America is a better place now that we've been introduced to Piff the Magic Dragon.
NBC asks that you forget about the competition for just a moment and instead focus on the fact that American’s Got Talent is celebrating its 10th season. Random people from sea to shining sea have gathered together for an entire decade to showcase their unique abilities, hoping to win $1 million and the chance to shoot the breeze with Nick Cannon backstage.
Speaking of Nick, Howard Stern wants you to know that no matter what you read in the tabloids, he loves Mariah Carey’s ex-husband. In fact, they both take a lie detector test to prove it. Not only is the adoration confirmed, but we also learn that Howard and Nick find Heidi Klum’s accent irritating and both have passed gas on stage. Couple that with Howie Mandel’s germ phobia and you have the makings of summer’s No. 1 show on television. At least that’s what NBC convinced Mel B. to say in the opening monologue. Networks never exaggerate.
“Audition 1” was full of cute kids, hot acrobats, heartwarming stories, and one magical dragon. In short—it’s everything you would ever want in a talent show, excluding a creepy version of a sexy baby. Let’s meet the contestants from night one…
Elin and Noah
Elin and Noah are adorable elementary school kids who are best friends. Let the record show that they are not boyfriend and girlfriend because that’s gross. Noah wonders what “Baldy’s” head feels like as Elin dreams of buying 20 bowls of chocolate ice cream with her winnings. When they take the stage, the judges are captivated by Elin’s stank face. The opening line of “U Can’t Touch This” fills the auditorium and the best friends launch into an entertaining dance routine. I was transported back to 1990 as I watched Noah break dance beside Elin masterfully maneuvering in her Hammer pants. Too hype, indeed! Elin and Noah make it to the next round.
Will, Caleb, and Tyler played football together in Arkansas. All three made the injured-reserved list. While warming the bench, the friends discovered they could harmonize. If you have a group of warm bodies, Triple Threat will play your gig. This includes, but is not limited to, chili cook-offs and school assemblies. It is clear that Howard wants to check out, but the guys pique his interest when they start singing MKTO’s “Classic.” Howie calls them a “real” boy band (take that Zayn-less One Direction), and Howard passive aggressively appreciates that they are a group of guys who look like America. All the judges vote yes. Pig sooie!
Ira F. Bloom
I think it’s important that I point out that Ira is a literal puppet. He shares a two-bedroom apartment with his stage mother Miriam. She is also a puppet. His goal in life is to profess his love through song to his soul mate Mel B. Ira sings a lovely rendition of Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful.” The crowd loves it. For some reason, Mel B. looks like she needs an enema. She rolls her eyes when Howard suggests she kisses Ira. Even though she obliges, Mel B. does not give Ira her vote. The audience erupts in a chorus of boos. We are the generation who grew up with The Muppets and Fraggle Rock. Ira deserves better than this. The other three judges agree with me, and vote to keep Ira in the running. Something tells me his next song will be dedicated to Heidi.
Everyone knows that Howie Mandel will not shake hands or give high fives because he’s afraid of germs. Naturally, Chris Jones decides to hypnotize Howie to see if he can make him shake his hand—which he totally does! (PS: Did you know that NBC can’t show hypnotism on television?) Chris snaps Howie out of his trance and sends him back to his chair. Heidi asks Chris if he can help Howie get over his fear for good and Chris hypnotizes him again. He explains to Howie that everyone around him is wearing gloves. When Howie wakes, Howard, Heidi, and Mel B. fall over each other trying to shake his hand and give him high fives—which he does AGAIN! When Howie wakes up, he wonders why everyone is laughing. Howard takes back his premature “X” and votes with the ladies to keep Chris around. Howie doesn’t get a vote since he doesn’t remember anything. Chris gets a restraining order because Howie is going to kill him when he watches the playback tape.
NEXT: Break out the tissues
Two guys from Germany and two guys from The Czech Republic make up the Show Project. If they win, their first order of business should be to come up with a better name. And let me tell you—I think these guys can win. Picture (or watch above) four bare-chested dudes with chiseled abs and shoulders performing acrobats in skinny jeans on a parallel bar/trampoline combo. Mid-routine, the foursome execute a group pushup, which can only be described as awesome. It was a clean, well-rehearsed, unique, shirtless act, worthy of all four yes votes from the judges.
Johnny wrote an original song titled “That’s Love” for his son, who he lost to cancer over a year ago. He performed the piece with such raw emotion, that you couldn’t help but be drawn into the moment. He’s definitely talented musically, proving he knows how to pick a guitar. The moment was palpable, and that definitely deserved Johnny’s unanimous yes vote into the next round.
Piff the Magic Dragon
I didn’t quite understand Piff’s vibe at first. I was unsure if he was a weird dude in a polyester dragon outfit annoyed with life or if that was his schtick. Fortunately, he proved to be wildly entertaining. His bit was part magician, part stand-up, and part cranky old guy who yells at kids to get off his lawn. He was extremely witty, which Howie loved. He was a legitimate magician, which Heidi loved. And he was downright silly, which Mel B. loved. As Piff snacked on a banana, Howard called him a “phenomenal act.” I’m anxious to see where this goes in upcoming rounds. Piff has potential. Here’s hoping we hear more about his big brother Steve.
If you’ve ever want to step into the inner workings of an ‘80s music video, this act is for you. There are tons of colors, laser beams, white panels, lights—all bumping to the beat of techno music. I can only assume that it was an intriguing spectacle to witness in person since everyone in the audience flipped out over the performance. I appreciated the act, but didn’t feel it deserved the overwhelming praise it received. Maybe I would feel differently if they were shirtless?
Let me be clear: This woman works in an actual store where she cuddles people for a living. Bless her sweet, hugging heart. Nick Cannon is nominated as the guinea pig because he’s had a tough year (#truth) and needs a little TLC, even if it is from a stranger. Samantha walks him through techniques that will help him relax. They all involve him squishing his body up against hers. At one point, he surrenders to the awkwardness and just snuggles in. The four judges join him on stage and make a human hugging sandwich. It was odd. How Samantha got through to the next round is a mystery. What’s not a mystery is Heidi’s underwear selection. The entire front row got a nice view of her business when she flopped herself on top of Howie.
Four years ago, a ground ball hit Drew in the throat, damaging his vocal chords; now he has a stutter. His girlfriend convinced him to talk about his frustrations, and a comedy act was born. He admits that the person he was before would never hang out with the person he is today. His goal in life is to show people that you can turn anything positive. His comedy act is really funny. It’s evident that the audience is mesmerized by his story. Howie loves him so much that he hits the golden buzzer, sending Drew straight through to the live show. Drew falls to the ground with emotion. I cry along with his mom and girlfriend. Can someone go get Samantha please?
Which was your favorite talent? Were you nervous for the girl on the receiving end of the knife throwing act? Will you have nightmares about the creepy, sexy baby? When I close my eyes, I can still see the diaper drop. I may never sleep again.