It only took 12 weeks for 36 drastically different acts to win the hearts of the America’s Got Talent judges and claim a spot on the live broadcast at Radio City Music Hall. One million dollars and a headline show in Vegas is up for grabs. But this time, it’s up to the viewing audience to help make individual dreams a reality. There’s only one way to encourage America to pick up a smart phone and vote: Nick Cannon strutting in front of a line of Rockettes.
One-third of our favorite acts perform with twerking backup dancers, fancy projection screens, and enough pyrotechnics to make show runners at the Mirage proud. Some responded in a big way. Others failed miserably. In the end, only seven have the opportunity to receive another massive makeover from the hair and wardrobe department. Here’s a rundown of round one…
Other than performing to Lenny’s epic anthem, “Are You Gonna Go My Way,” the high-tech dance crew was mediocre at best. It lagged in several places and ironically, I didn’t love the dance portion. I can only assume that the creative choreography is something you have to experience in person to fully appreciate, because both the judges and the audience loved Siro-A.
Surprise! A spot opened up on the roster and Alondra was called up to take the stage! And boy did she take it. The wardrobe department embraced her signature flower look and multiplied it by a thousand, covering everything in flora and fauna, including Alondra’s dress. Of course the skirt was ripped away by a backup dancer mid-performance. I wonder if it was the same guy who accidentally smacked her in the face with his decorative scarf? That’s not important. What matters is that sweet 13-year-old Alondra handled herself with maturity and professionalism. Even if she doesn’t get the votes, she will go far.
The wardrobe department is at it again. Vita begins her contortionist routine in a ball gown. Then she ditches the dress to reveal a sparkling unitard underneath that clings to every nook and cranny. Vita folds her body into a pretzel several times and throws some gymnastics in for good measure. Most of the judges think she won’t get the votes. Heidi looks at the skin-tight body suit and wonders if the guys at home will vote for Vita? I look at Heidi and wonder if men actually watch this show?
I had such high hopes for Triple Threat! Unfortunately, they fell victim to the evils of show business. First, they tried to sing a Destiny’s Child song. Unwise. Then they listened when someone suggested they dress up in preppy letterman sweaters in front of a slew of female dancers in similar cardigans. (PS: Can someone tell me if shortalls are back?) Howard, Howie, and Mel B. all buzzed Triple Threat to Heidi’s shock. Somewhere along the way, Triple Threat lost their charm. I agree with Howard—they looked like a parody of a boy band.
I personally didn’t think that The Gentlemen were dynamic enough to make it through to the live rounds. And after watching their hip-hop routine surrounded by a gaggle of girly tweens, I feel even more confident that their time is up. Mel B. points out that Zack and Cameron repeat the same choreography from previous performances. I have to agree. There’s a sense of déjà vu when you watch them thrust and grind. Here’s hoping Zack scored a few digits from his all-girl posse, because I don’t think the brothers will make it to the next round.
Piff the Magic Dragon
Piff is funny for the most part. His “I don’t care” schtick can get a little old, and sometimes borderlines on rude. His performance is sluggish and definitely not a magic trick like his performances before. Howie has to pick a box that contains Mr. Piffles the dog. The boxes he does not choose are beaten or wood chipped by a crazy lady in a red dress. Fortunately Howie chooses correctly. Did Howie know which box held Mr. Piffles? I don’t think anyone really cares. We just want the dog out of the box so he can breathe air. #savemrpiffles
NEXT: More singing, acrobatics, and puppetry[pagebreak]
I did not expect big, burly Benton to sing a haunting rendition of “Great Big World (Say Something)” when he took the stage. He is backed by a decent band, and he commands the spotlight as well as the moment. He sounds great. Plus, a crying wife and adorable kid in the audience never hurt anyone. Go Benton!
Craig and Micheline
Craig and Micheline use a scary version of “Tainted Love” for their acrobatic routine. The production team adds lightning to the screens behind them. It is all very dramatic. Sure Craig can hurl Micheline around like a rag doll, but at the end of the day, they look like risqué cheerleaders. I’m not a fan, but the judges loved them.
I think Drew Lynch is the real deal. His line about the state forgetting to send him a magical Chihuahua (hello Mr. Piffles) service dog was brilliant. His stutter is naturally distracting, but he uses it as anticipation for the punchline. I also think his humble attitude will take him far. He shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Last time the gymnastic quartet used parallel bars and trampolines to wow the audience. This time, the boys spin around three high bars. I thought the projections were distracting, as well as the camera angles. I’m not sure the incorporation of blue LED lights on their jeans will secure their bid to the next round either. Whatever the future holds for them, my hope is that they will always remain shirtless.
Paul’s back with his little buddy Sam. In a risky move, Paul walks off-stage and lets Sam take over the bit. The puppet is clearly mechanical and “magically” comes to life when Paul is away. The jokes were solid. But was it enough? Heidi didn’t like that she couldn’t see Paul in front of her to watch his lips NOT move. Howard thinks Paul is a genius. America will have to decide.
Samantha has the look down for sure, but also the pipes. She belts out a techno version of “California Dreamin’” on a box that took three men to help her disembark. All four judges were blown away.
What did you think? Did Triple Threat deserve three buzzers? Will Samantha beat out Alondra again? Will PETA get involved due to Piff’s “dog in a box” act? And if so, will Piff just shrug his shoulders and polish off a bowl of cereal? Let the voting begin!