The judges were awfully nice this week, weren't they?
After Piers Morgan's harsh criticism of the younger contestants on America's Got Talent sent Sharon Osbourne running backstage last week, it was a relief to see the judges being so kind to everyone at the Los Angeles auditions. Well, mostly everyone; there was the usual assortment of oddball acts that earned criticism, including an electric violin-playing set of twins who got some of the worst treatment of the night. They were stopped once, and protested that they hadn't gotten to the singing part yet. So the judges allowed them to continue, and cut them off just as they opened their mouths to sing.
Aside from that, however, the judges were mostly positive. On one occasion, David Hasselhoff is even affectionate, going onstage to hug Chinese acrobat Liang after she starts to cry. Piers, Sharon, and the Hoff put through most of the acts that we saw, including a few borderline acts, like Michael the music teacher and Ivan the "Urban Action Figure." Those acts probably won't make it much further, but they can thank the supportive audience, and the goodness of the judges' hearts, for giving them a chance at Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, I find myself really liking Jerry Springer as the host. He's certainly got perfect comic timing (remember last week when he brought out the baby just as Piers was complaining there were too many family members on stage?) and it seems like he befriends everyone backstage, from the auditioners themselves to their families. It's almost surprising to see how invested he gets in how the contestants fare, cheering when they're put through and yelling encouragement from the side of the stage when the judges waver. He goes so far as to take his shirt off in support of a male bellydancer. It doesn't work, but it was a courageous try nonetheless.
Some of my favorite acts of the evening:
- Cinda: You've seen her in the promos for weeks; she's the singer who says that it would mean "everything" for her to advance in the competition. She's a mom, trying to support her kids and go after her dream, and she sings "One Night Only" to great effect. You'll be seeing a lot of her.
- Popovich Comedy Pet Theater: Not only is this act different – a sort of cat circus, where the felines climb poles, jump through hoops, and scurry across balance beams on their front paws – but the man in charge gets big ups from me for training cats to do all this. Not to mention saving them from shelters.
- Johnny Come Lately: They're a rockabilly band composed entirely of 15-year-olds, and they give a high-energy performance of "Hound Dog." First fast, then slow, then fast again, and before you know it, everyone's jumping on the big double bass, including the bassist himself. I can't wait to see more of them.