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'America's Got Talent' recap: Viva Las Vegas! [Video]

July 6, 2011 |  8:13 am

Three hours -- three straight hours! -- of "America's Got Talent" is a lot of "America's Got Talent." And if you're like me, you're still a little bleary-eyed from Tuesday night's marathon session of the skilled and the strange.

The good news is that, after dedicating the double episode's first hour to a final round of auditions, the producers finally wrapped up the initial tryout portion of the competition and moved things along to the next round. Yep, at last, the show headed to Las Vegas.

Vegas! Vegas! Vegas! Vegas!

Before the Vegas train began to roll, a last handful of "AGT" hopefuls hopped on: Avery and the Calico Hearts, a chipmunk-voiced trio of tiny girls; Kevin Shelley, a guy who broke wooden boards on his forehead until he bled; Dezmond Meeks, a piano-playing singer whom judge Sharon Osbourne said was like a Prince/Little Richard combo (and who reportedly made it to Hollywood on "American Idol" some years back); 4Play, a provocatively named quartet of pretty women singing Beyonce's "If I Were a Boy"; J. Chris Newberg, a guitar-playing comedian who sang jokey songs; Chicago's Ultimate Tumblers, a group of courageous young gymnasts from some of the Windy City's meaner streets; and Meet Me at Fairfax and 3rd, a couple of oldsters (one sang, the other stood on his head) who for some reason -- perhaps Osbourne, Howie Mandel and Piers Morgan were feeling confused after recently having watched a scrawny, balding man in a bathrobe peel off countless pairs of underwear -- captured the judges' hearts.

In Vegas, after the requisite montage showing the contestants being dazzled by the flashing lights and letting us know how much the competition means to them -- "This is the dream I've always dreamed of," "This is the turning point; after this, the whole world opens up," etc. -- the judges took the stage to explain that some of the acts would be sent home without performing, while the others would take the stage over two days to vie for one of 48 spots in the next round, which will take place in Hollywood.

The acts sent directly home were … the Silhouettes, Squawk Opera, Lys Agnes, Professor Splash, the Rhinestone Ropers, the Fearless Flores Family, Melissa Villasenor, the Captain and Maybelle, Team iLuminate, and the Miami All-Stars. But that's only because -- oh, snap! -- they'd been promoted through to the Hollywood round without having to prove themselves again.

After reviewing the audition tapes, the judges had divided the remaining contestants into two groups. Their "favorites" would perform on Day 1. Once their fates were decided, the remaining contestants, considered to be on "standby," would compete for whatever space was left in the Hollywood-bound Top 48.



The Day 1 acts were grouped according to genre (magicians, singers, jugglers, dancers, etc.). Some favorites fell dramatically, and quite literally in the dance category, where members of two groups were injured during rehearsal. The judges snuffed out late-blooming opera singer Cindy Chang's dream after deeming her "warbly," and swiftly sent 4Play packing after they completely fell apart onstage. In other cases, redemption was offered: When Bieber-alike Dani Shay's original song was found lacking and simply wrong-headed, she was asked to return with a song the judges already knew, which she did, successfully.



In a flurry, the judges delivered the news -- good and bad, and it could be difficult to tell which was which -- to the performers. Among those making it through to Hollywood: singing twins act Mona Lisa, magician Scott Alexander, comedians Geechy Guy and J. Chris Newberg, dance group Fatally Unique, bands PopLyfe and Fiddleheads, daredevils the Yellow Designs Stunt Team, freaky knife act Frank Miles and flaming juggler Charles Peachock, a bunch of acrobats, and the talking (and sometimes stonewalling) parrot Echo. Mystifyingly, the dancing dwarf act Funny Little People was deemed worthy of moving on to the next round.

Happily, they will be joined in Hollywood by the Kinetic King (love that popsicle stick genius), pole dancer Stephen Retchless (hooray!), street dancer Snap Boogie (sweet), and singers Shay, Meeks and Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., the heartbreakingly earnest car washer with the surprisingly Sinatra-esque style.



Not a bad batch overall, though seriously, are those Funny Little People being kept around just to torture Morgan? If so, it's enough already.

What did you think about those who made it through and those who were left behind? Was there anyone you were sad to see go?

RELATED:

'America's Got Talent' recap: Cindy Chang wows the judges

'America's Got Talent' recap: Back to the Big Apple

'America's Got Talent' recap: New York? Fuhgeddaboudit

'America's Got Talent' recap: Auditions roll through Houston, Minneapolis

-- Amy Reiter

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