Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Thoughts on the second audition night of NBC's "America's Got Talent"

Tonight was the second audition night of NBC's "America's Got Talent."

Here are my more or less plausibly live*-blogging comments:

* As in, I was blogging while watching, but I wasn't watching live, because, well, I watch almost nothing live, thanks to my beloved TiVo.
1. The big family of singing kids. I wasn't paying full attention to this act, although the choice of a song from "The Sound of Music" was quite apt.

2. The phrenology duo. These guys started off with a quick trick of "magically" changing their nametags from each other's to their own. I'm guessing they had correct magnetic nametags hidden in their palms. Then they said they were going to press on parts of Howie Mandel's head to make him lose the ability to do things. I thought they dragged the joke part of this out too long ("You have lost the ability to do a double backflip; can you do one now?"), and I would've been close to buzzing them. But then they did a neat trick where they brought out these cards with words describing Howie, which the other judges could read but which Howie could not. My guess is that the trick was based on holding the card at a certain angle that caused the lettering to change.

3. The 15 year old singer. She was quite good but I sort of have a bias against single singers because there are so many other singing-only venues available. "American Idol" does have an age requirement, and I think "The Voice" does too (and anyway, "The Voice" is geared more toward professional singers), so I guess I'd cut her some slack.

4. The high school male tap dancers. These guys were pretty entertaining. I don't see them making it to the finals, though.

5. The Shaolin master. He only got two Yes votes so he didn't advance, and I'm surprised he even got that many votes. His last act, having host Nick Cannon kick him in the groin, reminded me of the scene in "Beavis and Butthead" where the Coach tells Butthead to kick him "in the jimmy." It was funnier 20 years ago.

6. Motorcycle evangelists. When stunts make you wonder, how do they even practice that?, it's a good performance. My favorite events in the Winter Olympics are the X-Game-type stuff, and this act would fit in with those. However, danger acts tend not to do well on this show for whatever reason.

7. Basketball trick artists. We didn't see much of this act, just a taste. Might make it to the finals group, but I wouldn't expect them to win.

8. Jump rope trick artists. Ditto.

9. Pogo stick trick artists. Ditto. Well, I wouldn't expect all three of these acts to make it. I guess I'd rank them basketball, pogo stick, jump rope if I had to.

10. Kid card thrower. It's hard to judge children's acts: is the act impressive enough on its own, or is it augmented by the inherent cuteness of kids? I'll grant that the lead kid had definite style, but I dunno....

11. Mad Jack the Magician. Slow presentation but I will say, I've never seen the "is this your card?" trick where it goes from inside a rubber-band sealed pack to inside the magician's butt! Well, he didn't get passed through.

12. Miguel the singer. Again, I prefer not to see singers on this show, but putting that aside, he was good and judging from the cheers in the audience, he'll get a lot of votes. Young guys have done very well on "American Idol," so he should too. Possible contender to win.

13. Aerial animator. This was quite cool, an interesting variation on last year's winner, who performed in synch to the images on a screen behind him. In this one, the dancer was suspended in air and reacted to the animated drawing -- running downhill from a bear, freefalling, swimming in the ocean. One of my favorite acts so far.

14. Salsa dancers. This is something I haven't normally seen - two male dancers together (not as a romantic couple) - probably because they wouldn't get past the initial audition stage on "So You Think You Can Dance." Good performance, and as a bonus, they got Howie and Howard to get on stage and dance, which was definitely . . . entertaining.

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