America’s Got Talent 2010: More from the New York auditions, 15 June

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.”

Mary Ellen

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.

Michael Grasso

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.

Chipps Cooney

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!

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  1. RivkaS

    I so disagree – they were enormously entertaining!  They even performed the reverb.  I loved it!  “Anymore anymore anymore”.  Could they sing?  No, but what cliche does?  I loved it when they were backstage and Tony says to Nick Cannon, “Hey – I know a guy named Nick”.  It was so great! 

  2. RivkaS

    He told two jokes and they were both dark but funny.  “I’m scared of pregnant women.  It’s like they are hiding something.”  and “my friend asked me if I could be any animal in the world what would I be and I said, “That’s easy – an eagle”.  He asked “why so you can soar in the clouds?” and I said, “No so I can finally have sex with eagles.”  It was hilarious.  He reminded me of a less confident Stephen Wright. 

    1. Gerard McGarry

      Hi Rivka, and thanks for your comments! I agree, Dougie wasn’t as bad as the audience made him out to be. He was funny afterward when he greeted the audience members outside.

      As for the Italian guys – well, this week proved that Sharon and Howie will put through any old tat sometimes. How Mary Ellen made the cut but those charming Italian guys didn’t will be one of life’s great unanswered mysteries!

  3. rayrayflys

    Hi the song is At Last by Etta James. It was made in 1961 and it is on Youtube, it is an amazing song even though Alice sang it very beautifully.



  4. Moca

    I think Sharon and Howie made a mockery of the show last nite when they put Mary Ellen thru. She thought she could sing. I thought she was awful. I now refuse to watch Americas Got Talent.

  5. Jeffrey Scott

    My comments:

    Mary Ellen – First thing I thought when I saw her, “What did Sharon do to herself?” She was awful and should have been sent to Vegas only if that was where she lived.

    Rudi Macaggi – Anxious to see how he can blow anyone’s socks off. With luck he’ll have more than just a balancing act of us.

    Spangles Dance Company – Two things I love more than anything in life; sexy girls and the 80’s. I’d be hard pressed to give them a no vote. With luck they’ll have lots more to show us. (Where’s the screen shots Gerard)?

    Eric Koloski – My son loves to practice yo-yo tricks also so he particularly likes Eric. I have to admit, he does a good job though some tricks he does looks like he’s just spinning it around the string. But then again, I don’t really know how hard this is and know I couldn’t do many of the tricks he does.

    Michael Grasso – I love a good magician and so many get turned away. I love the trick he did here. Hope he has more tricks up his sleeve (pun intended).

    Richard and Bonnie – Would have gone better if they didn’t sing. For a flute and lute combo, they never even got to the flute bit. Perhaps next year they can come back as a zither and guitar combo. Sorry, but an ‘expression of love’ doesn’t win people over any more than a poetry reading would.

    Joseph Rae – ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE! That should have been his bit right there. It’s always a bad choice when someone decides to dedicate a song to one of the judges. Some acts you can tell before they even start how awful they might be. This was no exception.

    Alice Ridley – I was blown away by her performance. Great voice, and to think she’s been performing in the subway! I predict she’ll be in the finals.

    Chipps Cooney – Funny act, great deadpan humour. Could it sustain for an hour in Vegas? No. Was it entertaining? Yes.

    What about it all: Does anyone else get the feeling they are pushing through some awful acts because they have a quota to fill and are having a hard time filling it? Either way, I’ve liked many of the acts I’ve seen go through and refreshing not ALL of them this year are singing acts. Don’t get me wrong, I love the singing but that’s what American Idol is for.

  6. RivkaS

    Anybody ever been to church?  It is a fact that the best talent rarely gets signed and that includes gospel labels. 

    Okay – Alice can sing, but hasn’t that Etta James cover been beaten clean to death at this point?  There is plenty of good material out there but it seems like everybody sings the same songs.  If Etta pitched a fit over Beyonce covering “At Last” at Obama’s inauguration, what do you think she’s saying about Alice Tan Ridley in the subway singing dressed in her ostentacious blouse and her female patterned baldness going on?  Seems like the mother of an academy award nominee should be able to find a decent wig and a nice dress for nationally-aired television. 

  7. RivkaS

    There are a half dozen videos of them on youtube and none get any better.  At the Greenwich Village Music Festival a choreographer’s category was created just for “Fernando” for Meriden, CT (formerly danced with Janet Jackson & Michael Jackson).  These girls wouldn’t get into his high school troupe, let alone his adult female troupe who are not only gorgeous but incredible dancers.  I saw them at the festival dance in lingerie, and one of the judges said to me.  “I need a picture of them.  I have got to show my wife why she’s having sex tonight.” 

    Long story short – they should have never been passed through. 

    1. Gerard McGarry

      Yeah, I’m inclined to agree with you – they work for me as eye candy, but the dancing was the most basic I’ve ever seen on a talent show. The quality of dance acts that hit these shows is far better than this.

      I think like Jeffrey above, the judges are passing through too many filler acts at the moment.

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