Wednesday, June 1, 2016

14-year-old-opers singer leaves Simon Cowell speechless

ANDY SWIFT          May 31st 2016
Watching Simon Cowell on Tuesday's America's Got Talent premiere was a lot like watching the Grinch — after his heart grew three sizes.

Once revered as the meanest man on television, Cowell still resembles the American Idol judge we loved to hate — he remains hopelessly devoted to black T-shirts and exposed chest hair — but there's a certain softness to him now. The man who once told an Idol contestant that she sounded like "Dolly Parton on helium" told a man that man that his act, which mostly revolved around lip-syncing pot holders, was "brilliant."

And, frankly, I wouldn't have had it any other way. Even in its most absurd moments, AGT has always felt like a safe space, making this softer Cowell the perfect replacement for Howard Stern. Had I been present for Cowell's meager backstage welcome party — I get that Dunkin Donuts is the show's sponsor, but who drinks orange juice out of a coffee cup?! — I would have gladly raised a (styrofoam) glass.

Now that we've gotten the pleasantries out of the way, let's relive some of the season premiere's most discuss-able auditions:
                         :Do you remember  these performers :

* Nathan Bockstahler, a 6-year-old comedian who already knows what he would do with the prize money: "Instead of 1 million dollars, I would like 1 million LEGOs." He's probably not going to win — guys, he's six — but he made for an entertaining first act. (Also, I doubt he gave the producers permission to use Justin Bieber's "Baby" as his entrance music. Rude!)

* Jose Fuentes, 58, danced with his dog Carrie; as he explained, his late wife never wanted to dance with him, so he got the next best thing. It was cute, but not quite Nathan-level cute, which explains why Fuentes earned the first "no" of the night from Heidi Klum. (To be fair, though, it took Klum a minute before she even realized: "Oh, that's why the dog is wearing a dress!")

* The Clairvoyants, a team of psych-ish lovers who were able to tell the shade of Klum's lipstick, the expiration date on Howie Mandel's eyedrops and the provider of an audience member's cell phone without looking at any of them. Cowell accused them of being witches, while Mel. B called the duo's powers "alien-like." (Personally, I'm not ready to rule them out as real-life X-Men.)

* Linkin' Bridge, a Kentucky-based musical quartet provided the Susan Boyle moment of the night, eliciting stunned expressions from all four judges with their harmonious performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." It's a good thing Cowell liked the song, because the group's tears of joy were heart-wrenching enough; I don't even want to think about what would have happened if they got a "no."

* The Spice Gurlz, an all-drag Spice Girls lip sync cover band, received the first rejection of the season. Though Cowell and Mel B gave the group a "yes," their efforts weren't enough to combat Klum and Mandel's "no"s. (Nor should they have been. Even RuPaul would have told those boys to "sashay away.")

* Hara, a visual artist/magician from a small village in Japan, put on a pretty impressive performance. It was a lot like what Beyoncé did at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards... with magic! So, really, what's not to love?

* Tape Man, a personal favorite of mine for reasons I'll work out in therapy, did a lot of weird stuff — including a duet of "Endless Love, " sung by potholders — and I loved every damn minute of it. "It was simple, but clever," Cowell remarked. "Unique, funny, brilliant." (Could Tape Man be Season 11's dark horse?)

**********Best of the best ***************
* Laura Bretan, a 13-year-old opera singer, is gunning to be the next Jackie Evancho. And with those pipes, she stands a pretty good shot! Is it any wonder Mel B gave her the first Golden Buzzer of the season?

Time to weigh in:
 Which season premiere act was your favorite? Did the right person get Mel B's Golden Buzzer? And do you agree that Cowell is a perfect fit? Grade his debut below, then drop a comment with all of your thoughts below.

Aunt Mae had this  take on Laura : 

Dear Laura, You are absolutely amazing and so, so talented. I am not a cryer but you brought tears to my eyes with your beautiful voice. I look forward to hearing more of you. Dear Mom and Dad, What great parents, please have lots of children, as you obviously are great at parenting. 
I watched this last night. Laura sang Nessun Dorma, one of my all time favorite pieces of opera and just killed it!!
What a charming, lovely child. xoxo Good luck to your family..


  1. I was just in time to see the last two acts of the show. Laura was second last. I was spellbound. I agree with Mae, she was amazing. You have to have such a broad range to hit all the high notes in Nessun Dorma. I think it was one of Pavarotti's favorites. One of the most popular and often sung arias. That little girl hit every note. Imagine what her voice will be like in a few years. And she seemed very humble about it. Lovely child.
    After that the show went bananas. Everyone jumped into a tub of whipped cream. Why not??

  2. So you've gone public? I guess I'll buy some shares. We have been encouraged to invest in the US because the Looney kind of went down the toilet.
    See ya later Witchypoo

  3. I am glad you got to hear Laura , what a beautiful and strong voice at such a young age .
    That's the song Mae was singing in the yard when people would stop to listen and they got brave enough to come in .She do seem to be very humble . Everyone here went bananas .
    Can you imagine what she will sound like in a few years . Mae says a voice like hers come along once in a lifetime .

  4. Yes , trading on NASDAG , as you know Silver Legacy was in voluntary bankruptcy so they could carry this out . Dad is so proud , they have 6 properties / racetrack in 5 states . The family owns everything . Jonny asked Dad was Gil going to build homes where all the properties are , Dad said no , your daddy has 3 homes so you guys will have to stay at the hotels when you visit .
    Gil said Dad has a box at the racetrack .
    Hope you are feeling well .
    Later Bad Genie