America’s Got Talent 2016 – Live Blog and Recap – Auditions, Part 2 (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for the America’s Got Talent 2016, “Auditions, Part 2”! Judges Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell join host Nick Cannon on the biggest nationwide talent search of the summer!
I’m stoked for tonight’s show! After last week introduced us to mind-blowing visual artist Hara and the hilariously weird Tape Face, I was more than satisfied. But then we got our first Golden Buzzer recipient of the season, as Mel B hit her Golden Buzzer for 13-year-old opera singer Laura Bretan, who stole the show with her version of “Nessun Dorma”! Will we get another Golden Buzzer tonight? Could the winner for Season 11 be in tonight’s lineup?
Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be updating with commentary, results, and videos as soon as they become available!
Let’s get this show on the road!
-We open with shenanigans from the judges, such as Simon and Howie “bonding” — by sitting far apart. But the hijinks are kept to a minimum, as we get to our first act of the night…
ALLA AND DANIEL open the show!
-Daniel is a little boy whose mother, Alla, taught him how to dance when he expressed an interest. From the looks of it, I’d guess it’s ballroom style, if only because of the formal outfits they’re wearing. But you never know. In a cute moment, Simon asks Daniel’s mother if she’s married, and Daniel answers “no”, as if he was talking to him.
-Together, Daniel and his mother dance to “Moves Like Jagger,” and they positively OWN the stage. Daniel has an incredible amount of confidence with his movements on that stage, and he matches his mother in terms of ability and grace. I love this.
-Howie is jealous because his mother would never let him dance. Mel B praises Daniel for the attention he commands onstage. Heidi absolutely loves the act, calling Daniel “adorable”. Simon speculates that Daniel’s mother just shrunk her husband and presented him as her son, since Daniel is almost too good to be a kid. The judges vote, and they’re unanimous…
ALLA AND DANIEL advance to the next round!
-Backstage, Daniel gets emotional. I can’t help but root for these two. They’re a really entertaining duo.
JONATHAN NOSAN (A.K.A “CONTORTURE”) is up next!
-Jonathan is a businessman who’s very happy with his success in entrepreneurial ventures, but he feels there’s a natural performer deep down inside of him. So he’s giving America’s Got Talent a shot. We’re given no indication, at any point, what his talent is. I like the mystery. I kind of hate how the show refuses to show any names on-screen like they normallh do, since they’re making it hard out here for a recapper. Thank God for the AGT twitter, which provides names. But onto the act…
-Jonathan is a contortionist, who twists himself into all sorts of positively mortifying shapes to the tune of “Earned It” by The Weeknd, which makes this all the more disturbing. But the audience appears to enjoy it, and none of the judges buzz him, so I guess this is about as good as one could expect for this type of act. Oh damn, the judges are standing up! (Well, except Simon) Looks like we have a potential contender on our hands, although I’m not really sure where the act could go from here.
-As a Jewish man, Howie is stunned by Jonathan’s flexibility. Heidi calls it beautiful, fluid and weird, and thanks him for coming to the show. Simon calls it “fantastically weird,” admitting he had no idea what to make of it. However, he states he’s going to remember Jonathan. Mel B says it’s normally women who do contortion out here, which is why she was so surprised by what he just did. But she absolutely loved it. The judges vote, and they’re unanimous once again…
JONATHAN NOSAN advances to the next round!
-I really have no idea what’s next for this act, but I’m definitely interested to see.
MUSICALITY is up next!
-A man named Michael is the musical director for this choir, comprised of public school kids from the south side of Chicago. In many ways, the kids are scared to leave their homes, with many of them coming from particularly dangerous neighborhoods. In the most emotional story so far, Michael talks about what the kids mean to him, while the kids break down in tears when talking about how they’re a family who needs each other. It’s really touching stuff. Onstage, Michael talks about how their school is in a tough neighborhood, but states that the kids meet in a stairwell to perfect their craft. One of the kids speaks up about what it would mean to win, saying that where they come from doesn’t define who they are. Here’s hoping they’re great.
-They sing “Night Changes” by One Direction, and Simon’s ears immediately perk up. I absolutely adore this. Their harmonies are so beautiful, and the solos are just terrific, so much so that the audience begins standing up for the group midway through the song, prompting Mel B to adopt a shocked smile. I thought this was brilliant, and I feel like they deserved a standing ovation more than Jonathan Nosan, if I’m being honest.
-Howie imagines the group practicing this in the stairwell, and talks about what a great job they did. Mel B got chills when they all sang together, and adds that she could feel how badly they all want this. Heidi says it was smart of them to sing One Direction, with Simon here and all. Simon says it took him until halfway through the song to get what they were doing. He says they’re proof that if you work hard, good things happen. He then shouts out Michael, saying he is also special. “I think what you’ve done is incredible,” he says, before addressing the group. “I think you’ve got someone great leading you.” For the third time tonight, the judges are unanimous…
MUSICALITY advances to the next round!
-Many of the singers burst into tears. Backstage, Nick asks Michael how he feels, and he talks about how hard the kids work, and how much they deserve this. I can’t say I disagree.
-Back from break with a pair of French ballerinas, and the package tries to build them up as straightforward dancers, but their act proves to be a bit more interesting. They start out dancing, but then bump into each other, which breaks out into a choreographed fight that was kind of hilarious. Still, they don’t make it through. Nor does the next act, two middle-aged men dressed like Ryu and Ken from Street Fighter, and go through a terrible nut-punching, head-locking fight routine that gets them buzzed off the show. Bringing this hot mess full circle is Violin Monster, a man in a werewolf mask who refuses to tell Simon his real name. He plays a decent violin, but he’s no Lindsey Stirling. He gets buzzed off the stage for his troubles, which is probably the right result. We then meet Tita. Hey! This is my grandma’s nickname! Tita is a sweet old lady who wants to spread laughter around the world. We’re not given an indication of just how she intends to do this, but I’m excited to see her act.
-Tita delivers jokes I can’t really make out, due to a combination of her accent, the noise of the crowd, and the overall lousiness of my TV set up. That said, the crowd really does find her funny. Hell, the coaches appear to as well…until they grow tire of the act and buzz her out, with Mel B buzzing on Howie’s behalf.
-Howie thinks it was goofy and fun, but Simon is convinced Tita has been drinking. Mel B thinks Tita is very sweet, but it’s a no. Heidi is a no, as well. But Tita appears to take her elimination in stride, thanking the judges for the opportunity, and the laughing her way offstage with Nick Cannon. Yeah, I have no idea what the hell this was.
EDGAR FAMILY BAND is up next!
-Nikki Edgar is a woman who had a record deal in the Christian music industry after winning a singing contest as a teenager. However, she met a guy, and the relationship progressed quickly. Eventually, she gave birth to her daughter during her teen years, which had the unfortunate result of getting her kicked out of the Christian music industry, because hypocrisy is apparently the order of the day in Christian music (love each other, but only when it suits you!). Ultimately, Nikki met her husband, Ryan, and discovered what true love could be. Together, they formed a band with Nikki’s daughter. Here’s hoping their second chance pans out…
-They sing “I’ll Stand By You” by The Pretenders, and I mean it as a compliment when I say I’m not sure who the best singer is, of the three. Seriously, they all have amazing voices for different reasons. Nikki has a mature pop music voice, while her daughter has the younger sound of a Rachel Platten. Ryan, meanwhile, has the smokey, bluesy tone of a longtime rocker. Their harmonies are amazing, which is all the more surprising, since you wouldn’t think three distinct voices would blend so well. But this is the performance of the night so far.
-Mel B loves Nikki’s soulful voice, and thinks teaming with her husband and daughter only made it more beautiful. Heidi thinks America will fall in love with these three. Howie believes Nikki has just given birth to a second chance with this audition. Simon, meanwhile, thinks there’s something unique and real about this group. He tells Nikki’s daughter that he loves her voice, in particular. They vote, and the streak remains intact! It’s unanimous!
EDGAR FAMILY BAND advances to the next round!
-They celebrate together, and we get brief clips of Simon and Heidi playing with Simon’s ADORABLE little boy backstage. So cute.
GARY SLADEK “THE AMAZING SLADEK” is up next!
-Gary, in his 50s, declares himself to be America’s oldest daredevil hand-balancer, and he might be right. He’s from North Babylon, NY, from a middle class family, and he’s accompanied onstage by his younger brother, who serves as his assistant. While his right overalls and puffy white shirt isn’t exactly flattering, he at least seems supremely confident in his abilities. Here’s hoping it all works out for him.
-Gary has his brother hand him chairs, one at a time, as he balances on each one. He essentially creates a tower underneath himself, stacking the chairs higher and higher, and increasing the inherent danger of this balancing act. The crowd and the judges seem genuinely terrified that we might end up getting another Uzeyer Novruzov disaster, especially when Gary gets so high he actually reaches the X-buzzer structure. But, sure enough, he balances on the highest chair, earning a standing ovation from the crowd. When he comes back down, he does a front flip off the remaining platform, earning a standing ovation from Heidi.
-Simon asks if anything has gone wrong, and Gary implies that nothing has gone wrong in 38 years. He congratulates Gary for his accomplishment. Heidi loved it, but tells Gary he needs to get a new outfit, since his duds are straight out of the 70s. Mel B thought it was brilliant, stating that he captured the attention of everyone in the audience. Howie thinks Gary has a wonderful story, calling it a great combination of Americana and amazing stunts. They vote, and YET AGAIN, we get a unanimous vote…
GARY SLATTICK advances to the next round!
-Backstage, Gary calls this moment the “Oh My Goodness” of his life. I’m glad they put him through, since I feared they’d shy away from daredevil acts after Uzeyer had his fall last season.
MALEVO is up next!
-These guys are a dance troupe who are the self-proclaimed “Magic Mike of Argentina”. They’ve known each other since they were little kids, coming from all walks of life and background to be here tonight. They’re being set up as a joke act, but I’ll be really surprised if they don’t prove to be one of the better acts of the night.
-Sure enough, these guys are OUTSTANDING. Comparing themselves to Magic Mike is actually selling themselves short. This is a far more versatile act, as they start out with drums slung over their shoulders, before ditching the percussion and going with tap-dancing that’s akin to Riverdance. This is simply incredible.
-Simon loved it, calling it exciting, memorable and different, and saying they could potentially be the next Riverdance. Mel B loved the manliness of it, and Heidi agrees, noting that she can’t wait to see this again. Howie says it’s hard to impress the judges, considering how long they’ve been doing this, but they all were genuinely impressed. Another unanimous vote…
MALEVO advances to the next round!
-As the dancers cry backstage, the leader tells Nick they’re floating on air right now. Adam Lambert’s “Time For Miracles” plays over this, and I’m happy to be reminded of that song. Seriously, it’s a great rock ballad in the style of “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing”.
DANNY PALUMBO is up next!
-Danny is a comedian who supplements his income with a bartending gig. He seems like a the type of nebbishy comedian that the show usually loves. Hopefully, he’ll be good.
-Danny goes into a joke about never speaking to his mother except through text, and it BOMBS. Seriously, the silence is deafening. He gets buzzed by one of the judges, and he immediately declares how much that hurt his feelings, rather than just rolling with the punches. He sticks to his material, and the audience boos him until his act ends.
-Howie gives Danny the advice that when the audience turns on you, you have to remain witty and roll with it. But he wants to be constructive to a fellow comedian. Simon admits this just didn’t work, and tells Danny to chalk it up to experience.
-We move on to our next act…
D.J. DEMERS is up next!
-D.J. suffers from “profound hearing loss” and has found peace through comedy. He tries to learn something from every gig, and he’s hoping this will be his biggest yet. Here’s hoping he’s the next Drew Lynch (apparently, they’re friends!).
-D.J.’s act is pretty great, running the gamut from personal anecdotes to talk about his relationships. He tells a joke about how he broke up with his girlfriend because he realized he was gay. Mel B asks if he’s really gay, and he responds, “No, but my boyfriend is.” After the initial burst of laughter, he adds, “Not really. We’re just having a good time.” Mel B didn’t want it to end, and I didn’t want it to either. It’s hard to do justice, in words, to just how good this was.
-Howie praises D.J. on his material, which DJ says means a lot. Mel B and Heidi both loved the act, while Simon declares that it can often be uncomfortable to watch someone try to be funny onstage when they’re not — but DJ absolutely was funny. It’s YET ANOTHER unanimous vote! I’m loving all the yeses tonight!
D.J. DEMERS advances to the next round!
-Really thought he’d get Howie’s Golden Buzzer. But even without it, I think he’s a potential contender, to be sure.
JONATHAN HETLINGER is up next!
-I JUST saw this guy in a Facebook video today! So the surprise of his act is kind of spoiled for me, but I’m interested to see how other people respond to this. Jonathan is a retired 82-year-old former aerospace engineer who discovered karaoke while on a cruise. These days, he mostly just sings and hangs out with his wife. However, he tells the judges about his pride in working on the Hubble Telescope, although he says this could potentially be the highlight of his life.
-Jonathan sings “Bodies” by Drowning Pool, and I really wish I hadn’t seen him sing this in a karaoke video on Facebook today, because I would have laughed my ass off if I’d been taken by surprise by this. Still, it’s pretty amusing, even if the vocal is positively terrible. But hey, Simon seems to enjoy it, and nobody buzzes him. Hell, Howie even gives him a standing ovation! I can’t imagine the judges would put him through, but part of me feels as though they might like him too much to send him home.
-Mel B admits she wasn’t expecting that, and states that nobody was. Simon thought Jonathan would sing Frank Sinatra or something, but he was blown away by what Jonathan did. He absolutely loves Jonathan. Howie and Mel B are enthusiastic in giving Jonathan a yes, but Heidi thinks the other judges have gone mad, giving him a no. Simon states he has to be fair to the competition…and agree with Howie and Mel…
JONATHAN HETLINGER advances to the next round!
-I can’t imagine he makes it much farther, but this was good for a feel-good moment.
-We then get a montage of acts, including a little boy who does a badass martial arts demonstration; a singer named Tia Simone, who gives a similarly badass rendition of “Knock On Wood”; and a strongman who does flexibility exercises while lifting insane amounts of weight. He brings Heidi up onstage and lifts her over his head, as she screams, “DON’T DROP MEEEE!” All three acts are voted through to the next round!
-On the other side of the commercial break, we immediately launch into our next act, with no pre-performance video package. Interesting…
ELEVENPLAY is up next!
-Elevenplay is a Japanese dance troupe that uses drones with lights on top to create an engrossing lightning bug effect. This is the most interesting act of the night so far, as the light-up drones bounce up and down while the dancers move in glowing white dresses beneath them. It’s so ethereal and cool. One of the best of the night so far, earning a standing ovation from Howie and Heidi.
-Simon calls it a really smart act, and says he’s been hoping for an act like this. Heidi says this is what she loves about AGT, stating you never know what will happen on America’s Got Talent. Mel B says it was absolutely beautiful. Howie asks why the girls in the group are crying, and one of the dancers admits it’s because they’re happy. Howie jokes that, finally, tech nerds have found a way to merge with beautiful dancers. The judges vote, and it’s four yeses…
ELEVENPLAY advances to the next round!
-I loved this, and this is exactly the type of act that was sorely missing from the finals last year. I hope they go far, particularly because this is an act with a lot of potential to grow as the competition continues. I’m excited to see what they’ll have lined up next.
GRACE VANDERWAAL closes the show!
-Grace is a singer who lives in New York with her family. She accompanies herself on ukulele, and she’s apparently really good at what she does. That said, she did admit to her mother that she was getting a little nervous. Her mother says she just wants the best for her girl, since she’s only 12-years-old. Grace is a rea charmer, and completely adorable, as she freaks out about meeting Nick Cannon, “And that’s just one person!”
-Grace sings an original, and OH MY GOD, WHERE HAS THIS GIRL BEEN ALL MY LIFE?! Her voice is positively incredible, like a tiny Sia. And she’s an incredible songwriter, to boot. I have no idea what this original of hers is called, but it’s just a beautiful, inspirational song about following your own rules and being yourself. I seriously think we just met the winner of Season 11 of America’s Got Talent. The judges all give her a standing ovation, and yeah, she’s totally got this.
-Howie thinks Grace is incredible, and declares that America is going to know her name. And you know why? Because…
HOWIE MANDEL HITS HIS GOLDEN BUZZER FOR GRACE VANDERWAAL!
-Grace cries onstage as Simon tells her he believes she’s going to be the next Taylor Swift. In fact, Simon is legit annoyed that he didn’t hit the Golden Buzzer first. Hell, I’d be irritated too.
-And that’s a wrap! What did you think of tonight’s show? Did the right acts go through? Sound off in the comments!
Until next week, thanks for reading and hanging out!