The America's Got Talent auditions continue in St. Louis, where Nick Cannon greets us from a packed Edward Jones Dome. The auditions, however, will take place at the Fox Theater. So does Missouri have talent? They don't call it the Show Me State for nothing!
Puppeteer? Or Band With No Members? How About Neither?
After a very lengthy introduction for the judges (we get it, we know who you are by now!), first up is puppeteer Tom Bonham. The 65-year-old tells us a little bit about himself over some inspiring music from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," and then it's time for the show. His puppets are pretty cool, but his act is horrible. There's no story. Just having puppets doesn't make you a puppeteer, Tom! (Actually, I think it does. It just doesn't make you a GOOD puppeteer.) Three no's, and we're off to a rousing start.
A solo drummer whose bandmates couldn't make the gig gets buzzed, as does a tattooed strongwoman who explodes full soda cans with her bare hands, a dancing man in a chicken costume and a lasso "expert" whose entire act falls apart. C'mon St. Louis, show me something!
Youth Takes Center Stage
Next up is 6-year-old Isaac Brown. His talent is singing and dancing, and I'm wondering if Howard is going to make him cry like he did rapper Mir Money. Isaac points out that Howard and Howie have very similar names (He said earlier that 6 is 3 + 3, so we already know he's smart). He's singing The Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," and he's surprising entertaining. He sings like Michael, and his dance moves are on point. "All that matters is that you're coming from your heart," he says. "That's the only thing that really matters." He's going through to Vegas, but I have no idea what to expect from someone who relies largely on cuteness to compliment his talent. I mean, sure, it works in life, but in the entertainment industry? C'mon!
It's time for the act we've been warned in the promo will be shocking and death defying! It comes from 26-year-old Spencer Horsman, the world's youngest escape artist (he looks 14 though, so maybe that's where the distinction comes from). The dramatic music is supporting the crowd's feelings of angst and nervousness, though I'm not sure they get to hear the music. What's going to happen?? Nick straps Spencer into a straight jacket, and he heads on stage to his giant bear trap-looking contraption. He has about a minute and 20 seconds to get himself out of the straight jacket and jump down before the rope holding the trap open, which will be lit on fire, burns through and releases the trap.
They strap his feet in, light the rope, and here we go! He's wriggling like crazy, and there goes his head. The crowd is counting down. Less than 10 seconds left! He ditches the jacket, releases his feet and falls to the mat literally one second before the trap closes. High drama, but I think it's a big strange that they know EXACTLY how long it will take before the rope burns through. There has to be some timing trick associated with it, especially since the crowd hit zero before Spencer actually escaped. But regardless, it was entertaining, and Spencer is moving on. He says he has more dangerous and more thrilling tricks, but he's saving them for the next couple rounds. Howard says he won't be satisfied until Spencer kills himself. It would certainly set a precedent.
Also moving on are: Clarke Academy's Irish dance troupe "Extra Ordinary," complete with a 5-year-old cutie pie dancer; hip-hop violinist Svet; a female guitarist, a young black male (that's literally the only description I can give); a group of flipping dancers; and nerd-boy crooner Jake Wesley Rogers. Forgive me if any of the names are spelled wrong, as they didn't identify anyone during the montage.
Two Words: Little Ozzy
Our next featured act is Little Ozzy. He is, in fact, a midget who impersonates Ozzy Osbourne. His goal has always been to make sure Sharon Osbourne sees him, and he thinks it must be fate. Seriously, how lucky do you have to be for the wife of one of heavy metal's hardest rockers, who no one really knew about back in the 70s and 80s, to become the judge of a nationwide talent show where this kind of act would be showcased? I'm buying the whole fate thing, and I'm buying Little Ozzy. He's singing "Mama I'm Coming Home," and he actually sounds like Ozzy. He probably can't do the screaming parts, but it's certainly a novelty. Howard and Howie both buzz him, and the crowd is offering mixed results. Mostly boos at the end though. He gets three no's, and I have no idea how they hell they give Burton Crane three yeses and Little Ozzy gets no love. It's a sham, I say!
Talent, Pain and Then More Midgets
Time for another "yes" montage. Apparently St. Louis is brimming with talent! We've got an aerial act, an archer, a karate performer, a girl with braces, another girl with a guitar, a guy with a hat and two guys with a guitar and bass. They were all thrilling, I'm sure.
Time for some sword swallowing! They really don't have enough of that on this show. It's "The Cutthroat Freak Show," made up of the guy who's talking and his partner Candypants, and featuring Eric Odditorium, the world's most daring sword swallower. The dude dumps a bucket of empty beer bottles on the ground, and Candypants jumps up and down on the shards and then does a handstand. Then the main guy hooks a chair on his eyelids and lifts it up. Eric follows by swallowing some swords (I imagine his bread and butter). They cap it all off by strapping a swallowed sword to the main guy's eyelids, and he pulls it out of Eric's mouth. None of the judges can watch, and the crowd is staring, mouths agape. Howie's and Howard's yeses counter Sharon's no, and we'll get to see this horrifyingly terrific act at least once more.
Ron Christopher Porter, Jr., is up next, and he wants to do movie voiceovers. He's alright. He's got a good movie trailer voice, but he sounds a bit too much like that guy who does all the movie voiceovers. So it's like, hey bro, we already got one of those. It's two no's, and Howie doesn't bother voting. Ron tries to steal Nick's job announcing the acts, but they tell him to just hang out with Nick instead. Thankfully, Ron is overjoyed at the prospect of chilling with Mr. Mariah, and he literally jumps for joy.
Our final act of the night comes from 51-year-old Curtis Cutts Bey (and Nick lets Ron do the introduction), a recycling truck driver who looks like a cross between Mr. T, Ice-T and OJ Simpson in "The Naked Gun" movies. And he also appears to be a midget. He's singing "Give it to me Baby" by Rick James, and he gets three Xs very quickly. But let's be honest, he was really just auditioning for a spot on Howard's radio show. Nick comes to his rescue though, and all of the sudden, we're ending the night with Nick Cannon, Ron Christopher Porter, Jr., and Curtis Cutts Bey dancing around like lunatics. This act really embodies a lot of what this town had to offer. St. Louis: A city with a wealth of talent and a wealth of midgets. That's showing me something, Missouri!
We didn't get to see a lot of the talent that actually moved on tonight, and I'm anxious for the audition phase to be over so we can get rid of the sideshow acts. But not quite yet, as we head to Austin next week for another round of the haves and the have nots. Did your favorite come out of St. Louis? What was your favorite act of the night? And what's more dangerous, lifting objects with your eyelids, stomping on broken glass or shoving blades down your throat? The answers to all these questions, my friends, are sure to come in time. Seriously, where were the dog acts tonight?