Saturday, August 1, 2009

'America's Got Talent': Top 10 of the Vegas 40

This week "America's Got Talent" moved on to Las Vegas, where 160 talented entertainers found out if they were going on to the next phase of competition: live performances in Hollywood. Forty contestants made the cut, including country singer Kevin Skinner and 14-year-old singing sensation Thia Megia. There were a few surprises, as well: guitar phenom Tallan Noble Latz didn't advance, and neither did singer Kari Callen, whom many pegged as America's answer to Susan Boyle. With the exception of a dance-off to narrow the field of hip-hop-style contestants, there were no new acts this week, so the Hulu team took a look at the audition performances of who we think make up the top 10 of the remaining million-dollar hopefuls.

1. Kevin Skinner

The story is almost too good to be true: an unemployed chicken catcher with a country twang and backward baseball cap tries out for a spot on "America's Got Talent." And, surprise, surprise: He's good -- real good. In auditions, his performance of Garth Brooks' "If Tomorrow Never Comes" was genuine, moving, and powerful. No surprises here, he's moving on to compete in Hollywood. After all, according to judge David Hasselhoff, "You are what this show is all about!"

2. Lawrence Beaman

The "America's Got Talent" producers put country crooner Skinner (above) and R&B singer Lawrence Beaman head-to-head in the elimination round. But, really, this choice was a no-brainer: Beaman, a 34-year-old delivery man, was going to the next round. With a deep, bass voice, his rendition of "Ol' Man River" in the auditions got the judges -- even the usually reluctant Piers Morgan -- on their feet. We get the sense we'll be seeing a lot more of Beaman in coming weeks.

3. Thia Megia

At first glance, 14-year-old Thia Megia doesn't necessarily seem like the kind of girl who could do Jennifer Holliday's "I Am Changing" justice. But this dream girl made the standard her own in auditions, getting the crowd on its feet as she hit every note of the soulful song. It was no surprise to see her pass through the Vegas eliminations, and she's certainly one to watch for the rest of the season.

4. Barbara Padilla

This petite opera singer hit a high note with her rendition of Gianni Schicchi's "O Mio Babbino Caro," carrying every note like a pro. It was a moving performance that got audience members -- and judges Sharon Osbourne and the Hoff -- on their feet. Barbara Padilla fought back cancer, which is a miracle, and is living her dreams now. "When you have hope, you keep going," she told the judges after her audition.

5. Sisterly Talent

It's a little bittersweet to watch the EriAm sisters perform the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" now, but 11-year-old Haven brought an immediate smile to our faces when she started singing. The three girls -- ranging in age from 11 to 15 -- made easy work of this 1969 hit, proving that each and every one of them has enough talent to stick around for a while. (And, as the clip from their original audition indicates, they certainly won over host Nick Cannon.)

6. Platt Brothers

Best friends and brothers, this dance act added some energy to auditions with an act that combined dance, gymnastics, and theater to get the crowd going. We're hoping to see more flipping in future rounds (and OK, maybe a little more miming too).

7. Mia Boostrom

Call her the comeback kid: Mia Boostrom gave "America's Got Talent" a try last season, but she didn't make it past the Vegas round. This week, however, she proved she has the chops, and the judges gave her the nod to advance to Hollywood. Though everyone from Louis Armstrong to Coldplay -- and most famously Ray Charles -- has covered "Georgia on My Mind," Boostrom earned our respect with her version in week four. Some people really do deserve a second chance.

8. Breaksk8

A number of dance squads made it to the Vegas eliminations, so judge Piers Morgan had a proposal for three of the hopeful groups: An old-fashioned dance-off between Euphoria, Breaksk8, and Destined 2 Be. The ultimate winner: BreakSk8, an all-male roller-skate dance crew who popped and rolled to Flo Rida's "Low" in the preliminaries.

9. Arcadian Broad

An underdog for much of his life, 13-year-old Arcadian Broad captured the judges' hearts at the Miami auditions. Though he was never good at sports and lacked confidence, he said that dance provided him a way to feel like nothing will get in his way. His spirited performance to Elton John's "I'm Still Standing" proved that he's our very own rockin' Billy Elliott, and the crowd ate it up. He's on his way to Hollywood for the next round of competition.

10. Matt and Anthony

What's a top 10 list without a dark horse? Shy as they may be, this duo gets our vote for one of the most "out of the box" performances this season. Former college roommates Matt and Anthony didn't rely on illusions, chainsaws, or dancing dogs to make it to the judges' top 40. Instead, they opted for an unexpected pairing of their individual talents: acoustic guitar and tap dance. Don't ask us why it works -- we just know that it does.

Yahoo! TV Blog

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