MaryAnn Sleasman: ‘America’s Got Talent’ Recap: Sweeping St. Louis

The whopping four days I spent in St. Louis a few years ago earned the city a near and dear place in my heart and it was sweet to see America’s Got Talent give the town a little love this season. The St. Louis auditions were a big improvement over the mostly cringe-inducing Tampa acts. Among those heading off to Vegas are Spencer Horsman, “the world’s youngest escape artist” who enlisted the aid of Nick Cannon to tie him up tight in a straight jacket before he dangled between a gnarly looking contraption that I’ve decided to call The Jaws of Death. It was a refreshingly intense act with all the trappings of a potentially thrilling stage show — death-defying stunts and a dashing daredevil performer.

Issac Brown sang an adorable rendition of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” and basically just dominated the stage with his wise-beyond-a-6-year-old observations about performing from the heart and the brutal reality that you have to take whatever name your parents want to give you. I just wanted to smoosh his cheeks the whole time and inquire about the meaning of life or something. All three judges were enamored the pint-sized singer.

However, as is par the course in auditions, we spent more time with the reluctantly (and not-so-reluctantly) rejected performers. Puppeteer Tom Bonham was capable enough and frankly, I thought his homemade puppets were really freaking cool, but the act, constrained to a small tabletop scene on that wide open stage, just wasn’t Vegas material.

A diminutive Ozzy Osbourne impersonator who called himself “Little Ozzy” was also left in St. Louis, but his rendition of “Mama I’m Coming Home” brought a smile to Sharon Osbourne’s face and earned himself a hug from his idol’s wife in lieu of a ticket to Vegas. The high notes just weren’t there.

Nick Cannon found himself a new BFF in Ron Christopher Porter Jr. Ron’s talent was for flawlessly doing the “movie voice.” You know, the one that gets a lot of use in voiceovers for action packed previews with lots of stuff exploding. He was pretty great at it, but it wasn’t an act that could stand on it’s own in Las Vegas. Howie, Howard and Sharon gave him three no’s, but Nick Cannon took him under his wing and let him pal around for the rest of the auditions, even going as far as to share a limo with him at the end of the day.

Man, I could write odes about Nick Cannon (and his fabulous wardrobe). After an entire season of watching Carson Daly’s dead-inside hosting of The Voice, it’s beyond refreshing to watch Cannon interact with, well, everyone, and look like he’s actually enjoying it. I may also have some residual hero love for his role in Drumline, a film which effectively made marching band cool at a time when I was nursing some doubts as a sullen sophomore contemplating quitting.

Montage of Horror featured players included the unnamed unfortunates whom I’ve taken the liberty of deeming Chicken Suit, Lasso Guy and Can Smasher.

Yeah, it was pretty bad. I guess we needed a nice heavy dose of awful to counter the awesome that was Spencer Horsman and Issac Brown.

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