'America's Got Talent' recap: San Francisco, land of 'big talent'?
Good thing Nick Cannon isn't afraid of heights. The "America's Got Talent" host ushered in the second night of Season 7 auditions from atop the Golden Gate Bridge. Yep, the "America's Got Talent" audition caravan had rolled -- like some kind of unhinged cable car, with Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel waving wildly out the windows -- into San Francisco.
There, in the home of Rice-a-Roni and (some naked guy with blurred private parts told us at the outset of the show) "huge talent," the focus shifted ever so slightly away from new judge Stern and onto the motley assembly of singers and magicians, animal acts and acrobats, dance crews and dramatically "different" novelty acts, those who are crazy and those who are admirably rising above crazy personal challenges.
In other words, it was more or less back to "America's Got Talent" business as usual. But without heartless Piers Morgan and with bighearted Stern, who already seems like family.
The best auditions of the night included. …
David Garibaldi and His CMYKs: A performance art group that blended graffiti, music, art and dance and -– moving to the music of Beethoven's 5fth -- painted a gigantic portrait of Beethoven, which Stern shamefacedly confessed he'd at first thought was a painting of him. (Actually, it looked a little like Sting, no?)
Funk Beyond Control: A cute, energetic teen dance group.
Luiz Meneghin: A registered nurse -– born in Brazil, living in Utah -- who has always dreamed of making it in music and who sings opera to his elderly patients. He won over the judges, including Stern (no opera fan), with his tone and emotion.
Dave Burleigh: A comedian who does impressive impressions of stars, including Nicholas Cage, Bruce Willis and Charlie Sheen. Stern urged him to get edgier material, but Osbourne disagreed.
Turf: A formerly homeless 21-year-old street performer with a sweet smile and interesting hair who calls himself an "extreme hiphop contortionist and dancer." He wept when the audience applauded and said, "100%. I've never done anything like this. This right here, dream came true. Thank you." Aw.
Tim Hockenberry: A soulful singer who is a recovering alcoholic with a pretty wife and a new baby.
Jarrett & Raja: An impressive magician/concert pianist act that pulled off a trick in which the pianist played his instrument while he was cut in half.
Michael Nejad: A performer who comes onstage dressed like a custodian, then plays his broom and dustpan like flutes.
And there were more, many more. But I can't leave without telling you about an act so odd it might have been the most memorable. No, not that poor dog who rode a pony, hanging on for dear life.
Of course I'm talking about 80-year-old Paula Nelson, who uses a walker, wears pearls and orthopedic shoes, calls herself "Granny G" and raps about randy youth and family responsibility.
Here she is doing her thing:
And you thought Stern was going to push the boundaries of taste on this show. …
What did you think of this episode?
-- Amy Reiter
Photo: Howie Mandel in San Francisco. Credit: Virginia Sherwood / NBC