The choreography for this group is difficult, acrobatic, and intricate. The boys are lifting the girls in challenging moves that would daunt grown men, and the littlest girl has the judges panel gape-mouthed at her skill. There are moves here that are done by the pros in Dancing With the Stars... and this group has one member who has hit puberty. Of course, as Howard points out, puberty may end up being their enemy (as it was for Shirley Temple... Black, the ambassador.). The crowd is on its feet in a flash and they are through to Las Vegas.
We see two awkward looking brothers who seem set up to be quite embarrassing. They are the Scott Brothers, and they say they are a "popping cartoon style act". Howard doesn't understand this, and neither do I, but then they show us a series of very clean, crisp dance moves that are heavily influenced by mime techniques. They are perfectly in sync with each other as they move individual sections of their bodies very precisely, and they've got the crowd on their feet before it's over. The Scott Brothers will go to Vegas.
Charlie C is a heavy - set African-American man wearing very ordinary clothing who sings very nicely. I don't think his voice is as good as, say, the Love Boat guy from a few weeks back, and I am not sure how far he can go... after all, I just compared his vocal stylings unfavorably to a guy who sings TV show theme songs. However, the judges are impressed and move him through to the next round.
Taylor Reed is a magician. He makes a sexy girl riding a motorcycle appear inside his big box. It's not the most original version of this trick I've ever seen, but he's through to the next round as well. I am inspired to google "Magic: How to Make a Large Item Appear" because I'm sure the truth is out there. My son suggests that he said "Accio motorcycle." Sharon thinks his trick was big and special. He's on to Vegas.
Three guys in black with a puppet stage show up, and they announce that they are called "Puppets On Hand." More puppets? Uh oh. The leader of this motley crew insists that they've been creating these amazing, intricate puppets for ten years, so we they get onstage I am hoping to be amazed.
Worms. These guys give us worms. They give us "Willy Wallaby's Wonderfully Wacky Worm Circus" and I bet this act seemed like a better idea in the guy's garage. They pull out these worm puppets that skitter across a tightrope to the sound of kazoos, and the crowd is instantly booing, howling, possibly making bird calls to attract some avians to take out these worms. Howard and Sharon buzz simultaneously... Howie..uh, Howie? Howie, your buzzer is right there... uh, Howie, stop grinning. I swear, I liked the other puppeteer better. At one point the puppeteers do make the little worms collect themselves to make a little dancing man, but the show's one genuinely interesting moment comes way too late in the act to placate this crowd. Sharon says, audibly over the boos and the kazoos, "That's stupid!"
Howie gives them a standing ovation. Believe it or not, that is not the worst mistake he makes tonight. However, Howard and Sharon have remained sane here. Howard kindly offers to destroy the tapes so that nobody will ever have to see what they did here again. Too bad, Howard; this disaster has been televised and is now being erased by DVRs everywhere. Buzz.
Rangers in Reality not only cannot dance, they cannot talk coherently. Buzz.
We have a man in a strange outfit who tears paper into clever shapes as his act. He might have a future in birthday parties. Buzz.
We have a guy who says he's an expert at the sport of Air Sex. He makes out with an invisible partner for fifteen seconds until he gets buzzed out of existence. I think he's going to die alone. Buzz.
We have freaky people in weird costumes and weirder masks... or is it masques... who dance vaguely and creepily around in a story with no plot. It's like a kid's nightmare, and the judges are kind enough to let us all wake up. Buzz. Sharon says she found it disturbing. Howard calls it hippie nonsense. Buzz.
Arrgh... there be pirates here, me hearties! You can tell they be pirates because they be talking like morons. This here be Captain Dan and the Scurvy Crew. Howard already wants them to walk the plank. Captain Dan says they are the only rap group with buccaneer technique, and I wonder if there is a good reason for that. This... might be good enough for a very young child's birthday party. Not sure. When I say "Yo", you say... no, guys. Not "ho." Just... no. Arrr-ful. Buzz.
A nice lady named Lou Anne Best has a cute little novelty act. She has a squirrel named Twiggy. She claims that Twiggy can waterski. Twiggy the water skiing squirrel. Yeah, right. I will believe that when I see it. Well, Twiggy pees on Nick, so I guess there's some entertainment value to be had there. I notice Nick's taken off his jacket later. Lou Ann convinces the judges to follow her outside to a little swimming pool, where there is indeed a little boat, and a little set of skis. Lou Ann sets Twiggy down, and Twiggy.... uh, Twiggy waterskis. For real. It's the craziest thing. Twiggy goes around and around and around holding on tight to his little handle, and he's so cute I look him up.
Oh, for crying out loud. This little ham is on youtube. Lou Ann's been doing this for years with a succession of squirrels.
It's a cute little act, and there are no tricks involved. Unfortunately, there's also nothing more to it. Howard doesn't like it. Howie seems to be under the impression that the squirrel might be able to do something else, but Sharon realizes that... this is pretty much all Twiggy can do. He's not going to learn tricks next time or jump over stuff. He can hold on to his handle and keep his balance as he goes around and around. Twiggy and Lou Ann are not going to Vegas, but they do represent the cool thing about America's Got Talent. This is the only talent show that would let me know it's possible to train a squirrel to do anything, let alone waterski. Buzz, but it was kind of awesome anyway.
OK, that's enough with the animal acts! It's time for some danger! Let's call in the American BMX Stunt Team! They've got ten people riding at once in a space that's a quarter of the size of arenas they normally perform in. If one guy goes down....it's going to be bad for everybody. So... it's dangerous! America Loves Dangerous Talent! One guy lacerated his his kidney! Then he broke both hands! Howard gets quite bloodthirsty and waits to see some really cool injuries.
Poor Howard. All he gets to see are really cool stunts, performed at dizzying speed as the riders all flip over the ramp without hurting themselves or each other. Howard declares them the best dangerous act he's seen. Wow, are you over the human cannonball already? That was fast. They are on to Vegas.
OK, what is it with the Osbourne impersonators? We've got another guy playing Ozzy, and he's brought company - a woman playing Sharon! They begin to sing this bizarre version of "Puttin' On the Ritz" and... they did not get buzzed. Sharon even gave them a yes, although I am not sure how the guys voted.
Lindsay Norton is a cute sixteen year old girl, and she says she is an acrobatic dancer. When she starts, I see what looks to me to be a very nice, competent and beautiful floor exercise, just as you might see in gymnastics events.. There is one move where she goes into a backbend so far over that she curls around herself and pulls her own torso between her legs and through. That hurts just looking at it. Some of her moves are very difficult and impressive, and she is thrilled with her standing ovation. She is going to Vegas. I still can't figure out why she's not in London getting ready for the Olympics, and Howie pretty much agrees with me.
Backstage, Howard muses about Lindsay. Where else could she possibly get a stage? Uh...gymnastics meets. I think Howie and I both already said that. Howard, she's wonderful, but she's not unique. And Howie... Lou Ann Best does not have a turtle who will drive a truck for you. She has Twiggy. That's it. There's no second act we are missing.
We now have a few minutes of AGT making fun of old people with bad acts. This all leads up to the last performer of the night, a guy named Big Barry. He calls himself a seventy year old teenager, and he's less than five feet tall. His name and his height get a laugh from the crowd. That is, by far, the most interesting and entertaining part of his act, because his singing is really, honestly, painfully bad. He has no tone, no tune, and he's not even in time. Howard, whose ears are working properly, buzzes him, and my husband leaves the room in disgust. Yes, Big Barry drove my husband out of the room, he sang so badly. Sharon timidly calls it interesting.
Howie... oh, GOD, Howie. Remember Howie? Remember the guy who liked the Worm Circus? Well, he likes this, too. No, no, its worse than that. He doesn't like it. He champions it. Howie has decided that Big Barry has created a comic character, and he's hell-bent on seeing to it that this tone-deaf munchkin stays alive. He asks Howard to go onstage with the guy, and he does. The result is properly comical; Barry comes up to the middle of Howard's chest. A hug is awkward. For some strange reason, Nick begins leading a chant "Save him! Save him!" I disagree; I thought this was America's Got Talent, or at least America's Got a Really Great Backstory, but this man is just horrid to listen to. He may be playing a character, but I do not enjoy this character. Howie does; he says yes. Sharon, who is the only person in the room who has not taken leave of her senses, says no. It's all up to Howard... Howard, who now is getting off on the power of a Roman emperor to go thumbs up or thumbs down. Barry's fate rests in his hands... Howie begins begging Howard to give Barry the chance to destroy our eardrums completely, and Howard, high on the power and suddenly eager to look like a person with heart... passes Barry through to Vegas.
Damn you, Howard. This is the sign of a world gone mad. And with that, we are going to need a week to recover from that stupidity. Howard says he got suckered into it. We all did, Howard. We all did.