"We're gonna see chills. We're gonna see thrills. We're gonna see spills -- and I'm not just talking about Sharon's cleavage. ..."
Ah, yes, leave it to Howard Stern to get another night of "America's Got Talent" off to a classy start. At least he didn't pick a fight with fellow judge Howie Mandel this time.
Twelve more acts are about to take the stage somewhere in the swamps of Jersey, hoping to qualify for the semifinals. A few will, indeed, thrill us. Others will bore us to tears.
-- The Untouchables: These cute little kid hoofers come out in something akin to hula outfits and do some flashy dancing. Cool lifts. A Latin beat. Lots of energy. ... The judges find them remarkable for their age, but a $1 million act? Doubtful. They've got a lot of competition in their category.
-- Mike Price: The "rock star juggler" goes all pyro, twirling a bunch of torches to some very loud Who music. Unfortunately, he drops a torch and the overall act feels sadly disjointed. The judges aren't impressed. Howard thinks Mike's "AGT" journey will end right here.
-- Inspire the Fire: This troupe of singers and dancers is anything but inspiring as they prance around in stars and stripes to Katy Perry's "Firework." Patriotic, but oh so lame. It's not a $1 million act, according to Howie. More like "$125." Sharon agrees, calling it "cheesy" (one of her favorite words), and Howard says it was "like a rehearsal." The fire is apparently
-- Cristin Sandu: The gutsy balancing guy comes a tumbling down from a pile of silver pipes and gets a great big "X" from Howard. Epic fail. Clearly, he's done, but we're still impressed. Maybe that's because we struggle just to stay on the sidewalk.
-- Elusive: The rubber-armed dancer rips through a routine to James Brown's "Super Bad." It features hand springs, bouncy moves, the whole bit. Howie loves it and envisions an epic dance-off between this guy and Turf. But Sharon and Howard think it lacks a little something.
-- Jake Wesley Rogers: At 15, we were reading comic books and trying to overcome our fear of girls. This baby-faced teen is performing in front of millions on national TV. Bold. Unfortunately, his dirge-like arrangement of Britney Spears' "Toxic" is a great big snoozer. But, hey, at least he's got good hair.
-- All Wheel Sports: How to describe this act. They've got daredevil cyclists flying off ramps, kids jumping on trampolines, dancers doing flips in mid-air, lots of special effects. ... It's crazy. It's manic. Our eyes are darting all over the place, not really knowing where to focus. The judges eat it up, but Howie makes a good point, saying that the act may not translate as well via television as it does live. He hopes the voters -- watching at home -- shower their votes on these crazy thrill-seekers.
-- Wordspit and the Illest: We love how this very offbeat music act takes hip-hop and fuses it with other genres. They really seize your attention as they blaze across the stage. But their decision to go with an original song may hurt them. A "disastrous choice," Howie says. Sharon agrees, but Howard loved it. "You're one of the tightest bands I've ever heard on a television show," he raves.
-- Jacob Williams: The fledgling stand-up comedian has a dry style. He riffs on his childhood and his socially awkward ways. There are a few chuckles in there, but it's not hilarious by any means. We're liking Tom Cotter a bit more at this point, but Howie calls Jacob the best act of the night so far.
-- All Beef Patty: The plus-sized drag queen with cotton-candy hair certainly stands out in a crowd. Tonight he/she belts out an energetic cover of "Let's Hear it For The Boy" as half-naked guys dance all about. Host Nick Cannon says she looks like a "big ol' Nicki Minaj" and Sharon likens All Beef to a "chunky Cher." Still, her moves are limited and the singing is anything but Cher-like. After Wednesday's elimination round, we may be asking, "Where's the Beef?"
-- Spencer Horsman: The nutty escape artist is encased in a strait jacket and suspended 15 feet in the air above a bed of long, metal spikes. A death wish? He escapes with just a little scrape, but the fact that he did the maneuver behind a screen sapped some of the tension from the act because we couldn't tell what was really going on. Something tells us that Spencer won't escape elimination.
-- Lightwire Theater: The highly original quintet of dancers and puppeteers bring their colorful characters to life in compelling ways. Tonight it's a flock of bizarre dancing birds. WOW. It's captivating. It's spectacular. We can easily envision the Lightwire team as a headlining act in Vegas. It will be a major upset if they don't make the finals.
But first, they, of course, they need to get past Wednesday's results show, when eight of tonight's acts will be axed. Stay tuned.