The judges have made their selections, and now the fate of the final 48 rests in America’s red, white, and blue hands. Contestants battled it out in the America’s Got Talent quarterfinals on a live stage in glittery New York City, err…New Jersey, at Newark’s NJPAC Center up the street from the whino-ridden bus depot and Jersey’s murky Passaic river. It’s not exactly the bright lights of Broadway for these hopefuls, but if they close your eyes and take a whiff, it all smells the same.
Howard Stern was a chatterbox, spewing a wealth of advice to the first 12 performers that took the stage. The Sharon-Howie alliance was stronger than ever, and the hard-to-please east coast crowd ate it all up.
Before the main course, AGT served up some “loser stew”—a montage of season seven misfit snafus. Who can forget the Michael Jackson look-alike that looked more like a hybrid of MJ and a half-dead Thriller demon? Remember Nick Gannon wearing a bra swinging on a stripper pole above that marshmallow woman stuffed in a two-piece? Together they looked like the top half of a ghetto s’more “sammich” (sandwich).
After the agonizing walk down AGT memory lane, the “Triple X” brigade—Howard, Sharon, and Howie—took their seats at the foot of the live stage. With a one million dollar prize at stake, the pressure was on and the competition was fierce!
The Distinguished Men of Brass got “bootylicious” to their zoot-suit rendition of Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love.” But their country-boy jiggle n’toot number failed to entice Howie, who warned that they “need to take this beyond a half-time show.”
Fourteen-year-old Edon hit every note in lil’ Billy Joel piano-playing fashion, when he sang “Titanium” to an exhilarated crowd. But enthusiasms fizzled when magic duo Jarrett and Raja’s not-so-tricky “Singing In the Rain” trick rained on the crowd’s expectations.
Lil’ Starr took Howard’s criticism like a six-year-old tap-jazzin’gee. Todd Oliver introduced talking pooch wonder “Lucy,” but the judges hit the snooze button after hearing his material.
American BMX Stunt team wheeled the judges back into approval mode with a death-defying up-flip-and-down routine on their custom-built stage. Australian singer Nikki Jensen’s lack of her guitar only magnified a motionless performance. But The Scott Brothers were no talk and all motion when the pop-lockin’ mimers “Hit a homerun,” according to Howard—demonstrating a unique example of looney tunes inspired dance precision.
When music-maker Michael Nejad hit the stage with his waste-of-time performance, Howard immediately played his “X” instrument like a death knell, then later warned, “If I was a priest, I’d be reading your last rites right now.” Watch out Ulysses and Big Barry, Howard promises to “bless” you too!
The third time was not a charm for the 787 Crew. Howie thought their first two dance routines were better, and Howard co-signed saying, “I think you’re in trouble.” Initially, Howie had even less faith in Maurice, the mature half of the father-daughter Hayes singing duo. But when the beat dropped, both Shanice and Maurice ROCKED!
David Garibaldi and the CMYKs all managed to do Mick Jagger from the back, but in a good way. “C” and “M” rocked to a Rolling Stones tune, while “Y” haphazardly threw up the last of the paint smears. “K” finally flipped the canvas over to reveal Mick’s likeness, and the crowd went wild!
Next week, will America get its “866” on, or will it be a “187” for these first 12 talents?
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