America's Got Talent 2: Episode 4 Recap: “X” and The City
Ah, New York City. They say if you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere. Well, if you’re going to make it anything, you’d better make it quick, because the Big Apple is the last stop on the AMERICA’S GOT TALENT’s million dollar audition tour. In a city of colorful, eccentric, and remarkable people, it’s like diving into the deep end of the talent pool. What talents will judges Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne, and David Hasselhoff find? Will we see new and amazing acts? Perhaps, even an old friend (remember Leonid the Magnificent?). Who will dodge the X’s from the judges and who will make it to the Vegas callbacks? Read on for the answer to these questions and more!
The Opening of Pandora’s Box
The first act begins with a mysterious, tiny traincase in the center of the stage. Out pops The Rubberboy (Santa Monica, CA), a lithe man in patriotic red, white, and blue, who looks like he was squeezed in that thing tighter than Jessica Simpson’s breasts in a tube top. The contortionist’s act doesn’t end there. He walks across the stage on his hands—with his feet tucked behind his head! Piers X’es him out as he spins on his butt, but he goes on to do all kinds of unbelievable bendy things, like dislocate both shoulders, twist his arms around his body as if boneless, bring his hand around his back and blow a kiss to the audience. The audience is aghast (Piers, in fact, looks so repulsed he turns his chair away completely) and yet Rubberboy manages to command the stage for the entire performance. The pièce de résistance, however, occurs when Rubberboy folds his body over completely, then curls his neck up so that his head is, quite literally, up his own ass. The crowd roars (well, except Piers, who is probably puking a little in his own mouth). After the act, the Hoff says that he wants to say he enjoyed it, but admits he could hardly watch—Rubberboy, who looks like a kindly, young Mark Hamill, offers, “It’s kind of like a horror movie.” Nevertheless, the Hoff admits, “I don’t know why, but I like it,” perhaps because he can relate to having his own head up his butt. Sharon asks how many more moves Rubberboy has (he’s got 20 minutes more), deeming him “fab.” Piers questions whether this is really a talent; Rubberboy retorts, “Can you do it?” Piers doesn’t think anyone in his right mind would even attempt it. Piers, however, is outnumbered; David and Sharon’s hearty yeses outweigh his singular cranky no. Rubberboy bounces back to make to round two in Vegas.
Rapper Abenz and his singer Byrain are two sharply dressed dandies from Mattapan, MA. They kick out a mellow slow jam that bores Piers almost immediately. I happen to like it, perhaps because the melody line resembles “It’s a Shame” (Spinners, Monie Love). But it seems I’m the only one, because soon after, the audience is booing and Sharon and David buzz them out. Piers says, “Byrain, I quite like you, it’s just your mate’s really annoying.” Sharon tells Abenz that he’s not original, and she’s seen “a million guys” do his same act. Like Piers, however, she encourages Byrain to go solo, complimenting the tone of his voice. “Come back and sing us a song later on,” she invites him. All the judges agree, they’d like Byrain to come back later to sing a song on his own. Abenz leaves looking upset, and promising they’ll see him again soon. Not if they call for security, that is.
Sunshine (Los Angeles, CA) is a…uh, woman? This androgynous explosion of hippy trippy paisley and tie dye looks more like she belongs on Haight-Ashbury or in a R. Crumb comic than in New York. She doesn’t even look like she belongs in this decade, but that’s beside the point. Sunshine sings a monotone “Amazing Grace” to automatic boos and X’s. Sharon is generous when she tells Sunshine, “I couldn’t see you headlining Vegas.” David simply says, “Bye bye.” Apparently she is not the judge’s sunshine, and she’s not the only ray of crazy beaming into AGT today.
Cue the montage of freaks, New Yawk style! There’s a ventriloquist whose mouth moves (he covers it with the aid of a big cigar), a chunky Asian guy whose only talent seems to be throwing his body onto the ground violently, a lady who sings opera (poorly) from atop a horse (that looks tired and like it would volunteer itself to a glue factory if it could), a thousand year old man in smiley face shorts that seems to have wandered in by accident after escaping from a retirement home. “I can’t believe all these people that live in New York; they’re all mad!” Sharon cries. “They’re the worst, it’s got to get better,” David hopes.
Homers “Odysy”; Philadelphia, A Brother The City Loves
Will the next act turn the freak tide around? The creatively-spelled Odysy (from Philadelphia, PA) are “so much more than a boy band.” The members say they mix hip hop, R&B, soul, funk and more. They certainly look tougher than your average boy band, like they could definitely beat the crap out of the Backstreet Boys if they had to. They come out with a little a capella presentation with nice harmonies and good beatboxing. Piers X’s them out, though, and the Hoff and Sharon watch with caution. The crowd, however, is going nuts over them. Piers doesn’t think their voices are good enough; Sharon agrees, saying she can’t tell who the lead is. The Hoff tells them they should stick with the harmonies and get some choreography; he’d like to bring them back for another chance. Piers says no, so the decision rests with Sharon, who sits on the fence for a moment before saying, “I have to be honest and tell it like it is…I’m going to see you in Vegas.”
Philadelphia Plowden is not from New York, or even Philly; he’s a comedian from Orlando, FL. He starts off by saying, “America’s Got Talent…America’s got a black man onstage with stuff on his mind!” He talks about political correctness and the media, saying that calling the victims of Hurricane Katrina “refugees” was a misnomer. “If you come in to the United States on some water, you might be a refugee,” he announces, but “if water come in on you, you just a negro that need a house!” His first gag kills the audience, so he’s off to a good start. He likens Cuba offering to help us with Hurricane Katrina to the KKK making a donation to the NAACP. He takes difficult political subjects and makes them someone everyone can laugh about, and his routine is polished and smart. Sharon likes him too, finding his timing “superb.” Piers says he came on “looking like a star” and “grabbed the audience”; Piers says he could well go through to the finals. The Hoff says “You got it!” Philadelphia is off to Vegas!
Finally New York is on a roll. Like the twirly salsa dance group that will also join us in Vegas. Like the two Guido comics in mobster track suits whose tag team stand up also impressed the panel. Like Rhythmic Stream, the large percussionist group that seems to consist solely of hotties. Like Robert Patrick, the singer whose silky vocal styling smoothed his path to the callbacks.
The Agony and the Ecstacy
Two beautiful identical twin sister singers who go by the performance name of Shad-Dai hope that the momentum is on their side. They say their harmonies are “impeccable” because they have sung together their entire lives. They say singing is their “passion” and they eat, live and breathe music. They unfortunately get triple X’ed quite quickly. They beg for a chance to do another song, but are shot down. I didn’t think they were that bad but according to the judges, “Your singing was very mediocre,” Piers says dismissively. The twins are persistent in begging, but Piers harshly spits, “Your singing is not going to get any better just because we gave you a moment’s rest.” Sharon is the only one willing to give them another shot; the Hoff says if they give them a second chance, they have to give everyone a second chance. I swear they have given other acts a second chance before! Sadly, it is not Shad-Dai’s day.
Sexy Techno Boy (Astoria, NY) is a “singer, dancer, composer, songwriter and producer of techno music.” He worships Madonna and Janet Jackson, and like them, hope to become “music royalty.” When he starts performing, I feel like I dropped an E cut with some bad speed in a gay after-hours club. Because hey, who hasn’t? Sexy Techno Boy’s act is more agony than ecstasy for the judges, who triple X him (though Sharon lets the act last longest). The Hoff says that Sexy Techno Boy is that one guy at every club that is off in his own little world, hogging the dance floor. “That is me,” he admits. It’s a no from all, but Sexy says, “I still love you, Sharon,” and blows her an air kiss that she catches.
Legz, Knives, and Rednecks, Oh My!
Luka, nicknamed “Lazy Legz” was born with a condition that gives him very little muscle control in his legs. He says he doesn’t consider himself disabled even though he must use crutches to walk—he looks at them like a pair of shoes, no big. He and his crew, Illmatic Styles, are breakdancers; they support him and look at him like any other person. They want to “show the world that anything is possible.” Their act begins with Lazy Legz walking using only his arms and crutches, legs up in the air, over another member of the crew. They all dance, flip, leap and break, everyone doing his part. Lazy Legz even does legless pushups. It is truly inspiring and a feelgood number that earns a hearty standing ovation. David finds them “inspirational.” Piers shows he actually has a heart by saying he was “moved” by what Luka was doing. Sharon says he is a “prime example of ‘You cannot keep a good man down.’” The Hoff says it’s not just Luka, but the whole crew keeping everyone together. Illmatic is easily into Vegas.
Reverend Doctor David Adamovich (Freeport, NY) is a knife-thrower, who goes by the name of The Great Throwdini. Along with his assistant, Tina, he proves that cutlery can be fun. You know else is having fun? Host Jerry Springer, who comes onstage with a bloodied bandage on his head, claiming, “I just want to say I was watching him work downstairs, and he hardly ever misses.” Throwdini puts on a blindfold and a bag over his head before throwing gigantic metal blades at Tina, who bangs on the board behind her to cue when he can throw. When Throwdini misses the third blade (which luckily doesn’t go plunging into the heart of loyal Tina, instead it bounces off the board and just clatters to the floor), Piers X’es him. For the final blade, Tina steps back, away from the board, and the knife sinks right into where her head would have been. Despite X’ing him, Piers says he found it “oddly enjoyable whilst slightly terrifying.” Sharon, who also seems to press the acts for more, asks what else Throwdini can throw: turns out tomahawks, axes and machetes are also on the menu. It’s a yes from Sharon; but David says no. What a wuss! It’s too scary for the big man from Baywatch? Does he think watching his hairy chest bob up and down in slow mo is any walk in the park? Piers is the person deciding now; he sides with his fellow Brit again, and the creepy reverend and his assistant are off to Vegas.
The Three Redneck Tenors, replete with mullets (don’t worry they’re wigs), various stages of facial hair growth, trucker caps, and a whole lotta denim, say they mix music and comedy to create good, wholesome family fun. Piers looks disturbed when they walk out, but they actually do have beautiful voices when they sing their version of Beethoven’s Fifth. They even get applause from the tough New York crowd. David “thoroughly enjoyed” the act; Sharon thinks they “entertained superbly”; Piers even says they’re “talented, funny” and “original.” Get that Pontiac off the cinderblocks, the Rednecks are off to Vegas!
Talk to the Hand
There is another classical trio in the house, two men in tuxes and one guy in a gigantic hand costume. Intrigued? Neither am I. Still, the show goes on. The Pennsylvania Hand Band (North Hampton, PA), as they are called, perform a classical piece, Britney Spears’ “Oops I Did It Again,” using their palms squeezed together to make farty noises. Three strikes, you’re out! Piers talks to the Hand, literally, saying, “You know you’re an absurd human being.” Hands off.
Thus begins another montage of acts that suck harder than a Dyson vacuum cleaner. Although after a tongue lashing from Piers, one young standup comedian comes back with, “I’d rather be a high school nerd than a Simon Cowell wannabe.” Touché, Poindexter, touché. This gets a heart laugh from the Hoff. The next crappy young stand up (does every young person with bad hair in New York think they can do stand up?) decides to pick on the Hoff, saying, “You can’t make everyone happy, you should know that, David.” Piers gets to laugh, but not for long—the comic then says, “You have been fired from every newspaper job you’ve ever had under ethical circumstances.” What did this guy research and compile a dossier on the transgressions of every judge in preparation for the audition?
Talking back to the judges is becoming a trend, even amongst non-comics. A singer insults David, by telling him his singing is “not that bad.” David gets huffy, and says, “I don’t care,” in a way that indicates, yes, he cares very deeply and will later weep with sorrow in the privacy of his dressing room, far from prying eyes. All this tension is leading to cold relations amongst the judges, David and Piers in particular. Even when the bickering stops, body language, such as pursed lips and crossed arms, tell the tale.
Don’t Call It A Comeback
Later in the day, a blast from the past strides onstage in a flurry of feathers, glitter, and the tallest headpiece I’ve seen this side of an I Love Lucy episode. “My name is Leonid the Magnificent and I hope you still remember me from Season 1.” How could we forget? Now he is back (by popular demand; apparently, the producers asked Leonid to return) and dressed completely in silver with white eye contacts to make him look like some phantasmagorical mythical God, accompanied by girl-slaves in chains.
Sharon loves him the second he strides out onstage, but David and Piers appear startled at the return of the ostentatious AGT alumnus. “I will never give up my dream,” he murmurs in his inimitable accent. His act is a bizarre dance with the two blonde girls who seem a little shaky, as if they have less experience on a pair of platforms than Leonid. The dance is just strange, and to make it worse, the big moment at the end, which is supposed to be Leonid suspended in the air from white sheets, as with his original angel act, doesn’t ever get off the ground. His big, feathered headdress gets knocked off and falls to the floor before he dangles awkwardly from the sheets that seem as if they got stuck.
The audience and judges are dying with laughter at the whole fiasco, but Leonid still manages to stand before them with dignity, which is perhaps what I find most appealing about him—the way he perseveres even when things go completely and utterly pear-shaped disastrous. David, and some of the audience members, chant, “No, no, no, no!” Sharon finds him, “truly magnificent” and can picture him “heading up the next gay parade in New York.” David threatens, “If he’s put through, I quit.” Leonid again gives one of his famous speeches, real “as God is my witness” type of stuff: “You know I get so sick to beg people to accept me. I will never, ever give up my dream. Go to hell, I know who I am.”
So Sharon says, “Yes, yes, and yes.” Almost as if to spite David, Piers decides he’s going to say yes to Leonid; along with Sharon’s support, this gets Leonid into Round 2. “Now I’m gonna leave the show,” David says pissily, before stalking off to his dressing room, probably to get a stiff drink and eat a burger naked on the floor. Will Leonid tear the panel apart?
The Young and the Rest
Time goes on, and the Hoff is still playing the prima donna in his dressing room. The crowd outside is chanting his name, trying to coax him back. I don’t know why David keeps threatening to quit the show. We all know he has few other employment prospects out there. “Hassle the Piers, don’t hassle the Hoff,” David says before running back out into the audience for high fives all around.
It’s the first audition ever for 14 year old Julienne Irwin from Bel Air, MD. She’s never had a single singing lesson, but her aspiration is to be a country singer. She might say she’s a “nobody” but fresh-faced Julienne is definitely somebody—somebody who can sing! She does a lovely rendition of LeeAnn Rimes’ “How Do I Live.” Backstage, her mom is crying with pride as the crowd goes wild outside. Piers asks where she’s performed before; only her bedroom and the school choir apparently. He says she has “one hell of a voice.” The Hoff loves her “honesty,” and “sincerity” and thinks that despite being “raw” she can be molded into something great. Sharon thinks her voice is “powerful” but needs to find her own style. But Julienne is definitely coming back for callbacks. See you in Vegas!
From a young act, to an old one: the next duo consists of two folks who look like they could definitely take advantage of a senior citizen discount. Jay Green (Brooklyn, NY) has been juggling for over 60 years, and Rosalia is his “lovely assistant.” She tell the judges she’s not his wife “yet”—what are you waiting for Jay? If ever the phrase, “You aren’t getting any younger” applied to anyone, it would be you! The act, set to one of the all time cheesiest songs ever, “Caribbean Queen”, includes dancing from Rosalia that is slightly disturbing (the pelvic thrusts I could do without), spinning balls that Jay sometimes manages to balance on high sticks (and sometimes not—to hilarious effect), and flaming sticks. It is a unanimous no, but thanks for playing!
The Horror, The Horror
The next act, in a gold loin cloth, looks like Jaguar Paw with a fiddle. Thoth (Jamaica, NY), a self-dubbed “performance artist” who feels “oppressed” by society, he says his act has helped him to feel…okay it’s just a bunch of crazy babble from a guy in gold body paint and a hair do that would rival some of Erykah Badu’s old coifs. Piers X’es him almost immediately, followed shortly by David. Sharon seems mesmerized by the bells on his ankles, and never X’es him, not even when he hits a high note that has the audience begging her to make the pain stop. Piers described it best, “You wandered around, looking ridiculous, making a crazy wailing noise.” Maybe he should just write these recaps. Sharon, always pursuing more, wants to know what language Thoth was singing in; when he answers, “a language I invented,” it just about sends the Hoff through the roof. He has to get out of his seat and is doubled over laughing. The Hoff, for once, actually is reading my mind when he says that Thoth looked like “Apocalypto Now.” Sharon says yes, but it doesn’t count, and Thoth goes home to whatever planet he came from.
And now it’s time for the montage of the mentally ill! Is it even worth talking about? The fat belcher who looks like the obnoxious guy at every bar. The Tina Turner impersonator of questionable gender who wouldn’t be half bad, if it weren’t for the ear-drum busting shrieking. The girl in the “I Wanna Hassel The Hoff” t-shirt that pops her mouth to the tune of “The Addams Family” theme. And the weird pale guy in the yarmulke that does…what does he do other than stand there and look creepy? Oh right, he squawks like a bird.
The Artists Currently Known As Prince
Harlem vocal quartet, Ahmir (Arabic for “prince”), has seen hardship and pain, and dedicate their act to the “have-nots.” Well their lush harmonies and soulful singing of classic “In the Still of the Night” is sure to uplift the spirits of haves, have-nots, and have-somes alike. “Brilliant,” Piers crows, “Loved it. Love the image, I like the attitude.” He thinks they dress well and “behave like stars.” David, feeling feisty, says, “I hate to be the spoiler here…but we just put another group through…” Just as everyone’s about to get up in arms, David finishes by saying, “It was a big mistake, because you blew them away!” I bet that other group’s going to be pissed when they hear that! Sharon naturally loves them too, calling them “special.” Looks like Ahmir lives up to their name, these princes are on their way to Vegas!
Next up is duo called Grandfather and Sage (Novato, CA). A tiny tot named Sage, who looks like a miniature man simply shrunk down to child size instead of a real kid, sings “old time songs” with his gramps and while they both play the piano. Sage moved to Mexico to be with his grandparents after his parents divorced, and there is where they developed their act as well as their obviously tight bond. Piers is not buying the heart-warminess, he X’es them. But the Hoff and Sharon watch, delighted. Piers doesn’t think they’re “anywhere near the standand we require” for the million dollar competition. The audience boos. Sharon could tell he felt like a million dollars playing, but does point out Sage has pitch problems. The Hoff says he doesn’t know if he’ll make it to the finals, and says yes, but to the kid only, not the grandfather. Oh right, when Piers splits up families, people get their knickers in a twist, but when David does, nothing? Piers says No. So it’s down to Sharon, and she’s ambivalent. She asks Sage if he likes what he does, and he says it makes him and other people happy. Liking that answer, she puts him through to Vegas. Sorry, Gramps, looks like Sage is going solo. Grandfather is gracious enough to say it’s the only time he’s felt great about being fired.
Who’s in the mood for magic? Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is. Oops, that’s not James Marsters, it’s illusionist Anthony Reed and lovely assistant Sheila Joy. His style of magic is “in your face” and his passion for the business is so strong, he’s made sacrifices like the birth of his son to succeed in it. He simply wants the opportunity to be located in one place, like the top magicians, so he can give up life on the road for more time with his family. Aw, he’s gotta make it to Vegas! Anthony gets off to a fiery start, making his assistant appear from a small, flaming box. Now Sheila Joy’s dancing is the kind that the audience is enjoying way more than Rosalia’s septuagenarian air humping. (Sorry, Rosie.) Anthony makes papers and birds appear from nowhere, disappear, then reappear again, then multiply. His big finish is taking three small, white doves turn into one gigantic duck. And refreshingly, he and Sheila do this all with a smile on their faces, a nice change from the overly serious, brooding expressions of most working magicians today. So what’s not to love? The Hoff, deems the act “ducky.” Sharon thinks it’s “fantastic.” Piers found the act “exciting” and “dynamic.” Anthony is one step closer to his dream; he’ll be in Vegas, for at least the callbacks.
The next act starts with a white rabbit coming out of a hatbox and climbing up some trunks and barstools to address the audience from a microphone. The rabbit gabs away about how everyone expected his trainer, Bruce Block, to come out, but he locked his trainer in the bathroom. He also wants to discuss “the ethical treatment of rabbits during magic shows. I need money! I got a wife and 90 children to feed.” A rabbit doing stand up is the cutest spectacle, and truly hilarious. Piers, ever impatient, buzzes the bunny. Skippy A La King, the rabbit, wraps it up and then his owner finally appears. Piers thinks “the rabbit was great” but the owner was not; he feels the material wasn’t as good as the bunny. The Hoff felt the act started strong, but he’s curious to see what else Bruce and Skippy can do, so David says yes to round two. Piers still says no, but it doesn’t matter: Sharon gives them the go-ahead. Some “bunny” up there loves you, Bruce!
Et Tu, Byrain?
If you recall, Byrain Wynbush (Roxbury, MA) was the velvety-voiced singer backing up Abenz at the top of the show. Everyone hated Abenz just as much as they loved Byrain. So they decided to give Byrain another shot, if he ditched the dead weight. Backstage, Byrain waits nervously for his second chance. Can he go it alone? He announces before going up that he’s doing this all for his wife and kids. Awww! Appropriately, Byrain does “Treat Her Like a Lady.” He gets the audience to clap along. Piers X’es him out (who is he not X’ing?). Piers admits he buzzed Byrain too early; he goes on to say he really enjoyed the last half of the song. Piers adds that after seeing loads of arrogant performers, “it’s nice to meet a genuinely humble, nice guy who just comes on and does his stuff. I liked it.” The Hoff thinks Byrain did great for having so little time to prepare. Sharon says he has great “stage presence” and is a “very handsome man.” All three judges tell him, “It is my pleasure to say you are coming through to Las Vegas!” With tears in his eyes, Byrain thanks the panel, and is the big star of tonight’s show.
Okay, maybe he’s not the only big star. Up next, the Glamazons (Astoria, NY), plus-sized Pussycat Dolls with a touch of Spice Girls, who dance, sing and do burlesque. These big girls, in their provocative costumes, want to show the world that sexiness comes in all sizes. When they open their mouths to start singing “Lady Marmalade,” it’s clear these girls can sing! Lots of performers make promises, but the Glamazons really come through, proving they really can sing, dance, and be big and babely, all at the same time. The Hoff is bursting with praise, screaming, “You are what this show is ABOUT!” He says they get tons of girls coming in to the auditions who look “skinny and hot” but “they suck!” Score one for the big girls! Piers, feel saucy, says he’s an Englishman who is “really into the curvier look, so I was immediately drawn to your charms. And I thought, if they sing how look, we’re in for a treat!” And that was a treat, no tricks there. Sharon declares, “More power to you because you are a great example for women today.” Glamazons advance to Vegas, becoming the 71st act out of thousands to make it to the Vegas Callbacks. Ready for round two? Tune in two weeks to see how they all fare in round two of AMERICA’S GOT TALENT!
My name is Snowflake the Girl and I hope you still remember me from Season 1: snowflakegirl@fansofrealitytv. com
Re: America's Got Talent 2: Episode 4 Recap: “X” and The City
Hi, I'm Bruce Gaston of the Pennsylvania Hand Band. We didn't get much of a chance to show our true abilities on America's Got Talent this past week. Some of our biggest fans are accomplished musicians, and what we do takes many years to develop. Thanks....
Re: America's Got Talent 2: Episode 4 Recap: “X” and The City
Snowy, great recap! I was surprised to see Leonid again, but hope that he'll be one of those who just waves and doesn't perform.
Re: America's Got Talent 2: Episode 4 Recap: “X” and The City
Originally Posted by foursqueezins;2456803;
I, for one, would like to have seen more. The judges buzzed waaayyyy too early.
Re: America's Got Talent 2: Episode 4 Recap: “X” and The City
I'm sorry you didn't get more of a chance to show what you're capable of, then. It's unfortunate you were dismissed as a novelty act. But anyone who has the courage to go out and try out for this show has my respect just for getting out there. Cheers.
Originally Posted by foursqueezins;2456803;