Everything that keeps America’s Got Talent fresh and unique in talent TV was packed into the first of the Los Angeles auditions this week. Even the judges couldn’t judge the talent by appearances, and some of the most touching moments in the competition’s history happened before America’s eyes. The heart, humor, and surprise continue to set Season 9 up for a terrific finish!
The Kamikaze Firefighters started the evening off with a flash, literally. The couple captivated with their cuteness before recruiting Nick Cannon to come on stage, and utilizing him in a way that no other act as ever done! While the Mrs. climbed atop a shopping cart, hubby climbed all over Nick! Hoisting himself to stand on Cannon’s unsteady shoulders (since his legs were shaking), he began to toss flaming torches to his wife. It’s a bet that no one has ever seen the dapper host sweat the way he did during that performance, and the panel ate up the quirky fun and danger! Everyone delighted in the way the performers were “all over Nick,” and Howard Stern deemed the duo “exciting and funny.” Mel B said they were “no cheesy act.” There will be much more for this dangerous couple to dare before America’s deciding vote! The Hart Dance Team did quite a dance number on everyone, too. Donning their striking black and white geometric leotards, what started out as two dancers became two dozen popping out of a standing box on stage, and the moves were as sharp as their look. Howie Mandel declared “a great visual” in the performance, with Mel B praising them as “on point.” Howard Stern said the troupe had “great production,” so they were a cinch for four yeses. Dancers scored big this week, the Extreme Dance Team from Orlando had a definite dramatic effect, and they will likely be here for many more weeks. The Team was a dazzling all-male dance group, who as Heidi Klum declared, brought “something for the ladies,” while Mel gave a resounding “HOT” in her own unique language. Howard came onstage to discover that he was “not awkward at all” after a little training. Comedian Jodi Miller has been at it in the club circuit for 16 years, and she came on like seasoned gangbusters with her comparison of cats and dogs to men and women! Heidi Klum said she hadn’t “laughed so much” with any comedian. Remember Taylor Williamson and his quest with Heidi last season? Howard Stern lauded that Jodi made the most of her 90 seconds, and Mel B loved that she became “so powerful and sexy” as her routine moved on. Howie Mandel reminded her that she would only be buying her own groceries instead of delivering other people’s, from now on.
Ben Markworth may be 77, but he showed everyone that he is still one super shot with a bow and arrow, and quite the ladies man with his assistant, Mayana, too. He gave dangerous teasing by shooting off her skirt, and building suspense all along the way, making precision shot after shot. Promising Howard that he could make it through the summer, Ben easily sailed to unanimous approval, Howie Mandel saying he wanted to see Mayana naked! 20-year-old, Anna Clendening came onstage with a unique voice, and unique, overcoming strength that moved any heart watching, especially Howie Mandel’s. Anna described her “situation” of being under the grip of anxiety attacks and depression for years, and then finding healing in music. She sang out Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with such personal power, Howie urging her to sing as if she were alone in her bedroom, and giving her a tender embrace as a fellow anxiety and OCD sufferer. Howard Stern credited her for “making me feel” through her song, and Heidi and Mel thanked her for the courage of her story and her voice. Anna is making her way into the light. There was a delightful interlude of performing house cats among the animal acts before Mr. Vincent and his pig, Mudslinger, took the stage. The aerospace engineer who was a developer of the Orion project, and pig trainer at night, put his porker friend through the paces of putting the flag up the pole, then playing golf, soccer, and giving Heidi a kiss! Needless to say, Mudslinger was a memorable hit of the night! It was YES to the pig, and Howie even suggested that the aerospace job be dropped in lieu of full-time pig training! The Atlanta Professional Dance Academy displayed perfection in their delicate, precise, and breathtaking Asian fan dance, a sight to behold. Beyond the ladies on the panel loving them, Howard Stern praised the performance as “the fruition of an idea,” and Howie had one word, “FANTASTIC.”
The boy band duo, Diverse, were so dreadful that no one could get to the buzzer fast enough, but sadly, no sound of no go could be heard, because Mel B unplugged the buzzers to charge her cell phone! Still, the message was made clear, it was goodbye, and the two boys took it in stride with a gracious attitude. There were more misses in dance and magic, but dazzling talent broke again when Aaron J. Field opened his mouth in song to “Midnight Train to Georgia,” despite being dressed in a blue baby romper, complete with cap and bottle! His voice was good enough to make all the doubt disappear, and hopefully, you will more GQ on his next appearance. Sons of Serendip offered a very transporting performance in strings, voice, and keyboard, something that will be seen and soothing for a few weeks more, at least. Andre Moraru came from the Ukraine, leaving his family, to pursue his American dream, and the strength and grace of the hand balancer was like a dream to the panel, who couldn’t say enough praise for Andre. Howie Mandel exclaimed, “you can win this,” and the mutual standing ovations spoke for themselves. Howard Stern called it “perfection,” Mel B “impeccable,” and Heidi was in awe that there was “no wobbling.” It’s only onward for Andre. Patrick and his spears will be seeing more of the big stage in coming weeks, too, with their spectacle of an act. Smoothini calls his act “ghetto magic” because he couldn’t afford the props most kids learning magic had growing up in the projects, but this performance was so stellar that the props became nearly pointless. After literally coughing out a deck of cards, the salt from the shaker flowed everywhere, and he made balls and personal possessions appear out of nowhere! Heidi Klum said she was “looking all over,” and saw nothing but a terrific magician. While the audience roared, Mel B dubbed Smoothini “slick,” and left it to Howard Stern to say “best all day” as the young man danced offstage! He definitely brings something exciting!
In the way that only America’s Got Talent can perfect, the evening closed in a beautiful, memorable fashion with Justin Rhodes, a young piano man raised in music, but falling prey to the monsters of the musicians’ lifestyle. Now, finding his way back to sobriety, he was performing for the first time with his father in an audience. Very appropriately choosing Avicii’s song, “Wake Me Up,” Justin’s soulful tones rang out from the stage, and dad’s elated tears flowed down his cheeks. Justin explained that health now kept his father from seeing him perform, but nothing could stop the tenderness of the moment, and Howie Mandel was moved by his own feelings as a father, speaking to Justin’s dad “You did something right, sir.” Mel B liked the “sexy tone” and Heidi Klum enjoyed being taken on “the journey.” Justin now has a new journey of starting over before him.
Next week, the competition predicts “the most shocking buzzer ever” according to previous on NBC. Stay tuned!
Source: America’s Got Talent broadcast June 10, 2014 NBC Networks.