America’s Got Talent 2012 has been teasing us all week, promising us the most dynamic performer the show has ever seen. We see him from behind, walking that long walk towards the stage and – finally – he turns around and we’re told it is (drum roll please) Little Ozzy. In a season where we’ve already seen one Oompa Loompa perform, this appears to be another Oompa Loompa refugee, an Ozzy Osborne Mini-Me. I’m sorry, folks, but there is only one Ozzy worthy of our love. Damn you, AGT, don’t tease us with mere imitators and then – horror of horrors – not even include him on tonight’s show. Not nice, America’s Got Talent 2012 producers. You teased us for nothing.
WARNING: AMERICA’S GOT TALENT 2012 SPOILERS AHEAD
Please be aware this post contains America’s Got Talent 2012 spoilers from Monday night’s auditions in Tampa. Please stop here if you don’t want to know what happened!
The America’s Got Talent 2012 judges (Howard Stern, Sharon Osborne and Howie Mandel) arrived to the Tampa auditions via a boat, with Howie standing at the bow yelling, “I’m judge of the world”. Lofty ambitions there, Howie.
The show started off by setting the bar extraordinarily high, with a vocal/dance group called Inspire the Fire, a highly energetic bunch of a dozen or so young men and women. They are part of a non-profit youth organization that was designed to inspire through the arts. They dressed in candy-colored preppy outfits – or, as they referred to themselves – the urban Glee look and proceeded to knock it out of the park with a completely original version of “Lean on Me” (a song so iconic I didn’t think anyone could come up with a new spin on it) enhanced by a terrific dance routine. As Sharon rightly pointed out, they were urban, they were edgy, they were theatrical. Vegas, here they come.
The obligatory babes in bathing suits with zero talent were then paraded out. The NC Bikini Bombshells were still walking across the stage when Howie proclaimed he was putting them through to Vegas. If they had any kind of smarts, the Bikini Bombshells would have walked right back off the stage before the judges had a chance to change their minds. Unfortunately for the Bombshells, they actually had to perform, a series of non-coordinated movements that were supposed to be a dance. “Get a rich husband”, Howard suggested to them, and they were sent packing.
The next 10 minutes or so was the part of the Tampa auditions of America’s Got Talent 2012 designed to cram in as many non-talented delusional acts as possible. A barber named Edward Scissorhands (with scissors on each finger) cut someone’s hair while he was blindfolded. Someone else pirouetted across the floor, in desperate need of a dance partner. A bearded lady sang. It reminded me of being back in high school.
Good taste and sanity was restored when a fabulous group of 7 tattooed and buff guys from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina called All That (a nice nod to Nick Cannon being a cast member of the still lamented Nickelodeon show, All That) took the stage. They are a clogging group that have performed together for 14 years and had the great sense to dance to totally unique music not usually associated with clogging (“Keep Your Hands to Yourself” by Georgia Satellites) and put a very modern and hip take on clogging. They got put through very easily.
A few more minor acts, not given a lot of airtime, also got sent through by the America’s Got Talent 2012 judges. First was a hula-hoop artist who has such self-confidence that when Howie told her she was stunning, she replied, “Yes, I am” (you go, girl!). Next was a couple who performed what they called magical illusions, followed by a group of 5 scrawny looking guys called Boss who told us they’d perform a “masculine and manly” contemporary dance and, sure enough, they did.
Oh Michael Griffin, who has dubbed himself America’s Escape Artist, it was painful to watch you. His primary claim to fame is that he survived an actual hanging from the back of a horse. I didn’t know there was even a category in the Guinness Book of Records for that but I guess there is. He called Howard on stage and asked Howard to tie him up as tightly as possible and he’d escape. (Howard’s response to this was “Sit down and shut up”.) The guy did escape in 26 seconds but he looked like he was having a seizure doing it. It was a little scary to watch and, on America’s behalf, let me thank the judges for sparing us seeing Mr. Griffin again. Ever.
The Distinguished Men of Brass, a great band composed of men who had lost their jobs but decided to make the most of a bad situation and turn it into a positive thing by forming the group, played pop songs as they’d sound if played by a marching band. They were crisp, they were charismatic and they were completely different. “Thank God for bad times; it brought you guys together”, Howard told them. Howard, when you’re right, you’re right. Hello, Vegas.
And the last act of the night was Ulysses, a 49-year-old guy who looked like Rerun with a gray Afro wig (for those of you old enough to remember who Rerun is) who proceeded to sing the Love Boat theme song. Very schmaltzy but boy, did it bring back good memories. Nick Cannon was going crazy in the wings for Ulysses but Howard buzzed him before he finished the song, saying he’s entertaining but he doesn’t have a million dollar act. When pressed by Sharon and Howie to show what else he could do, he broke out the Green Acres and The Addams Family theme songs. The crowd loved him, I loved him and Sharon and Howie sent him headed in the direction of Vegas.
All in all, another very strong night at America’s Got Talent 2012. I’m beginning to wonder how they’re going to cut some of the very many acts they’ve already sent to Vegas, especially when we have a few more audition episodes coming up. The talent pool seems deep and there’s bound to be some tough decisions ahead for the America’s Got Talent 2012 judges. I’m glad I’m not one of them.