One of the most intriguing surprises of Season 9 of "America's Got Talent" has been the rise of the cellist duo Emil and Dariel, brothers that have taken classic rock tunes and arranged them to fit their classical instruments -- all because their Russian immigrant grandfather believed in the American Dream. The charming elderly gentleman said as much in the video clip that introduced the young men on Tuesday night's Quarterfinals (Top 48) performance episode. And in the same spirit as thier first performance, where they rocked out to Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze," Emil and Dariel took on a Rolling Stones classic. And they did it this time with a backing band.
Todd Betzold, recapping at Reality Rewind on Aug. 19, disagreed with the judges' critiques, writing that, unlike their audition (they skipped Judgment Day as one of the acts that went straight through to Radio City Music Hall in New York as part of the Top 48), their rendition of the Rolling Stones' classic "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" "sounded bad." He noted that the performance hurt his ears. Betzold admitted that the duo was "entertaining," but their performance was not "enjoyable."
And there is something to what Betzold says. Overall, the performance was fun to watch. And yet, the music was somewhat clunky in that, although one had no problem following the song and recognizing it, there were moments when the symphonic strains of the cellos were drowned out by the band, in particular the guitar. It is in this regard where Emil and Dariel should take a note from the songbook of Sons of Serendip, who seem to have mastered the minimalist approach to music, getting maximum sound and nuance out of the simplest progressions and note arrangements.
That being said, though, the performance can be chalked up to youthful exuberance, where presentation and excitability trumps artistry. Because, all in all, it was still a great performance, clunky guitar sounds overriding smooth cello notes notwithstanding.
The "America's Got Talent" judges loved it.
Judge Howie Mandel said they always surprise and quipped that they also have taught us there is "always room for cello."
Judge Howard Stern admitted he was a huge fan, said the performance was "memorable," and predicted that people would be talking about them.
Judge Heidi Klum said Howard should hook them up with Mick Jagger.
Judge Mel B. said their rendition of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" was "off-the-chain." She also described their act as "exciting, edgy, current and fun."
But were the judges caught up in the concert feeling of the moment, something lost on viewers taking in the performance on television? Because, in the end, the fate of Emil and Dariel rests with the viewers, the voting public.
In the video clip shown before the cellists' performance, the boys' grandfather said he had waited for this moment all his life. Will he get some satisfaction, see his grandsons move on to the Semifinals? That can only be answered after the votes are tabulated. "America's Got Talent" host Nick Cannon will let the world know the results of the votes live on Wednesday night's eliminations show.
"America's Got Talent" airs on NBC Television at 9 p.m. (EST) on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.