Season 14 of “America’s Got Talent” is starting out with a “boo” thanks to judge Howie Mandel. The Canadian-born comedian failed to be impressed by the Emerald Belles, ages 14-18, during Tuesday’s second audition episode and so he gave them a negative critique. Luckily, fellow judges Simon Cowell, Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough were all impressed by the high school students and their three “yes” votes outweighed Howie’s lonely “no” vote, so the high-kicking drill dream are advancing to the next round. Watch the “AGT” performance video above.
“Do you really believe that you can win?” Simon asked the girls, to which they replied, “Oh, I think we for sure got what it takes.” The contestants were well aware of the fact that Gabrielle starred in the cheerleading film “Bring It On,” but they didn’t seem nervous at all about performing in front of her.
The dance group began their routine to “Blue Monday” by Orgy, and they were soon joined by double the amount of girls on the stage. “There’s so many of them!” shouted Gabrielle as more and more dancers appeared from the aisles of the theater.
Following their routine, Howie struck a nerve with the audience after his comparison to established dance group The Rockettes. “When you said that you were gonna do high-kicking, in my mind it’s like what The Rockettes do. I’m gonna be totally honest with you. I didn’t feel like it was even close to the level of what I have watched there.” Simon then countered that it’s high time “someone new” takes the place of The Rockettes.
In his “AGT” live blog, our recapper John Benutty wrote the following about the Emerald Belles’ performance: “The all female crew utilized the stage and audience floor in a slow beginning to a performance that evolved into synchronized movements of high kicks and formations across the stage. Gabrielle was enthusiastically in their corner, as was dancer Julianne. Howie didn’t think they were ‘even close’ to the level of the famous Rockettes, but Simon pointed out that it’s a problem that there’s only one reference point in the dance form.”