AMERICA’S GOT TALENT in Review: L.A. Auditions

My appearances here at theTVaddict are generally focused on tech subjects for my “Your TV Tech Fix” column, but since watching AMERICA’S GOT TALENT is one of my guilty pleasures (not only is it the only reality show I watch, it’s one of the few shows I tend to watch live), I’ve offered to cover season 6 of America’s favorite variety talent show for in addition to my regular tech column. I hope you join me throughout the season as I cover the good and the bad, make predictions, and even do a little live blogging when when the live broadcasts start.

Season 6 of AMERICA’S GOT TALENT officially kicked off last week with a double episode and then this week in Seattle (which did quite well in the ratings). I’ll try to catch up as soon as possible, starting now with the LA auditions.

AMERICA’S GOT TALENT Season 6 marks the return of host Nick Cannon, as well as judges Howie Mandel, Sharon Osbourne, and Piers Morgan. Those who’ve been watching AGT for the last several seasons won’t be disappointed to see Howie return. He may not be the perfect judge, but had a lot more interesting dialogue and funny cracks to offer over the Hoff. I’ve always been a fan of Piers’ dry “piercing” British wit, so I’m glad he stuck around even after committing to replace Larry King with his own show on CNN. Predictable Sharon is neither irreplaceable nor unlikeable, so I could go either way with her return.

They’ve certainly wasted no time at all to highlight the ongoing feud between the Howie and Piers, providing a little comic relief and a bit of on-set drama (not that this show needs more of it). Based on what I’ve seen the in the first three audition cities, their feud (while amusing at times) has led to some pretty poor judging choices simply to spite the other one. See unicycle juggler Frank Olivier not getting the boot as proof.

LA Audition Highlights and Contestant Predictions

Frank Olivier – Juggler

The very first audition of season 6 was a bad call. This 50 year old unicycle riding juggler skirted through simply based on the fact he nearly gave our germaphobic judge Howie a heart attack after grabbing his head and taking him for a ride around the stage. Piers seemed to like that and wanted to see him torture Howie some more, and Sharon votes yes if more three people in the audience applaud, so he went on. In reality, he wasn’t that good.

My prediction: Won’t make it past the first cut in Vegas.

Ryan Andreas – Singer

The season 6 winner may have surfaced just 15 minutes in to the very first audition show. The AMERICA’S GOT TALENT audience seems to be biased towards male vocalists, if the past two winners are any indication. Considering Ryan is about seven hundred times better than Season 4 winner Kevin Skinner and almost as good as Michael Grimm (and considering they showed his entire performance), this guy could easily take it all.

My current prediction: Finalist

John Jacobson – Professional Dream Hands Instructor


Not surprisingly, this guy didn’t make it.

My prediction: Several new belittling comments on his YouTube videos.

Landon Swank – Magician

Landon seemed like a typical AGT magician, but then pulled out a pretty slick (and impressive) trick folding a blonde into oblivion (seriously, we didn’t see her again). Smoothly done, although a tad slow in my personal opinion, but cool enough that he deserves to come back. The judges voted right on this one, and he’ll be back in Vegas … assuming the blonde surfaces between now and then.

My current prediction: Will choke in Vegas with a lame trick

The Body Poets – Dance Group

“We can dance just about as well as any other group and we have one guy who can do some decent break dancing. However, we cover up our mediocrity by wearing costumes with shiny LEDs!” Maybe the judges had already seen 50 crappy dance acts before this one came around, but they were more impressed than they should have been.

My Prediction: Won’t get past Vegas

Brennan Figari – Aerial Performer

Shirtless 23 year old (meaning Sharon was a yes off the bat) dangling from the ceiling on silks. It was good, but considering they only showed about 1/3 of his performance, I’d say the producers don’t feel this one has the distance.

My prediction: Cut in Vegas

Olivia Bellafontaine – Burlesque “Rock” Dancer

I’m a guy, which means I enjoyed Olivia’s audition. That said, she’s not that hot and not that good of a burlesque dancer. She may have the chops to make it past Vegas for the variety alone, but she’ll never get the votes needed to win, whip cracks or not.

My prediction: Might make it to the live shows, but won’t make it past the first appearance.

Vegas Birds – Parrot Talkin’

A crazy bird lady has drilled a pet parrot to say specific things in response to specific things she says. The bird performed, so everyone put her through, but I feel Howie may have been right when he asked if this was the best she had to offer. Don’t get me wrong; this WAS entertaining, but I’m betting the fun stops here.

My prediction: Crash and burn in Vegas

Frank Miles – Juggler

Unlike the other juggler named Frank, this one was legitimately talented with his ability to juggle three stun guns at once while standing in a tub of water. I don’t believe for a second that what he was doing was severely dangerous (stun guns are high voltage, but low amperage), but what made this Frank awesome was that he muttered my now favorite line in AMERICA’S GOT TALENT history. “It’s a scientific fact that if I catch two of these on the wrong end at the same time, that will suck.”

He assured Piers he’ll continually try to kill himself in future shows, so at least we have that to look forward to.

My prediction: He’ll make it to the live shows, but I think he’ll run out of dangerous materials to juggle at some point or will end up seriously hurting himself.

That wraps up the LA Auditions. I’ll try to catch up with reviews for the Atlanta and Seattle auditions as soon as possible. In the meantime, feel free to share your opinions on the LA contestants in the comments section below. And, don’t forget to keep an eye out for Part 2 of 7 TV Related Games Worth Playing.

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