One of the reasons Terry is such a beloved talent is that he pours every bit of himself into what he does, and so he's able to connect with these hopefuls who are doing just that in front of the judges in hope of scoring their own dreams.
This round of auditions saw one of the more bizarre performance art routines that worked way better with the audience than we would have guessed. It also brought a couple of animal acts, an incredible dance crew and a young man who plays guitar like no one else.
And, of course, there was plenty of singing, coming from voices of all ages, and yet another magician as "AGT" becomes the new home for this classic artform. And this guy brought a whole different energy and vibe we've not seen on this stage in a long time.
This season is well on its way to becoming one of the best, with some truly exciting acts making it through. And, of course, we got yet another emotional Golden Buzzer moment, though not for the night's best act.
Who do I think I am? you ask. Well, I spent nearly a decade of my life sweating and bleeding to the music as a dancer. From a young boy learning a shuffle-ball-change to performing with the St. Louis Ballet Company, I experienced the ups and downs of one of the most difficult physically demanding sports on the planet. During this time, I was also a member of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, as well as a gymnast, writer and cartoonist. I had a lot more energy in my younger years. And I've spent the last seventeen years analyzing and critiquing reality competition shows for various media publications. I've got this.
Fair warning, since I'm safe at home, I'm probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Howie Mandel, Gabrielle Union, Julianne Hough and Simon Cowell. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe. And just for fun, I'm gonna rank them from worst to first to see who emerges as my winner each week.
(musician) After a segment about how much Simon Cowell hates the flute, even Terry Crews had got involved as he took lessons for seven years. He came out with his own instrument and got right in Simon's face to show him just how cool it could be. Then, Brandon decided to try and make the flute even cooler by turning it into a raunchy strip routine, which the girls enjoyed. Simon hit three of the four buzzers and Howie took care of his own to end the whole thing, though. But it got a whole lot more fun when Terry got in on the shirtless flute fantasy. Not fun enough to advance as he playing wasn't that stellar, but fun enough to enjoy for what it was.
Judges: Simon just walked away
(performance artist) Andy went viral already for his karaoke take on "Tequila" because, quite frankly, it's an utterly ridiculous song to karaoke. It has basically one word said only very occasionally. And otherwise, he just stood there and waited. Honesetly, this is a schtick that's funny exactly once, and it already happened for Andy. But it was apparently new for the panel and this audience, as they loved every bit of it. Hopefully he has something different up his sleeves for the next round ... or more of the same?.
(animal trainer) So ... that was interesting. Melissa was a little violated by her rat friend, but all in the name of her unique talent of training rats. Now, this was mostly the rat navigate a maze with rather heavy-handed guidance, so the fact Hanta ran across her legs and (ahem) during an upside down split was probably the best part of the trick because she wasn't being coaxed. Still, it's essentially running through a maze, so it would be nice to see a little more. We know they can solve puzzles in real mazes, so make things even more challenging.
(singer) Simon really put Ansley on the spot by yanking her admittedly awful backing track for Aretha Franklin's "Think." After an overly-dramatic buildup, the adorable 12 year old gave it her all in an a cappella version. It was solid, and she's got a good range and power for someone so young, but it wasn't a voice beyond her years with an emotional connection beyond her years. It was a very talented young singer, which shouldn't be enough for this show, but we've seen how that goes.
(animal act) A very cute family dog act, we didn't see any mind-blowing animal tricks we haven't seen before, but there is a charm about the family dynamic and the discipline of the dogs was top notch. It may be that there's only so much you can teach a dog to do, but we've seen more impressive tricks in the past, so hopefully they've got more up their sleeves, or under their collars. The real key is that they are all so likeable.
Judges: Y, Y, Y, Y
(magician) We've seen a lot of card magic on this show, but no one quite like Sos. With literally no props, he was able to make cards appear, disappear, change color and go flying all over the stage. It was high-energy rock-and-roll magic and it only got more and more exciting as it escalated. At first, it seemed a little too rudimentary, but he was so fast and it got so much more intricate, it became something truly ... ahem ... magical.
(singers) This youth choir managed to bring a very current and cool vibe to the stage, though sound issues had the chorus overwhelming the soloists through much of that. Plus, the quality of the soloists varied dramatically. Still, they have their own niche and while they're not as disciplined or vocally diverse in arrangement and playfulness as some choirs we've seen, there is a definite groove to what they do that helps them stand out and makes them fun to watch. Terry was touched by this group's story -- as it reminded him so much of his own -- even before they took the stage, so it's no real surprise that he scored them his golden buzzer after they proved to actually be good.
Judges: Terry's Golden Buzzer
(beatboxers) The art of beatbox has really come a long way in recent years, and these guys from France really made their mark on the artform. It was really a full show, like dance club music without the deejay or the music. They did a great job of creating a full and varied sound with just four voices in harmony, and even incorporated some authentic rap rhythms and lyrics -- in French -- into the routine. On top of that, they had fantastic showmanship, so it was all around a great performance. Simon said they were ahead of the curve, calling them a "cool Pentatonix."
(dancers) This "Mortal Kombat routine was actually pretty damned inspired, and amazing to boot. The lead maestro, if you will, was perfect controlling the other three performers while they showed off amazing bone-breaking, isolations and other very cool hip-hop moves. The whole thing was done with master-level control and precision. It would have been cool to see some choreographed fight sequences but as an intro to showcase the control of the maestro, this was top-notch stuff.
Judges: Y, Y, Y, Y
(guitarist) Marcin did things with a guitar that no one really does. He said he'd been experimenting with sound since he was even younger than his 18 years, and now he's a practical master at eliciting every possible sound out of his instrument to serve his music. This was an incredible talent and so compelling to watch and listen to just to see what he could do with this one instrument and two hands, which were all over the thing.
Judges: Y, Y, Y, Y
Voices of Service
(singers) What a powerful and amazing quartet of voices turning Katy Perry's "Rise" into even more of an empowerment anthem that she made it. The arrangement was nothing short of breathtaking, as it had a rise of its own, building into a triumphant crescendo that you couldn't help but be swept up in. Even without the additional weight of their message, their service to this country and their mission with this group, that was one stellar vocal performance. Put all together and they are really something special.
Judges: Y, Y, Y Y
"America's Got Talent" continues next Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.