Until Wednesday, ‘America’s Got Talent’ had never held auditions in the city of Disney World. Now, after a particularly weak showing on Wednesday’s fourth stop on this season’s pursuit for a great entertainer, a casting call return to Orlando may be doubtful. There were no pockets of undiscovered talent that you might expect in a city of international theme park performers. Or at least none present to claim the crown.
The night’s big fan-friendly act, Nathaniel Canyon, had just a so-so voice. Nathaniel did, however, look like Taylor Lautner. In Orlando, that was enough to get to the next round.
Wreckless, the night’s other big winner, wasn’t stunning, either, except for their polished dance precision. Good, not great. Because they said didn’t have an indoors place to practice dancing growing up, that gave their back story extra credibility. They just seemed to be a fun matinee dance act. Their finale status was emblematic of Orlando’s reduced expectations.
Piers put it bluntly when he said Orlando was one of the “worst days of auditions I can remember.” An act advancing to the next round didn’t appear until the 20-minute mark. The losers were pretty sad sacks.
Jason Pote, a 32-year-old dancer-slash-lifeguard who started hoofing at 29, was a Backstreet Boy 10 years too late. Besides bad moves, his song choice wasn’t danceable: the rock-and-rolly “Eye of the Tiger.” Who knows – give Jason an hour with Mel B. Maybe he could be back next year. With those stationary drummer-boy moves, probably not.
There have been several grotesque sword-swallowing acts, but nothing turns the stomach quite like Jonathan Timpanelli, who could move his eyebrows rhythmically to C+C Music Factory’s ‘Everybody Dance Now,’ like a water wave. If that wasn’t gross enough, he turned around to shake his plus-sized rear end to the audience.
Watch Gabourey Sidibe’s Mom Audition:
Fresh from the all-night rave were “performance artists” Hepsfury and Perego Live, a dance and visual art duo that incorporated an overhead projector and colorful over-sized shorts into a techno disco dance set. As Piers said, it may be helpful to have drugs to watch them. Give the band credit for defending itself, with one of the guys saying his act “IS the drug.”
Orlando’s most disappointing act was the ghost of last year’s ‘AGT’ winner Kevin Skinner, Lonnie Lear, a 44-year-old truck driver from Skinner’s hometown of Mayfield, KY. Lear did indeed sound and look like Skinner when talking. “Chicken catcher” Skinner has since disappeared from the public eye since winning the show last September, after releasing a record that failed to catch on. Although Lear said onstage he was a better singer that Skinner, his audition soon went down in flames. Howie and Sharon were laughing in his face. That couldn’t have felt good. Going back to Kentucky, Lonnie.
Who made it through, then?
A clever and multi-talented cruise ship entertainer, 30-year-old fire juggler Nick Pike brought a smart sensibility that made up for his talent shortcomings. Like dropping a juggling baton, for example. He kept Piers laughing about Riverdancing when he messed up. It may go without saying, but Pike really has the Black Eyed Peas to thank for the ‘I Got a Feeling’ song. It gave him much-needed pacing and rhythm.
Back to Taylor Lautner, with the Zac Efron swoosh, better known as Nathaniel Canyon. He is too cute. That smile makes us light up. Nathaniel had more than half the women in the audience smiling broadly and aww-ing, as he told his story of working at the old folks’ home. He really wasn’t that talented, though. Piers recognized that and buzzed him. Howie said he had the “it” factor. So, he is our favorite. Good enough to advance for Orlando, at least.