After what feels like several months of auditions (in reality it's been just over one), on Monday night we finally reached the last night of the audition process for America's Got Talent. Whereas all of the previous episodes focused on a particular city at which the audition was being held, the final audition episode before the competition heads to Las Vegas was more or less leftovers – the producers clearly piecemealed together bits and pieces from the various cities to form one final tryout episode. So what did the "final" auditions offer?
The Good (a.k.a. "The Real Business")
Jacob Williams, standup comedian: Williams was a shock to our system. Unlike more craftily-edited shows, AGT hasn’t served up many shocker-type moments this season – you know, where the contestant appears to be awful but turns out to be spectacular. But this shy, monotone comedian from Chicago, who plays off his awkwardness in a stellar comedy routine, was a true show-stopper. His best joke: a killer riff about Twitter ("I just carry a megaphone and announce what I'm doing at random times"). But above all, the guy who claimed he was deathly afraid of performing in front of large groups had the judges doubled over in laughter. We need more from this painfully awkward yet amazingly hilarious talent.
The Always, band: This four-piece band didn't get a significant amount of screen time, but what we did see was impressive. Led by a singer capable of unleashing Adam Lambert-ish high notes with enough vibrato to shake a building, these riff-rockers thoroughly impressed during their (brief) performance of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep." Perhaps our excitement is centralized around the fact that we know so little about them? Never mind that – these dudes have the chops and are headed to Vegas.
The Eh (a.k.a "Not So Much")
Liliana, tap dancer: Yes, this six-year-old from Chino, California was absurdly adorable. We’ll admit, she was also quite the impressive dancer, especially for her age. But as Howard Stern pointed out, this was no million-dollar act. Our apathy towards Liliana's performance was admittedly tempered by the fact that she said she'd "buy more headbands" if she took home the prize. Sadly, we expect this little girl with a bright future to see her AGT dreams fade away in Sin City. It's just not her time.
Mary Joyner, singer: Given the coveted final performance slot of the episode, our hopes were high for the daughter of legendary track-and-field athletes Florence and Al Joyner. While it was undoubtedly touching to hear Mary reminisce about her late mother, the incomparable Flo-Jo, the singer’s performance of Sara Bareilles' "Gravity" was just, well, OK. We knew Joyner was going to be put through, if only for her famous parents. Therein lies the crux of our problem; her talent didn’t dictate her results.
The Bad (a.k.a. "The Bizarro Bunch")
Trish Paytas, rapper: It was bad enough that this scantily-clad woman, who is a computer programmer by trade but more clearly resembles a past-her-prime Vegas showgirl, showcased a sorry excuse for rapping by spitting out words at a mile-a-minute pace with no discernible cadence. But things got even worse: Paytas admitted that she only came on the show to meet Stern. "I know I'm not talented," she told the judges. Well, at least she’s self-aware.
Anonymous female, rapper/dancer: This twentysomething, whose name we never learned, claimed she was in the rap and dance game to empower young women. But her raps told a different story. A sample of her rhymes: "You're not very funny but I want your money." She also told the judges she fully endorsed a woman using her body to take a man's money. Talk about empowering!
We Hardly Knew Ya
Thea and Smooch Pig, "animal trick" act: When a woman named Thea brought her pet pig onstage to open the episode our eyes lit up. Maybe it’s just because we’re a sucker for cute, roly-poly pigs. But Smooch didn't do, well, anything – the pig basically just laid down and bit a squeaky toy. That doesn’t mean we didn’t want more. Osbourne did as well, but alas, it was not to be. Smooch was eliminated and our dreams of a pig headed to the bright lights of Vegas died right there on the AGT stage.
Next week: Over 100 contestants head to Las Vegas and attempt to make it to the live show. Frankly, we’re just happy the auditions are over.
Last episode: Got the World on a String