America's Got Talent: Best Auditions From Houston and Minneapolis

America’s Got Talent audition episodes are a lot more palatable at a crisp 60 minutes than in two-hour blocks. But since the temperature outside is surface-of-the-sun hideous, I didn’t mind the double dose of Houston and Minneapolis tryouts on Wednesday — even if it meant having to endure twice the amount of shameless mugging from Nick Cannon. Below, my picks for the best auditions from each of the featured cities. When you’re done reading, hit the comments and tell me if we shared the same favorites, or if you’d have picked different acts!

Houston: Daniel Joseph Baker (pictured)
Sorry, ye-olde-time guy who throws knives at his lassie and man who dives off 26-foot platforms into kiddie pools, but Daniel’s dramatic rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” won the night. Piers Morgan noticeably winced at the snap-tastic 19-year-old’s flamboyant strut-twirl-dip entrance, but the kid quickly won over his detractors with a performance that was both original and completely in tune. I loved the way he played with the song’s tempo, and I loved that he didn’t turn down his camp dial from 11 just because he was going out in front of a national audience. Best of all, I didn’t get the impression Daniel will be a one-auditon wonder.

Minneapolis: Silhouettes (partial video below)
I almost gave top prize to devastatingly gorgeous Lys Agnes and her emotional take on “Ave Maria,” but the edge goes to an appropriately named dance troupe that marries the art of shadow puppetry and modern dance — with stunning results. Granted, Silhouettes’ routine occasionally got a little saccharine — seriously you’re gonna get up there and spell out the word “imagine” with your bodies? — but they also created some breathtaking shapes behind that screen of theirs. The “tree,” in particular, was magical.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. SmartMan says:

    What a STUPID show.

  2. Paul says:

    In Houston that JB girl was awesome I think. She deserves second spot.

  3. jason1313 says:

    were is RNG ? i was hoping to see those kids again last year they were the best dance team but they got the allison-haley treatment and were robed

    i was hoping they would come back since they come from the seattle area

  4. Charlene says:

    I was blown away when I heard Lys Agnes sing. She is unbelievable!
    I hope she gets an agent and make an album soon. I want her first CD.

    Thanks –

  5. Emma says:

    “We’re sorry, but the clip you selected isn’t available from your location. Please select another clip.”

    GRR. ARGH. Way to piss on foreign viewers, NBC! As I refuse to download whole episodes, I think I’ve had enough about now..

  6. goat says:

    so why is it that most of the talent on this show is either singing or dancing? Are there any more talents out there besides them? Sure some of these talents add a twist to the talent but it is essentially all the same. The talent is a good singer (whether it be pop, rock, opera, with an instrument, etc.) or a good dancer (whether it be in a large group, behind a giant screen creating silhouettes, or in the dark with lights strung on people’s bodies, etc.) and it really gets boring after awhile.

    • SallyinChicago says:

      My main beef with AGT is that the winners always end up being singers. There are just as entertaining acts as magicians and dancers, but no, America wants “singers”….always.
      I agree that Imagine Silhouette was the loveliest performance. I don’t know if I would pay to see someone throw knives at another for an hour.

      • DonMI says:

        Did you forget that their biggest (most successful) winner so far was a ventriloquist?

        • Christy says:

          Yes Terry Fator was not a singer, he was the world’s best ventriloquist. But out of 5 winners, 4 were singers. I get mad that singers have so many other shows in which they can find success (American Idol, the Voice, X Factor, the Sing Off), but there is nothing like this out there for amazing variety acts…Fighting Gravity and AcroDunk were two of my favorites.
          Plus doesn’t it say something when the one who has had the most success is the only non-singer. The prize of AGT is built for a variety act (a headline show in Vegas). Most singers need to be more well known before they can support a Vegas show which is why the record deals offered on other shows are better prizes.

          • DonMI says:

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve always assumed that the headliner part of the prize was just being the top act in the America’s Got Talent Show and/or a solo show of one or two performances rather than a long-term Vegas contract.

            As far as allowing singers in the show, you have to remember that season 1 winner Bianca Ryan and season 5 runner-up Jackie Evancho were too young to be eligible for any singing contest shows. AGT is the only show that allows singers of any age plus duos and groups. It’s not the show’s fault if that’s what the public prefers. People in the UK complain that too many dancers win their version of the show!

          • Tusk says:

            The stated 1st prize is not what many who enter are realisticly looking for.

            Though winning would be nice, it is what you do with the exposure you get from getting on the show. Many of the AI contestants have stated that the true prize of the show is the exposure and networking in the industry. It’s what you do post show.

          • Carrie says:

            I agree with you totally Christy – I wish they’d focus less on the singers in favor of some of the other acts.

            Quite frankly, you can’t blame it all on America either- the judges seem to push the singers especially hard. It was clear early on that Jackie Evanko was their pick to win. No, judges favor doesn’t always lead to the person winning (a lesson AI has yet to learn) but always pimping the singing acts the most…what do you expect?

  7. DonMI says:

    Daniel was a big surprise especially in light of his awful YouTube videos where he “dances” in his underwear. He should have taken those vids down before his TV appearance. He’s got a nice voice. Somebody buy him some antiperspirant please!

  8. Bob Kolba says:

    Does Nick Cannon have a new clause in his contract that promises him a certain amount of screen time? His continuous mugging is obnoxious and unfunny. Also, why all the drama between Piers and Howie and Howie’s continuous interfacing with the performers during their acts? Its so obviously scripted and the producers are insulting the audience by pretending otherwise. Last year was much better and if it doesn’t improve, my family will cease watching. You’re trying to fix something that wasn’t broken.

  9. forrest says:

    It’s acts like Lys Agnes that makes the ‘bad’ acts tolerable. I was surprised watching for the first time last season that this program makes me smile and laugh. I just get mad at American Idol the longer I watch it. Whatever you want to call it or insult it, I enjoy this program regardless of how you classify it.

  10. Baby Laura says:

    I think Nick Cannon adds a lot to the show. He is involved with the acts before and after their performances and is VERY supportive. I also like that he sometimes get involved on stage. I do agree that the Howie/Piers ‘battle’ is tiring.

  11. Ken The Great says:


  12. whynotcanada says:

    come on Slezak … where is my Haley fix? Can’t stand the wait!

  13. Zee says:

    I loved Lys Agnes but i was wondering if anyone knew the song they played after her performance.
    I’ve been trying to find out what it is, but i’ve had no luck so far.

  14. Scoop says:

    I notice that Nick Cannon appeared very supporive of the gay guy
    (Daniel Joseph Baker)last night-even going as far as to hug him on nation wide television. The young guy talked about his low self-esteem because of how he had been treated for being gay growing up. Nick appears to be a pretty decent guy.