It was back to a one-hour episode of America’s Got Talent with day two in Portland, Oregon who provided us with such unique talent on Tuesday night. However, Wednesday night was filled with more awe and emotion. There were the usual bad acts like randomly off-key singers, including one with pink hair who said the lyrics just come to her on the spot. Okay Miss Lady Gaga wannabe, whatever. I’ll never forget the contortionist who is 55 years old, but she looked like she was 80 or 90 instead. The other older contestants who are in their 70’s look great or even younger for their age.
Another goofball act did some Tibetan type throat and tube humming noises that literally got everyone in the act, including the ever stoic Piers Morgan. It was funny to hear the audience, Nick and myself trying to do this crazy-like hypnotic chant. I felt like I was meditating. One thing I must say for these two days of Portland auditions from America’s Got Talent they have been incredibly different. This city is not like many other mainstream cities in the U.S., which is why I guess they say their weird, but it has been entertaining on all levels. Some of this talent has never been seen before on the show. However, besides all the silly acts there was a cavalcade of extraordinary acts that left you in awe and brought a tear to your eyes.
Highlights from The Best of The Best:
The Hot Shot Tap Dancers – I’m always having a soft spot for the dancers on the show whether it is a solo, couple or group performance. This family act of all siblings with one sister and the rest brothers want to take tap dancing to the masses. I must say they certainly added a new twist to their tap dance routine. It was a lot of fun watching them since tap was my absolute favorite in dance class.
Ascen Dance – Like Piers stated at the end of their routine”Every single time I think I’ve seen everything something like this happens.” This highly-athletic couple, Isabelle and Ryan who are engaged, performed an extraordinary and jaw-dropping ballet type dance on a climbing wall used for rock climbers. I was really impressed with Ryan’s move, because he was just hanging by his toes it seemed on the edge of the wall.
RNG (Rated Next Generation) – A dance group comprising of 11 to 13 year olds wearing Mardi Gras type masks and dancing some very impressive hip hop. I liked them, but I wasn’t exactly wowed yet. It was so cute when Howie told the girls he was having a hard time saying “no”, because his answer was “yes” when voting them on to the Vegas round.
Paul Safy, Jr. – He sounded just like Tony Bennett and even sang his signature song, I Left My Heart in San Francisco. The only problem he did not dress or look the part of a crooner. His voice was clear and in tune. It was nice to hear some old school style singing a la Michael Buble.
Sky Sirens – Justlike Ascen Dance pushed the envelope with their death-defyingfeats this trapeze act took it even further. Many times my heart was almost in my mouth with some of the things they did up above the stage. I didn’t see a net below. They had the most incredibly bright colored wigs ever, like they almost shined.
Harmonica Pierre – Originally from Brussels, Belgium he obviously played the harmonica. He did a rendition of the classical music piece Flight of the Bumblebee. Pierre did a great job since it is an extremely difficult piece to play on any instrument. I think the judges were reluctant to send him on to Vegas, but he promised to do some blues music, which is what I want to see.
Singing Sisters Christina and Ali – Of all the seasons thus far on America’s Got Talent they always have emotional stories. I remembered the incredible story of Donald Braswell from Season 3 who placed 4th in the competition. He was involved in a car accident that left him unable to speak much less sing for two years. Of course he overcame his tragedy to appear on the show. However, these two lovely sisters have a far more compelling struggle with Cystic Fibrosis or CF.
This is a hereditary disease that affects the entire body, though difficulty in breathing is the most serious symptom resulting from lung infections. There is no cure for this debilitating disease though it hasn’t stopped Christina and Ali from performing. They sang a beautiful rendition of The Climb by Miley Cyrus. Personally it was far better than the original, because these sisters performed with such sincerity, depth and emotion. Of course there was not a dry eye in the theater amongst the judges, audience, and this tough television critic.
Next week America’s Got Talent rounds out the auditions in Chicago. It will be hard to top off the eclectic and exceptional talent we saw in Portland, Oregon. One thing about this show is to never underestimate them. After the Fourth of July it is on to Vegas, baby.