America’s Got Talent returned Tuesday for its 17th season, with a noticeable absence of daredevil contestants – most likely a retooling of the format, after AGT veteran Jonathan Goodwin was paralyzed during a stunt gone wrong last summer now canceled spin-off show America’s Got Talent: Extreme. Really, the only act of danger in the season 17 premiere was an Austrian named Joe, who set himself on fire while twittering the Bangles’ “Eternal Flame” for his wife. But the flame was apparently not forever, as Joe was thrown out by the judges before the fire extinguisher-wielding stagehands had even finished putting out his fire — and his chances.
On Tuesday there was another AGT reject – podcast sound engineer by day, emo singer-songwriter and granulated cheese lover by night, Ben Lapidus – whose hopes had also apparently been extinguished. But then Ben managed to turn the jury’s four red Xs into three yeses, and he advanced to the next round against all odds. After 16 years on the air, it was a historic AGT first. “The producers told me that we don’t recall anything like this happening before,” a source from the show told Yahoo Entertainment. “There were never four Xs given, three of them being then reversed and turned into yes.”
When Ben, 29, first showed off an acoustic guitar, telling the sad story of the sudden loss of his father at age 6 and turning to the ‘lifeline’ of music for solace, viewers wondered. were definitely expecting some sort of sensible coffee. troubadour. “I’m going to do an original song, and I hope it resonates with the judges,” he said earnestly. AGT host Terry Crews. However, Ben’s bizarre (but definitely quirky!) song was actually more suited to an Italian bistro than a cafe, as he sang about his internal moral struggle trying to ask for more parmesan on his pasta without sounding too needy or greedy.
“I always want more parmesan, but I’m embarrassed,” Ben said, growing more desperate and agitated as the melody progressed. “Why are they so stingy? / Is there a shortage of parmesan? / Is it really that expensive? / I just want more cheese, is that so wrong?”
As Ben’s spicy protest song against Italian restaurant waiters and “Big Parma” seemed to resonate with European judge Heidi Klum, his co-stars were quick to stir, with Simon Cowell being the first to hit his X button red. (“I hate fucking parmesan cheese. It’s disgusting,” Simon grumbled later.) Howie Mandel and Sofia Vergara followed Simon’s lead, and once Ben went into full scream mode and really left to tear, Heidi also seemed to no longer connect with Ben’s piquant message. , so she too buzzed him.
But Heidi is a woman of the people. So when the seemingly fairly lactose-tolerant live audience began to enthusiastically chant “Parmesan, parmesan, parmesan,” she made the executive decision that Ben deserved not just another sprinkle of parmesan on his penne, but a another chance to AGT glory. “I won’t stay silent, I won’t give in / I’ll die until I let Big Parma win,” yelled Ben not at all embarrassed, after being granted a recast audition. “People want more parmesan! give theirs!”
“You know what? I want to kill you now, because I can’t understand this [chorus] out of my brain, ”said Simon. “Take off the X. I give you a yes.” Howie stood firm, so his X stayed as shiny and red as a bowl of fresh marinara, but Heidi and Sofia also had a change of heart – and changed their no to yes. “It’s the power of the people!” said Heidi, as the studio audience continued her chant of “”Parmesan”. “Sometimes you have to listen to the audience,” explained Simon. Triumphant, Ben and Terry then celebrated this surprising historic last-minute victory with a Meal gooey Italian, Ben’s craving for extra cheese is finally sated.
Although it should be noted that Simon is a savvy A&R man who has been instrumental in the pop careers of international reality stars like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, One Direction, Susan Boyle, Fifth Harmony, Leona Lewis , Little Mix and Jackie Evancho, it remains to be seen if his pop instincts, and those of Heidi, pay off with Ben. Even though Heidi and Simon pressured Sofia to reconsider her decision, she still didn’t seem convinced, telling them, “You’re mad. … It was an awful song, and now we’re gonna have to hear this guy Again!” I don’t know if Ben has what it takes to be more than a nerdy wonder on America’s Got Talentbut he could have a lucrative sponsorship deal with Kraft or Progresso in his future.
In the meantime, the two hours of Tuesday AGT the first featured perhaps more serious contenders, like incredibly charismatic stand-up comedian Mike E. Winfield, XOMG Pop (a rainbow-colored girl group created by JoJo and Jessalynn Siwa) and the sensitive saxophonist Avery Dickson, who received Terry’s Golden Buzzer at the night.
And of course there was the required goat yoga and poodle jumping rope acts, and online spoilers indicate that we could see a cat act on a neighbor AGT episode! So tune in next Tuesday as the search for American talent, literally and figuratively, continues.
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