America's got a lot right now. America's got shut down. America's got Miley Cyrus on SNL. But what's the one thing we can count own to make us proud? America's Got Talent. The top contenders from the show's eighth season rolled into the Kravis Center on Saturday and showed off their special skills to a packed house
American Idol sends their top 10 on tour with AGT catching on more recently. Seven of their one-time opponents (including the winner) have been hitting the road hard. A testament to its family-friendliness, the crowd at Kravis was full of families who were kind of freaking out. It really felt like all that was missing was Howard Stern and Howie Mandel. Live, interactive performances made you feel like part of a show, as did the stage set up. Totally different from watching the show parked on your couch.
The duty of pumping up the crowd and opening the night was bestowed upon rapper Tone the Chiefrocca. The unoffical William Hung of AGT, Tone was very open on the show about his lifelong goal of being a one hit wonder. Mission accomplished. The dude literally only has one song and still managed to squeeze into the semi-finals because "B Double O-T-Y" is a bonafide hit. The crowd loved it, no follow-up single necessary.
Following up the "B Double O-T-Y" energy was the Kristef Brothers, not real brothers but real homies. They call themselves the "bad boys of hand-balancing," we call them Cirque du Sol-bro. Over a "Suck My Kiss" instrumental, the guys did some crazy balancing stuff all over each other that made the audience put on their WTF faces.
Next up was 17-year-old magician Collins Key. The Justin Bieber of the magic world, this young'un sure knows how to work a crowd and play up his strong suits. Like any teenager, Key has been corrupted by technologically, and all of his tricks revolved around iPhones and hashtags. His social media game is such a big part of his act, that he took an Instagram video of the crowd in the middle of a trick and even used the word #swag.
Following the magic show was singer-songwriter Cami Bradley. Just her, a piano, and a stage full of fog. She broke into a totally redone version of Cher's "Believe" that played well for her on the show and to the live audience. The music kept coming with country singer Jimmy Rose. The two came out together later for a duet of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep."
A little bit of stand up does the body good. Comedian Taylor Williamson was up next, and made plenty of jokes about his second place accolades. His schtick was a little too family-friendly for the average viewer, but hey that's probably why he didn't take home the gold.
The last performer was the real treat. While the other contenders are good at what they do, they were no match for AGT's season 8 winner Kenichi Ebina. It was a pleasure to see him live without going to the full Vegas show that he is currently building. We got a little taste of the magnificence that is in the works. Ebina is more than just a dancer, he is a performer. His entire performance was done as a robot, a robot with serious movies. He threw in a little MJ, turned his arm all the way around, and even did some fart jokes for the kids (and adults).
While contractually obligated to do the tour, at least these AGTers are getting paid to do what they love while they travel across the country to make a name for themselves. If that's the possible outcome, we should all try our hands at the win. Auditions for season 9 are in Miami on October 26 and 27. You have three weeks to get good at something. Ready? Go.
America's Got Talent is currently on hiatus. For information about trying out, click here.