America’s Got Talent 2016 – Live Blog and Recap – Live Show 1 (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for the America’s Got Talent 2016, “Live Show 1”! Judges Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell join host Nick Cannon on the biggest nationwide talent search of the summer!
The live shows are finally here! And we’ve got a killer lineup of talent, including FOUR Golden Buzzer recipients: Nick’s pick, burlesque dancer Dorothy Williams; Mel B’s pick, 13-year-old opera singer Laura Bretan; Louis Tomlinson’s pick, 14-year-old singer Jayna Brown; and Ne-Yo’s pick, magician Jon Dorenbos. But who else is on tap for tonight? Check out the list below via the AGT Wikia:
Daniel Joyner, Singer
Deadly Games, Knife Thrower Duo
Dorothy Williams, Burlesque Dancer
Jayna Brown, Singer
Jon Dorenbos, Magician
Laura Bretan, Opera Singer
Lori Mae Hernandez, Stand-up Comedienne
Musicality, Vocal Group
Outlawz, Hip-Hop Dance Crew
Sila Sveta, Videomapping Dance Duo
Tape Face, Mime
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!
-After the usual introduction, we get right into the actual show, for which I’m REALLY thankful. The less excess, the better.
JAYNA BROWN opens the show!
-We recap Jayna’s story, including the moment Louis Tomlinson hit his Golden Buzzer for her. Jayna’s mother is proud of her, and her grandmother notes that she was crying while watching her granddaughter on TV. She’s over-the-moon about having her daughter and grandbaby with her, and…well, this family is just so adorable that I find myself really rooting for Jayna to win this thing. What can I say? I root for the underdog. (Jayna IS an underdog though, right?)
-Jayna sings “Make It Rain” by Ed Sheeran, and this is one of the best renditions of this song I’ve heard on a talent show. Seriously, the way she acts out this song, and finesses this song is just so impressive. Jayna has really snuck up on me. Sure, she got the Golden Buzzer last week, but a lot of singers have gotten the Golden Buzzer in the past. However, Jayna has seriously stepped it up. It’s almost like she’s a completely new artist from the Jayna we’ve seen before. I loved the passion behind this. It was dirty and messy and epic. Heidi gives Jayna a standing ovation, and I’m right there with her..
-Simon is absolutely STUNNED. He’s amazed at how much Jayna has grown from her first audition, and talks about how she not only tackled the song, she controlled that song. He really hopes America picks up the phone, saying this country has real talent. Heidi is amazed, and says Jayna has the voice of a winner. She’s genuinely proud of Jayna. Mel B adds her plaudits, saying Jayna sounds perfect and looks perfect. Howie, meanwhile, feels Jayna would make a lot of money for Simon and his record label. Honestly, I don’t disagree.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Jayna Brown Stuns with Ed Sheeran Cover on America’s Got Talent 2016 (VIDEO)
HARA is up next!
-Hara talks about the stress of his last audition, and how crazy this entire process has been. What I love about Hara is that he’s a supernatural type of artist, but he’s very down-to-Earth. I’m anxious to see what he’ll do, even though I wonder what he could possibly do next.
-I don’t even really know how to explain this. It’s seriously awesome. Needless to say, Hara manages to ride a dragon like he’s Danaerys Targaryen or something. And not just that, but a dragon made of FIRE! And then he makes a woman appear out of thin air. And then there are doves for some reason. Not that I’m complaining. This is BADASS.
-Simon says this stage makes you or breaks you, and he feels this stage made Hara. He made humans appear out of nowhere, he flew on a dragon, and doves arrived. He feels, based on all that, Hara could easily have a career in Vegas. Mel B and Heidi are both stunned by what Hara has done, and this is another case where I feel like the hyperbole isn’t exactly hyperbolic enough. This was far cooler than I think the judges are giving this credit for being.
OUTLAWZ are up next!
-The guys talk about all the attention they’ve been getting from girls since appearing on the show, since girls apparently like dudes who can dance. They talk about how they don’t have any choreographers or coaches or anything. They’re simply a group of guys working to make it happen. They consider themselves the underdogs in this competition, and I can’t say I disagree.
-The guys do a routine based on Ghostbusters, and it’s AWESOME! Granted, it features a ton of different songs, as they perform to tracks like Justin Bieber and Diplo’s “Where Are You Now?” and Rick James’s “Superfreak”. Everything is going well until Simon randomly hits his buzzer. WHAT THE HELL, SIMON?! I literally don’t get it. I really liked this, and I have no idea why Simon buzzed this. The guys were totally on point.
-Simon felt it was clumsy, and says he was disappointed by this performance. Mel B agrees, asking the biggest member of the group if he was injured. He says he wasn’t, and Howie sticks up for the guy, saying it’s like asking a woman if she’s due. “No, he’s not hurt. But now he is,” Howie says. He sticks up for the guys, but Heidi agrees with Mel B and Simon, saying that some dancers are better than others in the group. I really don’t get the bad review. I enjoyed the hell out of this.
MUSICALITY is up next!
-The video package mostly focuses on the singer whose sister was murdered after the auditions, and my heart absolutely aches for him. Seriously, I can’t even imagine what he’s going through, or how he was even able to manage a smile for the segment that shows him walking through the halls of his school and meeting his fellow singers. However, there’s something inspiring about this group rehearsing in the stairwell of their high school, the perennial underdogs of life in an inner city school.
-The group sings “One Last Time” by Ariana Grande, and the harmonies are just IMPECCABLE. Seriously, I’m so impressed by this group. Granted, I wish we’d have gotten more solos and standout moments from some of the individual voices in the group. But overall, I thought this was an incredibly strong performance, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they advanced to the next round.
-Mel B loves this act, and says she’s rooting for them. Heidi wishes there had been more standout solos, but feels the voices overall are great. Simon notes the conductor, Michael, and praises him for what he does for these kids, saying everyone needs a role model like him. He also states that he’s had a lot of friends call and note how much they love Musicality. He feels they’re an act that has just gotten better and better. Howie praises Musicality simply for inspiring.
LORI MAE HERNANDEZ is up next!
-Lori Mae talks about how much she’s wanted to be a comedian, and how much she loves comedy, noting that she often stayed up late watching her favorite comedians. Her enthusiasm for comedy is genuinely infectious, and she strikes me as the type of girl who genuinely studies her favorite comics.
-Lori might be the first comedian in a long time who’s ever made me genuinely belly laugh while watching America’s Got Talent. Her joke bout how Trump stole the speech from the first lady to use for his third lady was AMAZING. And her closer about God blessing America, and how we seriously need divine intervention, was delivered so perfectly. Lori is just sensational. SO GOOD.
-Howie thinks Lori is adorable and wonderful, and praises her for writing her own material. He doesn’t think a single Republican will vote for her, but he feels America should get out the vote for her. Mel B agrees and says Lori is adorable. Simon thinks Lori is edgy, cool and current, and says that’s why America will pick up the phone and vote for her. After the performance, she gives a killer Bernie Sanders impression. PLEASE LET THIS GIRL MAKE THE FINALS.
DEADLY GAMES is up next!
-We get to see what the home life is like for these two, and the playfulness they have with their child just makes me wish all the more that this wasn’t a danger act. So much could go wrong! They even recap how close they came to disaster during rehearsal for their Judge Cuts routine, as the wheel Anna was strapped to came loose. Alfredo notes how easily things could go wrong with their act, as he says that he could easily end up killing his wife. Please don’t remind me.
-Anna comes out in a cloak against a wintery background, and then places herself against a wooden board. She then directs Alfredo as he tosses maces at her. Every time he manages to land successfully, you can see Anna breathe a sigh of relief. Heidi looks like she’s about to pee herself. The crowd goes crazy when Alfredo throws a mace directly at Anna and she manages to duck just in the nick of time. All part of the act, as is the spinning wheel. Except this time, it’s on fire. Still, Alfredo lands all of his shots without hitting Anna. And they end the act with a passionate kiss. I love this act, but I also never want to see it again. It’s terrifying!
-Heidi says, “It’s so scary!” She enjoys the act, and praises Alfredo, but says Anna is the real star. Simon agrees with Heidi, and adds that their presentation is incredible, saying it’s becoming — or maybe already is — a world-class act. Howie says not only is it thrilling, and not only is Anna beautiful, but he feels the act teaches us that we should all listen to our wives. He encourages America to vote. Howie gets Anna to encourage America to vote, and it all leads into a back-and-forth between Mel B and Nick. I really wouldn’t mind seeing this act go through, but they definitely make me nervous, especially in a live setting, where disasters aren’t edited out.
JON DORENBOS is up next!
-We recall Jon’s horrifying backstory, as his father murdered his mother when Jon was just twelve-years-old. Magic was his escape, as his grandparents note. Jon’s grandfather taught him to stick with magic and to figure things out, in order to keep working on his craft. I genuinely fight back tears when he talks about how he loves his mother, and how he’s performing for her in the front row.
-Jon fives the judges some sheets of paper to draw whatever they want. They must conceal it from him, however, and tells them to place their drawings face down. Jon tells Mel B to collect all the drawings and then to hand him one, whichever she wants. She hands him a drawing of a tiny heart, and he successfully predicts that Mel B drew it. The next picture is that of a jacket/suit, and Jon correctly predicts that Howie drew it. The third is a picture of a butterfly, and Jon successfully picks that it was Heidi’s, noting that people often draw what they view themselves as. With only Simon left, Jon draws a picture and promises it’d match Simon’s. He asks if Simon drew a pickle on a treadmill. Simon says no, and Jon reveals his picture is the word “NO”. Simon reveals his picture is that of a dog, so Jon hands Simon a wine bottle to give to Heidi, and then hands Simon a hammer. But he realizes this is a bad idea, so he has Heidi put the bottle in a paper bag. Simon breaks it with the hammer, and Jon pulls out an enevelop with a prediction. Inside is a smaller version of Simon’s picture, along with accurate predictions for what EACH AND EVERY JUDGE DREW! WHAT THE HELL! THIS IS AMAZING! Nick never got it more right than when he declared, “This isn’t just boss! This is Dorenbos!” All four judges give Jon a standing ovation.
-Howie feels we’re going to see Jon in the next round. Mel B confirms that Jon had no idea what they were going to draw, saying she was initially going to draw something very inappropriate. Heidi loves how engaging Jon is, and says his magic is super solid. Simon feels it’s genuinely magic, since he didn’t touch anything. He feels Jon is a real American hero, a great guy, and a genuine superstar. So is Jon the one to beat? After the performance, Jon says he feared the act would bomb very badly, but he’s glad it went well. As long as he pulled off the trick successfully, I don’t see how the judges weren’t going to rave about that. So freaking cool.
DANIEL JOYNER is up next!
-Daniel says that the song he’ll be singing tonight is dedicated to his girlfriend, Caitlyn. They were recently voted prom king and queen, and yeah, they’re exactly as adorable as you’d think they’d be, particularly when Caitlyn recalls how they got together, noting that he asked her if she wanted to be more than friends. “Well, duh” was her response.
-Daniel sings “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen, but the awesome Michael Buble version. Granted, if my American Idol memory serves me well, Simon ripped on this song in the past, wondering how the hell it was ever a No. 1 song, after Tim Urban performed it in Season 9. But who knows? Maybe he’ll like Daniel’s version, although I wouldn’t bet on it, since there are moments where Daniel’s vocal isn’t entirely audible. This wasn’t as good as last week.
-Mel B likes Daniel and his charisma, but she just wasn’t feeling it tonight (Howie: “Maybe he was injured.” Mel B: “Shut up.”). Heidi likes Daniel and encourages him to keep going. Simon compares Daniel to a lollipop and says it’s like he was a cabaret artist. That said, he does think Daniel’s performance was very slick, and feels he’s better than that song, so he hopes America keeps him in. Howie thinks Daniel is already a winner at 17, but feels the performance was a little cheesy, and we’re all lactose intolerant. Afterwards, Nick asks for comments from Daniel about Simon comparing him to a lollipop, and he says he’d like to think that also meant he was sweet too. Nice recovery, Daniel.
TAPE FACE is up next!
-Coming up with a pre-performance video package for this guy is exactly as hard as you’d think it’d be, since we know basically nothing about him. And honestly, I hope we never do. The video basically involves him finding his way to the studio, riding on an LA tour bus as people alternately wonder if he has any idea where he’s going, and congratulate him on all his AGT success.
-So Tape Face brings Heidi onstage and then places her hands over a cup, before embracing her from behind, at which point we get an “Unchained Melody” music cue in a parody of Ghost. Tape Face then brings out Nick and puts on a pair of sunglasses which bring up the song “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins. Kind of surprised this hasn’t gotten buzzed, since half the act is the music cues. But the minute he hands the glasses to Nick to put on, the act delivers. The first time Nick puts them on, it plays “Like a Virgin”. The second time? “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. They then put on sunglasses together, and they both get the same badass song usually associated with spycraft that I can’t really name off the top of my head. Ultimately, this was pretty funny, all in all.
-Howie feels Tape Face has nothing, but it’s more nothing than the nothing he had before. So I guess he enjoyed it? Simon is also conflicted, but feels Tape Face is so silly that he’s like Mr. Bean, and will end up in his own TV show. He feels a star is being born out of pure, utter silliness. Heidi is a huge fan of Tape Face, but says her favorite act of his was his audition. That said, she did enjoy doing the act tonight. Mel B liked Tape Face more in his audition than she did here, although she admits it might be because her expectations were too high. I still expect Tape Face to be voted through. Like Piff the Magic Dragon or The Human Regurgitator last season, he’s the kind of out-there talent that could really go to the finals.
DOROTHY WILLIAMS is up next!
-Dorothy talks about how she first started dancing at age 17, when FDR was still in office. However, she didn’t become a star, so she gave up her dream of dancing and worked at a grocery store for 25 years. But she’s back now, and she recalls what it was like to have Nick hit the Golden Buzzer. We also see her practicing for her big performance, and is it crazy that I’m kind of excited for this? When her video ends and we see a picture of her when she was young…SWOON-WORTHY! Hell, she’s swoon-worthy now!
-Dorothy’s dance is about as burlesque as you can get when you’re in your 90s. Seriously, the way her hips sway? So impressive. And the tassels at the end were absolutely delightful. I love Dorothy so damn much, and I find myself rooting for her, even though there are people objectively more talented than her. Howie, Simon and Heidi give Dorothy a standing ovation, and I’m all about that.
-Howie loves Dorothy, and gives a shout-out to her “grandchildren” (i.e., backup dancers) onstage. Mel B praises Dorothy, as does Heidi. Dorothy cuts in to state that she has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. ADORABLE. Simon says the act rested on her tassels, and she delivered tonight. He then gives a shoutout to the mother of his child, who just turned 50. (Seriously, 50?! She looks AMAZING!)
SILA SVETA is up next!
-The male of Sila Sveta talks about what it would mean for the group to have its own show in Las Vegas, and you know what? I’m rooting for them. Last season’s finals suffered from the lack of dance acts and innovative movement artists. I feel like this is the perfect group to make it through to the next round, if for nothing else than variety’s sake.
-It starts out with one dancer against a backdrop of digital lines on the screen behind him — lines that form into a face. The female appears behind him, and they break into a beautiful routine that meshes with the video screen behind them. Seriously, it looks like they take turns disappearing completely. I’m not doing this justice at all, but this act is really cool.
-Simon wishes Nick hadn’t come to him first, since he didn’t particularly like that performance. He’s just seen it done better, and he hated the music choice. Howie doesn’t get Simon’s critique at all, saying it was like classic dance. He wonders if he and Simon even watched the same performance. “We did, darling,” Simon declares. Mel B liked it, and asks the woman if she died at the end. “No, he was just injured,” Howie said, further ragging on Mel B for the Outlawz critique. I love a good running joke! I also love a good dance act, which I feel this definitely was.
LAURA BRETAN closes the show!
-Laura talks about how opera isn’t just old ladies in wigs, and says that it’s something she’s always loved to do. Her audition basically changed her life, since she gets recognized now. Laura looking at her YouTube view counts go up is one of the more adorable clips I’ve seen this season. She’s just so cute and so talented that I can’t help but root for her.
-Laura sings “The Prayer” by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, a song that just destroys me emotionally. And this case was no different. Laura performed it beautifully. At first, I felt she might have been overdoing it a bit, but by the end, I genuinely felt she stole the entire friggin’ show. The judges are all on their feet, except for Howie. This was amazing. Laura wipes away tears as she sees the judges’ reaction.
-Mel B says Laura turned into somebody else halfway through the song, and says her voice is incredible and powerful. “Literally, I’m shaking inside!” she says. Simon says Laura is the reason they made this show, to find people like her. He thought her arms flailing around was a bit awkward, but he didn’t care because she killed them all with that vocal. “I am so happy for you!” he says. What impresses Heidi is that the more difficult the notes get, the better Laura is. Simon butts in to praise Laura on a brilliant song choice. Howie says Laura just gave America the hardest decision, since they opened with an incredible 14-year-old singer, and they’re closing on a 14-year-old singer. Laura wipes away tears as she tells the judges how much it means for her to be here tonight. She’s so going through to the semifinals.
-And that’s a wrap! What did you think of tonight’s show? Sound off in the comments!
Until tomorrow night, thanks for reading!