At the Austin auditions for Season 7 of "America's Got Talent," acts with sentimental appeal won over the hearts of the judges, winning unanimous approval to go to the next round.
Tim Poe, a former serviceman who was injured in Afghanistan, suffered a brain injury that caused him to stutter. Thanks to a speech pathologist who suggested singing in the shower, he discovered a latent talent for music. He performed a country song, accompanying himself on guitar, and received a standing ovation from the judges and audience for what judge Sharon Osbourne called the "rich, beautiful tone" of his voice. The lyrics, about someone who wants to make sure that if he dies, his loved one knows how much he loved her, were especially poignant, given that Tim said he experienced a similar feeling when he was injured.
In a different way, Joe Castillo, who creates live sand art to music, played on sentimentality by creating a moving patriotic homage to the military, to the strains of "Proud to Be an American." On a lighted board, whose image was projected onto a giant screen, he swept sand gracefully with his hand to create a military couple, a flag, and finally the Statue of Liberty. Those with little children may have seen the same technique done on a regular basis on PBS Sprout TV's "The Good Night Show" by host Michele "Nina" Lepe. His seamless technique impressed the judges, earning him three yeses to go to Vegas.
Human cannonball David "The Bullet" Smith Jr. impressed the judges with his tenacity, carrying out his stunt even in rain, which could have made his net stretch, making it more dangerous. With his wife at his side at his assistant, the daredevil made everyone gasp with his astounding stunt. Whether or not he will top it in Vegas remains to be seen.
Other highlights included:
- Sebastian El Charro, a remarkably mature young mariachi singer backed by a skilled group of musicians. Judge Howie Mandel compared him to a previous finalist, calling him "a little male Mexican Jackie Evancho." He will sing in Vegas.
- The Bandbaz Brothers acrobats (actually an uncle-nephew team), whose balancing act was even more impressive because the elder of the duo has been retired from the act for years. Despite a little shakiness, they achieved some amazing stunts, including the younger balancing on his head atop his uncles noggin. They made it to Vegas.
- The Ganbataar Contortion Sisters, whose graceful movements made every impossible position they reached seem easy. They also received three yeses.
- Edon Pinchot, a young singer whose smooth, even tone and skillful keyboard accompaniment got him a unanimous OK for the next level.
- Lulu, a plus-sized pole dancer who was the only "no" to be featured at length in this episode. A mother of two, she longed to achieve her goal of returning to dance. Yet, her clumsy movements failed to earn the judges' approval. However, she took the news with poise and gamely danced along with host Nick Cannon, who in a clear set-up, stripped off his shirt to reveal a matching turquoise bikini top and executed some very silly moves of his own creation.