The second week of auditions for America’s Got Talent saw the first stand-up comic go through, a boy and his mother dance team, dancing drones, a contortionist and a 12 year old singer/songwriter; the other golden buzzer. Season 11 has, thus far, keep the nutters to a minimum and instead focussed on the talented and truly different.
This episode saw a group of high school kids, along with their musical director from a rough section of town who sang so beautifully that even Heidi Klum (who quite rightly mentioned that choirs can be slightly boring) was wildly impressed.
As the name of the choir above suggests music provided the broadest spectrum in terms of acts in the second episode with an 82 year old retiree at the top of the scale and a 12 year old girl who sang an original number to completely wow the judges as well as the audience, earning the second golden buzzer of the season.
John Hetlinger, a retired aerospace engineer, came on stage and floored the judges after he introduced himself. The old fellow began screaming the lyrics to Drowning Pool’s Bodies. Mel B was gobsmacked as she, and the rest of the panel, expected anything but the head-banging heavy metal sound coming out of the 82 year old from Colorado performed.
Right smack in the musical center was the Edgar family trio; mother, daughter, and father; Nikki, Jasmine and Ryan Edgar. Nikki started her career as a Christian artist who suddenly found herself pregnant. A teen and a single mum, her recording contract was cancelled and her career was over.
Showing up with her family the young mother and her group wowed the judges and the audience. Their singing was soulful and heartfelt and Jasmine has the voice of an angel. The small group got through with four “yes” votes from the judges.
At the bottom of the age range was 12 year old Grace Vanderwaal who sang a number she wrote. This young ukulele playing singer/songwriter so impressed Simon he called her the next Taylor Swift. Howie Mandel was so taken with the young artist he hit the Golden Buzzer putting her through to the live round
The most unique act of the evening was comprised of the Japanese girls who danced with drones. The act’s name was Elevenplay, although there were only 10 members of the troupe. Five dancers, five drone operators and an act that seemed a combination of synchronized swimming on land and aerobatics. The combination of lighted drones and the girls in their nurses outfits was mesmerizing.
A group of men from Brazil came on with drums, whips and dancing boots and it was an act that Mel B, and Heidi fell in love with. Another act was 57 year old New Yorker The Amazing Sladek who drew gasps and covered eyes from all who watched and Canadian stand-up comic D.J. Demers who wowed the audience and the judges.
But the night belonged to the music. Below are the videos of the three musical acts that stood out: Grace Vanderwaal, John Hetlinger and the Edgar family. Enjoy the variation and the talent on offer.
“America’s Got Talent” continues to provide some hidden gems this year. Twice now, talented youngsters have moved this viewer to tears at the depths of their talent. Both were “buzzed” through. More of this please and less of the schmaltzy set ups where we are treated to a heart-tugging story that falters upon delivery.
“AGT” airs Tuesdays on NBC.