In its seventh season, "America's Got Talent" has no remaining original judges, since the departure of Piers Morgan at the end of Season 6. Still, you would think that one of the show's producers could have slipped a note to the current panel -- made up of Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel -- in order to avoid the embarrassing gaffe made during the Tampa, Florida, auditions.
But it seems that the judges get little in the way of crib notes from producers, or perhaps no one was present who realized how significant it was when a specific male clogging group took the stage. The precise dance moves of All That! -- to the Georgia Satellites song "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" --- wowed the judges, causing Sharon to gush that she'd never seen an all-male clogging group before.
Sharon might not have, but "America's Got Talent" has. What's more, it was this very group on Season 1. Oh, and one more small thing: they nearly won. They were the runners-up, along with singing act The Millers, when Bianca Ryan was declared the winner.
Almost no one currently involved in the show would be in a position to know that: Nick Cannon didn't begin his hosting duties until 2009, and Regis Philbin, the host for Season 1, was no doubt nowhere to be seen when All That! took the stage in Tampa. In fact, it's entirely possible that nobody present during the first season was present at the Tampa auditions, except for All That! And at least from what was shown in this episode, the cloggers themselves didn't make a point of mentioning their previous success on the show. The official "AGT" site labels this week's video clip of the group as simply "All That, an all-male clogging crew from South Carolina."
Is it possible that no one has yet caught on? Or, more likely, will the group fade away in the Las Vegas rounds, making their previous success on the show irrelevant? That's a good question, and one that the producers would be wise to answer before fans get wise and ask, "What gives?"
Other highlights from Tampa included:
- Inspire the Fire, a singing and dancing group that works with urban youth (and dresses them like Urkel, in khaki capri pants and bright-colored cardigans over white button-down shirts). Their hip-hop version of "Lean on Me" caused Sharon to rave that they reminded her of Broadway "but also edgy." After they received three yeses to advance, the group leader ran down to the judges and hugged them.
- The NC Bikini Bombshells, who almost got Howie and Howard's vote just by prancing onto the stage in their skimpy costumes, but lost both the judges' approval and the audience's when they demonstrated a remarkable lack of dancing skills.
- Boss, a male modern dance group who got weepy at just the opportunity to audition and then made it to Vegas.
- Michael Griffin, an escape artist whose stunt of bringing Howard onstage to tie him up failed to impress. Howard summed up: "You had a lame-o like me tying you up, and then you got out of it." Three nos.
- The Distinguished Men of Brass, a brass band wearing snappy black suits and fedoras, who combined a traditional brass ensemble with hip-hop moves and singing. Since the group found each other after being unemployed, Howard quipped, "Thank God for bad times, because it brought you guys together." They'll move on to Vegas.
- Ulysses, a singer who loves television theme songs and longs for the good old days of "Gilligan's Island" and "Rawhide." His rendition of "The Love Boat" theme was surprisingly smooth and melodic, but it was his version of "The Addams Family" theme, with the audience and judges snapping along, that convinced Howie and Sharon to say yes and put him through to Vegas.