'America's Got Talent' recap: Who's ready for Hollywood?
"America's Got Talent" made it to Hollywood (hooray!) Tuesday night, embarking on this season's quarterfinals and the first of its live shows. Oddly enough, now that Vegas is in the rear-view mirror, we finally got a bit of that Glitter Gulch razzmatazz, which in some cases, sadly, tumbled right across the line into Sin City cheese, as the first 12 of the 48 quarterfinalists compete for four of the slots in the next round.
This week also marks the first in which the public's votes will determine who will roll on in pursuit of a million bucks and headline status, and who will be left thumbing for another ride along the highway to fame. We'll get the results in Wednesday night's show, on which the cast of the Broadway musical "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" and Avril Lavigne will also perform.
I won't make a secret of it, I have my favorites, the acts that don't make me cringe or sigh. Would I pay whatever it costs to see a show in Las Vegas these days to see them? I suppose that depends on how well I did on the slots that day. But in any event, here's who I'd vote for if I were the "AGT"-voting type, listed in Tuesday-night performance order:
The Fearless Flores Family: I'd love to see this motorcycle-riding family of four, which went from two riders zinging through its globe of death to three, continue to crank up the excitement. I saw an act like this perform at Ringling Bros. a year or so back, and thinking about it now still leaves me breathless. I worry that the thrill doesn't quite make it across the TV screen -– and like Howie Mandel I have serious safety concerns about the flowing locks of the family's young daughter. But the fact that the youngest Flores is only 8 really impresses (and OK, frightens) me. That mother must have nerves made out of the same steel as that globe.
Snap Boogie: This street performer reached headline status in my home as soon as he auditioned; he's a favorite of my 8-year-old son, Max, and I too have a soft spot for his hard-luck, dancin'-to-support-my-mom story and inarguable Michael Jackson-esque talent. It was gratifying to see him transition Tuesday night from raw solo street performer to polished stage performer, using back-up dancers and mirrors wisely to highlight, but not detract from, his moves. (Performing in a white T-shirt and pants, he didn't get swallowed up in over-the-top Vegas-y costume choices like some of the other contenders, either.) Somehow, he was able to maintain and magnify the sense of pure, spontaneous joy he creates in his audience without missing a beat. Here's sending him a heart-shaped-hand gesture a la Sharon Osbourne.
Sandou Trio Russian Bar: How do you make an act in which a woman does ultra-high flips and lands on a slender bar balanced between the shoulders of two men, one of whom is her husband, without a net or a mat, even more dangerous, death-defying and difficult to watch? You add the threat of falling on a bed of nails that could slice a watermelon in half, and then you set that bed of nails on fire! Almost unwatchable. And maybe worthy of winning the whole thing.
If I had to pick a runner-up, it would be the aforementioned Miami All-Stars, who turned in a perfect performance despite a last-minute music-use issue. But I'm ready to see the night's other acts -– singer Dezmond Meeks, Those Funny Little People, Squonk Opera, comedian J. Chris Newberg, Echo of Animal Gardens, The Fiddleheads (sadly, I'd really liked them, but they really picked the wrong song to perform last night) and trapeze acrobats Duo Aero -– head home.
And you? Which acts are you ready to go see – and which are you ready to see go?
-- Amy Reiter