While many are still waiting on pins and needles to find out who will replace Simon Cowell as judge on American Idol
, many tuned in Tuesday to view the premiere of the fifth season of the reality/talent show America's Got Talent
(NBC), along with its newest judge Howie Mandel. Fans won't have hard time adjusting to Mandel as he seems like an easy transition from the Hoff. Sharon Osbourne and Piers Morgan return to round out the judges' roster while Nick Cannon returns as host.
As always, the two-hour premiere showcased auditions, this time in Los Angeles at the Orpheum Theater, from ordinary people with extraordinary and, at times, just plain odd talents, as each hope to hear that he or she is "going to Vegas!"
And, as always, the talent came from a hybrid of interesting people with varying abilities, from the normal to the bizarre, as in the Chainsaw Chicks, who tried to literally chainsaw blocks of ice into ice sculptures (spoiler alert: they fail).
The highlight from the first hour was the dance duo Future Funk,
comprised of a 5-year-old and a 9-year-old who pop-lock and break-dance
better than most kids under the age of 10, mainly because they were oh
The second hour was a bit more interesting as
somehow Maricar - a hot woman in a Catwoman costume (complete with whip)
painted a sub par self-portrait while seductively dancing to the
Pussycat Dolls' "Don't Cha" - made it.
questionable "made it" contestant was Ronith, 58, an actor originally
from India who did not-so-convincing impressions of Marlon Brando, Clint
Eastwood, Sean Connery and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yes, he was rather
entertaining and the audience loved him as did two of the judges. But,
The real highlight of hour No. 2 was the inspiring
and emotional New Directions Choir, an A cappella group of former
homeless U.S. veterans. One of its members was homeless for 20 years;
another for 10. They sang "Ol' Man River," eventually delivering a
standing ovation from the audience and, not so surprisingly, all three
judges. New Directions is one act to watch as it could be the
frontrunner this season.
Another could-be frontrunner is
30-year-old Michael Grimm, a guitar-playing blues singer who grew up
poor and on welfare with his sister. Grimm said he's doing Talent
for his grandparents who "lost everything" in Hurricane Katrina.
Howie's response to Grimm's audition: "You really do
talent."America's Got Talent
continues with auditions in
Dallas tonight at 9pm EST.