America’s Got Talent: Week 6 – A Fifth Golden Buzzer (Review)

America's Got Talent - Season 11

On the last day of auditions for America’s Got Talent things got off to a shaky start as the  first few acts were heavy on the delusional front. Things quickly picked up and there were a few surprises and one more golden buzzer given to a 90 year-old stripper.

Once again the talent was spread across the age spectrum. An 11 year old rapper, whose fierceness was almost scary, wowed the judges.   32 year old Las Vegas school teacher Moya Anglea, however, stole the show by singing a goosebump inducing rendition of a Celine Dion cover.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Moya Angela

There was a 14 year old lad who twirled batons and  two young men who did a beatbox redux of “All About That Bass.” Ironically these talented fellows followed a quartet of older performers who picked the Meghan Trainer song but were sent off before they almost before they started.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Ilan and Josh

The final week of auditions saw a little friction between Heidi and Simon as they both reacted differently to the various dance acts that tried out. Acts that Cowell loved Heidi disliked and vice versa.

Even the self taught crowd pleaser Outlawz failed to move Ms. Klum and when the time to vote came  hers was a thumbs down. The lads did get through though with three yes votes.  To be fair, neither Simon nor Heidi got irate with one another. Cowell told her that they saw things differently. “You think bananas and I think apples” was Simon’s philosophical take on their disagreements.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Outlawz

The acts for the final auditions were varied, as usual and while there were more of the more delusional contestants, a number of successful acts were more eclectic in nature.

The Passing Zone, two men who had juggled together as an act for 28 years managed to get through despite irritating Howie enough that he voted them down.  The men included the comedian as part of their act and his vote down was an act of pure spitefulness.  Tsk Tsk Mr. Mandel.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Jon & Owen: The Passing Zone

There was a three way tie for the most eclectic successful act. Steven Brundage wowed the judges and the audience with a magic trick with a Rubik’s Cube  and a paper bag. The up close magic astonished both Heidi and Simon and the magician easily got through. It will be interesting to see where Steven goes in the first proper round.

Jon Bernhardt baffled then enthralled the audience and the panel, except for Heidi, with his rendition of The Clash song “Should I Stay Or Should I Go.” Using the Theremin, a device used years ago to make creepy sounds for science fiction and horror films, he gave a spirited performance.

The other act to step outside the box was 90 year old Dorothy Williams from Hawaii. This energetic contestant did a burlesque type strip tease after singing a couple of lines from Gypsy Rose Lee‘s “Let Me Entertain You.” The crowd and the judges loved Williams and her enthusiasm.

Nick Cannon got so carried away that he hit the Golden Buzzer, even though he is not a judge. Apparently despite not sharing a chair on the panel, Dorothy will go through to the live round making this the fifth golden buzzer from a four judge panel.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Dorothy Williams

This year on America’s Got Talent has been a revelation. After a number of years with mediocre and mendacity passing for talent, not to mention the nutty time wasters, season 11 has been brilliant. The level of talent has been so high as to be unbelievable.

This time around it looks like the children are taking over. Capable beyond their years and worthy of attention and adoration for their skills and abilities.  Some, like Skylar Katz are, as Simon implied, a little scary. Somewhat disturbingly  the 11 year old responded to Cowell’s statement with “You’re right to be scared…”

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Skylar Katz, be afraid…

This last episode of auditions finished with Nick bestowing a fifth golden buzzer on 90 year old Dorothy Williams. It also featured  a teacher who proved  that 32 is not too late to show the world what you have got.

AGT airs Tuesdays on NBC. While waiting for the first round  of America’s Got Talent to start next week, have a look at some of the last contestants to go through:

America’s Got Talent: Week 5 – Simon Cowell Stands for the Queen (Review)

 America's Got Talent - Season 11

Week five of America’s Got Talent  started out on a humorous note with an 18 year old homeschool graduate singing his own composition to rapturous applause and ended with Simon Cowell standing for the Queen. Or more accurately for a male  singer who did a cover of the Queen classic “Somebody to Love.” The final act of the evening was proof positive that there really is talent in “them thar hills” just waiting to be discovered.

The first act of the evening was Ryan Beard. The  young man combined “sit-down” comedy with playing the piano and singing a funny song about being home schooled.  All the judges were impressed as was the audience. Simon even told  the young man he would never forget his audition.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Ryan Beard

Thankfully, this week did not have as many of the weird and wonderful acts from weeks past. No one slinging weights around with their sinuses or picking up heavy objects with their nipples. One man came out and devoured a dog food hamburger dipped in bile, which was revolting. In terms of shoving sharp objects in things, there was Dan Meyer, a 59 year old sword swallower who pulled  a car with the sword in his throat.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Dan Meyer

While previous weeks belonged to the youngsters, week five of the auditions belonged to the mid 50 contestants.  Not in number but in acts that pleased. Each entertained but it was 54 year old Las Vegas denizen Christopher with his full-sized plastic puppets that had the crowd singing along.

Dressed as a Native American Christopher came on, to everyone’s delight, as the Village People. He synced, as did his  puppets, and they all danced and re-created the moves to “YMCA.” Apart from being a real show stopper Christopher also got a standing ovation and four yes votes. He promised to do something even bigger the next time.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Christopher

There were two youngsters; a brother and sister magic act. The children were 10 and 8 years old and the lad cut his sister in half. The Rockets, Kadan and Nicole were brilliant. The trick was more than impressive as  Nicole was shown in two pieces without a box or any other object obscuring the view.

Another dog act was passed through this week with homeless contestant, and OCD sufferer,  Pato and his dog Ginger.  The talented pooch rode a scooter and stood on a tight wire as part of this act and the audience were enthralled. So too were the judges who gave the act four thumbs up.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Pato and Ginger

14 year old self- taught contortionist Sofie Dossi came on and wowed everyone. Her father made her props and the talented girl ended with a “Katniss Everdeen” Hunger Games style  bow and arrow display. Only this Katniss performed the trick with her feet.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Sofie Dossi

It would have been nice to see more of the Arkansas choir that only got a snippet of air time. They sounded inspirational and impressive. They were certainly good enough that the judges all voted them through.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
The Gloryland Pastor’s Choir.

Two backup singers, The Smiths; a married couple,  knocked it out of the park with their duet. Singing a cover of the great Aretha Franklin’s “You’re All I Need to Get By” the couple killed it.

America's Got Talent = Season 11
The Smiths

After an interlude of clowns, all of whom were buzzed off by Simon, who has a severe dislike of clowns, things progressed until there  was one act left.

Brian Justin Crum came out and told his story. Bullied as  child for being fat and gay, the young man worked to lose the weight and followed his dream to sing. The performer knocked it right out of the park and got a standing ovation after his rendition of  Queen’s hit “Somebody to Love.” Even Simon stood to applaud the young man’s skill.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Brian Justin Crum

The talent level of this year’s America’s Got Talent is high and the acts varied.  So far in week five there have been a number of entertainers who have impressed the judges and the crowd. Last night another acrobatic act wowed the audience as well as a knife throwing act.

America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays on NBC. Tune in and enjoy the talent on offer. For those who missed the performances there are a few videos below. A nice mix of what was on offer. Enjoy.

America’s Got Talent: Week 4 – The Last Buzzer (Review)

America's Got Talent - Season 11

You have to love Simon Cowell. On America’s Got Talent he has mellowed somewhat until, that is, something really yanks his chain. His obvious annoyance at Mel B. for taking too long to buzz the “compliment guy” was funny. Yet on Week 4 of the auditions he used his golden buzzer for a cancer survivor who could bring tears to the audiences eyes.  Cowell also, quite rightly, made the statement that the “kids are taking over.”

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Julia Scotti

In this season the age range has been pretty dramatic. From a 62 year singer with a voice and soul for days to a pair of nine year old twins performing a piano duet.  In the terms of the older contestants the 68 year old former teacher as stand up comic was very funny. And the 14 year old singer who is living with her mum at a neighbor’s was impressive and got four yes votes.

 America's Got Talent - Season 11
Jayne Brown

A professional footballer from the NFL blew everyone away with a magical card trick that was above and beyond “slight of hand.”

There were a few heart stopping moments. Such as  the chap who hung things from his face and nipples, and a couple of heart tugging ones. Like  the Golden Buzzer singer and the stand up comic who waited a long time to follow a dream.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Calysta Bevier

A knife throwing act went over very well as did the piano playing nine year olds who both adored Simon Cowell and wore their hair long. These two lads were cheeky and talented.

 America's Got Talent - Season 11
Elias and Zion

In terms of singers, it was 62 year old Ronee who captivated the audience after Simon stopped her moments into her musical number. With that trademark directness, Cowell told her the song was not for her. “What else have you got,” he asked. The response was a heartfelt and inspirational performance of Natural Woman.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Ronee

Once again too much time was spent on the “wasters;” the delusional and the nutters. Granted it was mainly via montage, except for “complement man,”  but it did limit the time spent on really exceptional looking acts.

For example: Cinematic Pop got a few  seconds on the telly. We had to make do with their closing moments and the panel of judges waxing lyrical about their act.  Why do we have to waste time on the odd ones and miss out on the talented. I had to look up the act’s picture via the press site to even learn their name.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Cinematic Pop

A little time was spent on the married couples on the show, two of which went on to the next round; the knife act and the “magician clothes changing” act.

Not being a huge fan of those tissue moments (call me cynical but it is clear that these are spotlighted to ring a certain amount of schmaltzy tears out of the audience) I was surprised to find  a lump in my throat when Calysta sang her fight song.

Below are some videos from the show, including Calysta’s number. The one that prompted Simon Cowell to push that Golden Buzzer; the last one in this season of America’s Got Talent. Watch them and see what you think.

America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays on NBC.

America’s Got Talent: Gold Buzzer Time Again (Review)

 America's Got Talent - Season 11

How can one not love Heidi Klum? Granted the competition is stiff as Mel B. keeps getting better and better, but Ms. Klum is more than adorable.   Her enthusiasm for “America’s Got Talent” is infectious and she opted to hit the Golden buzzer this week.  With a face that could easily launch a thousand ships, it is her eyes that seal the deal.  We have no problem believing that Heidi is enthralled, concerned or annoyed at the act in front of her.

This week the competition had a number of dance groups. Sadly not every one got a decent shot in the spotlight, we got highlights but not the entire act. Room was made for the lackluster and few “token” nutters (an old dear and her screaming chihuahua was one such novelty act).

There was a  person dressed up as what appeared to be an Emu (a singer) and one lady who did a hulu-hoop act. The hula-hoop act was a return from a few years ago and this time around went no better than her last attempt.

Another act were up for their second shot, but their last time on AGT was cut short due to injury, not being voted off.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Sal Valentinetti

The acts once again tipped the scales in terms of age.  A group of near octogenarian dancers,  a high-wire husband and wife; in their 50s and two young performers. The youngest acts consisted of a 13 year old  stand-up comedian and a 12 year old guitar playing country singer.

There was, thankfully, only one “heart-tugging” event that was more of a brief backstory moment rather than a tissue one.

Thus far the dancing groups are getting short shrift and singers are not quite so plentiful as novelty acts. Jugglers, Russian bar acts, the high-wire couple and a number of stand-up comics. (The comics also got shorted in terms of airtime.)  All that has been missing so far, apart from the Japanese chap in an earlier episode, are the magicians.

(A short sidenote here; there was a young lady featured in the build up to a 45 year old juggler, formerly from the Ukraine, who sang an Emo type song. The girl played the piano and sang that she was  creep and a weirdo. It would have been brilliant to have heard the song in its entirety.)

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Lori Mae Hernandez Owning Donald Trump.

The juggler was one part mime and he mesmerized the audience and the judges.

Once again on “America’s Got Talent” a young lady turned out to have a huge voice.  12 year old Kadie Lynn, from Texas, came out in a short lacy skirt and cowboy boots and wowed everyone with that voice.

Lynn was brilliant and as Simon himself stated she was very reminiscent of Patsy Cline back in her heyday.

The big surprise was the Italian pizza maker from Long Island who performed the Frank Sinatra classic “My Way” almost flawlessly.  Heidi Klum was so taken with this stout singer that she hit the third gold buzzer of the season.

Initially when the confident Long Island singer came on stage it could have gone either way. Then  Sal Valentinetti opened his mouth and started singing.  He channeled his inner Sinatra and killed the audience with a superb number.

After hitting the buzzer, Heidi gave Sal a hug.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Kadie Lynn

The third episode of “America’s Got Talent” snuck in a few more nutters and spent too little time on the dance groups.
although, we did learn which acts went through.  In terms of cute moments, the A Capella choir from Memphis Tennessee took first place. The group, called “One Voice” competed in the 16 – 18 category and one of the lads, a football player, asked the lead singer to the prom.

A real “aw” moment, all the more so as the lad borrowed  a scene from “The Office” with a teapot.

“America’s Got Talent” cut back on the heart tugging moments (we thank you) and spent a little too much time on the nutters.  If they can just get the combination right, these could be the best auditions yet. There were a lot of well earned standing ovations last night.

While you have to love Heidi Klum, you need to spare a little positive feeling for presenter Nick Cannon.  He has his own fan base and it is easy to see why.

AGT airs Tuesdays on NBC.  Tune in and see some amazing and not so amazing talent. Till next week, enjoy the 13 year old comic, the 12 year old singer and  Sal Valentinetti; who did it his way.

America’s Got Talent: Auditions Another Week, Another Golden Buzzer

 America's Got Talent - Season 11

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.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Musicality

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.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
John Hetlinger rocking the mosh pit.

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.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
The Edgar family

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

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Grace Vanderwaal Golden Buzzer Number Two

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.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Elevenplay

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.

Hetlinger:

Edgar Family:

Grace Vanderwaal:

“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.