Tampa Takes ‘America’s Got Talent’ Through Swamps and Sweats to Find Some Unique Artistry

The “America’s Got Talent” judging trio of Sharon Osbourne, Howie Mandel, and Howard Stern made the most of their swing south in search of talent in Tampa this week, as Howard and Howie shared a boat trip and posed in Titanic stances, and host Nick Cannon jett-boated through swamps, and Sharon tried not to have a makeup meltdown on camera. It would be an audition filled with inspiration and perspiration!

Inspire the Fire is a super-talented troupe with a mission beyond performance, reaching out to youth with little support, and showing them how to believe in themselves as much as the gifts they each possess. Saying some think of them as an urban version of “Glee,” these kids took song and dance to a new energy level, with booming dance moves and voices sounding already Broadway bound, so much in fact, that Sharon Osbourne, said she felt like she was seeing a New York “production” already. Howard Stern said “I hate ‘Glee,’ but a love you” to the multi-talented gang in multicolored tops, and Howie Mandel raved that even with their story removed, they were “phenomenal,” sending them unanimously the Las Vegas rounds.

As much as Howard and Howie wanted to admire the scantily clad Bikini Bombshells for their dance skills, allowing them to see more parts shimmy, the busty girls couldn’t manage to bust even a hint of a dance move, and got a triple dose of those buzzers. Howard admonished the girls to “find a rich husband,” as Sharon commented she found “not an ounce of rhythm between you.” Swimsuit competitions may be in their future, but these dancing girls won’t be found on the Strip! A collection of odd performers with odd talents making everyone unsure of what they were doing appeared, including a costumed group of supposed dancers with heads hanging in all the wrong places, a hairstylist who claimed to be called “the real Edward Scissorhands,” never creating a finished coiffe, and a rapper wrapped in a baby doll carrier.

The heat was getting to the panel, provoking Howie to procure new pants, and Howard Stern to spritz the audience with his mister! Howie Mandel offered his services to an un-masculine matador, but it didn’t add much to the act, other than respiratory distress! All That is definitely different for a clogging klatch of dancers. The young hunks in their tightfitting tank tops have been high-stepping for 14 years, and roused the crowd to their feet “using just their feet” as Howie Mandel highly praised. Howard Stern called them “very entertaining,” and they earned passage to Vegas pronto. Alesya hula-hooped with dozens upon dozens of rings, running straight to “yeses” from the judges, as did magician Jonathan Hawley, having his way with grandiose illusions, and gymnastic dancers, Boss, bare-chested with passion gushing backstage after their approval from the panel. If that wasn’t variety enough, an escape artist, Michael Griffin, was there, too, with knots assisted by Howard Stern, and his tricks were good enough to give him a Vegas escape next.

Unexpected jubilation became the mood to end the evening, as Ulysses proved that cheesy can still be great fun, particularly when mellow tones of this big man’s low register resonate through the entire auditorium, as he opens with “The Love Boat” theme, and per Howard’s request, runs through the themes of “Green Acres” and “The Addams Family” straight off the top of his head, to the rousing cheers of the crowd, Howie, and Sharon Osbourne, who “can’t wait to hear more” in Vegas, overruling Howard Stern’s shake-off that the 49-year-old is “fun once” but not an act. The Tampa Bay crowd could have cheered all night! Everything old comes around to new again, and Ulysses just got a big career break singing old theme songs!

There’s nothing like a sharp dressed man playing a trombone, so how about seven sharp dressed men in their own brass band. The Distinguished Men of Brass “created a new dream” spawned out of their unemployment, and assembled themselves with sleek style and talent that makes them stand out for more reasons than just carrying their shiny instruments. They did current pop hits and made them pop with big band style, inspiring Howard Stern to remark “Thank God for hard times,” because it brought this group to the stage, and Sharon saw them as nothing less than inspiring, and Howie related how acts like theirs were the wonder of his work. These distinguished men will be marching across another stage in Vegas. It was a different kind of talent climate, but Tampa brought a new taste to the offerings for Season 7 on “America’s Got Talent.”

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I am a passionate person of faith, avid writer and reader. I thrive on telling stories behind the stage and screen, and bringing new light to people, life, and learning. Music is essential to my day, as is time in the Word. I fall down alot, but I never

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