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'America's Got Talent' Backstage Report: Will Steven Retchless Change Who He Is?

by Michael Maloney, posted Jul 21st 2011 7:00AM
Nick Cannon and Steven RetchlessIt's not a given that there will be a "wild card" episode of 'America's Got Talent' so ejected acts can come back and try again to compete for the $1 million prize, but eliminated magician Landon Swank is reason enough to have one this year.

The judges had to decide tonight between Swank and Smage Bros., the motorcyle stunt team, as to which act would make it through to the semi-finals. After judges Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne split their votes between the acts, it was left to judge Howie Mandel to break the tie -- and he chose the Smage Bros.

"I don't want to be the person responsible for sending someone home," Mandel sighed to AOL TV after the taping. Still, he feels he made the right decision.

Mandel also stands behind his choice to share his opinion with Steven Retchless that America may not be ready for a male pole dancer (even though he was one of four acts to progress to the next round.) After seeing guest group Traces perform, however (likely using the same pole that Retchless did), Mandel thinks that Retchless could go far if he adjusted his routine.

"I had never seen Traces before and I was blown away," Mandel says. "I believe without a doubt that middle America would embrace that and buy tickets to go and see it. Steven's outrageousness is him. I understand that you want to be true to yourself as an artist, but it [may be] a little less palatable for middle America."

Osbourne still feels that Retchless should stay true to who he is, but she also thinks he'd fit in well with Traces. "I loved the way that Traces jumped from pole to pole. [Steven] could do that."

Landon SwankMorgan was partially motivated to vote for Swank so that the young man in the Smage Bros. act wouldn't be in any more peril.

"It's a dangerous act and that kid got hit in the head last night," Morgan says. "You wonder what's going to happen to him. I also think Landon [Swank] is a very good magician. I'd like to bring him back [in a wild card show.]"

When we spoke with the axed acts, they pretty much universally said they'd be up for returning for a wild card episode.

"If they'd like to have us back, yes," says Melody of The Rhinestone Ropers.

"It's bittersweet," says JoJo of Mona Lisa about her and her twin sister's exit. "We didn't want to get voted off, but we have fans now. We're excited about that." Mona Lisa has a single out on iTunes now, too -- 'Djay.'

"I feel I got out of this competition what I was supposed to get," says singer Dani Shay, who's asked quite a bit about her resemblance to Justin Bieber. "I might change my hair now. I've had this since 2007 before I knew who he was. People were telling me I looked like him. When I looked him up, I said 'this kid looks just like me.' It was very strange."

Dylan Andre doesn't want his fans thinking that his grandfather isn't supportive of his family. (He said in a video segment that his grandfather, Joseph Andre, didn't let his mother sign a recording contract when she was younger.)

"Everything my mom told me was true, but it seemed a lot more fierce [when I shared it on TV] and a lot like I was throwing my grand-pop under a bus," Andre laughs. "He had his own decision to make and he loves [my mother very] much."

Swank isn't pulling a rabbit out of his hat by saying he has more magic to show America if he's back for another shot at the top prize.

"I've been doing this for almost two decades," says Swank, 26. "I started when I was 7. There are things that we have built that nobody's ever seen before. I have ideas and concepts that are incredible."

'America's Got Talent' airs live on Tuesday, July 26th at 9PM ET and Wednesday, July 27th at 9PM ET on NBC.

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The Butlers

Even the best magicians don't make it to the finals on AGT. Bring Landon Swank back on Wild Card week (which I can guarantee you there will be), but it won't matter. Even if he makes it to the ultimate top 12, he won't make it to the Top 5. I think it's because magic is more old school and appeals to an older demo. God, please don't bring Mona Lisa back. There are millions of female singers already, and they were not that great. I know they're going to bring back Fearless Flores Family. I know the producers and judges feel they were booted way too early.

As far as America not being ready for Steve Retchless, he had to come up with pretty good numbers to be in the top THREE, and his fan base is growing. A similarly charismatic Daniel Joseph Baker also did well. Granted they performed among some pretty crappy acts (what was Rhinestone Ropers thinking?) but by the time they both perform again, they'll build some momentum.

July 23 2011 at 1:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Booting Landon was a BIG mistake. I've seen tons of motox acts and what the smage bros did is nothing special.

July 21 2011 at 10:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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