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'America's Got Talent' recap: Karate trumps Polka

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Ah, America! Where the music is epic, the peaches are delicious, and there is a weekly fight to the death of dignity called America’s Got ‘Talent’. This week’s episode journeyed to Atlanta and New York, for a veritable slurry of strength, talent, and all-out weirdness. Sadly, the first cut was the most undeserved: Billy Dodson sang a wonderful falsetto aria, yet was kicked off because, as the Hoff would put it, “this is America!” and we apparently can’t have no man singing no woman’s part. (Ugh.) But we can have a 10-year-old girl beating up her father. Indeed, Alexandra ‘Elite’ Pyles whirled onto the stage with a combination of what seemed to be swing dancing, vaudeville slapstick and karate. And yelling. Lots of yelling. It was enough for the judges to give her a ticket to Vegas, with an added offer from the Hoff to be his bodyguard. I’m not entirely sure what that says about him, but watch the embedded clip below, and if you still have any will left tolive, click through and read the rest of my recap, after the jump!

So, let’s make a pact and fast-forward through the Carrie Underwood wannabe, the James Gang’s anachronistic jazz show, and the little girl who attempted to make America proud through contortionism and neon spandex. Instead, we’ll concentrate on Matt and Elaine Bonowitz from Staten Island, who call themselves “Polka Today” and claim to do for their genre what Michael Flatley did for Irish stepping. Let that settle in for a second. Michael Flatley. Polka. You got it? Okay, good. Now add a polka cover of “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves. Watch their performance, too, if you dare, but keep in mind you won’t be able to press the big red X (with sound effect) the way the judges do.

Though camp counselor Debra Weiner brought on some entertainmentwith her never ending rendition of “Dancing in the Streets,” (and bynever ending I mean Hasselhoff had to climb onstage and pull the micaway from her), the emotional climax of the night came from KyleRifkin. This 36-year-old wedding singer from Harlem has seen hisshare of hard knocks, but he already held a special place in my heartfor choosing my perennial karaoke fave, the Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” as his audition number. I may have to retire itthough, as my pipes could never compare to his. Kyle seemed to inspiremore than just clapping* though, because once he started crying,everyone else followed suit. Even host Jerry Springer got misty eyed; it’s good toknow his heart hasn’t been entirely hardened by midget strippers andtrailer park adultery.

So what did you think? Did Billy get buzzed too soon? Could you takedown Alexandra? And is it just me, or does listening to British peoplespeak make you feel smarter?

*It may have just been the assorted footage NBC chose, but noone in the audience has rhythm. And neither does Sharon Osbourne.

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