August 09, 2011 07:58 PM by Candace Young
Thousands of hopefuls submitted YouTube auditions to America’s Got Talent, but only twelve will perform live tonight in Hollywood, including YouTube chosen favorite, Matt Wilhelm, the Chicago native who performs on his BMX racing bike. Will a talented online act blow away judges Howie Mandel, Sharon Osbourne, and Piers Morgan tonight? Keep reading for highlights…
Among last year’s America’s Got Talent YouTube auditions was the young opera singing dynamo, Jackie Evancho. Tonight, twelve of the thousands who auditioned via YouTube will perform live, also hoping to impress the judges and America. Nick introduces the judges and Piers comments on how some of these acts have never performed live ever before and there is a potential for things to go awry.
TNC Elite, a group of cloggers from Charlotte, NC, who choreograph their routines around contemporary music will take the stage first. Performing to I’ve Got a Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas, the dancers bring it dressed in school uniforms. They are excellent. Piers is impressed, saying he thought it was ‘pretty good.’ Sharon Osbourne isn’t sure if the clogging mixed with contemporary music works – it seemed they were fighting each other. Piers disagrees. Sharon tells the dancers they are very professional and a strong team. Howie says they’re really good cloggers, but there needs to be something spectacular about their act.
Brett Daniels, an illusionist, is in Hollywood to pursue his dream tonight with a tribute to Marilyn Monroe. Brett hides a framed portrait of Marilyn behind a curtain, makes the image disappear, and then produces a Marilyn lookalike on the stage. They dance and nothing much happens for a bit. Piers buzzes. Finally, Brett cloaks the girl and makes her disappear. It’s fairly impressive! Sharon liked the premise of the act, but says the presentation was slow. Howie compliments the originality, but thinks the performance didn’t go well. Piers tells Brett the trick was well-executed, but he got bored in the middle – it needed more pizzazz. Howie sets off a fart machine which sends Sharon into a gale of giggles and pisses off Piers to no end.
Gabe Rocks is the next act up. Gabe is a bulldog who will perform a trick only a few other dogs have accomplished. Gabe and his mistress take center stage. She tells Gabe to mount up. He climbs on a wooden rocking horse and, well, rocks. When told to do his impression of Piers Morgan, he places his paws on a buzzer box. Piers actually hits his own buzzer, but Gabe continues, making his way across the stage on a skateboard. Nick is tickled. Piers calls it a completely pointless act and says he can’t wait to see the back of it. Sharon loves Gabe and knows how hard it is to train a bulldog. She wants to set him up with a canine at her place named Lola. Howie thinks Gabe will steal America’s hearts.
Up next are acrobats and dancers, Aeon, from Los Angeles. The street performers must adapt to the closed space to pull this off. They come out impressively with tons going on, including back-up dancers in space age suits. It feels a little too busy at times, but is energetic. Piers buzzes near the end, and comments that it was poorly choreographed. Sharon calls it clever, but says it was repetitive for her. Howie totally disagrees with both of them, saying he likes hardcore. He thinks they made it a show, and it was edgy and original.
8 year-old contortionist Breena Bell calls herself a dancer, and she’s ready to show her stuff on the America’s Got Talent stage. Nick warns Piers if he buzzes her, he is truly evil. Breena gets underway in a bright yellow tutu and performs a perky routine to Walkin’ On Sunshine. Piers hits the buzzer mid-way through a lot of tumbling. Nick refers to Piers as an ogre. Piers says he’s keeping the competition honest. He thinks Breena is delightful and could enter the Olympics in a few years time, but it’s not right for Vegas. Sharon thinks Breena looks happy and tells her she’s very, very good. She agrees with Piers that it’s a bit early for her yet. Howie tells Breena she’s beautiful and limber – he thinks she could have a shot at this contest in a few years.
Singer Kevin Colis from Texas is ready to try his luck live in Hollywood. Kevin takes the stage and performs a jaunty version of The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars. He seems to get more comfortable as the song goes on. Howie thinks he has a great voice, but notes he’s in a tough category – is he great enough? Piers could see he was nervous, and says he has a good voice – he might be two songs away from a million dollars! Sharon agrees that he has a great voice, and considering he’s never done this before, his performance was pretty good. She wishes him luck.
Dancer Beth Ann Robinson takes the stage on America’s Got Talent. She’s in a green costume and has a cage as a prop as though she is a bird. Beth Ann is quite a beautiful lyrical dancer. Piers thinks the show is warming up, but isn’t sure about a solo dance act going the distance. He compliments her technique. Sharon does as well. She also notes the emotion and feeling Beth Ann puts into the dance. Howie thinks she belongs there, but says the question is whether America will respond to the classical style of dance.
Gymkana, an acrobatic group from Maryland are next up live. Piers is concerned about them controlling their nerves. They hit the stage in black lycra suits and perform on a tower made of two ladder-like apparatuses. The eye-catching routine and rather amazing acrobatics are performed to an Edge of Glory remix by Lady Gaga. Sharon cannot believe they’re not professionals! She says the coordination and talent is amazing. Howie agrees it was incredible. He’s never seen anything like this with ladders and thinks they have a real shot at this. Piers says, “Absolutely ridiculous,” and then snorts that he meant Nick’s socks. He thinks Gymkana needs a little more dazzle, but feels it was brilliant for their first live performance there.
Kalani Basketball Freestyle from Honolulu, Hawaii has come to Hollywood. Howie calls Kalani a one-man Harlem Globetrotter. Kalani hits the stage in a white jumpsuit accompanied by back-up dancers in green glittery dresses and boots. He does some impressive tricks, but literally drops the ball at least once. Piers buzzes right at the end. Howie says it reminded him of the movie Space Jam. He says he’s good at what he does, but notes he did drop the ball at the end. Piers caught a couple of errors. Sharon tells Kalani it must be so daunting to get up there with the girls and cameras – she was nervous for him, but he did well.
West Springfield Dance Team is bringing their ‘dark’ dance routine to America’s Got Talent. They have an intense punk look and are dressed in black trench coats. Oh, they have vampire eyes too. Their routine is intense and edgy. Piers was intrigued by their YouTube audition and says they lived up to his expectations – really, really good job. Sharon loves the drama in their routine . Howie tells them they are great and he loved the choreography – he predicts America will put them ahead.
The next act got the most votes on YouTube – Matt Wilhelm does glow-in-the-dark BMX bike tricks. Matt takes the stage wearing black in the dark under blacklight – his bike is neon pink and seems to do things by itself. He then comes out in a neon suit so we can see him perform on the bike. Sharon calls it a really great act and labels his bike as his dance partner. Howie likes the blacklight and tricks – he feels he has an advantage. Piers thinks he has a unique talent and notes that the crowd likes it too. He says his cell phone video could take him close to a million dollars.
The last act of the night is high school choir, Powerhouse. The singers, who are from Burbank, California, are very energetic and say they’re inspired by Glee. They perform a sped-up version of Firework by Katy Perry dressed in dazzling costumes. Howie buzzes partway through. Piers says it was cheesy but made him very happy. Sharon loves their enthusiasm – she felt like she wanted to get up there and sing with them! Howie wasn’t as happy. He thinks Glee set the bar, and this was like Glee Lite. He thinks they need something more on America’s Got Talent. Piers comments that Howie preferred a skateboarding bulldog!
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Photos courtesy: NBC