Thia Megia and Kevin Skinner just absolutely kill it tonight.
We kick things off tonight in NYC with 62 year-old Carol Lugo, a grocery cashier from New Jersey who dances. Could this be our Susan Boyle? As she starts weirdly gyrating to "I Can't Help Myself," I am alternately horrified and completely delighted. The woman moonwalks! She is strangely charming. The judges just adore her and send her through unanimously as the strains of "Flashdance" come up in the background.
Good Montage. YoYo Joe dances with a yoyo (it's no "Air on a G String" but it's pretty awesome); The Diva League, dancers and drag queens (better than the can-can-stripping moms from last year); and Coney Island Chris the glass eater (a terrifying Jerry Lewis).
To the strains of "Magic Man" (love that song), we meet Jay Mattioli the Magician. He does all these really wicked tricks with a satin blanket and the mic stand, then transitions smoothly into his box illusion, where he climbs inside a small box and then appears to squish himself flat and then emerges from the box. It's quite good, I'd love to see him do more stuff, plus a magician (like Terry Fator the Ventriloquist) can sustain a Vegas show (unlike Cry Baby Boyd). The judges love him.
What is this? We've only seen good stuff tonight. Crazy.
I have spoken too soon when the Honorable Judge Franklin Sane takes the stage. He "croons" the great Petulia Clark classic "Downtown." I'm sure Franklin sounds really great in his shower and thinks he's an undiscovered Frank Sinatra… but he is not. Big no. Next!
Speaking of bad singers, we now have the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of that with 14 year-old Thia Megia (is that like Julia Gulia?). She sings "I am Changing" by Jennifer Holliday and it is FABULOUS. She sounds like a whiskey-drinking soulful 40s singer. She should be lounging across a piano in a slinky red dress. It's not perfect; she needs to work on a couple pronunciations and her stage presence, but the voice is amazing. She's through unanimously.
Jeffrey Johns is up next. He's a 5'3'' Carrot Top lookalike, so that's two strikes against him. His talent is singing some weird song while standing on an Edith Ann chair. His song is all "smaller isn't necessarily the lesser" and whatnot, but it makes me want to sing in response, "Short people got no reason… short people got no reason… short people got no reason to live." It's three nays from the judges.
Bad Montage. Witches in Bikinis, a coven of Baywatch Girls, apparently; Robert Myers, an impersonator who can put his outfits or wigs on correctly; and Samba Samba Samba, a bunch of chunky monkey showgirls.
Next up is the Fab Five, a group of sisters from Utah ranging in age from 23 to 35. They also have four more sisters and seven brothers because their parents really, really want to get to Heaven. The Fab Five are Irish clog dancers and I'll admit, they are quite good, though the screaming and the facial expressions are going to give me nightmares tonight. They're like cheerleaders on cocaine. Hasselhoff jokes about everybody from Utah having the same smile. It's because their magic underwear is so tight.
Kevin Skinner is our last auditoner of the day. He's a chicken catcher from Kentucky. The judges and audience all laugh at his country bumpkin ways, but he performs "If Tomorrow Never Comes" by Garth Brooks and it's really lovely. There are a couple bum notes; it's not perfect. But it's very nice. When Kevin is done, my boyfriend remarks, "That's what Wes [from The Bachelorette] wishes he was." Piers says "There's a moment every season where someone comes on stage dressed like you are and then he starts to sing and within about 20 seconds you have me. One of the most emotional, powerful performances I've seen in a long time." Here's Kevin's performance:
What an excellent show tonight, almost all of the acts were just excellent. Kevin Skinner actually made me cry a little. I cannot wait to see what he, Thea and Jay Mattioli do in the next round.