Back again in New York for another week of America’s Got Talent auditions. The judges seem to have high hopes for the city: Sharon says “This is where the winner’s coming from. I can feel it.” And we all know how psychic she is. Or is that psycho? Piers – who’s notably dressed down for the occasion tells us that “New York always delivers the best audiences and usual most of the best talent.”
First up is Sharon’s long-lost sister…oh, that could get me in trouble. Lucky she’s not nearby. Mary Ellen’s 74 years old, she’s had a lot of life in her long…er…life. And she’s gotten over that life stuff with music, baby!
She’s plans to give us a blast of Patsy Cline, but it looks like she’s trying to learn how to use the keyboard. Piers buzzes her, which startles her into singing. But that’s a bad to worse situation, folks, and Sharon buzzes in, which makes the old lady yodel. Howie’s mistakenly convinced that this is a comedy act now. He’s on his feet clapping.
Piers artlessly repeats my comparison to Sharon Osbourne, while Sharon tells her “you are absolutely barking mad, but I love you”. Howie tells her that she’s an individual. “I love looking at you, I love listening to you. I think I’m in love.” Sharon and Howie send Mary through to Vegas.
Crazy guy up next, Rudi Macaggi, promises to crack his head open and spill his blood all over the floor. Yes, it’s a weird and wonderful balancing act atop a tower of random wobbly objects. He promises to blow Howie’s socks off if he gets through. He gets three yeses from the judges.
Sexy dance troupe The Spangles Dance Company don’t even need to be good dancers with figures like that. It’s a cheesy, sexy 80’s inspired routine, but it’s not particularly good. The male judges say yes, and Sharon backs them up.
Yo yo acrobatics next from Eric Koloski. This really is an 80’s theme tonight. This kind of stuff is really mesmerising, and for those who’ve tried to do yo yo tricks, we all know how difficult it is. He makes a damned good job of it, and gets three yeses.
The next act is a magician, Michael Grasso. He immediately locks a pretty girl inside a perspex box, as all good magicians are wont to do. And somehow…he covers her up and they trade places. It all happens in the blink of an eye. It’s one trick, but the crowd goes wild.
Howie is stunned but manages to utter “wow”. Sharon tells him it was “executed superbly” while Piers says “that was absolutely brilliant”. All three judges say yes to Michael’s magic act. Are you still wondering how he managed it?
Richard and Bonnie
Promising that “when we play music together, it is absolutely an expression of our love”. Scarily, the pair are interested in Renaissance music and they’ve decided to share their talent with the world. This is going to be either jaw dropping or truly terrible. Ah…it’s the latter. Hey, stop booing crowd, it’s an expression of their love. You cynical Noo Yawkers.
Howie “senses there’s a lot of love between you two”. But it looks like a no. Sharon’s not a fan of the singing. The judges gently let the two of them down. Thankfully.
Joseph Rae or Chale
Joseph wants to become a famous voiceover man slash singer. He’s an imposing presence, and he chooses to call himself Chale for this performance. He gives himself an introduction from the side stage, then proceeds to croon to Sharon, bombing in a miserable way. All three judges buzz him off.
Lovell and Little Willie are the next act. I just don’t understand what’s going on. Neither do the judges. Main Squeeze Orchestra are an accordion band, led by a music store owner. It’s a stark reminder why accordions aren’t more popular in music. Sharon says “it sounds like a massive merry go round”.
Nina and Legit
We’re seeing a lot more dance crews with singers to give them a little something else these days. Little Nina and her dancers kick things off with Duffy’s Mercy. Looks like Nina’s been singing for years as she bellows out a big “Hello New York!” to greet the crowd. I’m not sure about the singing – is she playing fast and loose with the melody, or is she just singing badly? She’s got a great tone for a kid though.
Piers says “I like the look of the group and you’ve got a good voice, but it wasn’t great”. Sharon decides that “you’ve got a very very good stage presence, you’re very confident, but I’d like to see it a bit more natural”. Howie thinks she’s “adorable”, but advises her to try to make it appeal to little kids rather than be a Vegas style act. He says yes, but Piers says she’s not quite ready yet. Sharon has the deciding vote, but she’s a notorious ditherer, but even the chanting crowd don’t manage to sway her. Nina’s going home.
Alice Tan Ridley
It’s the mother of that big girl out of Precious who won an Oscar that one time. She looks like a nice lady though. She’s worked in the Subway for 20 years, and we don’t imagine she means the sandwich place. And she’s almost 60.
Wow, listen to that voice. That’s what I call soul. Despite that garish yellow top, Alice has the audience eating out of the palm of her hand. No idea what the song’s called – if you know, tell me in the comments section, OK? Great performance, totally deserves the cheers she’s getting!
Sharon asks “how come nobody signed you”? Howie calls her an “amazing voice…you are wonderful”. Piers says “In terms of raw talent, best audition of the day”. Three yeses from the judges.
Calling himself an illusionist, top hatted Chipps is the closing act tonight. He’s from Edgewater, New Jersey. Ah, it’s one of those illusionist acts. Piers buzzes him almost immediately. Nothing’s really an illusion – it’s all clumsy and comical. However, his presentation is great and he’s incredibly solemn throughout the performance.
Howie says “I’ll be honest with you, I love it! Piers, you gotta get that he was going for terrible. I loved the deadpan. It just makes me laugh. I think you’re funny, I love your sadsack kind of persona. I think the whole family could enjoy that.” Piers says “I don’t get it. Howie, you’re assuming that he’s trying to be terrible.” Sharon says “I think you are really talented. It’s silly and it’s fun and it’s really entertaining.” Naturally, Sharon and Howie send Chipps through to Vegas.
Favourite act of the night? For me, it was Alice Tan Ridley. Great singing and she’s at an age that rules her out for conventional shows like American Idol. But I reckon there’s an audience for that lady. Move over Aretha!