Monday, June 18, 2012

America's Got Talent airs the final audition show of the season tonight, and already some things are clear. "There's so many weirdoes on that stage," Howie Mandel said, during one recent lull in the steady parade of aging mimes, amateur escape artists, struggling musicians and, at one point, a woman with a urinating squirrel.

Even by America's Got Talent's wacky standards, this season is poised to set a new benchmark for weirdness -- and entertainment value when you may least expect. Example: There was visibly nervous 19-year-old Goth opera singer and Marilyn Manson look-alike Andrew De Leon in one recent audition episode. He appeared onstage in metal spike bracelets and heavy Guyliner, insisted he'd never performed in public before, and then reared back and performed Ave Maria as if he were Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.

"I'm just so used to being rejected," he said afterwards. "I'm not really good at anything, so this is amazing."

If America's Got Talent is entertaining -- and it is, often wildly so -- it's because the live audience is part of the act. Tears and laughter are infectious, even if the talent isn't always. (Citytv, NBC, 8 ET/PT)

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