America’s Got Talent 2016 – Live Blog and Recap – Auditions, Part 4 (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for the America’s Got Talent 2016, “Auditions, Part 4”! Judges Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell join host Nick Cannon on the biggest nationwide talent search of the summer!
The auditions are nearing the end! But will we get anyone on the level of some of last week’s show stealers, such as the 13-year-old standup comic who burned Donald Trump, or ex-American Idol contestant Sal Valentinetti, who earned Heidi Klum’s Golden Buzzer? Simon is currently the only judge remaining who still possesses a Golden Buzzer, so it should be interesting to see which act is ultimately proven worthy of receiving it. 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!
-Some people might love the judge shenanigans, but I’m kind of relieved we don’t waste much time tonight. We’re pretty quick in getting to the first act of the night…
DEADLY GAMES opens the show!
-Deadly Games is a knife-throwing act, and I feel like saying anything more about them would spoil the awesomeness of what’s to come. Much like the old man who sang Drowning Pool, this was an act I knew about beforehand thanks to someone sharing a video of theirs on Facebook. I think this is an act with serious potential, largely because they’re leagues beyond your average knife-throwing act in the danger department. In a way, they remind me of that chainsaw-juggling duo from a few seasons back, whose names I can’t remember for the life of me (my apologies!).
-You’ll see when I post the video later, but this is pretty much some crazy dangerous knife work. The woman remains constantly moving throughout the routine, making it harder for the man to hit her with the knives. How he doesn’t hit her is beyond me, but I love this act solely for its potential as the danger act of the season. I normally have a pit in my stomach when I see acts like this perform, but this was the rare danger act where I was thrilled throughout.
-Mel B says she was nervous the entire time, while Howie says this was unlike any knife-throwing act they’ve ever seen, since there was so much motion. Heidi calls it “thrilling,” and Simon thinks the person being thrown at was actually interesting in her own right, for once. He asks what direction this act would go in the next round, and the male says, “More dangerous”. That seems good enough for Simon. The judges vote, and it’s unanimous…
DEADLY GAMES advances to the next round!
-Up next is another duo, but they’re far cuter than the knife throwers…
ELIAS AND ZION PHOENIX are up next!
-We meet twins named Elias and Zion. Elias is a minute older, and he’s proud of that fact. However, both of them are starstruck when they meet Simon backstage. Simon is very paternal when he meets them, asking if they’re going to be good, and phrasing it in a way that implies encouragement rather than judgement. I like post-baby Simon. I mean, I liked pre-baby Simon too, but he feels like a different guy now, for the most part. And I dig it.
-After some cute opening banter about what they’d do with the million dollars, the long-haired brothers play a dual version of “Flight of the Bumblebee” on the piano. It’s pretty flawless, and I actually enjoyed them more than the first act tonight! Seriously, these two little boys are incredible!
-Elias is relieved there were no Xs, but Simon reminds them it isn’t too late. Mel B asks if they missed some notes at the beginning, but Elias insists that was the best he’s ever played it. The judges are charmed by the boys, and are unanimous in their judgment…
ELIAS AND ZION PHOENIX advance to the next round!
-Simon notes that the youth acts are taking over the show. And we get a montage to prove his point, including a family of dancers fronted by a little girl at the turntables named DJ LIVIA, a young ballet dancer named Parker who does an emotional routine to “Let It Go” by James Bay (Simon fakes him out by saying no, at first, before revealing he was just kidding), and a guy named Axel who balances on a cylinder while doing crazy stunts such as jumping rope. Simon asks what he’d do in the next round, and Axel says Simon will have to pass him to find out. As a cocky man himself, Simon respects Axel’s arrogance, and passes him through to the next round. These are some cool acts, and I kind of wish we’d seen a full performance from each of them. Hopefully in the next round.
-Back from break with another act I wish we’d seen more from, a chorus/orchestra performing a haunting version of “Everybody Wants To Rule the World” by Tears For Fears. I really wish we’d get names onscreen for these acts, but it seems they rotate every week on whether or not they’re going to give us a chyron that tells us the act’s name. Either way, they get voted through to the next round, so I’m anxious to see more from this group.
JAYNA BROWN is up next!
-Jada learned her love of singing from her mother, and she wants to succeed for her. She has such a bubbly, infectious personality that it’s hard not to like her right off the bat. That said, I refuse to believe she’s only 14! I mean this in the nicest possible way, but she looks at least 20. Anyway, once onstage, she tells Simon that her mother is the person she looks up to most in the world, and her mother is already freaking out backstage with Nick Cannon. So cute.
-Jayna sings “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess, and she’s got a voice that’s far beyond her years. She reminds me a lot of Samantha Johnson from last season, and that’s definitely a good thing. Jayna has one hell of a voice, and she could go far, if she keeps making smart song choices like this. Sure, she could go more current, and do something more her age, but I feel she’s a soul artist, through and through.
-Mel B thought it was great, and Howie feels Jayna is talented beyond her years. She asks what prompted Jayna to choose such an old fashioned song, and she credits her mother with introducing her to some great music as a child. Simon calls it one of his favorite auditions (after the traditional “I didn’t like it, I loved it” fakeout), saying that it’s clear Jayna has a respect for the greats, which is part of what makes her a great singer. The judges are unanimous in their decision…
JAYNA BROWN advances to the next round!
-I’m totally on-board with Jayna. Don’t know if she’s necessarily a winner, but I think she’s someone who could go far.
SOS AND VICTORIA PETROSYAN
– likes to design different costumes in different styles, and while it isn’t entirely clear right away what their act is, they intend to see their names in lights in Vegas. They’ve been married for 20 years, so here’s to them!
-This is kind of a brilliant act, unlike any I’ve seen on a show like this. Basically, it’s kind of a magic act, in that Sos will raise a cloth over Victoria, and she’ll instantly quick-change into a hot new outfit. It keeps escalating, with more mind-bending outfit changes, and more ostentatious outfits for her to change into. Victoria ends in a forgeous white gown, and this brings Mel B and Heidi to their feet. And yet, what I find myself wondering is if Simon is going to mention that they performed to “Sax” by his X Factor contestant Fleur East. Then again, that might have been added in post.
-Heidi thought it was brilliant, and Mel B was genuinely impressed. Howie loved it, truly believing in them as a couple. Simon thought it was slick and quick, although he wasn’t crazy about the dancing. Still, the judges are all unanimous in their praise of this act…
SOS AND VICTORIA PETROSYAN advance to the next round!
-I don’t know how much farther they can take this act, but I’m pumped to see it regardless. This was the surprise of the night so far, for me.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Incredible Quick-Change Magicians Stun on America’s Got Talent 2016 (VIDEO)
-Back from break with a montage of rejected acts, including what I thought was a pretty solid dance troupe. However, Simon wasn’t crazy about their constant smiling, so off they went.
ROBERT THE COMPLIMENT MAN is up next!
-When asked by a contestant what brought him here, Robert says “a giant airplane and my talent.” Turns out, his talent involves the creation of smiles through compliments. Well, this is certainly a novel concept, if nothing else.
-Robert does a lousy standup routine, and then tries to compliment the judges. Each judge he compliments gives him an X, except for Mel B, whom he tries to charm by stating how much he loves her shortened name and her spicy attitude. He also loves her beautiful, perfect nose. Simon basically calls out Mel (he says “Mel” as if to say “Come on now”), and Mel Xs him, bringing this charade to an end.
-The judges all vote, and it’s unanimous, but in the negative direction, as Howie declares Robert one of the most consistently bad acts they’ve had tonight. Can’t say I disagree. For her part, Heidi can’t believe someone would wait in line all day just to come up onstage and do that. Mel really just wanted more compliments though. For his part, Robert views the Xs as “kisses”. Well, that’s one way of looking at it.
-We’re back from break with a sports star…
JON DORENBOS is up next!
-Jon is a magician, although his career has its foundation in sports, as he’s played for the Philadelphia Eagles. However, he states that “magic is a joy inside me” and he wants to share with others that there is another side to him. I’m intrigued, to say the least. Simon asks what Jon will do if he wins, and he says you need to have a backup plan, since the NFL stands for “Not For Long”.
-Jon has Heidi pick a card from a deck, and then predicts it’ll be a 2. However, it turns out to be an 8. Jon shakes the card and somehow turns it into a 2. He then has Mel B stop his shuffling, and he manages to pull out a 6, which he predicted pulling out. It’s hard to do an act like this justice, but it really was better than your average card trick, provided he’s honest about the integrity of his deck. And even if the deck was stacked, I don’t know how he predicted the card Simon would think of, which he placed in the paper clip at the start of the act, long before ever asking Simon what he thought. Simon was stunned, and Howie and the audience give Jon a standing ovation.
-Simon feels this was truly magic, and that it was genuinely amazing. Heidi thinks Jon is fast with his hands, and fast with his mouth, and she loved it. Mel B found it “shockingly good”. Howie thinks Jon has a gift of making magic happen for himself and others, and he’s happy to be a part of this moment. The judges vote, and it’s unanimous, once again…
JON DORENBOS advances to the next round!
-Nick asks Jon how he feels, and Jon talks about how awesome it is to do card tricks in front of 2000 people. The guy’s enthusiasm is infectious. I like Jon, and I hope he sticks around for a while.
VELLO VAHER is up next!
-Vello is a 52-year-old Estonian who’s basically underestimated by everyone he meets, due to his age, his size and his general personality. But he’s apparently a hell of a gymnastics teacher, even if Simon is convinced he said he teaches “geese” rather than “kids”. That said, Vello trolls Simon right back by refusing to answer how old the “geese” are, simply stating, “I’m 52.”
-Vello’s routine involves putting his legs above his head, and then hopping across small pegs he’s set up, as a sort of obstacle course. I guarantee you, it’s a far better act that it sounds, particularly once he gets off the pegs, puts his legs entirely behind his body, climbs a rope and then balances himself in the air by inserting the hook INTO HIS MOUTH! this is 100% chicken-fried madness, and I have no idea how he does it. The guy also doesn’t look a day over 30. Those Estonian genes, man.
-Simon calls Vello “fantastically nuts,” which is why he likes him. He adds that Vello is “the acrobatic Borat.” Heidi thought it was an awesome act, and adds how impressive it was when Vello was simply hanging by his mouth. Mel B agrees, saying that Vello is simply fantastic. Howie thinks it’s amazing how Vello does things they’ve never seen before. The judges vote him through unanimously (although he only gets Simon’s yes after affirming that he is, in fact, here to win this)…
VELLO VAHER advances to the next round!
-Vello does belly waves backstage with Nick Cannon, as Simon tells the other judges how much he legit loved Vello. He could be the next Stevie Starr (The Human Regurgitator), in terms of an out-there act that manages to go far.
-Back from break with a heartbreaking montage of rejected singers. Some of them are genuinely good, too! The girl group wasn’t great, but the dude singing “Never Can Say Goodbye” on the piano sounded legit awesome. I have no idea what Simon was talking about. That said, I did get where he was coming from with the young country singer, who was good but was just lacking something that a singer like Kadie Lynn had last week. That ineffable country star quality. Still, I hope she comes back and tries again when she has a bit more experience.
RONEE MARTIN is up next!
-Ronee is 62-years-old, and she’s been singing for a long time, to say the least. Naturally, Simon feels that if you’ve got it, you’ve got it, and age shouldn’t matter. At the very least, he’s charmed by Ronee, and he seems interested in seeing her succeed.
-Ronee sings “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt, and while it isn’t great, it’s not exactly bad either. Still, it’s not a star-making performance by any means, and Simon picks up on it, calling for the song to be stopped midway through the audition. He tells her the song wasn’t right for her, and asks if she has anything else. Ronee says she has “Natural Woman,” so Simon offers her the chance to sing that instead. Of course, this audition goes about a thousand times better, as the crowd is on its feet for Ronee, and Simon has a big, dopey grin across his face. Mel B gives Ronnie a standing ovation.
-Mel thinks the second song really showcased Ronnie’s talent, and she thinks Ronnie took it all the way. Howie thinks Ronnie is tremendously talented, and feels she should be a star. Heidi admits she was already saying “no” in her head during the first song, but thought the second song was amazing. Simon thinks Ronee has a fantastic voice and a great spirit. She just needs to become relevant now. That said, he thinks a show like this gives an opportunity to people who might not otherwise have that chance. The judges vote, and it’s unanimous…
RONEE MARTIN advances to the next round!
-Ronee is overcome with emotion as she heads offstage to embrace Nick Cannon. I have no loving idea what she’s wearing, with the poofy pants and a similarly flowing blouse, but she sounds phenomenal. So I’m all-in on Ronee advancing.
-Back from break with some soul-crushingly awful acts, from a guy drinking tea to some dude trying to put out fires on his fist. This is a disaster, and I’m kind of glad we’re just skipping it all.
MIKA “THE BARON” NIEMINEN is up next!
-We don’t get much of an introduction for Mika, although he truly believes he’d have the best show in Las Vegas, which is why he’s here. Simon is now intrigued, so we get to the act…
-Yeah, this act is terrifying, all the more so for its juxtaposition with “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” as its soundtrack. Mika puts a hook through his nose and balances a weight on it. He then does the same ON HIS EYELIDS! Howie can’t bring himself to watch, and Heidi has already hit her buzzer. Mika places the hooks on his nipples and balances the weight again, swinging around, and somehow, the judges actually let him finish.
-Simon admits his nipples hurt watching that (accompanied by a helpful #MyNipplesHurt hashtag appearing onscreen). Heidi didn’t like it, but Mel B actually gets what Mika was going for. Simon agrees with Mel, saying there’s something “fantastically sick” about Mika that makes him want to see more. Heidi is a no, but Mel B, Howie and Simon all say yes.
MIKA NIEMINEN advances to the next round!
-Nick grimaces backstage. Turns out, his nipples hurt too.
JULIA SCOTTI is up next!
-Julia is a standup comic who looks like Bea Arthur and sounds like Howard Stern. And I kind of love her already, as she’s in her sixties and has nurtured a lifelong love of comedy. She wanted to pursue it full-time, but she needed to find something more stable, so she went back to school to become a sixth grade language arts teacher. She views this as a second chance, naturally. Onstage, she states that she wants to prove that age shouldn’t matter in terms of making it in the industry. Simon agrees, saying Mel still sings, after all. Mel jokingly strangles Simon. I doubt that’ll be the last time this season either.
-Julia’s act is centered around her age and how she made it to her 60s, including gags about being “fat, single and broke.” She goes on to state that she was enough in her 401k for a month and a half of Netflix, and says that her primary care physician is a paleontologist. The crowd loves her and so do the judges. Delivery really is everything, and Julia is genuinely funny.
-Heidi thinks Julia is naughty, but she loves it. Howie agrees, but asks why Julia started so late in life. She talks about her past, and reveals the shocking truth: she used to be known as RICK SCOTTI! The judges are genuinely shocked to learn she’s transgender, but they love her anyway, saying whether she’s a man or a woman, she’s hilarious. Mel B absolutely adores Julia, and Simon admits that Julia genuinely made him laugh. The judges vote, and it’s the easiest four yeses of the night…
JULIA SCOTTI advances to the next round!
-And we close the show with one last singer…
CALYSTA BEVIER is up next!
-Calysta is a 16-year-old survivor of ovarian cancer who loves music, and while her dream is to win America’s Got Talent, another dream is simply to finish high school. Still, she wants to prove to people that no matter what happens, you should keep working to achieve your dreams, because it’s possible. I’m incredibly nervous for her, but with an introductory video package like that, there’s absolutely no way she isn’t great.
-Calysta sings “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten, and I’m positively IN LOVE with her voice. There’s a courage and strength in her tone that tells me she’s a fighter, but there’s a vulnerability to her that makes her immensely compelling as a performer. Calysta is neck-and-neck with Grace VanderWaal as my favorite singer of the season. I love her, and she definitely earned the standing ovation from all four judges.
-Howie thinks Calysta is an inspiration, and he thanks her for singing that song. Mel B thinks it was amazing, and felt it couldn’t have gone any better for her. Heidi can’t believe Calysta is only 16-years-old. He loved absolutely everything about Calysta, and says he just had a feeling about her when she walked out, everything from her voice to her spirit leaves him with an incredible feeling about her. He thinks everyone in this room felt that, and he predicts great things for her. So much so that he feels he has to do something special to show how much he believes in her…
SIMON COWELL HITS HIS GOLDEN BUZZER FOR CALYSTA BEVIER!
-Simon goes onstage and embraces Calysta. Nick then congratulates Calysta and her mother backstage, saying how unexpected her voice ended up being. “See you in the live shows!” he tells them, as mother and daughter share a smiling, tearful embrace. Back in the studio, Simon tells Howie that America is going to love Calysta. “I think they already do,” he responds. Amen to that, Howie. It’ll probably be somewhat controversial that all the Golden Buzzer recipients this season were singers, but I don’t even care when they’re this good.
-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!