Monday night was the first of three that America's Got Talent will spend in Las Vegas this week for the boot camp rounds. During boot camp, our three judges will whittle the unwieldy pile of talent at their feet into a more manageable 48 slots. Here's how boot camp works:
Upon arrival in the aptly named "City of Second Chances," contestants from all over the country were split into two groups -- the Judges Favorites and the Standbys. The Favorites were given the first opportunity to compete for the 48 live show places and the Standbys will compete for whatever is left over. Those who weren't listed in either group were told that, unfortunately, upon further review of their audition, they weren't up to snuff. Among those sent home as soon as they got off the plane was singer Charlie C, girl band Ivy Rose, and Bandbaz Brothers, whose dismissal served as a great reminder of how fickle the judges' love can be. Admittedly, the Bandbaz Brothers' initial performance was marred by unsteadiness, never actually falling apart, but coming frighteningly close a few times. At the time, judge Howard Stern commented that the shakiness made the act look difficult, which stressed the danger factor nicely. However, upon their dismissal from boot camp, the reason given for their insta-cut was the lack of polish in their original audition.
Well, OK then.
The judges were looking for perfection in Vegas and what they found was certainly lacking. In the Danger Category, All Wheel Sports presented a jumbled mess of a performance and one of the American BMX performers took an ouch-worthy spill. Ben Blaque upped the thrill factor of his archery act by shooting a balloon above his assistant's head backwards while blindfolded.
Next up, the Female Singers brought a steady parade of disappointment and man, were the judges cold. I'm so used to Sharon Osbourne being all cheery and awesome that to witness her less than warm and fuzzy interactions with the contestants was jarring and, well, a little bit awesome in a different way.
During her second audition, Mary Joyner held her own, but didn't blow the judges away like she previously did, prompting them to question her vocal range. What little we saw of Roxy Doll was just bad. Luna caved to nervousness and forgot the words to "If It Makes You Happy." Nikki Jensen impressed the judges with her Rolling Stones cover, but Howard Stern and Howie Mandel debated whether or not America would embrace someone with a sound as unique as hers (that isn't really that unique at all). Thank you for confirming my long-held belief that reality talent shows breed boring homogeneous blah blah. Really. I love when I'm right.
The Dance Groups featured Funk Beyond Control dressed like jungle cats, a return of the Loyalty Dance Team that all three judges deemed "boring" and a mid-air collision between two members of the 787 Crew during their boot camp audition. OUCH. That looked like it hurt and it certainly hurt their favor with the judges. Stern sounded like he was willing to give them another chance but Osbourne and Mandel stood by their demand for perfection. PERFECTION. There was an obligatory shot of one of the dancers involved in the accident sobbing in the bathroom because AGT didn't break my heart enough with the epic sobfest that was the Female Singer category earlier in the evening.
Horse opened the Novelty Acts segment of boot camp. I still don't entirely understand the appeal of watching the man get hit in the nuts repeatedly since, you know, I graduated from high school and all that, but OK, I'll go with it. For now. All Beef Patty donned her fabulous wig for another round of belting pop ballads on stage and ventriloquist Todd Oliver used his dog, Irving, as a puppet -- an act that continues to make me uncomfortable. Much ado was made about the similarity between the Aurora Light Orchestra and the Light Wire Theater's acts and since the subsequent showdown was so anticlimactic, I've decided that what I'd really like to see is the two nocturnal novelties face off West Side Story style. You know it would be awesome.
The final category to compete on Monday was the itty bitty Classical Singers group, made up of Simply Sergio, Luiz Meneghin, and Andrew De Leon. Simply put: Simply Sergio struggled with a cold before simply forgetting the lyrics to his song. Luiz Meneghin informed us that his house was foreclosed on before his performance, which made the subsequent shaky singing all the sadder, though out of the three classical singers, I'd say he was the strongest performer. I mean, at least he didn't forget the words like Sergio and, unfortunately, De Leon.
Yikes. Vegas Boot Camp continues tonight and Wednesday on NBC. Stock up on tissues, you guys. If auditions continue to flounder the way they did on Monday, we're going to need them.
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