'America's Got Talent' recap: NYC offers tears and triumphs
It was a night of tears and triumphs that left us all chanting "What you gonna do?" as "America's Got Talent" trimmed itself down to a tidy hourlong slot Monday night.
As auditions rumbled through New York City, the home turf of new judge Howard Stern, we saw basketball-dunking acrobats, futuristically costumed Irish step dancers, a buff-bodied aerialist, a young piano prodigy, and a bunch of bands.
And then there were the memorable acts. Those included …
Mir Money, a 7-year-old rapper from Philadelphia who charmed everyone by admitting he was his favorite rapper and that, were he to win $1 million, he'd use it to take care of his family.
So when Stern and fellow judge Sharon Osbourne buzzed the adorable tyke and he dissolved into tears, well, we might all have been a bit shaken up. ("He's only 7!" my outraged 6-year-old daughter exclaimed.)
Stern hightailed it onto the stage to offer comforting words and a hug. "I'll fix everything. Let me fix everything," he told us. "I'm so sorry," he told the kid. "I don't want to make you cry."
"This job is too rough for me," the shock jock said. "I don't want to do it anymore … I'm not cut out for this."
Stern, that softie, then voted to send the kid to Vegas, but Osbourne and third judge Howie Mandel proved to have thicker skin and a better grasp of the long-term effects. No, they said, explaining that they had no wish to prolong the wee rapper's pain.
Thankfully, there were dancing, twirling, jumping, conga-line-forming, wheel-barrowing, and most remarkably, back-flipping Labradoodles to save the day.
"This is the most amazing, best animal act I have ever seen," Mandel declared.
Then after we saw the judges engage in a little alpha judge posturing about whose stage it was, we were presented another remarkable act: a man whose talent is taking massive hits in his testicles (no cup, because "cups are for cheaters," he explained) and shaking it off with barely a flinch.
"I'm here today to shock the shock jock with what I do," the guy, who calls himself "Horse," boasted.
Turned out, he both shocked and delighted.
"You have come up with an act that I can get behind," Stern said, before crowning him "the king of the nut shot." With three yeses -- "Absolutely amazing!" gushed Osbourne -- the act advanced to Vegas.
Then there was a band, Wordspit the Illest, which somehow combined rap and Phil Collins and violins and a massive leap off the stage into what Mandel dubbed "one of the most glorious moments we have had this season on 'America's Got Talent.'"
And last, but certainly not least, we met 77-year-old Burton Crane, a former amateur boxer and schoolteacher who strutted onstage in his white suit, holding his Casio music machine, and declared himself to be the "grandfather of rap."
"Usually 77-year-old white men are ... the guys who do the best rap," Stern quipped.
But dang if Crane didn't sink a more impressive and unlikely shot than the trampoline basketball crew that kicked off the show: His "What You Gonna Do?" refrain proved to be remarkably catchy. And Crane said he had more than 100 such original songs in his repertoire.
"You found a hook," Mandel told him. "That's a song that's stuck in your head."
As the audience chanted "What You Gonna Do?" he added, "That's what's going on in every living room in America right now."
Mandel was right. What you gonna do?
What did you think of the performances?
-- Amy Reiter
Photo: Nick Cannon, 7-yer-old Mir Money and Howard Stern, right, in New York on "America's Got Talent." Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC.