Before the second round of auditions on America’s Got Talent, the judges take to the red carpet to schmooze with a gaggle of people who were too late to score tickets inside the auditorium. Heidi poses for selfies. Howard high-fives strangers. Mel soaks up the applause. Howie keeps a respectable distance from anything breathing. No matter how hard they try, this foursome will never be as popular Mr. Nick Cannon. He oozes swagger. Twitter told me so.
“Audition 2” features singers, dancers, magicians, and an adorable old lady. Combine that greatness with a guy who eats currency for a living, and you have summer’s number one television show. Here’s a breakdown of the contestants…
All Female Hip-Hop Dance Group
Fourteen lady dancers sporting head-to-toe black outfits with glitter piping storm the stage, harnessing enough girl power to make Mel B. proud. The group performs an intricate hip-hop routine in almost perfect synchronization. It’s strong, entertaining, and even earns a “boo-yah” from the judges table. Hit the spray tan booth, ladies; you’re going to the next round.
Even though Wayne has an attractive wife and cute baby in the audience, he chooses to place explosives in his mouth before asking an AGT stagehand to light the fuse. To quote Nick, “That doesn’t sound intelligent.” Howard feels that the potential for Wayne to blow his brains out is just good TV. Wayne shows Howie two dud explosives and one live explosive. He asks Howie to shuffle them around while he isn’t looking. Then he plays Russian roulette with three glorified firecrackers. Fortunately for Wayne’s head, the real explosive detonates in a box. Howard is determined to see this man blow up something on his body, so Wayne is invited back to the next round.
The CraigLewis Band
Zuri and Jeffrey have been singing together for 10 years. They met at a vocal competition in Atlanta. Both claim they won the contest, and both imagine how many pairs of diamond shoes (thank you Nick Cannon) they will buy with their winnings. Zuri leads the charge, growling out the opening lyrics of “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” Jeffrey hits the high notes. By the end, all four judges are unanimously in favor of sending the duo to the next round as James Brown smiles from heaven.
Once upon a time, Little Stevie Star swallowed a bumble bee and then coughed it back up. I don’t care who you are—that’s talent. Stevie presents four numbered coins and swallows number 1. Then he swallows number 2 and his microphone picks up the clink of the two coins hitting each other in his stomach. First of all, disgusting. Second of all, amazing. He swallows and clinks the other coins then polls the audience to see which coin they want regurgitated back from below? A few belly wiggles later and up comes three of the four pennies. For some reason, Stevie swallows AN ACTUAL LIGHT BULB, hocks up coin number 4 and then pops out the bulb. If that doesn’t impress you, Stevie pours an entire cup of sugar down his throat, drinks a glass of water, and then manages to produce the entire cup of dry sugar from his insides. Shut. Up. I’m looking forward to seeing what else he’ll eat in the next round.
Ronnie the Dancer
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Ronnie the Dancer is a little bit famous in Vancouver clubs. He’s been the man on the scene for about 26 years. Ronnie likes to dance old school. He executes some pretty sweet moves to “The Power” by Snap. Just when it’s getting kind of hectic, all four judges punch their red buttons. Ronnie lowers into the splits, places two fingers on the floor, and pounds out a few push-ups just for kicks and giggles. You’re a good man, Ronnie the Dancer, but it’s back to the club for you.
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Benjamin started losing his vision a few years ago. He’s basically blind, but with his super cool Google glasses, he’s able to sort of make out shapes. His story is about as inspirational as they come. He takes the stage with confidence and pirouettes for days. The judges, the audience, and America love him. Benjamin is amazing, and I want to hug his mom.
Shirley is a professional flirt and amateur singer. She’s an 87-year-old who wears tight body suits on national television. I love this woman. She’s been married four times. She buried three husbands and divorced one, but is on the prowl for anyone who might be in the market for a former Hollywood showgirl. She sings “I’m Gonna Live Till I Die” made famous by Frank Sinatra, whom she probably dated in the ‘50s. Her personality is saucy enough to give Nick Cannon a kiss right on the smacker. Fortunately, we’ll be seeing a lot more of Shirley because the judges LOVE her.
Treadmill Dance Group
It’s exactly what you’re imagining in your head. Except you need to picture the male dancers in tuxedos and the female dancers in bikini tops. They received a resounding YES vote.
Honor Roll Skate Crew
Picture it: five cute guys break dancing on skates. What’s not to love? YES!
Xakary the Magician
In order for Xakary to perform his amazing illusion, he needs Heidi to act as his assistant. And by “assistant” I mean he needs to saw her in half. Heidi is hesitant at first. She bids farewell to her children, lays down in a box, and lets Xakary shove a saw in her abdomen. When he pulls the box apart, everyone gasps. Mel B. is so marveled by this trick that she takes a picture with her phone. I wasn’t overly impressed, but the judges were enamored enough to send him through to the next round.
Alicia is cute as a button. I would describe her as sweet, shy, and inspired by vintage things. When she opens her mouth to sing “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James, I did not expect this soulful voice to completely fill the auditorium. Mel B. did say that she was pitchy in places, but her tone was remarkable. I’m just not sure she can beat a guy who can swallow a light bulb. But I’m glad she made it through.
Tear Duct Specialist
This guy drinks milk and then somehow squirts it out of his tear ducts. I was mortified and a little nauseated. Who cares if he can squirt it seven feet away? It’s a hard pass on the talent and the chocolate chip cookies. See ya, Youngblood.
Derek’s act starts off a little shaky. Unbeknownst to the audience, it’s all a bit. That’s where the “stand-up” part of stand-up magician comes in. He is highly entertaining. Where Piff the Magic dragon is cynical, Derek is the total opposite. He’s pleasantly energetic. His card trick results in a standing ovation from the audience and the judges panel when he pulls out Howard’s card from his very own butt cheeks. He’s funny and unforgettable—a winning combination.
I’m not even sure how to describe this act. It was a combination of dance, theatrics, water, lights, and multi-media. I couldn’t tell you how the visuals worked, but the end result was intriguing and unique. Val is the mastermind behind the choreography, and his dancers worship him. Howard is so impressed, he slaps the golden buzzer, sending Freckled Sky straight to the live rounds. P.S.: Gold confetti sticks to wet skin.
Who was your favorite tonight? Do you think Freckled Sky deserved the golden buzzer? Does Nick have a shot with Shirley? Is Stevie’s stomach made of steel? Do not try that at home, kids. Or squirting milk out of your eyeball.