The Austin, Texas, auditions of "America's Got Talent" featured a diverse group of talent, ranging from an adorable 9-year-old Mariachi singer, a sweet-sounding war veteran, a plus-sized pole dancing mom, and a human cannonball. Tonight's show gave us flag waving, audience cheering, and plenty of feel-good moments.
Mucho caliente boy and a singing hero
Among the more impressive acts were the young Sebastian de la Cruz, a poised, confident show-stopper with a strong voice and a ton of stage presence, and Tim Poe, a likeable singer who nailed the Garth Brooks classic "If Tomorrow Never Comes."
Mr. Poe, a 14-year military man who suffered a brain injury after being hit by a grenade, has a lot going for him. He's a true war hero with a heartbreaking, yet inspiring, story; he has a loving, supportive fiancé and a pure, unaffected musical style, which is certain to melt a lot of hearts. Judge Howie Mandel said of Poe "Everything about you is amazing."
"Oh, no she didn't?!"
As with many "AGT" episodes, tonight's installment went from "wow" to "oh, no they didn't?!" in seconds flat. The most eye-popping had to be the plus-sized mama who came out in a skimpy bikini, flashing all she's got during a heavy make-out session with a pole. It was uninspiring and quite embarrassing, to say the least.
Once again, the bright spot was Nick Cannon, who turned a bad stunt into a comedy bit by stripping off his shirt to reveal a duct-taped bra, as he and his zaftig friend "Lulu" entertained the masses with a silly pole dancing routine.
America the beautiful
The show had a touch of patriotism with the captivating singing vet, and Joe Castillo, an artist who used sand and light to create a stunning piece, depicting two military personnel and the American flag, as Lee Greenwood's powerful "God Bless the U.S.A." played in the background.
In typical "AGT" style, these performances were meant to be emotionally manipulative, driving home the "America and our people are beautiful" spirit, but it worked, and both men are most-deserving and truly gifted.
The "human cannonball"
Other intriguing auditions included an adolescent singer/keyboard player with real potential ("I am inspired by you. I loved it," declared Howard Stern), and David Smith, Jr., the "human cannonball," who stunned fans and judges by making a perfect landing after being flung out of an enormous cannon. It was thrilling, dangerous, and a great way to conclude the show.
In the coming weeks, as we get down to the final rounds, we may just see a couple familiar Austin, TX, contestants, Tim Poe and Sebastian de la Cruz competing for that coveted million dollar prize. This new season is finally starting to show signs of life, and hopefully it will be a fun, eclectic summer for devoted "AGT" viewers.