America's Got Talent
Wednesday April 26, 2017

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The competition is getting fierce as more exciting and determined acts step on the ‘AGT’ scene. This week’s varied talents include acrobats, dancers, singers and magicians and it’s getting harder to judge which rising stars truly rise among the rest. 

Among the performers is a high-energy dance trio called the Bad Boys of Ballet, a group that combines a mixture of dance styles, mainly comprising of the ballet and B-Boy dance styles. 

Talking to them was both friendly and effortless and thus far, they are one of the most down to earth groups I’ve had a chance to talk to. 

“We were all trained in classical ballet but we studied other styles as well; Jazz, hip-hop, contemporary & some of the boys studied gymnastics and martial arts & we’ve had an upbringing that combined a lot of different styles so we thought ‘Why not show America? Auditioning for the show we were nervous, but it was amazing, it was surreal, but it got us super pumped on what is to come. If we win, we would be over the moon, we would probably want to put together a national tour, a sit-down show in the big city, we would want to dance; that’s what we would want to do.” 

Aside from this lovely crew, I also had the pleasure of meeting Quint, a 12-year old confident cool-cat who claims that singing is the thing to do and the stage is the place to be. After giving me dap (a really cool way to say what’s up); he gave me the inside scoop on what got him interested in pursuing singing and America’s Got Talent: 

“It feels great to be here, it’s amazing. The best thing is the exposure. A lot of people did not know me until I got on this show which is amazing and I think my music has changed people’s lives and made them enjoy music. I not only do cover but I also write my own songs; my personal favorite it “Vision of Love.” If I win, I will help my mother out, put 15% into a savings account and help her provide for my brothers.” 

Smoothini was yet another entertainer who entertained a good conversation. Prior to meeting with me, he stopped to look in the mirror to make sure he looked ‘fresh.’ He may be into tricks, but this guy has jokes: 

“The greatest part about being on the show is that my girlfriend’s mom allows me in the house. I am now official, I get hugs now before it was just like ‘You just ruined your life! Smoothini’s a magician in a bar, and now my co-workers know you! Awesome!’” 

Training all through out high school and spending some time in Japan during his time in the Marine Corps, Smoothini discovered that he wanted to set out and do what he felt most passionate about, tricks and entertainment. 

“…I got a real job, I was working for corporate America and then 9/11 happened, so I lost my job. I spent a month in a half trying to figure out what to do next. Since I couldn’t do magic, I joined the Marine Corps. It was good, got me out of the hood, the next thing you know I was in Japan, I speak fluent Japanese and when I was out there, I did magic and people loved it hardcore unlike in America. I mean in America, you do magic at a bar, and they want you to go to a kid’s fifth birthday party but in Japan it’s cool, everyone wants to see it. Then my contract was coming up and I said you know what, let me not work for corporate America, let me not work for the government, let me do magic.”

However, Smoothini isn’t the only act that completely left his career and life with him. Nina; a ballerina/model gone contortionist completely left her life behind her in Switzerland to travel across the globe to master the art of contortion. When I asked her what made her shift her career, she replied with:

“Well, first of, one has to be very crazy to do that because I was thirty already when I changed my career. I mean I had it all, a successful career as a dancer but I decided I want to do something new and try it out and I went to China to learn how to do contortion and it gave me an exciting edge on my act. If I win, I will have so much money then! If I win, I would go on with my contortion life, I will go on to do shootings as a do now as a model. As a contortionist I want to bring my art in different directions, mix it with film and video. I have a lot of plans, and I think some money could help make time to explore these plans. I came here one month ago from Switzerland, I left everything there, it was comfortable but now it’s exciting because I have nothing yet, nobody knows me. And next Wednesday is my ticket in United States Show Business and it’s quite exciting.” 

And you know what else is quite exciting? Jonah Smith and his band! Writing and performing their own music, Jonah and the band are a group of down to earth, funny guys whose genuine presence and comfortability demonstrated their true sense of individuality.  

“I’ve been playing music with my friend Ben for twenty years, we met in College. 

Gintus was my neighbor in Brooklyn and Jacob I met at a bar in NYC and we started playing music together. Generally speaking when we go out, I’m the song writer, the bands named after me, I’m sort of the captain of the ship, but these guys all have a lot of music input, they basically make me look good and they all do it very easily, they’re all amazing professional musicians and I just sort of rely on them to help float the ship. Out of all of us, Gintus is the spunky one, he’s the drummer so he’s gotta put a lot of flavor, he’s the power of the band. Jacob if we were the A-Team, he would be Murdock and Ben would be Face. The best part of the experience is getting up on the stage in front of the judges and in front of thousands of people. I mean the responses I’ve gotten from people all over America that got to see me (even though they haven’t seen a full performance yet is overwhelming.) I think the most challenging thing is all of us in a room just stressing over how we make it the best we possibly can and if we’re doing the right thing.” 

Emil and Dariel are another pair of rocking musicians whose instrument of choice is the cello. Here’s what the boys had to say about their life as training musicians:

“We started playing the cello when we were four years old. The cello has pretty much infinite possibilities so we learn something new everyday, it’s a great instrument, you can improvise with it so much, so you can never stop learning, plus we inspire each other. I don’t know if we would say anything was the best, it’s all so fun. I don’t want to say anything has been difficult either because when you do  something with so much passion, you do it every step of the way and it’s awesome.” 

Following the fellas who play this angelic instrument was One Voice Children’s Choir, a non-profit group that supports children and youth singers’ passions and dreams:

“Our choir kind of wants to inspire other people to do what they love. We are actually representing a 100-person choir of kids with varied ages so like Lydia said we just kind of want to inspire others to go out there and try something new and we are kind of like one big happy family, we inspire each other to come up there and show the world what we’ve got and we’re just really excited to be here and have this wonderful experience. The best part of being here is just being here together to share such an amazing experience and just being able to meet all the other acts and seeing such great talent. If we win, we would like to try going on a tour and broaden where we sing. So we decided that with the million dollars, we decided to donate the money to the choir itself that way we can do things like go on tour and get some new outfits and continue performing and inspiring others.”

Yet another act with confidence is Extreme, a group of dancers who vary in age all led by Julie, their amazing dance teacher and choreographer.

“Every person on the team is so amazing an so talented I just feel that the world really needed to see them, they have so much to offer and their personalities and their hearts are so genuine and I really feel like they’re going to inspire so many people by pursuing their dreams. The world of dance is a great world to be in. We have met so many people from all around the world who are so incredibly talented and so supportive we’re just so happy to be apart of it and to represent it. We are in Orlando,  FL right now, we are renting space their for our studio and we are so fortunate to have a company that lets us rent space there but it’s time to get our own facility so that’s what we’re hoping that the million dollars would enable us to do.”

 {sidebar id=8}Combining Dance and Acrobatics is Mothmen, the ambitious crew that hopes to show the world how to put things in motion:

 “Being on the show gives us a chance to show the world how to fly. Auditioning was surreal, It felt like we were actually watching it happen on T.V. because it never felt real. I would say just being in front of the judges and just being in front of an audience that were cheering for us like hell and on that stage is just electricity and excitement and then once we got into it and the music hit, we started dancing and flying it was just like, “Wow, this is really real. If we win, we are going to take this show to Planet Hollywood and we want to have the longest running show in America’s Got Talent History in Vegas and we want to tour the world and create shows and acts just like this, tours, cruise ships music parks, casinos, world tours, A world full of moths!”

Jonatan Riquelme is yet another adrenaline junkie in the group. Growing up in the circus, Jonatan has been exposed to different types of tricks and acrobatics which is where his love for risk taking and adventure come to play: 

“I stopped performing for some years and I think a very good opportunity for me to start back again and do what I love. I didn’t have a choice I was raised and born in the circus that’s what I did my whole life. When you’re born into it, you just do it. I did many things, what I do is Rolla Bolla. Most people usually do on the table on the ground but I took it on a roller trapeze in the air.”

Then of course, is the amazing and beautiful returning contestant Kelli Glover. Kelli always grew up singing and drew her inspiration during her early life stages.

“I’ve been singing since I was seven, I saw Little Mermaid, feel in love with Part of Your World and the rest is history. If I win, I’ll cry, I’m just here for the ride, I’m just taking one step at a time. “

And lastly, some wise words from the wonderful and hilarious Howie Mandel and his take on this season’s contestants:

“Well, I love the idea of being witness to people entering the ranks of entertainment. This is a dream for me and it’s something exciting and still fresh for me after thirty five years. Walking on that stage, I still feel the excitement and the energy and I love doing what I do. So to watch somebody else who has hopes and dreams and aspirations to be personally plucked from obscurity and their lives change forever is just a thrill . There isn’t a type of performer, there’s just a performers, someone who will throw caution to the wind and just be original and just own it. Even if it’s not your favorite thing, if they own it, live it and are passionate about it, then you are drawn into it.” 

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