It’s a Wednesday night, and since Lost is on hiatus it’s America’s Got Talent time. Who will join the mass of acts deemed talented enough to compete in Las Vegas in the far-oof Round 2. More importantly, who will join Voices of Glory, the unpopular dancing kid, and the yokel as the show-ending act that actually has a chance to win. From a city we’ve almost certainly visted before…this is America’s Got Talent!Standard recap video package, which of course no one needs when they have as talented and handsome a recapper as I. Nick tells us AGT is the smash hit of the summer (you’re welcome, NBC!) and tonight the search will heat up, presumably more than it’s heated up every other night when Nick has promised that. Main titles.
Nick opens the show in Houston this time, moving the auditions to an honest-to-goodness new city in a petty attempt to escalate our feud. Well played Cannon, but the show is young.
Alright, OK, you win this round.
A lot of interiors of NASA, a countdown of Nick in places he never should have been given security clearance, he shrieks “blast off,” and we’re ready for one of those montages of people screaming and waving flags. Nick reminds us that everything is bigger in Texas (or so he hopes) and this will be the biggest audition yet. There’s the footage of the judges entering which I’m pretty sure they’re just reusing at this point (minus some guy in an admittedly sweet “Don’t Hassle the Hoff” tee) and we’re at last ready to go.
Nick gets this a lot.
Up first is some blond singer named Divani who’s wandering around with a walkman. She’s telling us how good she is at expressing emotion , how much she wants to be a singer, how she’s going to give 110% today, blah, blah, blah. Is there like one script these people read from? Out on stage, she tells David that she’s originally from Russia (which seems like it would have made more interesting background) and then, after Sharon ribbing David for being male, Divani’s ready to sing. But oh dear, is this woman terrible. I think the earlier “drowned cat” act was more melodious than her. Piers hits the X and the audience boos loudly, and afterwards she justifies herself to David because she cannot sing “when everyone is loud.” Nick scores his second point on me tonight by humorously noting she can’t sing when everyone is quiet, either, and Divani is out.
Jolie and Lester provide some uncomfortable fun by having Nick throw vegetables into a lawn mower that Lester (quite impressively) has balanced in his mouth, and this kicks off a fun failure montage. Texas homeboy Rusty gives a mediocre rendition of “If I Were A Richman” and is Xed out, Stone White does this weird robot rockstar thing that’s actually pretty good but gets the axe anyway, and after the vegetable throwers finally get sent home the judges file off to complain about the lack of talent. For all of those who had 8 minutes in the pool, Piers wins it for you by saying, “Houston, we have a problem” as we go to break.
It’s a hard-knock life.
There’s a recap of the failure montage (THAT WE JUST SAW), Nick reheats the Houston-problem line, and next up are a bunch of girls with identical outfits and wigs. Nick has gone a whole commercial break without being the center of attention and wears one of the wigs as he interviews the girls, who are apparently some local dance team. They take the stage and jump around a lot, and after some build-up from David they’re off. They do a well-choreographed and extremely synchronized dance to “Shake Your Groove Thing” and the audience definitely likes them. Piers demands to know the idea behind the wigs, and some girl nervously stammers her way through an answer about loving the seventies. Piers decides it’s reasonable and that he will spare her life, and suddenly Sharon is all about meeting the choreographers. They come out too as Hoff raves about their dance (but shockingly no patented “you’re what this show os all about) and all the judges vote them through. They jump around and shriek as only preteen girls and Nick Cannon can, and then there’s crying and celebrating and it’s time for another break.
I bet she’s the one that sleeps with all their boyfriends.
Cowboy Nick Cannon welcomes us back, and after the standard montage of interesting-looking acts that clearly didn’t make it, we meet Pam Martin and her dog Viva. She’s got a sweet story about picking up dancing with Viva after her husband passed away, but as I recall we got a similar sob story from that other dog guy and then he had some random chick celebrating with him afterwards. She introduces her dog as Viva Martin to the judges, and it’s here we realize that as sweet as she is she’s still one of those people that dress up their dogs and give them their own last name. Piers tries to pschye her out with some talk about the biggest talent show and the biggest stage, etc, but Pam is off and running. They do a really cool number where Viva is jumping on Pam and spinning in circles, and the problem with recapping this show is that the actual talent tends to make it difficult. Bring Divani back, I’ve got another whole paragraph worth on her stupid smile!
I’ve read about the emerging pirate problem, but this is ridiculous! What do you want from me? She’s a widow, for Christ’s sake.
Pam finishes up to great audience applause. Sharon says she’s fabulous and gives Pam the chance to talk about the canine freestyle that they do. David says it’s the best dog dance act he’s ever seen, which is high praise coming from a notorious follower of the canine freestyle scene like Hasselhoff. Piers makes the admittedly clever ‘Viva Las Vegas’ pun when voting yes, and Pam in going onward. Pam and Viva celebrate with some more dancing and again, it’s break time.
FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTEMPT.
The show returns, and immediately I’m comfortable knowing that we’re inexplicably visiting another city AGAIN. Welcome back to Miami, where we have been but apparently need to revisit. Nick is in some Corvette that he won’t shut up about, there’s a lot of B-roll of Miami that I’m sure we saw last time we were here, and after the standard audition montage we’re set to go again. Up first (for the second time that we’re in Miami) is Marty the Magician, and jeez, my Arrested Development magician material turned stale after the first episode. Marty talks about how seriously he takes this and how he would never screw up, which vetran watchers of really any show can identify as likely preceeding failure for Marty. There’s funny footage of him answering his cell phone as “Marty the Magician” and he continues to yak on about people talking about him for years after his shows and how he’s the best undiscovered talent in America. Man, if this guy’s talent is being a tool, consider him on to Vegas. Yeah, yeah, you won’t lose, let’s get your ass-kicking on with. This, readers, should be sweet.
And what’s that stupid red thing on his jacket?
Minor chuckles as the 25-year-old says he’s been doing magic for 20 years, but I’m sure the real fun is to come. He brags some more, Sharon tells him to put up or shut up, and he’s off. He starts by spitting out some cards, then asking everyone to clap, then doing more stupid card tricks. I suppose if he had used magic to MAKE everyone start clapping then that would have been impressive, but as it stands he’s Marty the Polite-Asker. Piers and Sharon look extremely bored as Marty actually does a semi-cool cup levitation, but it in no way makes him better than any other magician we’ve seen. In fact, I figured out how he did it as I typed that last sentence. Two Xs from the judges as he lays his assistant down and makes her levitate, and again it’s not terribly impressive.
She’s so already given her business card to like a million other magicians backstage.
Piers explains to Marty that the audience hates him because he’s the most annoying man in Miami (Nick must have stayed in Houston) and David says the card-eating was cool and that’s it. Marty switched to slimy begging mode and asks to just get another chance in Vegas, but he’s got three nos and looks like he plans on waiting for the judges in the parking lot.
It turns out Marty has kicked off our second failure montage of the night. Next is Brandon who wants to read some poems about ex-girlfriends and more shocking than that they suck is that they don’t seem terribly mean. I would happily accept three Xs and national ridicule for the chance to read some poems about MY ex-girlfriends, and believe me when I say that they would not be as preoccupied with rhyme as Brandon’s. Three Xs send Brandon home, and next is Diego the singer. He teaches singing, which is apparently only a signal to us hardened AGT viewers that he will suck. Sure enough he gets Xed out, and he’s followed by three professional wrestlers who almost get in a fight with Piers after he insults their age. Piers throws Nick Cannon at them AND OH MY GOD NICK CANNON IS FINALLY GOING TO GET BEAT DOWN BY THESE nope Nick totally backs off. So close, Talent viewers. So close. So the wrestlers are off to join Marty in the parking lot and it’s break time again.
I was in an act just like this once, but we didn’t call it pro-wrestling.
Piers says this may be the worst session that they’ve had in three years, which is rough on Miami until you remember that they will assuredly be back here next week for some reason. We’ve gone ten minutes without an illusionist, so it’s time for Joseph and his assisstant, who also happens to be his wife. Joseph’s sobstory is about how he and his wife and children have lost their house and car in a bankruptcy and have gone through other assorted tough financial times, and even lost faith in themselves. It’s very Disney of them, and I expect the whole thing to be optioned into a movie starring the Jonas Brothers as soon as the show wraps. Joseph says it would mean everything to be able to give back to his family, and frankly I’m not sure that Marty didn’t just change outfits and grab some kids from backstage to give himself another chance.
This act is literally all that I have. Like, I don’t own anything else.
Joseph gives the Reader’s Digest version of his story to the judges, and he’s ready to go. Joseph’s wife climbs into a box and Joseph begins the standard magical fun of shoving swords into the box, to which the audience responds with delight. He then opens the box to reveal not a twisted corpse, but an empty box! Nick tries to get the kids to explain the trick, but as always they’re far too mature for him. He resets the box and his wife is fine, though that would be a sneaky way to collect some life insurance. David says that they’ve seen the act before, which is true, but Sharon and Piers save this heartwarming story by finding examples of Joseph’s uniqueness and some loophole about giving people a break.
But wait! For the first time that I can remember, there’s actual drama over the vote. Usual fun-time Hasselhoff is angry they are considering putting him through after rejecting bland people with the same act, which is entirely legitimate, but Piers and Sharon are letting their empathy come through and want to vote based on Joseph’s likability. Joseph makes puppy-dog eyes as the judges bicker. Hasselhoff votes no, and you do have to respect his desire to remain unbiased by these well-edited sad background stories. Piers votes yes and Sharon milks the moment, eventually voting yes and eliminating not Joseph but the show’s legitimacy as an unbiased competition. I am happy to see Joseph and family move on, but there is the taint of producer hijinks.
In the movie, the evil Hasselhoff will be played by Eugene Levy.
Fuschia the bellydancer is going to Vegas, and so is some crazy circus act with these girls that contort themselves and ride unicycles. These five guys come out and take their shirts off, and damn it, Nick, quit mixing your personal life with your hosting job! They do some kind of martial art and their off to Vegas, more for their bods than anything else. But really, how many girls have we voted through for that? So I can’t really complan.
Fuschia met Joseph while they were waiting, and now it looks like Joseph’s wife is going to Vegas by herself.
End of show, time for the real contender. It’s Hairo, who works two jobs to support his talent, and in the unfortunate words of Nick Cannon, “wants to take it from the bedroom to the big stage.” Don’t we all, Nick. He’s a breakdancer from a poor family, and he says he’s excited to chow the judges something that they’ve never seen before. He’s from Oregon (and somehow in Miami) and with little intro starts his act. He does a crazy leg flip and lands (what looks like) painfully and then he rips off his shirt and slams himself into the floor again. He’s super good at twisting himself around, and Nick wins the Insecurity Award of the evening by noting that Hairo probably doesn’t have any balls. The judges love him and want to see more of him, and with little hassle vote him through to Vegas. Hairo talkes about how happy he is and, sensing overshadowing from Joseph. again plays up the poor family angle. He’s excited to go on, and we’re through for another night.
I knew it would pay to just wait for everyone else to go first!
So two weeks down, who is the act to beat? Where does Hairo rank against the other end-of-show-ers? And who’s stoked for Big Brother?