Austin was the destination dialed up for talent for the “America’s Got Talent” docket again Tuesday, and different but definitely gifted was the mantra of the night. The state tourism board dubbed Texas “a whole other country” and the acts served up a whole other kind of amazing artistry.
The Aurora Light Painters set the bar high for the lineup of fellow performers, presenting their human-driven drawings in light that mixed the human image and imagination with the science of elimination, and the real with the imaginary in a spectacular fashion, and “spectacular” was just what Sharon Osbourne called the performance. Howie Mandel loved the originality of the artists, and Howard Stern was simply spellbound, calling them remarkable, and praising he had never seen anything like their performance, and for Stern, that’s quite a statement!
The Doppelgänger Circus Act was comprised of a cute little couple, apart from the fact that the gentleman wielded a chainsaw to carve into an apple held in the teeth of his petite, pretty, pink-haired love. The plan was great but its execution led to a serious case of lockjaw, as well as triple X’s, and likely a parting of the ways after the failed audition, but who knows? Love may conquer machinery vibrations and big blades! Jada was a female singing quartet in total disharmony, who left audiences and the panel beside themselves, even before the predictable, unfavorable outcome in spite of the pretty faces and nice hair. Some pitiful, inflatable bobbles bopped right onstage, and bopped off, too, with unanimous “No’s”. Tubby, a full-bodied strip dancer, to say the least, could hardly get a glance from the judges before his three buzzers, and Howard Stern lamented he was at the “worst of America” auditions, before the tide of talent turned.
Eric and Olivia swear that music is the muse that makes their bond, and romance is not their path, but everyone around the couple, including Howard Stern, is determined to swerve the pair into Cupid’s sights. The stunning redhead, Olivia, and her quiet but cute acoustic guitar playing partner, stood up to some good-natured ribbing about who decided the Platonic nature of their relationship prior to their performance, but there was no doubt about their talents, as the audience was standing and singing in no time to their sexy, stripped-down “Moves Like Jagger,” with a Sade-Norah Jones vibe that Adam Levine himself could never capture. Howard was super impressed with the pair, along with Sharon, who said she would be “over you like a rash” after a song like that! Howie Mandel thought the sound was “too small” for Vegas, but he was overruled by his fellow judges and the rousing applause of the audience. Eric and Olivia were just the start of stars who were to be born through the night.
Richard Grossman is the only opera singer ever known to do a no sound, no singing warm-up, and perhaps that’s the reason why he’s never heard that he never strikes the baritone realm he imagines, but Howie, Sharon, and Howard had no problem striking their buzzers in unison, despite the protests that the critiques were disrespectful, and the performance unfortunately even had a backstage encore. Howard Stern showed math was not his strong suit as he attempted to figure the minutes available for each performance, but clock watching soon left everyone’s mind as the talents took hold again.
Eric Dittelman got several scoffs before walking onstage as a mindreader, but his duct tape blindfold, and dead-on deciphering of the judges’ drawings he could never have seen amazed all in attendance, and so did his quirky sense of humor. Sharon Osbourne admitted she was “shocked and stunned, it was so good,” but Howard Stern had no trouble dubbing Dittelman “awesome” and Howie Mandel said “you know” before the young prodigy said “It’s a yes!” confirming his vote to Vegas. This kid could last forever along the Strip. An incredible, acrobatic dancer on chains captivated the crowd’s attention, and the panel’s votes, too. Nicky Jensen did a decidedly different rendition of “Moon River” that took her over the top with the judges, and she’ll be singing more in many weeks to come, as a stated “standout.” A beat dancer with some superb spinning techniques took his three “Yes” votes, also, before a final act that only “America’s Got Talent” could ever present.
Andrew De Leon had lived a life of silent rejection before taking the stage for his first-ever public performance before the enormous Austin audience, even concealing his eyes with blue contacts as a sort of typical, youthful goth-mystique. His artistry dispelled any notion of needing to hide ever again, though, as his rich operatic aria was sheer perfection. So taken aback, he turned his back to compose his emotion after the performance of his life beyond his bedroom walls, and Howard Stern was clearly touched, too, giving him a heartfelt “good for you,” and Howie Mandel saying “what you do is not good, you’re great” to the young man, whose parents had never before heard his voice, but now cheered with signs from the audience. Along with her affirmative vote, and her plea to Andrew to “never say you’re not good,” added “I’m in love with you.” Andrew felt acceptance in a whole new way after this audition, embracing a father and mother backstage, and bearing out what makes this show remarkable among the myriad of talent TV programming. Andrew could never have passed through “American Idol” regulations, and he doesn’t fit with “Duets,” but from now on, his life will change personally and professionally because of this courageous moment that millions of viewers were privileged to witness.