Tuesday night brings a whopping three hours of "America's Got Talent," including the final hour of auditions and a two-hour run through the Vegas round.
First, 8-year-old Avery and the Calico Hearts, a singing trio, pile on the saccharin with a rendition of Justin Bieber's "Baby." The judges all enjoy it, even Piers, but he doesn't want to send them through. Sharon and Howie's votes are good enough to keep the sweetness coming. They're going to Hollywood.
A guy named Kevin Shelley says he's going to break 48 1-inch-thick pieces of wood with his head. He asks Nick to hand them to him one at a time, and the guy does it -- alarming fast. His head bleeds a bit, but he seems to have all his faculties. A medic stands by just in case, telling Nick, "That's not right." Piers says that whenever people ask him what it's like to work with Howie Mandel, he's going to show them the video of what Kevin just did. Howie wants Kevin to come back and do something even more dangerous. It's a yes. Sharon says she can't see it in Vegas, and it's a no. Piers agrees with Howie. Kevin's in, and leaves with an ice pack on his forehead.
Here comes the montage: Dezmond Meeks, a singer and pianist, riles the crowd with an old, sweet rendition of "Georgia on My Mind"; a juggler named Thomas John plays "When the Saints Go Marching In" with a ping pong ball and... yeah, this one you had to see; and a female singing quartet called 4Play (get it?) stuns the judges and crowd with a version of Beyonce's "If I Were a Boy."
J. Chris Newberg plays "short funny songs." Piers doesn't find him particularly funny. Howie thinks he's a "funny guy." Piers says he's great, except he's not funny. Howie's a yes, Piers is a no, and Sharon is a yes.
King Diamond, is a 61-year-old blast from the past who looks like he just landed out of an episode of "Shaft." He wants to entertain the world. It takes everyone a moment to figure out whether he's good or terrible. But once the it's clear he's terrible, he gets three X's quickly. Nick comes on stage to dance with King Diamond to smooth it all over.
CUT (Chicago's Ultimate Tumblers) is led by a man who says the group's mission is to keep kids out of trouble. One of the girls who talks about how her coach is a mentor and father figure tears up as she tells the story. The girl becomes the focal point as her teammates are supposed to do flips over her off a small trampoline, and one of them jumps right into her. She's knocked sideways and gets up to get back in position -- and goes even higher. The rest of the act is completed without incident. Piers tells her it was just about the bravest thing he's ever seen. Howie wants to see it less raw and more polished, but votes yes. Piers loves them raw and sends them to Vegas.
A guy who Howie says looks like Art Garfunkel (look him up, kids), goes on stage wearing nothing but a robe. He immediately threatens to disrobe. He eventually does, after pulling off a series of boxers and briefs. The crowd watches in amazement and disgust (in equal portions). All three judges dismiss the rather cheesy act.
A montage of terrible acts, including a really bad opera singer, a guy who tells stories with balloons, and an awful 55-year-old pop singer, follows.
A couple of old pals, 67 and 81, who met singing karaoke take the stage promising to show something we've never seen. The show is called "Meet Me at Fairfax and Third." The 81-year-old plays piano and croons while his 67-year-old pal randomly does a headstand on a wooden chair and dances, upside down, to the music. The music is drowned out by the crowd's cheers. Piers calls it "utterly ludicrous" but that there's "something horribly good" about them. Howie loves it, saying that sometimes A and B are nothing, individually, but together "this is what you get."
That's it for the Season 6 auditions.
The judges are on their way to Vegas -- or at least in a fancy tour bus going from the airport to the place where the auditions are being held. They have to decide who will perform on Day 1, who will wait for Day 2, and who will go home right away. There will be 48 spots in the next round.
The judges welcome all the acts to Vegas. Piers asks 10 of them to stand up. He says the judges have agreed to send them home immediately -- because they've decided to put them straight through to Hollywood.
Squawk Opera (Minneapolis)
Lys Agnes (Minneapolis)
Professor Splash (Houston)
The Rhinestone Ropers (Houston)
The Fearless Flores Family (Houston)
Melissa Villasenor (Seattle)
Captain Stab-Tuggo and Maybelle (Atlanta)
Team ILuminate (Atlanta)
Miami All Stars (Atlanta)
The remaining 38 spots will be determined in Vegas. The first day will feature the judges' favorite acts. They will have the first chance to make it to the next round. The rest of the acts are considered standbys and will only get a chance to make it if the favorites don't fill up the 38 spots.
The acts are grouped together and first up is the "Danger" group.
Juggler Charles Peachock ups the stakes, introducing fire to his act, going so far as to light his legs on fire while he juggles torches that are also ablaze.The judges are impressed. Next is Kevin Shelley, who broke all those boards over his head in Atlanta. This time, he's breaking concrete with his elbows and standing on swords while an assistant breaks concrete blocks on his back. But the blocks don't break. The Yellow Design Stunt Team -- a group of bike performers -- try to impress the judges. Frank Miles, who juggled stun guns, puts a knife into one of four styrofoam coolers. Then, asking Sharon to choose a cooler at random, he eliminates the coolers that don't have the knife in them by doing forward flips and breaking the coolers with his weight (if he lands on the knife, he's in big trouble and, in his words, "definitely not going to Hollywood.") He nails it -- holding a fake bloody knife tip to his stomach for effect as he breaks the very last empty cooler.
The next category is vocal groups. Mona Lisa give it their all, and 4Play are shocked with their own performance. They tells the judges the nerves got to them. The judges confer and send them home immediately.
Next are the acrobats. Trapeze artists, tumblers and jump ropers go at it, and a couple of pole dancers -- a man and a woman -- fill out the group. Steven Retchless, the male pole dancer, wows the judges with an even better performance than he showed in the auditions. Soleil Rousseau, the woman, says she wants to prove that pole dancing is OK to do. She cries as she explains that her parents likely don't approve, but support her despite that. Howie asks her how she thought she compared to the other pole dancer. She says hers was more graceful and his was "mostly strength."
Next are the magicians. They're carefully watching each other. Fantastic Fig, 76, is back and the others are watching. Another magician says Figs card tricks aren't real magic. Michael Turco, who's been watching and knocking the others, runs into trouble with his illusion when a door gets stuck.
The animal acts stumble, too, when some a dog has trouble jumping rope. The talking parrots face off. But this time they both struggle. Echo doesn't want to speak -- and doesn't even wave "bye-bye." His owner quips that they aren't going to get "bye-bye," and Howie suggests otherwise. Meanwhile, Vegas Birds has a parrot that paints -- or at least they think it does. Sharon asks the bird to paint a rose and the painting looks nothing like a rose. Backstage, Echo says, "I don't like it. I'm going to fly."
The classical singers are next, and Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., is nervous because he isn't classically trained like his competitors. Cindy Chang is helping keep his nerves in check backstage. Cindy's audition doesn't go as well. She seems quite nervous and shaky. Howie says he didn't like it and Piers agrees it was a little bit off. The judges send her home immediately, and we have to listen to Coldplay, just in case we don't feel bad enough for her. Landau is devastated, but he won't try to fix her.
The next group is the bands. The Fiddleheads are the first of the bands to really capture the judges' attention. Pop Lyte are the youngest band in the category. They promised to win Piers over with an electric set. The judges agree that they did step it up from the first audition.
The dance acts are next, and Fatally Unique. Their human pyramid fell during rehearsal and one of the dancers was taken away in an ambulance with her neck stabilized. Another injured dancer is part of LD Dance, who has a severely twisted ankle. She goes on despite being in pain. Snap Boogie, who's been watching the other dances in awe, says he wishes he could do "all that stuff." He's a street dancer and he shows the judges what he does best. Piers and Sharon love it. Fatally Unique's injured dancer comes back with a busted lip and fractured nose. They've altered the routine just enough to take the injured dancer out of the final stunt.
The female singers are next. Dani Shay, the Justin Bieber look-alike, is nervous going up against great singers. She's going to do an original song, which Piers calls "a massive risk." She stumbles halfway through her song and stops. She doesn't continue after stopping. The judges call her back, as they've done with the acts that they've sent home immediately. Sharon tells her that they need to hear her sing a well-known song. Asked if she's willing to do that, Dani says, "OK."
The comedians go next and they have trouble performing to a 7,000-seat arena that's empty, but for three judge. J. Chris Newberg, the guy who sings short, funny songs, does alright. Gichi Guy does his one-liner thing.
Dani Shay is ready to come back and perform "Trouble" for the judges, which she says she just learned in a couple of hours.
The novelty acts, who acknowledge they're just "weirdos," include a drag queen who butchers a Tina Turner song. Those Funny Little People, the dancing gnomes, do a new routine with a female gnome in the mix. Piers seems to hate it, and so Howie has them come down to the judges table so he can get a picture with the gnomes standing around an annoyed Piers. The Kinetic King works up an elaborate domino-like set up with popsicle sticks and who knows what else, which took about six-to-eight hours to build and amazes the judges.
The male singers bring their different styles, looks and sounds to the competition. Ryan Andreas wants it badly and seems to have his nerves more under control, but later says he's "not super-happy" with this performance. Dezmond Meeks, who's made a life out of random singing gigs, is hoping this one sticks.
There's massive drama as the judges discuss all the acts and try to figure out who should stay and who should go.
Coldplay's back, which means there's some bad news coming. People cry as they're sent home.
Gichi Guy and J. Chris Newberg are in. Magician Scott Alexander is in. Charles Peachock, Frank Miles and Yellow Design Stunt Team are in. Pop Lyte and the Fiddleheads are in. Those Funny Little People and The Kinetic King are in. Echo makes it. Mona Lisa is in. Fatally Unique are in. Dezmond Meeks is in. Snap Boogie is in. Pole dancer Steven Retchless is in. Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., is in. Zuma Zuma are in. Dani Shay is in.