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

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

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

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 Season 11 Premiere (Review)

America's got Talent Season 11

“America’s Got Talent” season 11 auditions were so brilliant that it will be difficult for the show to keep up the level of talent on offer.  The show is not a personal favorite. (In fact, apart from “Grinch” Simon Cowell, I despise the Britain’s Got Talent and the many different iterations of “reality” competitions.) This season is the first American version of Cowell’s brainchild I have seen.

Very different from the UK series with a different lot of judges. ` from The Spice Girls, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and or course Simon. There seems to be less of the nutters and delusional element who have somehow managed to slip though the net.

It is pleasant to see Cowell get blown away by the examples of real talent that turn out and his displeasure a breath of fresh air.  Simon has mellowed as the years have gone by as have his outbursts of point blank negativity.  As always, however, Cowell, tells the truth.

The first set of auditions featured a six year old stand-up comic:

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Nathan: Little Big Comic

The comically inclined youngster writes his own material, although mum types it and the panel as well as the audience loved this cheeky chappy. Nathan got through with a yes from each panel member.

Next up was a 58 year old man and his dancing dog. A cute act that got through despite Heidi giving the act a thumbs down.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Jose and Carrie

A clairvoyant act followed the dancing dog and this couple managed to completely blow away the panel and the audience.  In an act as old as time, the young man and woman guessed correctly what Heidi had in her hand, from her handbag, a cell phone and its provider and Howie’s eye drops, along with the expiration date.

All in all very impressive and after the two left the stage the judges and the audience continued to discuss their skills.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
The Clairvoyants…

While there were acts that breached good taste:

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Ryan Stock and Amberlynn stomach turning…

And some that reached a sort of sublime comic genius:

America's Got Talent - Season 11
“Tape Face” made it through.

It was the singing that moved both the panel and the audience the most.  The two biggest surprises were the quartet who all looked like weightlifters on steroids. These massive blokes followed their short and slightly evasive interview question with a Somewhere Over The Rainbow redux that was almost too beautiful.

Perfect pitch and vocals that brought tears to the eyes of those listening. Made this are real musical treat.  The fact that they performed A Cappella is nothing new, these competitions have had plenty of these in the past. The range of the song and the notes were nothing short of stunning.

America's Got Talent - Season 11

The real shocker performance, and second surprise, however came from a 13 year old girl who performed a short aria with the lungs, delivery and panache of a 30 year old opera professional.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Laura Bretan the first gold buzzer.

This young singer was the first gold buzzer of the season and it was Mel B who hit the button to send this talented lass through to the finale.  Laura and the audience were overjoyed at the gold buzzer and it was a well deserved moment.

No matter how many times one listens to this young lady sing it induces goosebumps and tears of joy. This is magical and amazing and it is easy to see why the gold buzzer was pressed for young Laura.

For those who may have missed the show, and do not have Hulu, here, courtesy of “America’s Got Talent” on YouTube, is the singer herself, not just singing but being interviewed as well. Listen and weep at this talented 13 year old girl.

This season, the first I have ever watched, was a brilliant introduction to this side of the pond’s big talent show. Eclectic, wonderful and touching it was a blast. Presenter Nick Cannon does a great job providing commentary and comic touches to the proceedings. “America’s Got Talent” looks to be stunning this year and has gained a new fan. It airs Tuesdays on NBC and is worth watching…Seriously.

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