America's Got Talent 2013

The premiere episode of America’s Got Talent Season 8 aired Tuesday night and was chock full of auditions from a wide variety of performers.   Here is a review of a few of the more memorable performances from the 2 hour audition episode.

The show started off with a bang with snake handler, David Weathers and his Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. The 35 year old from Florida walked out on stage carrying a wooden box,  the sounds of a very irritated rattlesnake emanating from within. After carefully removing the snake from the box, and placing it on a table, he began to blow up a red balloon.  The snake, tail rattling ominously, watched and waited, positioned to strike, inches away from this nut’s face. The audience “oohed” and “ahhed” and were on the edge of their seats, anticipating or possibly hoping for disaster, when suddenly, BANG!  The snake struck and the balloon popped, it’s tattered remains still dangling from David’s mouth. This performance was a nail-biter and the judges and the audience were riveted to the onstage action.  Mel B said this was just the kind of “scary thing she likes and she can’t wait to see what he does next”. All four judges gave him a “Yes” and he moved on to the Vegas rounds.

Next up was Marty Brown from Franklin, Kentucky. Marty is an exuberant fella and greeted the audience with a hearty “Yee Haw!” which earned him some skeptical looks and head shaking from the judges as well as audience members. The 47 year old carpenter changed everyone’s tune in a hurry when he began to play his guitar and sing Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love”.  All four judges were completely engaged by his smooth, beautiful vocals. After his performance, his wife said she drove him to the audition without telling him where they were going and it was a complete surprise. Howie Mandel summed it all up with “You don’t judge a book by it’s cover”.  Marty is no amateur however, he’s had some success in the music business back in the 1990′s and reportedly had a recording contract with MCA, but apparently his career stalled somewhere along the line.  According to the judge’s votes, we’ll be seeing more of this country crooner in Vegas.

Next to audition was Miu, a 31 year old student who performed some sort of non-sensical gyration to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”. Howard, Mel B and Heidi buzzed her almost immediately in quick succession. Howie was the only judge who “got her” and enjoyed the performance immensely saying “she had a lot of stories to tell” and she did have some support from the audience. But, in the end it was 3 to 1 against and she won’t be continuing on. As Nick escorted her off the stage, Heidi Klum commented “Thanks for wasting our time”. Howard Stern turned to Howie and asked, “Have you stopped taking this show seriously?”

In preparation for the next act to audition, Nick Cannon turned the lights down and introduced “Catapult”, a shadow dance company based in New York made up of a group of people that all do something else for a living. This performance, in the style that everyone seems to be doing now, impressed Mel B who thought it “was incredible, creative and original(??)”. Howard stood and gave them a bow which he says he’s never done before on the show. The judges and the audience gave them a standing ovation. It was a unanimous “Yes” and we’ll be seeing them again in Vegas.

Some of the other acts that were put through featured an all girl dance group that seemed to be doing a part river dance, part Rockette  routine and a yoga instructor performing an aerial straps routine. Then came “Hype” a group of jet lagged guys just in from Hawaii who set us up for disappointment by saying they only just put their routine together the night before. Howie added to the set up by telling them,  “Good Luck, but you’d think you’d put more effort into what could possibly mean $1M dollars “.  They ended up performing a really cool routine to “Singin in the Rain” involving an umbrella, break-dancing, gymnastics and soft-shoe. Howie revised his opinion saying, “That was phenomenal”. Mel B said “That was ridiculously sexy”. Heidi said “It was a lot of fun to watch”. Howard expressed concern when they opened the umbrella indoors because ‘He’s seen this kind of thing before and that’s usually bad luck”.

Chuck from the Bronx treated us to a three part performance he called “Three Different Food Challenges” which included eating three raw eggs, the tequila suicide shot and the fire and ice challenge all to the theme from “Rocky”.  The best part of the whole torturous performance was Howard Stern’s play by play commentary.   Howie said, “We do acts where people take themselves to the edge” and called it “innovative” in a way he’s never seen.  Howard disagreed saying we don’t even know if the hot peppers he ate were real.  Howie attempted to bring the pepper to Howard for authentication and he said he’d “shake his hand if he came anywhere near him”.  Howie decided to take a bite of the pepper himself, which turned out to be very real and was rescued by Nick Cannon with a container of milk.

Anna Christine, a 10 year old with a voice that makes her sound much older sang “House of the Rising Sun” while accompanying herself on a piano.  Both Heidi and Mel B commented that she has a “powerful voice” for her age and said “she was really something special”.  Howard told her she had “four huge yeses and we can’t wait to see you in Vegas”.

3 Penny Chorus, a mix of choir and orchestra, did their version of “Call Me Maybe”.  This may have seemed familiar to a lot of viewers who have already seen this same performance by this same group on YouTube where it appeared last year, along with countless others who’ve uploaded their own versions of this song.  Even though it seemed like watching a summer rerun, the group did give a good performance.  All 4 of the judges said so and they were put through to the Vegas round.

The Pacific Boys Choir sang “California Dreamin” over a montage clip of the Los Angeles auditions which circled back to the group performing on stage.  They were fabulous.  Howard gave them “a big fat yes!” and the other judges agreed.  I’m looking forward to hearing more from this group of young men in Vegas.

Angela Hoover made it through with a stand-up comedy act that featured impressions of female celebrities.  I totally agreed with Heidi Klum who said she not only nailed the voices, but she even managed to look like the women she was impersonating.  This was especially true during her version of Drew Barrymore at a child’s birthday party.  All 4 of the judges loved her and she moved on to the Vegas round.

At the end of the show, auditioner Anthony Tone performed his original song, “Booty”, which he said he wrote about 10 years ago but let it “preserve” until the time was right.  He burst onto the stage with his buddy, his  “Hype Man” and there was no stopping him from then on out.  He told Howard what he did was “SHUT THE HOUSE DOWN!” and told Howard that his dream was to be a “one-hit wonder”.  Tone and his Hype Man delivered a rousing performance of “B-O-O-T-Y and had the audience and the judges on their feet dancing and cheering.  They got an enthusiastic “Yes” from all 4 judges to head to Vegas.  Host, Nick Cannon led the duo and the audience in a dance to a replay of the song and closed out the show on the highest of highs.

If you missed the premiere, don’t despair.  We’ll have videos of the highlights right here and you can decide which auditions were your favorites of the night.  Don’t forget to let us know what you think of the talent so far.

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