America’s Got Talent 2016 Season Premiere – Live Blog and Recap – Auditions (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for the America’s Got Talent 2016, “Auditions”! Judges Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell join host Nick Cannon on the biggest nationwide talent search of the summer!
It should be interesting to see what Simon adds to the panel this season, since I’ve long spoken about how much I loved the previous panel (seriously, Howard Stern was a very underrated judge!). In particular, I’m intrigued to see which acts, if any, get Golden Buzzers — and which get eliminated with four buzzers. Just the sheer extent of variety on this show is exciting, so to say I’m stoked for this premiere would be a major understatement.
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 meet the new judging panel, and I’m already loving having Simon around. However, we don’t waste any time in getting to the first act of the night…
NATHAN BOCKSTAHLER opens the show!
-Nathan is a six-year-old comedian who just might be one of the cutest kids who’s ever been on the show. He’s hear with his mom, dad, and little sister, who wears a pink tutu. I half-expected her to be part of the act, she’s so adorable. When he enters the studio, Nathan admits he’s never watched America’s Got Talent before, but he knows you get a million dollars for winning. He jokes that instead of a million dollars, he’d prefer a million LEGOs. Actually, he might not be joking at all, which makes this all the cuter.
-Nathan makes a pretty amazing crack about having ADHD, being unable to finish the joke because of how easily he’s distracted. He’s also got jokes about girls, particularly how they act one way but actually mean something else. He gets a standing ovation from the entire audience, and I can’t say I blame them. This was a VERY impressive act for a six-year-old, particularly from a delivery standpoint. He’s got the knack of a true comedian.
-Mel B asks Nathan if he even realizes how funny he is. Howie, meanwhile, asks if he’s flirting with the ladies. Nathan responds, “It’s not me, they started it!” Howie asks if he has a girlfriend, and Nathan says you don’t have a girlfriend at six, you have one at 12. Howie then asks who writes the material, and Nathan states his mom doesn’t write anything, she types it. Heidi loves Nathan, and Simon thinks he was hilarious from the moment he started talking. “I think America is going to fall in love with you,” Simon declares. And I think he might be right, provided this isn’t an act they randomly cut before Vegas like Heavenly Joy last year. All four judges say yes.
NATHAN BOCKSTAHLER advances to the next round!
-Afterwards, Howie predicts Nathan will have his own show, while Simon predicts he’ll have his own network. Hey, I’d watch.
JOSE FUENTES AND CARRIE are up next!
-Jose is a 58-year-old man who has an adorable Golden Retriever. Apparently, Jose’s ex-wife wouldn’t dance with him, but Carrie would. So he danced with the dog. Simon is amazed that Jose divorced a woman in order to dance with a dog, and proclaims that this is going to be a really weird season. For her part, Mel B is amazed that Carrie is wearing a full dress.
-Oh man, this dance routine is PRECIOUS! Jose’s dancing isn’t much, but Carrie is just so perfect, getting on her hind legs and getting her groove on. She even shakes her booty to the music! Maybe I’m just easily impressed, but this is positively terrific!
-Simon asks if Jose had to train Carrie or if they just started dancing together. He can hardly get through the questionnaire without laughing, but he’s amazed at what Jose and Carrie can do. Both Howie and Mel B loved it, whereas Heidi only liked it for the first 15 seconds before getting bored by it. Simon says yes, Heidi says no (Simon: “WHAT?!”), Mel B says yes, and Howie says yes, which is enough to make it happen for the group.
JOSE FUENTES AND CARRIE advance to the next round!
-I love this act, but I feel like this is going to be a controversial duo, if only because we’ve seen better dog acts before. But I genuinely enjoyed this.
THE CLAIRVOYANTS are up next!
-Tommy and Amelie are a couple whose “minds crossed” and “thoughts crossed” once they started dating. Among other things, she can feel objects he’s holding in his hands, giving them a predictive ability. I have no idea if they’re talented or not, but I do know Amelie is positively dazzling.
-They bring Heidi onstage, then they blindfold Amelie. Tommy has Heidi pick an object out of the bag, and Amelie correctly predicts the lipstick Heidi is holding, as well as the shade and the production number. Tommy then goes into the audience and retrieves a random object, in this case a cellphone. Amelie predicts not only that it’s a cellphone, but also the type of phone and its carrier. She insists it’s an iPhone, but it honestly looks more like a Galaxy. But I digress. Tommy then takes an object from the judges, and Amelie correctly predicts it is a vial of eyedrops. She successfully predicts the expiration date, blowing Howie’s mind to such an extent that he gives them a standing ovation.
-Howie has never seen an act like that in all his years on this show, and Heidi affirms she wasn’t in on the act. Simon thinks the only explanation is that Amelie is a witch. Ultimately, they get a yes from all four judges. An enthusiastic quartet of yeses, actually.
THE CLAIRVOYANTS advance to the next round!
-I like this act a lot, and I swear it has nothing to do with Amelie being outrageously cute.
LINKIN’ BRIDGE is up next!
-This is a singing quartet, making them our first singing act of the season. Maybe that’s foreshadowing for their future success in the competition. Either way, I love the guys’ personalities. The lead singer doesn’t even have a good reason when Simon asks why they’re auditioning for America’s Got Talent in the first place. I’d be positively shocked if these guys don’t have talent.
-They sing an a cappella rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” that instantly ranks among the best versions of the song I’ve ever heard on any singing show. This was just fantastic. Their beatboxing and the harmonies? SO on-point! I know we’re only four acts deep so far, but this is my favorite of the night, so far.
-Mel B is speechless. “It was THAT good!” Howie tells the guys he loved it. Simon, meanwhile, says the first half of the song was only okay. That said, he thought the second half, when they finally heard the lead, was sensational. “This could be your time now,” he says. One of the singers breaks down in tears, and explains that it’s hard to find the words to say what this means. Heidi calls the performance beautiful. The judges vote, and they get a yes from each and every judge.
LINKIN’ BRIDGE advances to the next round!
-I NEED to know who’s doing the version of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know” that’s playing over this. Seriously, someone tell me, please. It’s gorgeous.
THE SPICE GURLZ are up next!
-The pre-performance video tries to imply we’re going to be meeting a boy band, but when they come out onstage, the dudes are in drag as the Spice Girls. Mel B actually takes it better than I thought she would, especially since this feels more like a parody than a tribute.
-Mel B immediately notes that they’re mimicking and not actually singing during their performance of “Spice Up Your Life”. Howie is the first to give an X, and Simon quickly follows. Yeah, this is patently awful. Afterwards, they’re asked to sing for real, and they do a terrible version of “Say You’ll Be There”. Simon jokes that it’s better than the original, infuriating Mel B.
-Amazingly, Mel B and Simon say yes, but Heidi and Howie shut it down by saying no, thankfully.
-We get a performance from a talented gymnastics troupe named Triograce that gets immediately voted through to the next round. We then get a man who promises to to spin a cheeseburger on an umbrella once Heidi tosses it. But she doesn’t throw it at the man, choosing instead to throw it at Simon. We also get Mel B and Heidi singing karaoke with “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” backstage. Later, a woman named Rose comes out with cardboard cutouts of each judge. She does some kung fu moves, and then destroys the Mel B cutout. Heidi buzzes her, and it’s a no all-around. This is a weird, aimless montage, but I’m glad we’re getting through a lot of the bad acts now. Interestingly enough, Mel B hops onstage and destroys the other cutouts, decapitating Simon in a cool little moment. We then throw to a commercial of Nick Cannon promoting The Secret Life of Pets, because why not?
HARA is up next!
-Hara is from a very tiny village in Japan, but he’s honed his craft over the years. His biggest dream has been to perform on America’s Got Talent, and I kind of love how the video is building tension about what, exactly, it is that Hara does.
-This guy is like a Kenichi Ibina, in a way. His act is part dancing, but also part reality-bending magic. I don’t know how else to describe it. He makes orbs appear, and those orbs become flowers, and the flowers become petals that shape and change the video landscape behind him. It’s beautiful and amazing, ending with him sprouting wings and appearing to take flight. Howie and Heidi give him a standing ovation, and I can’t say it’s unearned. This is terrific, and he overtakes Linkin’ Bridge as my favorite act of the night so far.
-Howie is stunned, and says Hara has made him truly believe in magic. Mel B agrees, while Heidi says it was simply beautiful. Simon admits how amazed he was that Hara managed to turn into a pigeon at the end, and states that the performance simply put him in a good mood, as if he were in the happiest place on Earth. They all vote, and it’s a big yes from every judge. It’s a great result, although I partially expected one of the judges would use the Golden Buzzer.
CHARLIE AND ROSE are up next!
-They met at bereavement counseling, of all places. They have an argument over just when/how their relationship began, whether or not they started kissing in the actual bereavement counseling session. Either way, they agree they were kicked out, and eventually fell in love during karaoke later on. For a couple in the 50/60s age range, they look pretty great. Simon flirts a little bit with Rose, noting how cute she is after learning she’s a makeup artist. And hey, Charlie delivers mail, so let’s hear it for Charlie! Seriously, that’s not exactly the easiest job in the world.
-They perform “Viva Las Vegas” by Elvis Presley, with Charlie singing and Rose dancing. Rose’s dancing is kind of hypnotic, but I wouldn’t necessarily say she’s good. And Charlie can’t really sing, even though he’s mostly in key. Unfortunately, he forgets the lyrics halfway through, although Rose covers for him by stripping. This is entertaining, but kind of awful, and I’m surprised Heidi is the only judge who buzzes this. It also ends very abruptly, which confuses the judges.
-Simon asks how much more Rose would have stripped if the song didn’t end, and she admits she might have taken off more, since she gets hot flashes. So Simon has the song restarted, and Rose actually teases taking her top off before the song stops again. Howie and Simon are furious, asking who keeps stopping the track. So they start again, and this act actually gets better on the third try, believe it or not. Still not exactly good, but weirdly entertaining. Simon admits it’s one of the worst acts he’s ever seen, but he couldn’t take his eyes off of it. Howie says he would go see their show, which constitutes a yes. For much the same reasons, Mel B says yes. Heidi, however, says no. Simon asks if he should think with his head or his heart, since his head is saying no, whereas his heart is saying he wants to see this bigger and better. Ultimately, Simon goes with his heart.
CHARLIE AND ROSE advance to the next round!
-This really isn’t great for Simon’s credibility, but then, this is kind of why I love this show. We get random, crazy acts like this who advance much farther than they should. And some of them surprise us later. Not that I expect Charlie and Rose will improve in the next round, but I wouldn’t necessarily rule out a big, ridiculous, entertaining number that succeeds by sheer bombast.
TAPE FACE is up next!
-We meet a man with tons of eyeliner and black tape over his mouth. He won’t give anyone his name, nor will he say what his act is. He won’t even tell Howie! Part of me wonders if he’s an act like Special Head, who’s weird but delivers a great act if given time.
-Tape Face puts on oven mits with eyes on them…and then has them perform a duet of “Endless Love”. I’m kind of amazed the judges are giving this any time whatsoever, although I’m admittedly amused by how Tape Face seems horrified that his hands have a life of their own. The audience is even in on this, doing a hand wave with the song! Tape Face then whips out a jacket and puts it on half his body, doing a pretty great simulation in which he appears to be dancing with another person. It’s kind of hilarious, and THIS is an act I can actually understand being given a standing ovation, because this is hilarious. Howie, Heidi and Mel B give Tape Face a standing ovation, and while I’m not sure I’d go that far, this certainly did get funny by the end.
-Simon loves that we don’t know anything about Tape Face, and calls him funny and brilliant. Heidi admits she found him creepy at first, but she thought he was great. Mel B thinks Tape Face is brilliant, while Howie thinks everyone (scratch that, NO ONE) in America will know his name! All the judges go crazy over him!
TAPE FACE advances to the next round!
-Nick greets Tape Face backstage…while wearing tape over his mouth as well. Tape Face then leaves in an ending lifted straight from The Breakfast Club, as he pumps his fist while walking away.
-Back from break with Simon asking if Howie has any antibodies, since his germaphobe lifestyle likely prevents him from building up any. Hmm, never would have thought to ask him that.
RYAN STOCK AND AMBERLYNN are up next!
-Ryan and AmberLynn are a couple, and they’re very much in love, drawing a big “awww” from the crowd. Ryan insists they’re going to be doing an act that’s never been seen on this stage before, which is a pretty big boast to make. I’m intrigued.
-Ryan has AmberLynn offer a pair of scissors to the judges to verify that they’re real scissors. Ryan sticks the scissors up his nose, shocking the audience, but he insists this isn’t the gross part. He then starts snapping the scissors while shoved up his nasal cavity, but insists this isn’t the gross part. He then removes the scissors…and licks them! Okay, that’s the gross part. He then brings out a 15-inch long meat hook, as Mel B is freaking out and insisting she can’t watch this. And yet she doesn’t buzz this. Ryan sticks the hook up his nose, and then has AmberLynn hang a round weight from it. Ryan then hangs himself from the ceiling by the nose. This, finally, prompts Heidi to buzz the act. The best thing I can say about this is that AmberLynn is super pretty. Other than that, this is gross as hell, and I have no idea where you go with an act like this from here. For some insane reason, Simon gives this a standing ovation.
-Mel B loves this kind of act, but just can’t watch it. So she acts what the grand finale was, since she wasn’t watching. The other judges explain, and it’s almost too much for her. Howie has no idea what happened in AmberLynn’s life that this constitutes something better. But he did love the act, which is more than can be said for Heidi. Simon thought it was great, and he wants to see what else they can bring from here. Heidi is the only no. That said, Simon does apologize to America in advance for putting them through, since this means more gross performances.
RYAN STOCK AND AMBERLYNN advance to the next round!
-Back from break with our first solo singer of the night…
LAURA BRETAN is up next!
-Laura is 13-years-old and in eighth grade, and she’s understandably nervous about singing in front of Simon Cowell, since she knows he’ll be brutally honest if you’re not good. Her nerves aren’t helped by having to see a vocal group get buzzed and dissed by Simon, followed by a pretty talented singer/songwriter named Noelle get similar treatment…except Noelle actually makes it through. OH MY GOD THAT’S NOELLE BEAN! I knew I recognized her from somewhere! I adore her! The music video for “Herp Da Derp” is one of my favorites! But I digress. Laura comes onstage with a nervous sort of confidence. She’s adorable, and she and her mother are practically twins. That has nothing to do with anything, but I’m so nervous for her, I’ve got to keep typing.
-Laura bursts into a gorgeous rendition of “Nessun Dorma”, which is one of my favorite operatic pieces. Simon can hardly believe she’s thirteen, while Howie can only say “wow”. The audience is already giving her a standing ovation before she’s even halfway through. If I’m being honest, we’ve heard better young opera singers before. But there’s absolutely no denying that Laura is a superb singer, and this performance pretty much proves it. She’s overcome with emotion when she sees all four judges standing up for her, along with the entire audience. I can’t say she didn’t earn that.
-Howie asks how Laura feels, and she admits she’s relieved. Howie thought it was incredible, and Heidi agrees, saying Laura put her in the best mood. Simon can’t believe that just happened, saying he hasn’t seen anything like that in all the years he’s being doing these shows. Mel B, meanwhile, declares that her hairs were standing up on end the entire time. She wants to change Laura’s life, so that’s exactly what she’ll be doing…
MEL BE HITS HER GOLDEN BUZZER FOR LAURA BRETAN!
-Laura and her mother can’t hold back the tears, and even Mel B admits she’s shaking from the excitement of it all. Backstage, Laura is completely flustered: “What just happened?”! She’s so cute and likable, I can’t help but root for her. This was just fabulous.
MR. SPLAT closes the show!
-Mr. Splat (a man named Greg) admits he’s had a passion for danger ever since he was a kid. That said, he states that he could end up going home in an ambulance if this doesn’t go well for him. We get no indication of just what his talent is, so consider me nervous.
-Greg comes out onstage and has an inflatable pool brought in. There’s a ton of buildup to Greg jumping in the pool. Unfortunately, when he finally does, we find out it’s only a pool of whipped cream (or maybe shaving cream, I can’t tell). The crowd boos, and all four judges buzz him out of the competition, our first four-buzzer elimination of the season! How fitting, coming after our first Golden Buzzer of AGT 2016.
-Simon declares it one of the worst acts he’s ever seen, and angrily declares he’s leaving. Heidi then tries to get Nick to go into the pool. When she pushes him, he drags her in with him. Heidi and Nick then chase around the other judges to get them covered in whipped/shaving cream as well, creating a total mess. And that’s the end of the show! As he leaves, Simon states, “This is not why I came back to America!”
-Aaaand that’s a wrap! What did you think of tonight’s show? Sound off in the comments!
Until next week, thanks for reading and hanging out!