The riotous antics start at 9 PM EST tonight on NBC with the usual crowd present, two of them likely wearing very short, tight dresses. But first, don’t miss the opportunity to realize your lifelong dream of designing a Snapple cup that could be seen on the judges’ table filled with a refreshing beverage. I don’t know if they’re paying for it, but who can place a value on having Howie Mandel put his mouth near your jpg?
In other news, Mel B. was recently a guest on Jay Leno’s show, where she told him, “I like when things are crap and I can laugh, and I like when things are really, really good and I can applaud them.” So essentially, she is equipped with the identical combination of skills and aptitude as any of us.
Oh, Terry MacDermott on The Voice. I love him. Although I forgot about him about half an hour after the show ended last season.
Okay! Here’s Nick. The show is back and bigger than ever, they claim. Because of snakes, levitation, and chugging jugs of milk.
Howard says he wants magicians and danger. He does have a kinky sex thing.
Travis Pratt from Tipton, GA is going to sing. He must silence the voice in his head that says he can’t. He’ll sing a song his girlfriend loves. Oh, dear, it’s an aria in a woman’s voice (O mio babbino caro, a woman’s song, reports Murghala, thank you). He should have silenced it. The judges like it, though. I guess they can assign him a bodyguard to prevent his getting beaten up constantly.
And now he has something to say to the girlfriend, who has merely coincidentally been brought out on stage. Yes, he’s proposing, the show-off. Just take her out to dinner and hide the ring in a creme brulee like everybody else.
Next a couple of acrobats who climb all over each other, followed by a ballroom dancing couple. If it’s couples night, I’d like a couple of good acts, please.
Kid ballroom dancers. They’re always sort of creepy, especially when they’re named like soap opera characters. Jonas’s hair is slicked back like Ed Grimley’s, and Ruby‘s dress shows too much skin for a tween. This is what Derek and Julianne Hough looked like 20 years ago. Mel loves the way they move their hips, while I’m trying not to think of their hips at all. Four yesses. They’ll be teamed with a Fanning sister and Blanket Jackson on a future season of DWTS.
Then there’s a second set of dancing kids, D’Angelo and Amanda, who used to date even though they are not yet in middle school. She six inches taller than him. He’s wearing piano keyboard suspenders. Abandon all hope, ye who watch this show.
Howie thinks mariachi is “the culture of this town,” meaning San Antonio. Howie doesn’t get out much. For Mariachi Nuevo Estillo AVM, this is a dream come true, although you’d think it would be the opportunity to wear less girly neckties. The band members shake their booties and yodel provocatively. I don’t think this is conventional mariachi. I’m just proud I was able to type “mariachi” correctly so many times in a short period. Four pronouncements of si, senor.
Next we have a rootin’, tootin’, pistol-shootin’ cowgirl named Pistol Packin’ Paula. She spins her guns and shoots a lot while yee-hawing lustily, then gets out a whip and calls for Nick to volunteer. She puts a white stick in his mouth, cracks her whip, and snaps the thing in half. Just like a typical evening at home with Mariah. Howard deems it classic Americana. He does have a kinky sex thing.
Now for a sword swallower–a gray-haired one, so either he’s been doing it a long time or the stress is aging him prematurely. Brad Byers insists the act is genuine, so he brought an x-ray machine to show the swords entering his esophagus. Does Obamacare cover the radiology part of the act? He’s got nine swords, double-edged, and he slides those suckers right in one after the other, like they’re raw oysters, then twists them around in his gullet. This guy must have the market cornered on Prilosec. Mel B. wanted to throw up, but probably just because it reminded her of Posh Spice’s bulimia.
Now we have Collins Key, who’s 16 and a magician. He has a bag of snacks that he brings to the judges’ table, where he asks to borrow a dollar. I’m surprised any of them carry cash. As Howard reads off the serial number on the bill, the kid writes it down on a card. Mel B. is then asked to hold the snack bag over her head, and he lights the dollar on fire behind her. Surely the Treasury Department frowns on this kind of thing. Mel opens the sealed bag to find a folded dollar, from which Heidi reads off the same serial number that’s written on the card. I wonder if he can do this trick with a Pringles can and a traveler’s check. The kids cries when Howard praises him. Doug Henning doesn’t cry after he makes an elephant disappear. But the kid’s all that and a bag of chips, so he will be going on.
After an intriguing glimpse of someone dressed as broccoli, we’re confronted with a puppeteer/ventriloquist. She’s got a cat and a little girl puppet, so she’s a double-fisted puppeteer. Megan Piphus has failed her parents by becoming a performer; they wanted her to be a doctor. These days, though, there’s more money in ventriloquism. She and her puppets sing, and even with her teeth closed, she’s better than that first opera guy.
Next is a nerd in a V-neck sweater and tie. Jonathan Allen‘s parents kicked him out for being gay. Oy. He better be good or I will be devastated. Howie pointedly asks if his family in Tennessee supports his singing, eliminating all doubt of whether the judges know the back stories of the auditioners. But the kid belts out an aria in a clear, strong voice, and he’s good. Howie tells him that the show is now his family. That means an awfully long wait for the bathroom every night.
Alexanderia the Great is a grandma from Medway, MA whose act is one only a very small number of women do: Houdini-like escapes. I know I do that from certain arguments I’m losing. They have to go out to a pool to watch her. She’ll have 30 feet of chain wrapped around her body and padlocked several times, and her ankles shackled, before she jumps into the water. This is shocking–she’s not wearing a bathing cap! Once submerged, she starts working away at the chains, but after 45 seconds it looks like she hasn’t made any progress. A minute and 15 seconds pass, and she’s still down there. Howie gets all dramatic and shrieks that she’s not moving. Why is he always responsible for setting the narrative? Then, of course, she pops up. Her husband mops his brow with relief. Nice vote of confidence there, Mr. The Great.
Now comes a skinny guy in leopard pants and a too-small tank top named J.C. Starbright. He’s a songwriter who considers himself the next Lady GaGa. He brings out a portable recording studio and an electric guitar, and starts singing his original tune. Too bad the world wasn’t in search of the next Fleagle.
After someone wearing a chicken foot around his neck tells a ghost story that is scary only for how completely misguided the decision to tell it was, a wonky-eyed guy in a top hat named Sam Johnson announces that he will do a handstand. Then they launch into his back story, so we have to guess it’ll be one very special handstand. He’s a single father, so naturally he’s hoping to leverage the handstand into a college education for his kid. They go outside, where there’s an 80-foot tall structure with a spire on top that he climbs. At the very tip, the wind whipping around and the spire swaying like a Twizzler, is where he does the handstand. While it’s impressive, since he does it without any nets or safety ropes, how is he going to reproduce it in Vegas? Have everyone bring their drinks out to the parking lot?
Finally, it’s time for the end-of-show Big Emotional Moment, which is often no more moving than earlier Big Emotional Moments. It’s also always a singer, since no ever gets teary over a juggler who had a rough childhood, this time an 18-year-old kid with a guitar from the south. His parents were alcoholics and his mama was a drug addict, too, for good measure. Now Dad’s sober, but the music is still healing young Paul Thomas Mitchell. People with three first names are always successful, like Phillip Michael Thomas and Chad Michael Murray. He sings a song he wrote himself about his feelings, and does it all raspy and heartfelt and hurtin’. And he cries afterward. Is there something in the water over at the studio? Why does everyone cry when things are going well? The audience leaps to its feet to clap, but no one gives the kid a tissue. Mel says he tootched the whole of Umoorica. The kid calls his dad to tell him the good news, reminding us that there would be no way to express emotion on the show if not for the speakerphone feature.
Next week in Chicago at 8 Eastern /7 Central! Don’t be late!