Alright gang, we’re down to one hour of America’s Got Talent tonight instead of two. That leads me to believe that this might be our last week of the initial auditions, yay! Next week: Viva Las Vegas! But for this week, Jerry welcomes us to Atlanta. I assume they are still there, not that they came back to Atlanta, but who can say really? The judges arrive and I keep waiting for one of them to be a no-show because he or she is somewhere hooked up, Paula-like, to a banana bag, but they all show up. Good for them.
Our first auditioner is Billy Dodson and his entrance music is "Gonna Fly Now" with different lyrics. Weird choice for Atlanta. Wouldn’t "Devil Went Down to Georgia" be more appropriate? Billy’s talent is opera but he sings the women’s part. He’s singing soprano and he’s about 6’3, bald and has a goatee. Interesting. It’s not particularly good singing, though, and he gets buzzed. Sharon tells him to sing like a man, Hoff tells him John Wayne would want him to sing like a man. Now, I agree that this fella wasn’t very good, but I dislike the double-standard of putting through a male drag queen Britney impersonator and not a man who sings women’s opera. I expect more from you, Hoff.
Our first yes of the night is 10 year-old Alexandra from Virginia and she’s cute as a friggin’ button. She has this thick southern accent and big brown eyes. I want her to be my little sister. The editors are deliberately not revealing to us what her talent actually is, so I am leery. It turns out the talent is some weird kind of play fighting where she pretends to kick and punch her father. There is a lot of flipping and slapstick involved and the audience goes absolutely banoodles for it. I found it weirdly entertaining. Hoff says "cool and creative." Piers says that act isn’t goign to win, but for crying out loud… they have let A LOT of acts through that won’t win or make it in Vegas. If that was the criteria, only like 4 acts would make it through. Hoff says yes, Piers says no, Sharon asks her how she’ll change it and Alexandra says she’ll fight off more attackers. Haha. Sharon says yes and she’s through.
Sarah is up next and she’s a 19 year-old Carrie Underwood-looking girl who sings and plays the guitar. She plays "Before He Cheats," which makes my comment pretty prescient, no? She doesn’t quite have the vocal chops to pull this song off, I think she’d be better suited to crunchy-granola-Jewel-type stuff. The big ending is pretty decent but the lower stuff was a little lost and fuzzy. I could see her doing "You Were Meant for Me" so much better. The judges love her and she sails through, though Sharon does caution her to make herself stand out from the young, blonde singer crowd. Her Victory Song is"Flashdance," which really should’ve been used for the factory worker with no dad from last week. Sarah is not a steel-town girl on a Saturday night, but that is a minor quibble.
Montage o’ Awesome starts with Flambeau, who does a fire show (now THAT is a Vegas act); Nicole, who is a pole dancer (another Vegas act, though she may be off-strip. Nicole looks just a titch rode hard/put away wet.); a group of tribal drummers in bad tie-dye; and SQ Entertainment. SQ is a group of 11 African-American boys who look to be in their teens/early 20s and are all related to one another. They are wearing jeans, matching blue sweatervests and they do a kick-ass hip-hop routine. Hoff thinks they could really sustain as an act, which I don’t totally agree with. None of these dancing acts could put on an hour-long Vegas show, but if you combined 3-4 of the best ones, you’d have an awesome Vegas show. They are through, more "Flashdance."
For the second half of the show we are back in New York. This is making me dizzy. We waste some time watching Hoff sign autographs and take pictures in Times Square. Our first act is The James Gang, from a rough area of Harlem. The four of them are dressed like extras from The Legend of Baggar Vance. Their act… is hard to describe. It’s not exactly rap but it’s not exactly singing. There is dancing and they look just adorable in their Newsy outfits. It’s like old-timey Vaudeville meets hip-hop and I absolutely love it. This is excellent, it truly is. If these guys could mix it up with individual acts or duos, they could absolutely put an hour-long Vegas show together. They sail through and I think The James Gang and Nuttin’ but Strings are my two favorites so far. Put them together in a Vegas show and I’ll be first in line for a ticket.
There was just a KICK-ASS trailer for the Heroes premiere in September. WOO! Love Heroes.
The plinky-plunky strains of Sad Story kick up and we meet Victoria, a girl adopted from China when she was a baby. The parents had 4 biological sons and then adopted her. It’s kind of weird that she got the "sob story" treatment, because her story seems pretty great. I think she’s adorable, but it’s hard to tell because she’s wearing approximately 7.5 lbs of make-up. She is 11 years old and is a contortionist. That’s another very Vegas act. She gets on a box in her bright pink leotard and does some pretty crazy stuff. She sails through because… obviously. She’s adorable and has a very unusual talent. Put her together with Flambeau’s Fire Show and the Russian Bar Act and you’ve got yourself a show.
We now get a terrifying retread of last week’s "Unchained Melody" husband-and-wife/brother-and-sister singing team, only this week it’s Matt and Elaine and they are polka dancers. Wow. This couple is wearing bright yellow matching outfits and they really need to get together with the canary-clad duo from last week. Their dance is to "Walking on Sunshine" (natch) and it is hideous. It’s like Jack Sprat and his wife in shiny yellow satin bopping around to Katrina & the Waves knock-offs. They are sent packing and lead us to…
Montage o’ Suck with Mr. Phil, a Jerry Lewis-looking guy who sings "Doing the Phil" while twitching like a mackeral; Peter Macintosh, a really terrifying ventriloquist; Ursula, a horrible opera singer who looks like Isabella Rosellini in Blue Velvet; Rachel, who walks on glass and raps; Debra, a 51 year-old camp counselor who may actually be developmentally disabled but Hoff jumps up on-stage and dances her off to the wings. Awwww.
Our last act of the night is Kyle, a 36 year-old Harlem guy R&B singer. His story is of his father’s alcoholism, his mom leaving them and how Kyle started singing in contests because he could win money and support his brothers and sisters. If that’s true, that is a really touching story. Eventually his mom came back, after she’d been working and got a place for them to go. He says he wants his mom to see him make something out of his life and not waste his time, but I say if he really supported all his siblings by doing whatever he could to get by with his singing, he has absolutely not wasted his time. He is a man who his mother should already be proud of. Kyle sings "Ain’t Too Proud to Beg" and it’s not bad, but it’s a little rough. He has great stage presence, but his vocals aren’t knocking me out of the park. Hoff stands up to applaud him and Kyle starts crying, awwww. The mom comes out on-stage, they hug and it’s very sweet. Piers says he feels like he was watching "the heart of America" with this guy, which is a very nice thing to say. I hope he polishes himself up a bit, because he definitely has potential. Kyle is through with flying colors.
I find out ini the previews for next week that we are not done with the initial auditions yet. Darn it all. I want to get to the Vegas rounds! See you back here next week, AGT fans.