By Sarah Caldwell
Updated June 05, 2013 at 05:00 AM EDT
Americas Got Talent Judges
Credit: Andrew Eccles/NBC

Mel B’s laugh is infectious. Whenever I felt my interest in this show waning, all she had to do was let out a loud, deep, howl and I was back in. Heidi Klum continues to prove that she’s adorable and lovable. Both new judges have great chemistry with the guys. Everyone seems like friends and everyone’s having fun.

Now, I have to mention Howie. My dear, dear, Howie Mandel. His job seems to be pointing out how to assemble all the puzzle pieces that will make this show work. He constantly points to where each contestant will fit in the narrative of the show. He gets it. He knows, like we all do, deep down, that America’s Got Talent speaks to a very specific kind of American dream. It’s the kind of American Dream where we want everyone to fit into narratives of how we believe people should and deserve to achieve success. We want to hear the story of the young kid who’s just bursting with talent, waiting to be discovered. We cheer for the man from far far away from Hollywood who has been working with his hands his whole life, but dreams of being a star. We love the woman who gave up on her career to be a stay-at-home mom, but is now given a second chance to shine. As much as I know the formula that goes into what I’m watching, I still eat it up! I don’t know why, but I do. So while I started out feeling snarky, I definitely cried a couple times. And while I understand that our culture’s obsession with fame might lead to our downfall or at least our ultimate unhappiness — and that wishing to be famous and noticed isn’t the same as wishing to have a happy life — #GirlPower forever.

Moving on to the show like that lame countdown clock that started after the show had clearly already begun. Nick Cannon dances in his most patriotic attire to “Living in America” in an opening number that was clearly a PA’s nightmare. Let’s give a shout out here to all the Production Assistants, medics, and producers who are living their dream of working in television by making sure that all the judges Snapple cups are facing label out.

Dreamers came from all over to win a million dollars! Our first auditioner has rattlesnakes! Here’s what we saw:

Name: David “The Cobra Kid” Weathers

Talent: Existing around a snake

Thoughts: Okay, first: this guy said he’d been bitten three times. That alone sounded bad. But then later he said he had done this 15 times. Soooo… He has a 1/5 chance of getting bit? It’s tense in the sense that you aren’t really sure what you’re rooting for, but in the end all he does is blow up a balloon and avoid a snake attack for a bit until he actually needs the snake to attack. He’s also been on TV before.

Judges Notes: Heidi worries if she’ll be bit, Howard says he’s suck the venom out of her. Uck! That’s as bad as it gets.

Results: Going to Vegas.

At this point I had to ask “Why did I agree to watch two hours of this again?” And then…

Name: Marty Brown, 47, Carpenter

Talent: Singing “Make You Feel Me Love” to his wife. Loving his wife. Making America instantly love him.

The American Dream-ness of it: I mean this is as by-the-book as it comes when you talk “American Dream.” A carpenter who just loves to sing to his wife — who tricked him into auditioning so the world can hear his voice — and is excited just to be there now has the chance win a million dollars. Howie makes a comment about judging a book by its cover. But honestly, based on the set up you knew this guy was going to be good. Still, did I cry when his wife did? Of course. I’m human.

Results: Going to Vegas!

[Editor’s Note: Commenters are pointing out that this guy already was on a record label! That kind of changes his story, but I think we’d all be happier to live in the distorted narrative the show set up for us. So, he’s a carpenter.)

Name: Miu, Student, 31

Talent: Trying to be Lady Gaga… only succeeding in the weird part.

Results: Nope from everyone, but Howie. Afterwards Howard tells Howie that he has to start taking this show seriously. Yes! Seriously! Sure.

Acts where we don’t get an individual story: a straight-up Alien yodeling, a guy contracting all his muscles or just screaming like a maniac, and Avant Garde Noise Music. Love the last one! Nick Cannon calls it “Avant-Garbage” when they make fun of him. How many writers thought of that?

Judges Highlights: The backstage stuff all feels a lot like Spice World. Howie tries to speak German.

Name: Catapult (dance group)

Talent: Optical illusions. Dancing.

Thoughts: Amazing! I liked the helicopter and the woman climbing the face mountain (not what it sounds like).

Dream it fulfills: The group leader gave up making money as a dancer to follow his passion. He also needs this moment, to pay the bills. Let’s just hope all these guys get paid now.

Results: All yes!

Name: Hype (dance group)

Talent: Charmingly breakdancing a routine they choreographed in a “day.”

Thoughts: Basically everything about this is fun, funny, charming, and impressive. Did they actually make this dance up in a day? Who cares!?

Dream it fulfills: Talent winning out above all else.

Result: All yes! Going to Vegas.

People who don’t get a full story: A yoga teacher does a pretty awesome aerial strap routine. A comedian has a performance art piece with a sex doll (or just a lady doll). A kid performs a dance with his hat and gets so excited when he is picked that I cried again. Guys, it’s still hour one.

NEXT PAGE: A man eating a pepper, #10yearoldstar, #CallMeMaybe, #Booty

Name: Chuck from the Bronx

Talent: Eating things in orders you shouldn’t.

Thoughts: He eats three raw eggs, puts lime juice in his eyes, eats a hot pepper in an ice cold tub. I, like most of the audience wonder why.

Results: Only Howie says yes. Howard points out that eating the pepper doesn’t really tell a story because you can’t even tell if it’s real. To prove that it’s cool, Howie eats a bite of the hot pepper. Howard says he will too but doesn’t. Then Howie has to chug milk to survive. Thank goodness Heidi calls Howard out on not eating the pepper. Someone had to.

Name: Alex

Talent: Being 13 and singing “Payphone” on live television. So, bravery.

Results: He’s out.

Name: Anna Christine, 10

Talents: Sounding like she’s a full-grown adult. Singing “House of The Rising Sun” with an intensity and power that most singers can’t even dream of.

Thoughts: She’s amazing! Um but does she scare anyone else? Just in terms of her poise and amazing voice? Like, does this level of talent scare you? Who am I? What am I doing with my life?

Results: Everyone else can go home. She’s going to Vegas.

Judges’ Note: Heidi tells Nick she wants to see him more during a lull, he’s always backstage drinking five-hour energy and stuff. Howard makes some jokes about Mariah, but this is clearly Heidi’s moment.

Name: 3Penny Chorus and Orchestra

Talent: Having watched a lot of movies about choirs finding ways to appeal to broader audiences. (Singing “Call Me Maybe.”)

Result: No Maybes, just yeses. Vegas!

Name: Pacific Boys Choir

Talents: singing “California Dreamin’” so well they get to be the background music for the montage.

Thoughts: Melancholic, lovely, I have chills. For a while this song seemed like just an amazing recorded cover, but nope, these boys were live.

Results: Vegas here you come.

Name: Special Head, Street Performer, 28

Talent: Meditating, Levitating

Thoughts: So yeah, this guy seems to float in air after some deep mediating.

Dream it fulfills: Flying

Results: Going to Vegas for some reason. Howard even took his X back!

Name: Angela Hoover, 42

Talent: Impressions, Comedy

Thoughts: The Drew Barrymore impression is spot on.

Dream it fulfills: A woman who put her dreams on hold to raise her children now gets the chance to stand in the spotlight. Also, I miss Last Comic Standing.

Results: Vegas from everyone!

Sidenote: Mel B says she’s all about Girl Power and it may have made me cry too. I’m revealing a lot to you guys. Mel B also tells Heidi to forget about the book ends.

Stuff in between: Howard insults Mel B by saying that these two “Barbie” girls remind him of the Spice Girls. Pillow fights! Howard at another point in the day also insulted the Spice Girls by comparing them to this this weird like, metallic superstar musical group/performance piece. I mean, I have no idea what that was. Whatever, Mel B and Heidi are the best judges.

And now we get to the end. The guy who perhaps made us reflect on the whole night a little too much, but he was just having so much fun:

Name: Tone the Chiefrocca and hype man (brother)

Extras: Dream is to be a one-hit wonder. His song is called “Booty.” This is not a drill! #Booty! Oh, NBC!

Results: Yes from everyone. Obviously.

There you have it! Who was your favorite? How do you feel about the new judges? What side bit of convo did I miss that you loved?

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America's Got Talent

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