The power of YouTube as a platform for talent is undeniable. Whether in song, sport, or spectacle, talents can make themselves visible to the world as never before, and Susan Boyle, Justin Bieber, and Greyson Chance will surely attest to its life-changing impact. America’s Got Talent opened auditions to YouTube this season, and last night, 12 submissions got the opportunity to go from the bedroom to the big stage. A few stood out, and one young lady brought the house down!
The night opened with a fun, somewhat flirty performance from acapella group, PLUtonic. The lovable, geeky gang from Tacoma, WA, was definitely spirited, and left everyone smiling! Dylan Plummer jumped to the beat with a dazzling jump rope routine. As the judges remarked, the young man may not be ready for the big stage yet, but if he keeps at it, it won’t be long, and he’s only 12! Pup, a lovely dog was trying his best to overcome stage fears and prove his accordion-playing prowess when Piers Morgan gave his X, and the poor pooch never tried again! Cam Hodges, another young man from Washington, shined in his first stage audition, with a voice that mixes Jason Mraz with James Blount. Plumber turned stunt-dancer, Ryan Rodriguez, gave his all in a high-energy routine, but Mr. Morgan was doubtful he was “explosive enough” for a big act. Comic Austin Anderson from Omaha was funnier in his submission clip than he was in his routine onstage, and the choice to peg his whole run on Facebook humor was not a winner. Booker Forte has gorgeous looks and polish in his hip-hop dance, but the file clerk from Virginia Beach needs sparks of more originality before Usher will start to worry!
The second half of the night got brighter with talent, as Pizza Patt performed a juggling jaunt with flaming pizza dough that was definitely different than anything I’ve seen before, and gave new meaning to playing with food! Kristina Young came from the sticks in South Dakota to take on Before He Cheats for her stage debut. The girl has a big voice, but personally I was hoping to hear something like the subdued Amazing Grace in her audition clip instead of the Carrie Underwood near-classic. She deserves her chance, but I’m with Howie Mandel on this one, wondering if it was good enough to win the votes. Maestro Alexander Bui was nothing short of spectacular in his mastery of classical piano, yet Sharon Osbourne dished out an undeserved dismissal of the 16-year-old prodigy, calling him “boring” for his choice of music. Piers defended him, though, as “the best technical musician we’ve seen this season”, and I have to agree with him, along with his proclamation that the show “is not just for pop stars”. Dan Sperry calls himself an “anti-conjurer”, and certainly visits the darker side in his magic act. Looking like the child of Marilyn Manson and Edward Scissorhands, the Las Vegas native performed an incredible trick, summoning up a swallowed candy mint with a strand of dental floss sawing across his neck! Howie Mandel said he felt like he was stuck in a Tim Burton movie, and when the used floss flung a little too near, he moved faster than a flying spit-take, sending Sharon Osbourne into hysterical laughter from which she never regained her composure! Don’t be surprised if Dan Sperry makes it through!
The last audition clip was selected by online voters, not the judges, for audition on the stage, and to say they have good ears and good taste is beyond an understatement! Ten-year-old Jackie Evancho already has her own small herd of Internet followers, and hear her once, and you know why! This lovely little princess from Pittsburgh began singing to Phantom of the Opera performances on CD, and her performance to close the night was one of the most astounding live performances I have ever witnessed, from any performer, of any age! I have had the pleasure of hearing Sarah Brightman, and I can tell you, Jackie Evancho has a pure, penetrating, operatic voice that can rival her. She is beyond what Charlotte Church was at her entrée, and last night, she brought down the house, and brought herself into a whole new world! She cried tears of joy at the news from Nick Cannon that she and her family had been chosen for a Florida vacation! Imagine her joy at what is undoubtedly to follow in her blooming future!
The votes will be in on Wednesday!
America’s Got Talent telecast, August 10, 2010 NBC TV.