It’s our first of two nights in Vegas, starting at 9 EST on NBC. My exhaustive research (a visit to Wikipedia) reveals that 86 televised acts made it through the audition rounds to be sent to LV and compete for 55 slots in the live shows. The judges will divide these acts into three groups: the first will be sent through to the live show without performing; the second group of acts are going home without another chance; and the third group will perform to earn any remaining spots. So clearly there are 55 country music singers among the contestants.
Nick tells us the stakes have never been higher–stakes, Las Vegas, get it? Meanwhile, acts are seen flying, driving, and riding the bus to Planet Hollywood Something and Resort, where these episodes, and the accompanying product placement, took place.
We first see the judges at a table, conferring about their assessments of all the acts. The scene’s got more gravitas than the last session of SCOTUS, and with snazzier wardrobe. This segment also saves production costs, since it’s reliant on repeat footage and renting only one conference room at the hotel.
Finally, they call out a bunch of acts to the stage. These people are the ones who get to be reviewed again. Mel says the joodges want to make the best decision they can. Howie exhorts them to remember that this is the opportunity of a lifetime. The contestants declare this an amazing moment and how they will bring their A games. Mark those boxes on your AGT Banal Comments bingo cards.
Swimmers, little girl dancers, and three hip-hopping kids go forward. Howard makes a bunch of other kids feel like crap after that. Houdini Mom, Robot Dancer Guy, and some others also go through, while Puka Shells Cowboy and Bruno Mars 2.0 do not–paging Elton John. Two comedians make it as well. Lots of dancers get the green light. Okay, tabulating this part is kind of monotonous, but not as much as watching the kid dancers.
Thirty acts went through in that sweep, Nick announces, with 30 to go. So Wiki was wrong. I guess I’ll finally stop relying on it to make medical diagnoses.
First to perform for a spot is David Ferman in the “Danger” category. They have categories? I mean, besides “lame,” “idiotic,” and “predictable.” The guy is using 50 stun guns, carrying 25 million volts of electricity, in his act. He proceeds to ride a unicycle inside a ring of the sparking guns, while juggling three more. Howard says he has no showmanship. Like being pervy on the radio is so theatrical.
Next is Brad Byers with a blow torch, which he puts out on his tongue. After that, he inserts a huge hook into his nose until it comes out of his mouth, then uses it to pull a wagon with Nick and someone else sitting on it. This seems less in the “Danger” category than the “Icky” one.
After that, Alexander Magala swallows a sword, then climbs a pole and slides down it head first. Howie cries out, “No, no!” as they cut to commercial just before he’s speeding face-first into the floor. Anyway, it was a short sword, so I’m not that impressed.
Next is Sam Johnson, the guy who did a handstand on top of huge pole to pay for his kid’s college education. As you do. Tonight he sets his top hat on fire. As you do. Then he pours gasoline on himself and puts the burning hat on his head before mounting a unicycle and riding it across a tightrope while juggling flaming rods. Why not just jump off a bridge, fella? It will just as likely kill you without the trouble of asking the fire department to stand by.
Here’s Red Panda, a.k.a. Kicks Bowls Onto Her Head While Riding A Unicycle Lady. She’s actually talented, not just elevating everybody’s blood pressure. But she messes up her first attempt and the bowls don’t reach their mark. A Gothic choir sings menacingly as she goes for a second try with five–count ’em–five bowls. She makes it! Noticing that she is emotional afterwards, Howard asks if it’s because she didn’t succeed at first. No, Howard, she’s just concerned about the situation in Syria.
Now it’s the Bands category, starting with Forte, those three opera guys who claimed they just met. One of them left the group since the audition, so they found another stranger to fill in. Don’t these guys have any friends of their own?
The terrifying brother-sister duo of Brandon and Savannah are next. In 20 years, a rehab center will be founded in their names. They’re followed by the rock group made up of combat vets, American Hitmen. Mel thought they sounded rocky, creating tension about whether the seasoned, older guys whose harsh life experience adds dimension to their talent were automatically better than the bland, suburban WASP kids who have never had to make their own beds, let alone dodge IEDs while under sniper fire in Afghanistan.
Kids! 2Unique appear first, doing I don’t know what you call it, followed by Lil Demon, a breakdancer kid. Melody Cabellero does a shaky acrobatics routine. Wee dancers Ruby and Jonas, along with her dancer brother D’Angelo with his partner Andrea, are after that. Sibling rivalry rears its ugly head as they assert who will perform better. But Ruby falls during her routine. When questioned by the judges about it, the over-made-up child bursts into tears. There’s no crying in reality shows! Oh, wait.
Comedy comes next, meaning the acts other than those that unintentionally make us laugh. Jimmy Failla leads off. The judges look unamused. Eric Schwartz, aka Smooth E, does a Jewish thing, and ironically, the German judge doesn’t like him. Next is the nerd comic we saw earlier, Taylor Williamson. They’re laughing uproariously before he really says anything. After him comes John Wing, a former drug addict. They like him, too. You need to be some kind of a social pariah to excel on this show.
Dancers now. Hype starts off, in tight red pants, but aren’t as good as the first time. So they didn’t bring their A game. Art Spark is next and is boring. The next kid says he needs to up his game, which must be his A+ game. Finally, it’s Dylan Wilson, the kid who spends hours in front of the mirror in his bedroom learning his routines, instead of studying or helping his mom around the house. He’ll regret that when he ends up getting ditched.
Next is the Acrobats category, otherwise known as Blatant Display of Bare Chests. Brandon Rosario does an unremarkable pole act, and Duo Resonance contort and stand on each other, but are disappointed with the results. Then they haul out Timber Brown so he can repeat his tale of coming from a broken home, which often inspires people to become acrobats. He wears a cowboy hat while he leaps between two poles and slides free-form down the length of one. He’s followed by the KriStef Brothers, who are dressed like disco rodeo clowns going to aerobics class. Naturally, they strip to the waist. As you do.
Finally, we get to the singers. Leading off is Deanna DellaCioppa, the too-old, overweight, beaten-down dog rescuer. As she’s about to start, something’s wrong with the music and they have to send her off for now to fix it. Yet more angst for her in a lifetime of it. Skilyr Hicks comes out next, tears actually staining her cheeks, and bemoans her dead dad again. It’s not like he stopped being dead since the last time she was on. Her mullet skirt is probably her mom’s fault, anyway. Next is Selena Mackenzie Gordon, whose name is much too long for an iPod screen. Deanna reappears to worry about the young’uns doing better than her.
Now comes Cami Bradley, who will change things up this performance with a piano. They do not give any of them them long enough to show what they can do. The Meow Mix jingle is longer. Then Deanna finally gets to come back out. When it’s your last chance in life, maybe you should reconsider wearing red lipstick and a bright blue dress with orange hair. She looks like a rotund Rubik’s Cube.
Thus ends this evening’s festivities. Thanks for chatting and I hope to see you tomorrow night. Bring the popcorn.
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