feet into a children's wading pool. How does it work, does anyone know? Like, how can he NOT get hurt doing this? Also, is this an act with repeat value? But he did it, and it was scary/amazing (scaremazing!). The judges decide that yes, this is an act, and yes, he's going to Vegas.
Part Two: Minneapolis
The judges arrive in Minneapolis during a giant blizzard, but throngs of delusional people and a few actually talented ones will not be deterred! Piers gets stuck in the blizzard, so Howie got some attention for that.
Another talking parrot? Oh, this one sings, though. Season 6: the year of the bird! I don't know which bird you liked better, but I think Echo could take this one. The audience LOVES when birds pretend to sneeze.
Mrs. Smith is a rock and roll grandma drag queen, and it was all working. The St. Lukes Bottle Band was so cool, Piers would have loved it (*sniff*). The Halls of Magic folded up a lady, then expanded her again, and they're all going through.
Oh, no. this girl's fiance died in a tragic accident! Lys Agnes could totally be a breakout star from this show. She's beautiful, and so is her soaring, operatic voice. Piers would have loved that, too. But I'm sure he's enjoying not being around Howie, too.
Piers is in a bad mood, which is juxtaposed by footage of Howie enjoying a little stripper. It's too much!
Will Piers be excited to see Those Funny Little People? They are singing/dancing garden gnome puppets. It's certainly different. I don't know how far I see this act going, and grumpy Piers didn't care for it, but it was definitely the right thing for "America's Got Talent." Howie found it disturbing, but voted yes. A yes from Sharon means Those Funny Little People will be dancing in Vegas. It could be a good act for kids to see.
Gasmask 90 Seconds failed to impress, or do anything I think, except put duct tape on his head and get sprayed by fire extinguishers. Miss Cherries Jubalie pierced herself, and I felt icky. Sid Yiddish did something weird that might have been offensive? Oh, I don't know.
Can folk musician Walt Winston get approval from Piers? He has a lot of "number one" songs. I'm glad Piers gave him the first X because frankly, it was not great. Keep on piling on the albums, Walt!
We briefly saw a dog, frisbee-catching act practicing in the lobby, and I want to see THAT! But we don't get to.
Next up, to impress Piers for the first time of the day, it's Silhouettes. They have an act a lot like the 2009 Oscars had interspersed throughout the program. They're a silhouette art/dance troupe and I want to see more! They're so young, too! Piers thought it was one of the best things he's seen in a long time, and that made some of them cry. My question is, if they're going to be behind the screen, why put makeup on a 5-year old? I'm OK not worrying about it.
The last contestant of the episode is Tim Ford, The Kinetic King. He creates chain reactions and "explosions." That is his talent. I love him with his bike helmet and goggles and that towel belted to his crotch. Is this one of my favorite things ever? Yes. Yes, it is. Piers tells Tim he is "weird, but entertaining," and we will see him again in Las Vegas. The Kinetic King is the best!
You can't top that. It was too weird and awesome. Next week there will be more auditions and a lot of kids. Oh, boy. Kids!
"America's Got Talent" airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. and Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
The live performances -- and viewer voting -- finally begin
Tonight, Team Xtina and Team Blake perform. That means we'll hear from Xtina's ladies Beverly McClellan, Frenchie Davis, Lily Elise and Raquel Castro (the Jersey Girl, at right), as well as Xenia, Jared Blake, Patrick Thomas and Dia Frampton from Team Blake. But first, the coaches are going to remind us that they can do more than just coach, and perform a medley of Queen.
The Queen Medley
Adam Levine kicks it off with a backlit rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody," and then Cee Lo, in perhaps the most bizarre cover combo I've ever heard, takes on "We Will Rock You." No, wait, it's even weirder when Blake Shelton pipes in. I like Cee Lo's red C sweatsuit. He is slowly but surely morphing into a live version of the Kool Aid Man.
But then Xtina shows up to show them all up with a high-waisted leather diaper and an explosive (quite literally) rendition of "We Are the Champions." God, I love this woman!
Now it's time for Team Xtina and Team Blake to compete. Carson explains that next week, two artists for each team will go home. The coaches will save one team member, and the voters will save another. Then he interviews Xtina and Blake about how much they love their teams. Xtina's eyelashes look like tarantulas; I'm mesmerized.
Raquel Castro, "Blow"
She's dancing and looking like a sparkly diva. Ke$ha seems an interesting choice, because (sorry, Ke$ha fans) her songs are a lot more about the attitude and music than actual singing talent. For such a young one, Raquel has great stage presence, and while she goes a bit flat and pitchy on some of the power notes, like I said, that's not really what the song's about. It's about presence and fun, and she had both.
The coaches say ...
Cee Lo: "That was wonderful."
Adam: "I don't dance, I have a lot of respect for that. You were amazing."
Blake: "Dammit. She is awesome. You are one of my favorites in this competition."
Xtina: "You made me move, you made me excited. You were keeping control. You brought that sassiness."
What did you think of Raquel? Isn't she like a living Bratz doll? (But in a cute, not creepy, way.)
Jared Blake, "Use Somebody"
Jared's been deemed the "King of Second Chances," so it would be an extra-big bummer if he got kicked off this week, but I'm a bit worried for him. He's one of the oldest and most divisive singers left, and he'll really need to impress us with this performance of Kings of Leon's massive hit. He's got on his fanciest, sparkliest forehead bandana for the occassion, and whoa, he just threw his guitar off stage! I have to be honest that Jared's growly, hard rocker style isn't exactly my cup of tea. But the song is a good fit for him, and I especially liked the ending, when he slowed it down and let that blond woman delicately caress his face.
The coaches say ...
Xtina: "I love watching you perform, you give it your all. I love how you get the crowd going."
Cee Lo: "You deserve to be here. I love your voice."
Adam: "That was the perfect song for you to do. I was emotionally connected to it."
Blake: "This is your time. The chance stuff is over. The struggle between whether you're country or rock... you're a rock guy. Just own it."
Even though Jared isn't my favorite, I hope he makes it through the week, because I'd really like to see him show some range.
Beverly McClellan, "I'm the Only One"
I've been thinking that Beverly's voice sounded like Melissa Ethridge's anyway, so this song seems like the perfect fit. Unfortunately Beverly has a cold, so she might not be able to bring all the power we've come to expect and love from her. Beverly is wearing an amazing military coat and long plaid skirt/kilt, and she sounds pretty healthy. By which I mean that she sounds great! It really is the perfect song for her tone and range. She brought the house down! Xtina is flailing her arms and legs because she is loving it! (Also maybe because she's high on the fumes emitted by her crazy polyester jacket.)
The coaches say ...
Cee Lo: "I love your spirit. You're a natural. I love you so much."
Adam: "Wow, the one that got away. You're amazing. No one knew you had a cold."
Blake: "You come out here looking sexy and hot! It was awesome. I'm a big fan."
Xtina: "The only thing Adam can destroy is his pants... because he's wetting them when he sees you sing." (Huh? Girl, are you sober?) "You nailed it, you rocked it."
I love Beverly. How can you not love Beverly? Let's vote for this woman!
Dia Frampton, "Heartless"
Ooooh, I'm already in love with the idea of Dia's soulful voice singing Kanye. She's also playing piano on the song -- this girl is multi-talented. And she looks sweet as can be in a long-sleeved glittery white dress. It's an interesting performance, and I mean that in the best way: Her voice has so much character, and hearing it in a Kanye cover really shows her dimension. She's got a fighter in her, and it's eerie and powerful and beautiful, just like this performance.
The coaches say ...
Xtina: "I definitely wasn't expecting that from you. Tonight I saw the fighter in you, I liked it."
Cee Lo: "Very original, that's probably the greatest rendition of it that I've heard."
Adam: "That was the most refreshing, unique thing I've seen on this show so far." I agree!
Blake: "This is my favorite moment of The Voice because for the first time, America has gotten a chance to see Dia Frampton do what Dia Frampton does. This is a big deal."
Dia isn't just sugar and spice and everything nice -- she's also an artist. I love her. If she doesn't lead in the votes tonight, then America is the "heartless" one.
Team Xtina performs "Lady Marmalade"
I didn't know this was happening. Yes! Xtina is in a new amazing outfit: This one is a turquoise, fringe-tastic mermaid corset masterpiece. Sadly, this might be the first and last time we see Team Xtina perform together, as next week two of these ladies will get eliminated. But for now, it's a fun and power-scream-filled "Grrl Power!" moment.
Sweet 16-year-old Xenia is singing Jessie J, and she had a bit of a rough time loosening up in choreography. But she looks plenty confident on stage in her adorable black and white striped dress. More importantly, she looks like she's having fun, and her voice is just as deep and delicious as I remembered. Her lack of affectation is endearing, but I'd love to see her pick a song that pushes her range a bit more. For now, she's absolutely precious, though. If she continues to grow week to week this way, by the end of the show she could be one to watch out for.
The coaches say ...
Xtina: "You've become one of my favorites. You come across shy and you're so young, but when you open your voice, the maturity that comes out, I'd love to listen to a whole album."
Cee Lo: "I love the innocence of your performance. It's very adorable."
Adam: "I love seeing you have fun. We all just had the best time. It worked."
Blake: "I'm so happy and proud. My heart is swollen right now. America is watching a star being born. That unique sound she has is unrivaled in music."
Bold words from Blake Shelton. Will your votes back up his confidence? I hope so, because I'd love to see Xenia continue to grow.
Lily Elise, "Big Girls Don't Cry"
Oh no. Nothing against Lily, but I hate this Fergie song. (I once had a roommate who listened to it on repeat for, oh, four months, so you understand.) But I do like this song choice for Lily, because it forces her to show more vulnerability. It also means she won't be screaming the whole time, like she was in her duet. Instead, she has some wacky and distracting background dancers with her. Lily's voice is strong, but something keeps me from connecting with her the way I do with some of the other artists we've seen tonight. She also does this little squeak at the end of some of her notes, which I'm not a big fan of. It's not a standing-O performance, but she didn't disappoint, either.
The coaches say ...
Cee Lo: "I connected with you, because it takes a lot of courage to admit fear. You sound great."
Adam: "When the dancers went away, the performance became more engaging. You were great."
Blake: "You always sneak up on me with how great of a singer you are.
Xtina: "You grew and you took that song and built it as you went on. You showed that emotion, I know that's hard for you. You showed control and restraint tonight."
What did you think of Lily's performance? It didn't get completely rave reviews from the judges, which means if you love Lily, you better vote to save her!
Team Blake performs "This Love" by Maroon 5
We get to see Team Blake having a low-key lunch together, and then they perform a song of Adam's band, and Adam is really into it. His face is one long humblebrag about it. It's a little bizarre to hear Blake's four performers together; they're just so different. But I like the white trees on set. It's a winter wonderland in June. And watching Blake sing Adam's love song to Adam, well ... that's just priceless. Also priceless: Blake Shelton saying "That's what she said" on live TV about his "length." He's a maverick!
Patrick Thomas, "I Hope You Dance"
He's dedicating the song to "the most important woman in his life"... his sister. [Cue: "Awwww."] I have to say, it may be to Patrick's disadvantage that Scotty McCreery won "American Idol" this season. I'm not sure America will let two young, fresh-faced baritone country boys win within weeks of each other. This song also might be a bit too sentimental and slow to really showcase Patrick's talents. BUT! He sings the crap out of it, especially the end. His notes are long, clear and strong. And he's adorable. That doesn't hurt.
The coaches say ...
Xtina: "You're a cutie pie. I'm still waiting for you to take off your pants." (Xtinaaaahhh! Girl, get a grip before you pull a full Paula.)
Cee Lo: "Razor sharp. You perform like a consummate professional. I love your voice."
Adam: "A classy, simple, understated performance. Couldn't have been better."
Blake: "You make me look smart. You're a pro. You're making Nashville very proud."
And, finally, it's time for the last performance of the night!
Frenchie Davis, "When Love Takes Over"
Frenchie picked a tough (and catchy as hell) song by David Guetta, but she's got the chops (and the chords) to pull it off. She's got Xtina's three-foot extensions bobbing almost instantly. The song showcases everything I love about Frenchie: She's got the diva power, but when she gets soft, her voice is still so smooth and sweet. She owned that song, if you ask me!
The coaches say ...
Cee Lo: "Your stage presence is very seasoned. I love to see you do your thing. You make me happy."
Adam: "There's something so beautiful on you. You made me really love that song. That's a huge testament to your power as a singer. Damn, girl!"
Blake: "There's no doubt that you are a power singer. The most powerful singer in this competition. You created a party in here."
Xtina: "Your aura, your beautiful face, how you come alive, your poise and presence on stage. You're so controlled. You execute it well."
That's it for the performances from our first live show! Here's where you can (and should!) vote to save your favorites from Team Blake and Team Xtina. (And on iTunes, and on the NBC app, and by calling...) You can vote 10 times per artist, per method. And you can vote until Monday morning. That's a lot of voting!
And when we return next Tuesday, we'll learn which two performers from each team will get eliminated, and hear from Team Cee Lo and Team Adam. Until then, vote here, vote there, and tell me down below: Which performances blew you away? And which performers would you like to see go away?