America Does, Indeed, Have Talent

America Does, Indeed, Have Talent

My experience as an audience member for a TV show taping is pretty limited. Sure, I hooted and hollered with the best of them at a taping of Maury and sat in childlike wonderment while stars gabbed to Katie Couric during a taping of her namesake talk show, Katie, but nothing compares to my experience during a live taping of America’s Got Talent at the famed NYC landmark Radio City Music Hall.

In almost nine years of living in the Big Apple, I’d never been to the venerable venue and was quite impressed by its size—bathed in red, white and blue hues from the elaborate stage setup. Not long after taking my seat, a member of the production team alerted the audience on when to shout, stand and clap, etc. And, then, the judges—including supermodel Heidi Klum, Spice Girl Mel B, radio personality Howard Stern and comedian Howie Mandel—waved to the crowd and took their seats for the show.

This particular taping—week 2 of the quarterfinals—was an elimination episode and the audience got to see the eclectic mix of talent perform via a series of clips as the contestants gathered onstage to hear the results. Out of the 12 contestants that night, seven got the boot from sharply dressed host Nick Cannon, while the remaining five moved on to the semifinals. For those that follow the show, here’s what went down: America picked hand balancer Andrey Moraru over Hart Dance Team and comedian Darik Santos; singer Jaycob Curlee was picked over divisive rollerblade dancer Juan Carlos; Aerial Animation is in while lasso-throwing Loop Rawlins is out; magician Mat Franco is moving on while band Livy, Matt & Sammy went home, along with salsa champions John & Andrew. 

In probably the most emotional, hold-your-breath moment of the night, the final elimination was down to singer Mara Justine and singing duo ACTE II—with their America’s Got Talent futures in the hands of the judges. After the judges hummed and hawed the attributes—and limitations—of both, the shy 12-year-old Mara Justine came out on top.

Although I didn’t see any of the current contestants perform live that night, the audience was treated to the talents of violinist Lindsey Stirling (accompanied by singer Lzzy Hale of HALESTORM), who was a quarter-finalist on the show back in 2010. Although she didn’t win, she appears to have quite the following—which makes me think stardom could still be on the horizon for a few of those eliminated contestants. 

Want to judge America’s talent for yourself? Click here for free tickets to a live taping. 


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