On the one hand, we kind of feel bad for Sofia Vergara — but every other part of us can’t stop laughing!
From a child magician to a “hairialist” to a dog singer and more, this week’s episode of “America’s Got Talent” felt more packed with wow moments than any before.
And that’s before we got to what has to be one of our all-time favorite “AGT” moments. Last season, we learned just how squeamish Sofia gets about danger acts, and how hilariuosly terrified she is when coaxed into joining on. Well, let’s just say that gets taken to the next level tonight, and it’s so incredible we don’t want to spoil anything more up here. You’ll just have to wait for it!
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The night also featured a singer who tackled a song Simon said was his absolute worst song (as in least favorite) of all time, so that was quite a challenge to overcome. Throw in an incredibly energetic shuffling troupe, an incredible contortionist and a choir from New York City that brings almost as much energy as those shufflers, and it was wall-to-wall crazy.
Did we mention the nine-year-old magician who wowed the judges with closeup magic right in their faces? How about the comedian with cerebral palsy who gets in front of it and brings us in to laugh with him? And we got to see Sofia offer up her Golden Buzzer to an act based solely on how unexpected and great it was.
Oh, and we’re still feeling some kind of way by that aforementioned aerialist act utilizing her hair. We’ve seen that stunt before on this show, but we’ve never seen it done like this before. Simon suspected she may be the best in the world at what she does, and we were left so awestruck, we think he might be right.
And that’s not even getting into the self-proclaimed “world’s gayest boy band.” They had us with their group name, The Other Direction, and it only got better from there They gave us everything with a funny original song and an even better story as to just how they came together. We’re already groupies!
Fair warning, since I’m safe at home, I’m probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe.
And just for fun, I’m gonna rank them from worst to first to see how my favorites do and then we can track them throughout the season to see how they fare.
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(singer) Michael said he got a million views on one video for his singing, but this was definitely a parody/comedy/performance art type of routine. There was no way this was a serious attempt at an audition as a singer. His lower register was amateur musical theater and his upper register was — well, atrocious. Simon compared it to wolves howling, but we don’t think it had that much artistry. We didn’t get the votes, but he didn’t go through and we can kind of guess.
(ventriloquist) We loved the costuming and the characters for both Charley and his puppet, but the ventriloquism itself was just not good. The puppet was hard to understand because you could hear him gritting his teeth as he talked. Even worse, you could see his lips moving slightly, as well as his throat, and it was very hard to understand the puppet singing or talking. There’s an art to this particular act, and he’s just not there.
(singer) This teen singer was just okay. She had a pleasant enough tone, but she oversang her entire audition (what we saw of it). Someone needs to tell these younger singers that putting a run onto every syllable doesn’t make it more artistic, it makes it grating to the ears. Sometimes we want to hear a melody. Oh, and where did that whistle note come from? We didn’t get the results, but SImon sent her home, so it wasn’t good news.
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(dog singer) Pam was an okay singer at best, but when Casper — like a good boy — joined her at the chorus of “All By Myself,” we started cracking up. We’re not sure how this came to be, but his commitment to sing with her in those moments was absolutely hilarious. We don’t see this as a million-dollar act, or even something we could enjoy more than once, but we enjoyed it so much we’d have to reward her with moving on … and just hope she can somehow up this without it becoming repetitive. She probably can’t, but we had tears in our eyes — what can we do?
(dancers) There are some really fun elements to this trendy style of dance, but not all of it came together quite right here. We could have done without the guy doing acrobatics and so-so breakdancing altogether, as their synchronized movements when tight and innovative were far more compelling to watch. It’s an act with a lot of energy, freshness and creative potential, but they definitely need to work harder to keep it tight and together at all times so we don’t get pulled out of their performance.
(magician) Not as intricate as some of the adult magicians we have, but Shoji has an adorable delivery. And at nine years old, he’s well on his way to a great stage persona and presence to excite and delight magic lovers around the world. We were impressed with some of his coin trickery, though the sleight of hand for the card trick was a little more clear. It wasn’t all clear, to be fair, but it wasn’t as smooth as it could have been. But all of this will come with time, and as we said, he’s off to a great start.
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(singers) Look, not everything about this particular arrangement worked perfectly. Some of the solos did not mesh well with the backing vocals. But as it went along, a lot of those things smoothed themselves out and we wound up with a very inspirational overall performance. The group dynamics are incredible, so it’s just a matter of choosing the best soloist for each part. What an intriguing group, though, that could definitely connect with America. We didn’t have the emotional response we hoped for, but there were a lot of elements that really worked for us.
(contortionist) What a weird and wonderful act this turned out to be, after a less-than-impressive opener. But watching Roman shove himself into a box six inches wide (or so) was nothing short of utterly mesmerizing. We were enraptured by every inch of this experience. We don’t know where it goes from here, but he knows how to build suspense, to have you rooting for him and to amaze you with what he can do. Simone gave an ‘X’ in the early going, but even he had to admit it was compelling by the end.
(comedian) Josh has cerebral palsy, and he not only started with that but made it the crux of his standup routine. There was a lot of fun material, even if the audience wasn’t quite sure they should be laughing at some of his jokes. The difference here, though, is that he was inviting them into his world to laugh with him. Plus, some of it was about how he’s “other”-ed by people based on how he moves. He had a great delivery and a very warm personality that came through, which is half the battle in comedy, and most of his jokes were very good. He’ll need stronger material to go deep, but he earned a second shot to prove himself.
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(singers) The self-proclaimed “world’s gayest boy band” was everything we needed for Pride Month and beyond. We loved their story of coming out to one another at camp when they were 12 years old and vowing to reunite at 21 to do this. And then they delivered a brilliantly funny and clever song on top of it, dedicated to all the ladies. Seriously, this was cheeky and fun and they even had decent singing chops on top of it. We’d absolutely support an album if they’ve got enough songs like this one, and even a tour. Simon wasn’t a huge fan, but it was a blast.
(singer) Brooke took one of the most challenging songs from Lizzo’s catalog — a real showstopper when performed well — and covered it in her own stank (and we mean that in the best possible way). It’s such a well-known vocal delivery, but Brooke managed to take it places all her own to put her stamp on it. Her goal is to be the first indigenous pop star in America, and she’s definitely got the pipes and stage presence for it! That was a great showcase for the depth and breadth of her talent.
(singer) Jimmie took the song that Simon hates the most in the world and shattered the ceiling with his voice and range. His speaking voice was in a higher range, so we suspected he’d have no problems there, and he didn’t. But it didn’t come across as pandering or as if he was trying to do a child’s voice. Instead, it was full-throated power and strangely moving. There was also a depth and maturity in his delivery that was unexpected, making this one of the best surprises on the night. And on top of that, he’s got incredible pipes!
Results: [Sofia’s Golden Buzzer]
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(aerialist) What an incredible piece of artistry. We’ve seen aerial artists hanging by their hair before, but the way Danila choreographed a routine with this added feature took this so far beyond what we’ve ever seen on this show. It was emotional, powerful and absolutely beautiful. Her strength and grace never waved. Every single trick was executed to perfection. She had us with just her arms in the opening moment, but by the time she landed perfectly again on the stage, we were absolutely hers. By making this effectively a dance with that added aerialist element, Danila is carving her own path here, and it’s one we could watching over and over again.
(comedy-danger) The production didn’t bother to try and trick the audience that this whole thing was a dastardly prank set up by Simon Cowell, but that didn’t take away at all from its entertainment value. If anything, it amped it up as we all knew something Sofia (in particular) didn’t know. Now, the teasers throughout the episode were absolutely a fakeout, but that’s marketing. They quickly proved how real and dangerous the act is with some crossbow action — which was incredible — before bringing Simon and Sofia on the stage to traumatize Sofia … possibly forever. Look, this was such an elaborate and brilliant prank we don’t want to spoil a single bit of it with a description, it’s worth the ten minutes to just experience it! It was also a little bit cruel.
Results: We can’t stop laughing
“America’s Got Talent” auditions continue next Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.