After last week's emotional rollercoaster ride, the latest installment of "America's Got Talent" seemed mediocre, almost dull, by comparison. Recapping the auditions from Tampa, Florida, the producers unleashed a boatload of marginal acts that had a stunned Howard Stern writhing in his judge's chair.
Young dancing troupe highlights what's wrong with the show.
Youthful acts on "America's Got Talent" typically evoke mixed feelings. The Untouchables, an acrobatic dance troupe from Miami, features smiling children in colorful costumes. With performers ranging in age from 8 to 13, their agility and talent are all the more impressive given their youth.
Yet, there is a disturbing undertone with the Untouchables. Howard Stern pointed out that the group is so captivating because they are so young. "Your oldest [member] is 13, puberty is your enemy. I loved your act," he said.
Mandel echoed Stern's sentiments. "Your expertise, combined with your youth, was phenomenal," he enthused.
Everyone is all smiles now, but what happens to that aforementioned 13-year-old dancer as she gets older? Will she become too tall and awkward to continue with the group, especially if they hit it big in Vegas? Teen groups like the boy band Menudo were notorious for retiring members who had become too old. Is this the fate for the Untouchables?
AGT producers send in the court jesters in Florida.
The Scott Brothers, an impressive cartoon-style dance act, took the stage next. Their classic "robot dance" moves were indeed eye-popping. It was nearly impossible to turn away from the screen as the siblings moved like animated characters in precise rhythm.
After the Timothy Michael Poe debacle last week, it almost seems as if the "America's Got Talent" producers went back to recut this episode from Tampa. While performers like the Scott Brothers had serious talent, there was an overabundance of cannon fodder acts that should come with a warning from the Surgeon General of the United States.
Puppets on Hand featured a trio of table-top puppeteers who got one of those "up close and personal" backstage moments. As they took the stage, it was hard to tell if this was going to be a dream act or a dud. Howard Stern, who revealed his youthful love of puppetry in "Private Parts," asked the three men some obvious questions.
"Let's be honest -- you can't get girls when you are a puppeteer. Isn't that true?" Stern asked. "Anybody married? Anybody been on a date in the last six months? I've learned nothing, but let's see your act."
When low-rent worm puppets hit the table, the X's came flying from the judges. Mandel tried to show some support when the puppeteers joined three worms to form a dancing figure. "All of America's going to be talking about this tomorrow," he enthused.
Stern gave the group a parting bit of advice to forget about the puppets. "We're going to destroy the tapes, and no one is going to see this," he said.
Tampa had too many acts like Puppets on Hand, but, thankfully, there's only one more week of auditions to sift through before the show heads to Vegas.