As one of the viewers who appreciated Piers Morgan more than anyone else on “America’s Got Talent,” there was some skepticism going into the new season. Howard Stern is course an enormous star, but that in itself does not guarantee that he will be a particularly good judge. (After all look, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler are both famous and and judges.)
Despite our initial concerns, though, Howard did not waste much time when it came to winning us over. He was sharp, funny, and also was completely unwilling to put through terrible people. While there wasn’t the same sort of frat-boy pranks that we saw with Piers and Howie Mandel last year, Howard took the job seriously and also realized that he was there to entertain — as he did everything from dusting off some dance moves to mocking Sharon Osbourne’s career.
With all of this in mind, let’s get to the real reason people watch — the talent!
Aoni Jackson – For the first-ever audition of Howard Stern’s season, we had a magician who decided to first take Howie Mandel’s wedding ring, and then turn into some bizarre sort of dancer in a cop outfit. Ew.
Miss Les – This woman brought a score of birds on stage with her to sing … but then didn’t actually use them at all.
Sanjula Vamana – These are the sort of acts that are incredible to watch — it’s incredibly disgusting to watch a guy stick needles through his mouth and act like it is no big deal, but it is also entertaining. Even though they didn’t advance, this is a talent in its own unusual way.
William Close – By far, this was one of the coolest things related to the show that we’ve ever seen. The guy played on a earth harp that was the size of the entire stage, and it also helped that he had an incredible drummer to go along with it.
Elements Dance Cru – Why do groups always try to change the spelling to look cute? As much as this was annoying, it was probably the most innovative take on clog dancing on this show in seasons.
Jorge and and Alexa Narvaez – This duo is apparently a major success on YouTube, though from this standpoint they were unknowns going into this audition. They chemistry here (in particular the “aw” factor with Alexa) made it fun, but talent-wise is more cute than actually fantastic.
Ben Blaque – Whoever the woman was that this crossbow specialist hired to stand there and risk her life through most of this act, we have an infinite amount of sympathy for her.
Light Wire Theater – First, we had Fighting Gravity — then, Team iLuminate. Apparently, what all of this really means is that we are going to see more and more acts on “AGT” try and do things in the dark for that extra impact. This group was pretty cool, but it was not as refreshing as it once was.
Loyalty Dance Crew – These guys deserve some credit on the basis of energy and passion, but when it comes to the actual content of their act it was not anything new to us. (Yes, we also know that we are hard on dance crews.
Simply Sergio – There was something oddly appealing about this act. He started out terrible, but by the end of it he ended up being a decent singer who was just hiding under of layer of camp. Seeing Howard be so willing to go up on stage and hug the guy was one of the sweetest things we have ever seen.
Maurice and Shanice Hayes – There have not been many parent / child vocal duos on the American show, and these street performers were pretty good. Unfortunately, they were not as good as the applause in the audience suggested that they were.
At the end of the day, the premiere was a blast to watch and we were thrilled to see Howard do well — though from a talent standpoint, it was a bit disconcerting that outside of a few acts here and there, nothing really blew us away.
Did you like the premiere of “AGT,” and do you think that Howard did a good job? As always, share your thoughts in the comment box below. We’ll be back with more from the show Tuesday night.