America’s Got Talent is back! It’s the first night of auditions in front of judges Howie Mandel, Mel B. Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell. Brand new host Tyra Banks presides over all the madness. Join us tonight as we live blog all the performances.
Major video intro includes a floating contestant ticket, an intro to the judges and new host Tyra Banks. The Golden Buzzer is back. I’m sure we’ll see one tonight. Each judge and the host gets one opportunity to send a contestant straight to the live shows.
Joku the Chicken – Animal Act – We previewed this act earlier today. The chicken plays “America the Beautiful” on a keyboard. Hm, the chicken appears to be plucking the same key over and over again. But it’s got the rhythm right. It looks real…but probably isn’t. Ode to Joy plays as the audience celebrates. “This is historic!” declares Simon – 4 Yeses
Preacher Lawson, 25 – Comedian – He loves his mama, who raised four kids by herself. He’s been doing comedy for eight years, and it’s been a struggle. OK I’m not laughing. But the audience seems to like it. There are screaming punch lines. And that’s pretty much the act. Simon wants one more joke. He tells one about his grandma who’d rather pray over his dying body than call an ambulance. It’s pretty over the top. Lots of mugging. Howie gives him a standing ovation. “You knocked it out of the park.” Mel B. calls him brilliant. Heidi compliments his timing. Simon calls him “Unbelievably talented.” – 4 Yeses
Yoli Mayor, 21 – Singer – She sang for the customers at her parents auto repair shop. The singer struggles with body image, but she won’t let it stop her from taking the stage. She begins to sing “I Put a Spell on You.” She stops. Simon tells her it’s too old fashioned. “Keep it young!” Heidi shouts. Tara helps her freshen up. This feels extremely setup. Next, she sings “Make it Rain.” Local previews of her performance have been calling her a “Latin Adele.” She’s got a rich, full alto. I’m not sure she sounds any “younger” than she did initially, but she’s solid. The audience gives her a standing ovation and she’s crying. “We may have just found a solid-gold star,” says Simon. “I think you’re fantastic.” Heidi “adores” her. Mel B. says “This is your time.” Howie says, “You’ve just won.” – 4 Yesses
The Man of Mystery – Comedian/Escape Artist – I think we have our first joke act. Dude in a plastic mask is an escape artist. And apparently, a comedian. Howie and Tyra serve as assistants. Howie only had one job, to lock up his wrists. And he messes it up. After a trip backstage to retrieve the key, he gets it right. Tyra and Howie help him into a red bag. It takes him forever, but when he finally emerges, he’s not only sans chains, but wearing a tiger print teddie. Mel and Simon take back their X’s But Howie and Heidi say no. So it’s a no go for the Man of Mystery. Two yesses Two nos
Next, it’s a montage of joke performances, including a “dancer” named Roddick and a dancing, pooping balloon chicken. and the “kazoo queens.”
Junior and Emily Alabi – Salsa Dancers – A brother sister act. They were raised by their father, who pushed the duo into dance to keep them out of trouble. Unfortunately, Junior was arrested. They are both in tears thinking back on it. “Dance saved both of our lives” says Emily. The routine is fancy, with lots of tricks. Very flashy and crowd pleasing. It’s a little gimmicky, though. Len on DWTS would probably hate it. The judges give them a standing ovation. “I absolutely loved it,” says Heidi. Howie felt they brought life to the stage. “You are so precise…brilliant,” says Heidi. Simon admires their talent and determination, “Incredible.” 4 yesses
Will Tsai, 33 – Magician – He saw a guy doing magic on the street and he went on to teach himself the trade. His family moved to America and it was tough. Will was homeless for a time, but magic gave him purpose. We previewed this act too. His bit involves flowers and quarters. It’s so simple, but his sleight of hand is amazing. The audience is mesmerized. The judges and audience give Will a standing ovation. Howie says it was the best close up magic he’s ever seen. Heidi calls it “incredible.” Mel B says, “It took me a minute to catch up…but it was amazing.” Simon calls it “the best magic I have ever ever seen on the show.” Will claimed it was the first time he ever performed the trick. 4 yesses
Donald Trump impersonator – The crowd immediately erupts into boos when “Donald” takes the stage. Mel B hits her X immediately. This is actually kind of depressing and not funny, to be honest. “We’re going to make America’s Got Talent great again!” GROAN. Hey. AGT is supposed to be my escape from sad reality. Please knock it off. Fake Trump launches into a performance of 24K Magic. and Uptown Funk. Not funny. His impersonation is terrible. Howie thinks it’s funny. OK then. Heidi says it’s not about liking Donald Trump. Mel isn’t feeling it. Simon thinks it’s something everyone will remember. He calls the act “original.” 3 yesses 1 No. Mel B is the voice of reason here.
Aw. Cute montage of Simon and his son. He likes pushing that X.
Merrick Hanna, 12 – Dancer – He’s nervous about the buzzers. He’s watched the show for “years.” His grandma influenced his dance style. Yet, his dance style is “robotics” hip hop. He’s got the body contortions down. But the act is more like mime, as he tells a story. It’s not exactly dance, but as a kid act, the crowd eats it up. Simon calls it “one of the best dance acts he’s ever seen on the show.” And, “I’d put you in a pop video in a moment.” There it is. Howie compliments his storytelling ability. Heidi says he’s better than many adult dancers. Heidi calls him “absolutely incredible.” Simon promises to bring the clip to his record label. – 4 yesses.
Puddles Pity Party – Sad Clown Act – He’s a Postmodern Jukebox regular. In fact, he filmed a performance with Haley Reinhart, which to be honest, I actively hated. He sings “Chandelier.” I think Simon hates clowns? So do I to be honest. Howie is really digging it! The crowd goes crazy, but Puddles still looks sad. “You have so much talent, you are so original,” says Howie. Heidi wants to see more. Mel B. loved it. Simon never ever wants to know who he is. Puddles may have turned Simon’s distaste for clowns. “Originality at its best,” he says. 4 yesses.
Demian Aditya 36 – Escape Artist – His wife is crying. She’s afraid something will go wrong, because it has in the past. The ambulances are standing by! It’s only the second time he’s done the act. He could die! An assistant chains him up in a box, including a solid metal neck brace. If he doesn’t get himself out in 2 minutes, 900 lbs of sand will be dumped on him. He struggles with the neck brace. Here comes the sand. Assistants break the glass. Hoo boy! He’s one of the rescuing assistants! Very slick. Obviously, the wife is in on the act too. The act seemed pretty lame initially. “This is brilliant!” gushes Simon. “Visually, this was incredible…mind blowing,” says Heidi. “You took me on a roller coaster ride and I loved it,” says Mel. 4 yesses.
Darci Lynne Farmer, 12 – Ventriloquist – Her puppet is a rabbit named Petunia. She first saw ventriloquism at her church. Working with puppets have helped her be less shy. Oh. It’s a singing act. Petunia sings a “Summertime” duet with Darci. It’s a cute act. I bet she gets the golden buzzer. But who will it be? Big standing ovation for Darci. She and her mom are both crying. She’s been working the act for 2 years. “You have all the nuance…I love you,” says Howie. “I’m going to remember you…” says Simon. “And when you’ve got it, you’ve got it.” Heidi says, “That bunny can sing!” Mel B says, “You made my heart melt,” and IT’S MEL. She slams her golden buzzer. The golden confetti flies! Mel runs up on stage to hug Darci. She’s going straight to the live show.
I already miss Nick Cannon. Tyra is doing a fine job as host, but Nick was way more entertaining. Also, I read that she often needs a couple of takes to get things right. She could falter once the live shows start. Nick was a pro from start to finish. I wonder what sort of act Simon is looking to win this season? Another singer? Maybe he’ll sign one whether they win or not.