Auditions for Season 9 of “America’s Got Talent” continued with the highlights being a female impressionist, some impressive singers, and a young comedian.
- Singer-songwriter Emily West, accompanied by her friend, performed “Sea of Love.” Her breathy rendition and megawatt smile got the audience and the judges on her side. Howard Stern and Howie Mandell gave her a standing ovation. Howard called her an original and said he loved it. Howie joked that it was a love triangle, since he loved her, too. Heidi Klum also liked it. Mel B. praised her tone and liked her look, which she called “old Hollywood.” She was through with four yeses.
- Duo Trapeze, a female act that impressed the judges with their strength, led off a montage of other promising female acts, including a blonde singer, Carly Jo Jackson; and Orlene Gentile, a mother who juggled a table with her feet.
- A salsa dance team, Baila Conmigo, showed off intricate footwork and very quick, coordinated moves. The troupe’s ages ranged from adult to young children of about 6. This time, it was Heidi and Mel B. who gave a standing O. Howie called it “salsa on caffeine” and called it amazing. Mel B. said she’d never seen salsa done like that. Heidi praised them for being in sync. Howard liked the speed and accuracy. They got four yeses.
- An impressionist, Rachel Butera, had been on Howard’s radio show before, so he removed himself from the voting. She did Wanda Sykes, Rosie O’Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg and Joan Rivers. Mel B. and Howard gave her a standing ovation, and she shrieked when she saw that, understandably excited. Howie told her it was funny, and Mel B. liked that everything was spot on. “It blew my head off.” Heidi found it amazing how much she crammed into 90 seconds. Howard, while he couldn’t vote, said, “You’re someone I believe in” and he was proud of her. She got through with three out of three votes.
- Then singing group Legaci blew the socks off the judges with a tender ballad. They’re sort of a slightly older version of a boy band, four vocalists with lots of harmony. Howard thought they were brutally boring until they sang, at which point they were “godlike.” Howie said this show proves you can’t judge a book by its cover. Heidi thought they had amazing voices and chose their soloists wisely. Mel B. said she had a sixth sense about them, that they were going to be amazing, which was why she’d asked them about their boring jobs. The group was through with four yeses.
- Magician Mat Franco, 25, did a close-up trick at the judges’ table with a deck of cards. He’d named the face cards after the judges, such as a king for Howard, the “King of All Media,” queens for the two female judges, a joker for Howie and a jack (of all trades) for Nick. He continued to tell a story, with the cards he turned up matching the story. Very clever. Mel B. said she’s generally not a fan of card tricks, but his confidence and the story made it exciting. Howie agreed, saying he liked that he gave them more than the usual trick. Heidi thought it was genius. Howard liked his preparation and the fact that he did a routine they’d never seen before. Four yeses.
- Paul Ieti, 21, a singer who is also a private first class in the U.S. Army, missed his opening cue, apparently, before launching into the Rihanna song, “Stay.” He played with the tempo, and his tone was very sweet. For her comment, Mel B. got up onstage and gave him a hug. Then Heidi followed suit. Not to be left out, Howard got up next for a hug. Howie commented that he’d seemed unassuming and shy, but a sound came out of him “that nobody expected.” Heidi called him “super special” and a “superstar.” Howard said, “God bless you, you did a great job up there.” Four yeses.
- A fifth-generation circus performer, hand balancer Christian Stoinev, 22, was dressed for the act in white tights and a black ringmaster’s jacket. He began by balancing with a cup and his finger in a bottle and then let go of the cup. The female judges liked it when he removed his jacket to reveal toned muscles, before his next stunt, balancing his entire body upside down on one hand and then switching back and forth. Howard said he was making the circus look legitimate, but he joked that he didn’t have to take his shirt off. Heidi found it exciting and even more so when he removed his shirt (of course). Mel B. agreed. Howie was impressed by the switch, calling him “the whole package.” He got four yeses.
- Then we saw a montage of other “beefcake” performers, including a tight-rope act, a dance team called Bad Boys of Ballet, and brother musical duo Kieran and Finian Makepeace.
- Next, Grace Ann Gregorio, 11, impressed the judges with her classical singing, especially her fantastic upper range. This led into a full-length audition from opera singer Maggie Lane, 31, a slender young blonde woman who is also a personal trainer and disrobed to show a bikini while singing, flexing her muscles. Howie said she had “perfect pitch,” making a gesture that also referrred to her breasts. Mel B. praised both her body and her singing, as did Heidi, who asked her why she chose the outfit. She said she does bikini competitions. Howard was confused about it, because it was distracting when she removed the dress. Howard voted yes anyway. Heidi voted on her voice, and Mel on her body. Both said yes, and so did Howie.
- The Doctor Benji, 64, played a melodica and keyboard while singing along to a recorded track and was pretty much overwhelmed by it. Howard and Heidi buzzed him, then Howie and Mel B. The audience booed him, too. Howie advised him to focus on one thing. Host Nick Cannon complimented him on his all-white suit, though.
- The next act called herself the Magical Voice Doctor, who devotes herself to bringing beauty to the singing voice. Her goal was to coach Howard Stern into being a great singer. Howard gamely played along but didn’t magically approve. She got four nos, not surprisingly.
- Following a montage of young acts, including a dance troupe and a boy who solves a Rubik’s Cube with his feet, we saw a featured audition, Josh Orlian, a 12-year-old comedian, whose delivery was stilted but who managed to surprise the audience with some slightly risque jokes. Mel B. thanked him for the insight into a “12-year-old mind.” Heidi admitted she’d laughed and said she liked it, as long as the dad was OK with him. Nick brought him onstage to register his approval. Howard praised him for keeping the audience on his side and entertaining them. Howie was impressed that he hadn’t even been bar mitzvahed yet. All four judges put him through, but Howard advised him to get more comfortable onstage.
- An aerialist, Laura Dasi, began to learn the skill when she developed the autoimmune condition alopecia, which made her hair fall out. She performed on an aerial silk, wearing a red wig. Her strength and grace were outstanding. Mel B. said she hadn’t wanted it to end, calling it mesmerizing. She asked her why she’d come to the stage, and she said that she wanted to prove that she deserved to be seen, because she hadn’t felt beautiful. She revealed she’s bald under the wig. Howie told her that we all have something to overcome, and he loved her. Mel B. said she was a definite yes. Heidi called her a beautiful woman and also voted yes. Howard joked that he’d been embarrassed to come out of the house for years “because look at me,” but said she’d outdone herself. Another yes, making four.
- A special Sunday edition of “America’s Got Talent” will feature two death-defying stunts that attempt to set world records, 9 p.m. this Sunday.
“America’s Got Talent” airs at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays on NBC.