With ‘Talent’s’ Top 16 Set, Who Has The Advantage?

Debra Romer on America's Got Talent (NBC)

Debra Romer on America's Got Talent (NBC)

Take your bets on the Sweet 16 of 2010’s ‘America’s Got Talent.’

After Wednesday’s results episode of the summer NBC competition show, the quarterfinals of this year’s competition came to a close. They winners are: singers Michael Grimm, Taylor Matthews, Alice Tan Ridley, Debra Romer, Christina & Ali, Nathaniel Kenyon, and Prince Poppycock; magician Murray; music variety acts ArcAttack, AscenDance and Fighting Gravity; fire illusionist Antonio Restivo; dancers Future Funk, Haspop, and Studio One Young Beast Society; and bicycle stuntman Jeremy VanSchoonhoven.

It’s worth noticing that of the top 16, 10 are one-person acts.

Could these acts possibly have an advantage on ‘AGT’ when it comes to connecting with the American voting public, which picks the winner? That may be the case, says one ‘AGT’ judge, Sharon Osbourne.

"When it's dancers or specialty acts, it's harder to get a sense of their personality. People don't get that invested … absolutely," Osbourne told Fancast after Wednesday's 'AGT' taping in Hollywood. "They might appreciate what they do, but they don't get personally invested because they can't see the personality behind the artist."

The longtime music producer Osbourne added, “It wouldn’t be so bad if it was, say, a boy band.”

Howie Mandel, ‘AGT’s’ newest judge, says this year’s success of one-person acts may simply be a coincidence. Audiences connect with a variety of acts of different sizes, he says, pointing to the viral popularity of one of the group acts, Fighting Gravity.

Watch Taylor Matthews Perform:

[iframe http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/tv/America-s-Got-Talent/2116/1559474275/Week-10%3A-Taylor-Mathews/embed 580 476]

"Not so true, not so true, because I think the response was overwhelming to Fighting Gravity and really strong to Studio One," Mandel tells Fancast. "There are the Michael Grimms, there are the Taylor Matthews. But [voters] have been responding across the board to everybody. ArcAttack got a ton of votes. It is unique and different. Fighting Gravity is through the roof on YouTube."

Still, Mandel says, “It’s always interesting to see [that] this is ultimately a popularity contest, you know, and how popular is your talent.”

Next week's 'AGT' will be the start of a 2010 first: YouTube winners are being brought into the competition. Some of these people who submitted videos and were picked by producers may be getting their first shot in front of a live audience (not to mention live national TV). The winners of 'AGT's' YouTube round will join the top 16 winners already picked.

“I think it is one of those things that we can’t touch every single corner of America, but YouTube does,” host Nick Cannon says. “So, if you really want to be on the show and you really got it, we’re giving you an opportunity.”

‘AGT’ has drawn scrutiny for how many true stars it has turned out, compared to ‘American Idol’ or even ‘Britain’s Got Talent,’ besides the mega-Vegas contract of 2007’s winner Terry Fator.

Asked who has superstar potential of 2010’s group, judge Piers Morgan tells Fancast, “Actually, I think the magician [Murray] has the potential to be really big. He’s got it. He’s getting bigger and better each round. He’s got that pizzazz you need for Vegas. He could be a big star. I think any one of four or five singers. Alice Tan Ridley is brilliant. Taylor has real potential. He’s got the pop star look … You’ve got all sorts of weird, wonderful things that are appealing to the public in different ways.”

Matthews has already been picked by Osbourne as a front-runner.

"I think Taylor. Little girls just love him," she says. "He's got that whole thing that little girls love. Guys don't mind him because he's not a threat, yet he has that likability factor about him. He is not the greatest singer in the world. But he's definitely got that oomph factor."

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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