The highlight of Night 5 has to be a stand-up comedian who has the panel and us breathless we’re laughing so hard — and no, it’s not the guy who only tells jokes about bicycles.
Once again, this is proving to be the season for acts we’ve never seen before on “America’s Got Talent,” and we’re still not entirely sure what we just witnessed in this fifth round of auditions.
We saw magic the likes of which we’ve never seen both genuinely mystifying, and mystifyingly stupid. There was an opera singer who could sing in impressions, and the world’s only metal choir — and we’re talking hardcore heavy metal here. It was utterly fascinating.
Add to that a one-woman band who was one of two young ladies to offer incredibly strong original music on the night, a guy who performed his entire act in a pair of giant pants that went literally over his head, and what may be the funniest comedian the show has ever had.
Certainly, in all the years we’ve been watching, he had us struggling to breathe by the time he closed his set we were laughing so hard. Oh, and we totally forgot about the comedian who’s entire act was jokes about bicycles. He was … there.
Fair warning, since I’m safe at home, I’m probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara, 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 how my favorites do and then we can see how you did — i.e., if you agreed with me.
(musician) Well, he said he was a musician anyway. All he did was pop balloons to the “William Tell Overture,” and not even very cleverly. The violin case was a red herring, as was everything about his setup. He was being very nice so he could get the time to do something very stupid. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this act was that Willem actually caused himself to bleed by … popping balloons.
Keegan the Bicycle Comedian
(comedian) Keegan’s jokes were all about bikes. But they were also just really bad and cheesy wordplay that most dads would stay away from. He got a buzzer for each one, with even Howie — who usually tries to give comics a break — finally ending everyone’s suffering. None of this worked, from his awkward delivery to having to explain the puns. Yikes!
(singer) Trying to bring back a retro disco vibe — with a shiny bodysuit and backup dancers — Marcus really didn’t bring any of that energy or pizzazz his outfit would have us believe. At least, not in the short snippet of his audition we got.
(singers) We only got a few bars, but what we got Simon called “stodgy,” and we’re hard-pressed to find a counter-argument. They brought that Billie Eilish slow, haunted sound to a classic track, but it was all a bit sleepy and totally lacking in any stage presence or personality. Their voices were pleasant enough, but they definitely need to work on the act.
(acrobat) Look, we didn’t buy for one second that the knives at the top were real, and other than going very, very, very high, this was a pretty typical balancing act. He’s very good at it, but there wasn’t anything really special. Even the blindfolding segment seemed rather pointless as he was in full contact with his posts the entire time, so what was the disadvantage of losing sight? Honestly, this was more showmanship and slow-burn drama than really awe-inspiring balancing.
(magicians) So this act was kind of clever and kind of stupid and we kind of found ourselves smiling a lot as it went along, if not laughing out loud. We were hoping for something more along the lines of Penn & Teller where there is a healthy combination of humor and magic, but this one definitely leaned more toward the comedy side. In fact, there was basically one magic trick, and it was one that was pretty obvious in execution. If it’s going to just be comedy bad magic, the comedy should probably be a little stronger.
(comedian) Somehow, whereas bike guy failed miserably, Mr. Pants managed to have the panel and audience laughing with his jokes all about pants and clothing. It helped that he created a narrative with clever wordplay, and had incredible charisma and delivery. It was still completely ridiculous, but this time in a fun way.
(choir) Talk about a unique take on a choir, this is what it would sound like if you got the lead singers from thrash and death metal bands and combined them to perform some classical odes and … Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” It was shocking, unexpected and utterly transfixing. On top of that, for all the growling and wailing, they had great pitch and really sold their performances. We’d have liked a little more variance, and some more solo moments, but they are undeniably something wholly unique and memorable. They also revealed that they are the world’s only metal choir, but we have a feeling some other metal vocalists might want to give this a try because they certainly looked like they were having a blast up there.
(magician) Nicolas didn’t speak English, but he certainly spoke the language of showmanship and impressive magic like we’ve never seen before. Using a projection table, he was able to shift from projected images to real objects in the blink of an eye, using everything from tennis balls to playing cards to a miniature Eiffel Tower. It was all very slickly and cleanly presented. The only criticism would be that it was basically the same trick over and over but it was such an impressive one and presented so well, we’d still want to see what more he has up his (rolled-up) sleeves.
(singer) We were enjoying his first song, with the authentic lilt to his voice that echoed just a bit of pain into the lyrics. His falsetto was nice, too, but Simon found the whole thing a bit sleepy. The audience revolted and got on their feet for Connor’s second song, which was every bit as good as the first. We’re not sure if Simon was just trying to create a moment for Connor, because there was no reason to put him on the spot; he’s got the goods. His voice is so current and relevant and believable for today, we were fully under his spell from the first note.
(ribbon light performers) A very unique and creative presentation, the designer created ribbons with LED lights sewn into them which were then choreographed with a light show that worked in conjunction with the ribbon dancers on the stage. It was fascinating to watch and got more intricate as it went, surprising us with an emotional connection by the end. Honestly, when it started, we weren’t sure it was special enough, but by the end, we were fascinated with the possibilities — though we don’t think they’ve been fully realized on stage yet.
(musician) Looping at its finest, Mia brought beatboxing, distortion, guitar and bass into her performance by recording and looping them herself to create her backing “band” before going into an original song on the drums. She showed real talent with each instrument, the song itself was very catchy and well-performed. We’ve seen artists use looping before, but Mia’s had to be one of the most charming and mainstream approaches to the format we’ve ever seen. Plus, she’s got a ton of great personality. That’s a winning combination that could carry her far.
(opera singer) Merissa brought opera with a twist, delivering “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in a series of impressions that Heidi chose from a giant dice. But first, she was spot-on with Judy Garland. Along the way, we got Snow White, Celine Dion, Ariana Grande and even Siri. It was a fascinatingly adept vocal performance, great impressions and she showed a lot of humor and personality throughout. It was a showcase of multiple talents and definitely a lot of fun to watch. We could have easily sat through more and more of this.
(singer) Lily came with a heartbreaking story of walking away from a record deal after her mother’s cancer diagnosis so she could become her primary caretaker. Now, she’s singing a song she wrote when she was at that high with a whole new meaning and the song is incredible. Even without the story, it’s such an inspirational story about stepping out of your box and taking a chance on yourself. We could hear the song on the radio today, her voice was beautiful on it (with a lovely high range moment) and the heart behind it was so raw and so real we felt every word.
Results: [[Heidi’s Golden Buzzer]]
(comedian) Jordan built his set up slowly to the story of his mother’s discipline coming out of a horror movie and he absolutely nailed the punchline(s) of that moment. It was a perfect crescendo to one of the most successful short comedy sets we’ve ever seen on this stage. It’s so hard to create a moment in so few minutes, but Jordan had this narrative down. His delivery was a huge part of it, too, as he was able to bring personality, humor and character into each line. This is how you do comedy on “AGT.”
Next week, Simon Cowell reveals his favorite Golden Buzzer moments in a special episode before “America’s Got Talent” auditions continue in two weeks, Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.