Gosh, Matt, how many trashy reality shows do you watch. Three. Let’s get the record straight. I watch American Idol, America’s Got Talent (as of this season) and The Sing Off. Oh, wait. I watched The Voice. Damn. Yes, I admit it, I am a fan of music-related reality shows. What can I say? If you haven’t noticed from this blog, I love music. I love everything about it. I love melody and harmony – a simple acoustic guitar riff and a jazzy complicated bass piece. I’m a fan of good musica, musique, μουσική – music.
So, a show like America’s Got Talent appeals to me specifically because of the diverse music acts that tend to do well in the competition. Last night, after what seemed like an eternity (I am just figuring out that a season of America’s Got Talent lasts several months), the top 10 acts were revealed. And while judge Howie Mandel insists on calling season 6 the year of the dance, an equal amount of music acts are in the upper echelon of performers.
One cannot choose the “best” act of the bunch. I mean, how can one compare an old-fashioned, unexpected crooner with an opera singer? How about comparing a group of talented 12-16-year-olds who look like a 21′st century Jackson Five to an 11-year-old bluesy belter? It’s difficult. I do think that they are all quite talented and I am looking forward to seeing each of their performances on the top 10 show. But, before that happens, let’s take a look at each one and afterwards I will attempt to pick the act that I think will make it the furthest in the competition.
Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. is a crooner. The purpose of America’s Got Talent is to find a potential Las Vegas act. It is difficult not seeing a man with his immense talent on a Las Vegas stage. I say this because there seems to always be a place for a 40′s/50′s throwback. I don’t think the crooner act is tired or antiquated. Murphy’s delightful voice can help restore the genre to Vegas. Murphy, a car washer from West Virginia, has blown away the judges week-after-week performing classics by crooners like Sinatra. And, on top of it all, he is so wonderfully humbled by the praise that it almost seems that he doesn’t realize the talent he has. You can’t help but root for the guy, and it is not difficult to because he is both genuinely talented and perfectly kind.
Lys Agnes – 27 – Colorado
Lys Agnes was a rising operatic voice until the sudden death of her fiance put her singing and vocal studies on hold for two years. Her touching story of triumph in the face of such personal tragedy immediately hooked the judges and audience during her audition. When she proved that she had a dulcet voice with exceptional range, she was pretty much propelled into the top 10. Talented opera singers with inspiring stories do well on talent shows. See Susan Boyle. Agnes deserves her spot.
Anna Graceman – 11 – Alaska
Anna Graceman is a prodigy in every sense of the word. The 4’11″ singer is both mature in voice and prescense. Seriously. At 11, I was still having tantrums over not getting good baseball cards. Maybe I shouldn’t have admitted that. Anyway, Graceman has handled the stage with…well…grace, and her rocking voice and incredible piano skill make her a contestant to be reckon with on the show, even though, by the looks of her, you would never guess she was in a competition. She may be a little girl, but she kicks ass on stage.
POPLYFE – 12-16 – California
POPLYFE, the only band left in the competition, are a group of talented youngsters from Oakland. Here are the band members.
Dylan Wiggins, age 13 (Keys, Music Director/Producer)
Denzel Merrit, age 12 (Drummer, Co-Producer)
KehLani Parrish, age 13 (Lead Vocals, Writer)
Ranzel Merrit, age 15 (Sax)
Jaden Wiggins, age 11 (Bass)
Ali-Khan Lochin, age 15 (Dee-Jay)
Dillion Ingrem, age 13 (Guitar)
Now, don’t let their U.S.-wide anonymity fool you, POPLYFE is well-known in Oakland, where they are considered the next “big thing.” The band is being groomed by producers and, at such a young age, has performed at known venues. They are a gritty reboot of child-acts like the Jackson Five. They play serious rock n’ roll with flavor. It has been fun watching them perform and lead singer KehLani Parrish has one heck of a voice. They are all talented.
SO WHERE WILL THEY STAND?
Like I said, it is impossible to predict what musical act will outlast the other three. Like I said, they are all talented and I can see any one of them getting far. But since I challenged myself to make a prediction here is my final music act standings from 4-1.
4 – POPLYFE
3 – Lys Agnes
2- Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.
1 – Anna Graceman
Good luck to all of the talented acts!
UPDATE – 4:39 on 9/8 – I was correct with one of my predictions. Landau is through. But Anna Gracemen has been eliminated as well as Lys Agnes. POPLYFE, the precocious youngsters have made it through. The top four has two musical acts and two dance troupes. I am pulling for a Landau win. Who do you think will win?