Wednesday, August 15, 2012

'America's Got Talent' returns with Sharon, Howard, Howie - USA TODAY

America's Got Talent returned Tuesday, after taking a break for the Olympics, with a live show from Newark.

And, yes, Sharon Osbourne - who has been saying she's quitting the show because she feels NBC discriminated against her son Jack by not allowing him on its Stars Earns Stripes show - was in her judge's seat.

Perched between Howard Stern and Howie Mandel, she calmly gave her opinions and said nothing outrageous, made no mentions of her feelings, all night long.

Host Nick Cannon opened the show, which featured 12 acts taken from YouTube videos. They were vying for votes from viewers to send them through to the semifinals.

"I gotta tell you, Nick, it's been two weeks," said Howard. "Those Olympics went on and on and on. I'm ready to judge."

But the acts were mostly terrible, and not far into the second hour, Howard was asking, "Whose idea was it to have a YouTube show?"

It was more like YouTube's Got No Talent. Here's how it unfolded:

No. 1. Clint Carvalho and his Extreme Parrots. Clint called out to his cockatoo named Kitten, who was on the roof of a nearby building, to fly in to the theater. "Here, Kitty, Kitty!" Which it did. The judges loved it. "It was spectacular," said Sharon. "Had the bird gone to the bathroom on my shoulder, it would have been perfect," said Howard. "I enjoyed it very, very much."

No. 2. Reverse Order. The pop rock band started by John and Cruise Russo from Hackettstown, N.J., included four guys who sang Katy Perry's I Kissed A Girl. They didn't earn raves from the judges. "I think you guys suffer from not being together that long," said Howard, who added that the vocals needed work. Howie agreed. Sharon wondered which they wanted to be - rock or pop. They said rock, but that didn't explain the song choice.

No. 3. Rudy Coby. Los Angeles-based magician Coby, who said he was once Marilyn Manson's roommate, tried to work magic by bringing a clown to life, who then turned out to be Rudy Coby, who killed magician Rudy Coby. He was buzzed by Howard and Sharon. Howard criticized him for not getting to the twist of the act sooner. "You lost us." Howie agreed that in the middle the act lagged, but felt Coby was "unique." Said Sharon, "You're very dark. You just look a bit like a Nazi." Said Howard, "No, he looks like Jack LaLanne."

No. 4. 7 in Unison is a dance group composed of seven girls who are 14 or 15 - Macy, Mady, Allie, Brandi, Christine, Ashlee and Linzey - from Orange County, Calif. They performed a jazzy but lackluster modern dance. Howie buzzed them. "I got a little bored," said Howie. Sharon said they were technically good but didn't really do anything to set them apart.

No. 5. Drew Erwin, 16, a high school student from Memphis, sang Torn. Sharon said he did "extremely well" considering it was his first time singing in public. Howie said it was "commendable" that he was on stage. Howard said he wasn't ready for the competition. The audience booed and Howard said, "I'm trying to be honest ..."

No. 6. Melinda Hill, standup comic, was born in Kansas but moved around a lot growing up. She did bad jokes for 90 seconds. Example: "I just got engaged by changing my Facebook status to engaged." She barely got any applause when she finished. Said Howard, "I don't know what's happening with this YouTube show." He told Hill she picked the wrong material. Howie agreed. Sharon said, "It was very funny and then went downhill."

No 7. Eric Buss, comedian from Tucson, makes and does wacky stuff. To classical music, he shot puffy snakes out of cans, and he was buzzed by Howard and Sharon almost immediately. Howie said it was a birthday party kind of act. "The only thing you managed to do was make a mess of my stage," said Howard, calling it a "colossal waste of time." He added, "You're boring." Sharon said it was "very clevah" that he had built the machines that shot the snakes. When Buss said he had a wife and baby, Howie said, "Maybe you could figure out a way to have that shoot out of the back of your wife!"

No. 8. Romeo Dance Cheetah, 30, is an air guitarist from Chicago. Howie and Howard buzzed him immediately. "What is going on?" said Sharon, laughing. "Whose idea was it to have a YouTube night?" said Howard, adding, "I am one of those Americans who does not think air guitar is a talent." The crowd cheered. "It looks like you're playing with yourself. ... The whole thing is nonsense." Said Howie, "For four years, I was an air roadie."

No. 9. The Magic of Puck. Puck is a magician from New York who currently lives in Saint Cloud, Fla., with his wife and three kids. He made a white handkerchief wiggle and jump around the stage and jump into his pocket. Howard liked it. "I've seen this kind of act before, and you do it very well." But he told Puck to bring "bigger and better next time." Howie told him he was lucky to be on the show tonight because "everyone else has been disappointing." Sharon echoed Howard. Nick then told a joke: "How do you make a handkerchief dance?" Replied Puck, "You put a little boogie in it." Har har.

No. 10. Bria Kelly, 16, is a singer from Virginia Beach who has performed the national anthem more than 40 times. She belted it out country song Gunpowder & Lead. Howard said she "did a great job." Sharon said she was "very competent," but told her not to "shout so much." Said Howie, "In my opinion, so far tonight, you, young lady, are the standout."

No. 11. Cast in Bronze. Frank DellaPenna is Cast in Bronze, a masked musician who plays the carillon, an instrument of 35 bronze bells. "I relinquished my identity to this instrument," he said, explaining why he wears a mask. Okaaaaay. All three judges X'd him with their buzzers. Sharon said she couldn't decide if she was in "a department store at Christmas or watching a rerun of Quasimodo." Howie said it would maybe work better on Broadway as "Phantom of the Dingalings." Howard said, "If Hell had a musician, you would be it." He said it gave him a headache.

No. 12. Academy of Villains, a hip-hop dance group from San Francisco, directed and managed by Pharside and Krystal Meraz, was the only act to wow the crowd at all. They performed a routine dressed as skeletons that started out with arm movements to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody and morphed into full-stage, full-on breakdancing and acrobatics. "Now we got something going. Finally we've got something to crow about," said Howard. "Very inventive." Said Sharon, "Finally, finally. I tell you, it's been a tough one tonight, but finally we got you." Howie said, "We saved the best for last."

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