The World’s Best Season 1 Battle Round 2 Recap and Live Blog

Several competitors will be eliminated tonight during a two-hour Battle Round as the still-new talent show continues trying to make itself more compelling than the Pete Sterne Amateur Hour. You never know, though. The TNT Boys could crush It’s a Sunshine Day.

Performers will appear in the categories of Solo Music, Group Music, Solo Variety, and Group Variety. That’s why I stocked up on Solo cups and a group of wine boxes. The competing acts include Humongous Harp Guy vs. the silky-smooth singing group Naturally 7. One’s a solo and one’s a group, so it’s like skiers competing against bob sledders at the Olympics, except with Bode Miller using skis the size of schooners.

The adorbs TNT Boys are going up against the dance troupe Emotional Line, so there we have singing vs. dancing. It’s The World’s Most Confusing Competition. By the way, the pre-teen, mop-topped trio from the Philippines says they see themselves continuing as professional singers and dancers, proclaiming themselves the future “TNT Boys, but in an adult version,” or the Pinoyz II Men.

James Corden and his too-small suit jacket intro the American judges, Drew Barrymore, RuPaul and Faith Hill who represent the diversity of our B-list entertainment community.

First among the acts are Kukkiwon (without Franiwon and Olliwon) vs. Los Vivancos, brothers who won the Guinness World Record for fastest dancing. They even beat Michael Cohen at his first testimony before Congress.

The six Los Vivancos boys start by playing a lively tune on a variety of instruments. Then they clear the stage and race back to flamenco away like my dog when he steps on hot pavement. They break out some platforms to jump onto and dance some more, adding rotating cranes to the mix. They could star in a production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, if they rewrote it so one brother was on vacation.

Kukkiwon are the tae kwon do board-breaking group. Splinters fly as they whirl and kick like me trying to cram myself into the downtown F train at rush hour. Faith wants to learn how to do it, so she comes on stage, assumes the fighting position, and gives the yell. Don’t quit your label, Faith.

Who wins between the two? Los Vivancos get an average 42 from the judges, while Kukkiwon gets 50. It’s up to the world now. The scores are neck-and-neck for a bit until Kukkiwon surges ahead. Los Vivancos will wait for them in the alley behind the studios.

Space Cowboy, the sword swallower who should be Nexium’s spokesperson, is next. Everyone agrees his performance is repulsive as hell, but they’ll give him a second chance. I made that mistake with a couple of my exes. This time his act involves high-voltage electricity, which is so dangerous he can’t do it in the studio. His poor mother.

On the roof, he displays a machine that looks like it came from the Lost in Space prop room, claiming it  produces 1 million volts of electricity. We will now witness the powerful surge of deathly currents coming out of his body, but first he points out that his fingernails are covered to prevent them from melting. Yet he’s not concerned that his piercings will broil his nipples like a pork chop.

After the kitschy CGI lightning bolt effects accompanied by ginned-up hysterics conclude, Space Cowboy claims we can see the heat still coming out of his body. He seizes a piece of wood that bursts into flames as he holds it above his head, after handing the metal mic to an assistant who fails to combust before our eyes.

Next we have the boring lady ventriloquist, Nina Conti. Clutch Cargo was more convincing.  Tonight, she introduces a mangy-looking monkey hand puppet. She plays the guitar with his face, which is somewhat funny, but she does it a second time. The puppet then hypnotizes her, a schtick that involves more than one fingering joke. This is the world’s best? Then RuPaul compounds the problem by claiming the act is right up his alley.

Voting time. The Yanks give Nina 42 and Space Cowboy only 33, because no one likes the odor of burning flesh. Nina and her filthy monkey win. She joins Li Wei and Justin Flom in the Solo Variety category. Flom, Wei & Conti sounds like an international law firm or an STD.

Group Music is next, with William Close against Naturally 7. Close plays Jack White’s “7 Nation Army” on his enormous harp, this time with a back-up band on normal-sized instruments. It looks the giant strings need a good wipedown with some Pledge. Drew says she is very satiated by experiencing the breadth of someone’s capacity. Then she lights up a cigarette.

Naturally 7 could star in the original production of Seven Brides for Seven Bruthas. The group is performing “In the Air Tonight with their unique, enthralling vocal sounds. They get the smoke machine treatment, and are fully deserving of it. These guys are as smooth as Phil Collins’ head.

The three Americans give Close an average of 39, and N7 a big ol’ shiny 46. They should have called the other judges the Worldwide Wall. N7 wins! They land the first slot in the Group Music category.

Next up are Group Variety, with DunDu, the giant light-up marionette from Germany, and Duo Suining, the guys who balance their entire bodies on each other from every angle. Meanwhile, I can’t even do 10 kegels without needing an epsom salt bath. The pair amaze and astonish anyone who’s ever tried to put on a Shapermint.

Dundu doesn’t seem to have much range. Even his wardrobe is boring. However, tonight we are introduced to his sexy pink girlfriend. Neither appears to have genitals, so their relationship, while electric, is purely platonic. Drew is captivated by the performance, but suggests Dr. Ruth counsel the couple.

Votes are locked in. Duo Suining earns 38 from Hollywood, while Dundu gets 41. Go figure. Once the world weighs in, DunDu is awarded the most points, and the Germans finally win something.

Next there’s a special report on the Vietnam denuclearization meeting between Kim Jong Un and President Trump. We could save time by having the Wall of the World vote on that, too.

Emotional Line was saved by the judges when they didn’t earn the minimum number of points to go forward in the competition. If Tomi Lahren were on the panel, she’d have insisted they pull themselves up by their bootstraps. The group does a very lovely dance of agile, delicate moves, some staccato, some flowing, some like me after too much chardonnay. The judges rise to their feet as the performance ends in a shimmer of Mr. Clean outfits.

The TNT Boys, who are cuter than three ladybugs in drum major uniforms, pledge to beat the pants off Emotional Line. Their rendition of And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going is an interesting choice for kids too young to have ever played Spin the Bottle. The last high squealing note is just unnerving.

Now for the results. The red, white, and black panel gives The TNT Boys a full 50 points, while Emotional Line only gets a 40. Feh. The Wall goes full red, like Wisconsin, leading the TNT Boys to prevail with a high of 97.

Next week, the battles come to a bloody end. Good thing I’ve still got three boxes of Pinot left.

About E.M. Rosenberg 240 Articles
Favorite 40-volume series issued by Time-Life Music: Sounds of the Seventies. Favorite backsplash material: Subway tile. Favorite screen legend I pretend wasn’t gay: Cary Grant. Favorite issue you should not even get me started about: Venal, bloodsucking insurance industry. Favorite character from the comic strip “Nancy”: Sluggo, or maybe Rollo. Favorite Little Debbie snack: Nutty Bars. Favorite Monkee: Mike.