America’s Got Talent has garnered a huge following over the past eight years, and audiences definitely proved that they hungered for the unique blend of diversity in performances that only this competition delivers. Last week’s debut drew 12 million viewers, the largest premiere since 2011, and it certainly delivered in its unique ability to maintain high energy while putting performances out there that appeal to every sense and sensibility, from youth to senior citizen. This week took the fun to even higher peaks, even if the performers didn’t quite put their best foot, or other body part, forward! The judges and the host, Nick Cannon, dared to participate in delightful and extreme manner, and it all combined to make a wonderful night.
The sounds of “Aww” commenced immediately when The Willis Clan came onstage. This precious sibling gang ranges in age from 3 to 21, every member doing something different, and an older sister who really has the voice! Howard Stern said he was “praying to God that you’re great, and not one disappointed, right down to the three-year-old, darling dance stepper, putting their twist on “My Favorite Things.” The panel insisted on seeing the parents, who were teased by Howard for making “a rare appearance out of the bedroom,” but heard nothing but praise for their kids. Mel B noted that the performance was “more beautiful” because of the harmony that only comes from being family, and Howie Mandel even melted, saying they “filled a void,” and Heidi Klum adding “loved it,” for unanimous approval. David and Leeman didn’t waste any time doing fabulous magic, switching nametags right before the panel, only seconds after taking the stage, then proceeding to recruit Howie Mandel as their subject in demonstrating the impact of their peculiar “pressology” on the skull to impact memory. What followed was one of the most hilarious moments in the competition’s history, as Howie was completely unable to read the words “comedian,” “germaphobe,” or even his own name, while his fellow judges collapsed in laughter! Heidi Klum asked, “Can I be next?” for the duo’s next performance. Mel B “loved it all,” from their vibe, their look, and sidesplitting laughs, and of course, Howard loved that Howie “looked like something from ‘Jackass.'” These guys will go deep. Julia Goodwin isn’t an average 15-year-old. She described her passion of music to the panel, who had quizzical expressions as her music track started, but those soon gave way to jaw-dropping wonder, as she soulfully belted out “New York State of Mind.” Standing ovations followed from all four on the panel, and everyone in the audience, including Julia’s beaming dad. “Wow” was the response from Mel B, applauding both the young lady’s talent and control. “Wonderful, moving, and tremendous” were just some of the superlatives that Howard Stern heaped on, as Heidi Klum marveled how easily that fabulous voice came. Howie Mandel said passion was the sound of Julia’s voice. Sean and Luke are teen tap dancers on a mission to make tap hip, and their pin-up looks and moves to match Michael Jackson don’t hurt at all. There was a huge roar from the crowd on their last tap, and Heidi, Mel B, and Howie Mandel, were all impressed by these heartthrobs on a quest to give a new twist to old-style, but Howard told out, saying they were talented, but “not for our show.” It was still three yeses and through to the next round!
Howie couldn’t understand a word spoken by Kung Fu Master and energy healer, Qi Feilong, but that didn’t keep the Korean from calling Mr. Mandel on stage. After stopping a clock’s second hand, he had Howie and Nick Cannon hold intertwined chopsticks, which he sliced with a $10 bill. The nerves were a riot to watch, but the panel nixed seeing these healing arts again, even after weighing “bad ju-ju.” Real Encounter is a ministry combined with master motorbike handling, and the height of their leaps were so bold– 25 feet up, and 75 feet gaps– that it could only be seen outdoors. The team stunned the panel unanimously, while scaring them nearly to death, too. No one was afraid to admit they were afraid, but they also couldn’t wait to say yes and see more. There are going to be spectacular basketball tumblers, jump-ropers, Flight Crew, and Pogo-X, a pogo stick daredevil team, passing through for future weeks, and even a “Nicky hop” move or two snuck in there. Dom the Bomb Triple Threat are triplets who like throwing down with a deck of cards! The second graders have truly got game, throwing cards clear up to the balcony level, and chopping celery sticks clean into, courtesy of the host! Chants of “let them through” rang out, and Howie Mandel was asked, “Deal or no deal?” He answered “Deal,” and Mel B concurred, saying the three “had me,” as Heidi said she had never seen anything like them before, and Howard Stern called the siblings “inspirational.” There may be a summer run on selling playing cards now!
There were some sad magic missteps, and Mad Jack definitely brought something different in his act, but something distasteful, too. Beckoning Howard Stern to join him, he took the judge’s King of diamonds card, to an all-new place-his backside, and Howard had to get the card out with hot dog tongs! It was too much even for the shock jock, and he joined his fellow judges in declining Jack. No one declined Miguel Dakota, and he gave no reason for any other response. The 21-year-old construction worker supports his three siblings and his mom while dreaming of a music career, and his good looks and humble character only serve to draw in more listeners. The conviction and power in his rendition of Alex Claire’s “Too Close” utterly captivated everyone– fans were even screaming before a single note. Mel B declared herself “a big fan,” saying how his sexy appeal of single, able to cook, and loving his mom only added to the attraction. Heidi Klum confessed that her heart melted, while Howie and Howard praised the young musician’s whole package and humble demeanor. He took a few moments to savor the moment onstage, and hopefully, this will send him on the way to his dream, rather than back to drilling nails. Abigail Baird is a one-woman force as a performer and artist with her act, Aerial Animation. She is spellbinding suspended from a scarf, putting herself in scenes from water to forest, interacting with every sort of creature. The performance was so imaginative, Mel B stood in ovation, and said she was “watching art” as tears came to the artist. Howard Stern remarked, ‘I love your mind,” as fellow judges raved in voting her through in praise. There was a fun look back at the love story between Howard and Howie, marking their growing bromance.
The night final performers were male dance partners, but not a romantic couple, John and Andrew. The talent twosome is intergenerational, one being 21, the other 41, and one straight, and the other gay, but definitely clicking on the dance floor with their salsa. Howard Stern praised that they were the perfect act in this time of “transition,” following the ovations given by all four on the panel. Howard proceeded to invite Howie for dance lessons, and the two judges were a delight to see taking on the salsa with distinctively different spins, Howard even shirtless in the spotlight! Another America’s Got Talent moment for the ages was created!
The competition continues Tuesday on NBC.
America’s Got Talent broadcast, June 3, 2014 NBC.