“I’m going to be honest with you,” began Simon Cowell as he prepared to hit the coveted Golden Buzzer on the June 16th episode of “America’s Got Talent.” “We’ve seen a lot of dance acts on this show. I wouldn’t say they’re my favorite category because I’ve seen a lot of repetition over the years.” At that point it sounded as though Simon was going to come down on the seven members of WAFFLE Crew hard.
They had just finished a high energy dance routine unlike anything we’ve seen on the show before, but a lot like you see performed in cities all over America by local street and subway dancers. They are by all accounts an unconventional choice for the golden buzzer on “AGT,” and so it was shocking to hear how the long time judge and executive producer of the show continued.
“But I think something about your energy from the second you came on and your determination… everything. This was, I think, my favorite audition so far. And I also understand how important this is to you. I want to give you a little head start here.” And boom, gold confetti rains down!
The guys, whose crew name is an acronym for We Are Family For Life Entertainment, grew up mostly in the Bronx borough of New York City. That environment they recalled as dangerous on a daily cycle and so as an escape from their harsh realities they spent their time in dance centers and then putting those moves to use on the subway to earn money to take back to and support their community.
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What is so great (and unique) about their dance style is that they’ve brought to the stage moves that you can see play out in a subway with very little imagination. Their flips, style and bright smiles are all engineered to have a quick and immediate impact on the people that surround them on train cars or on sidewalks, so to see them recreate that high energy atmosphere on stage and through the screen is truly amazing.
On the heels of their golden buzzer, WAFFLE Crew will skip the Judges Cut and move straight to the live shows to begin some time in August. They join the three other acts that have already earned golden buzzers from Terry Crews, Sofia Vergara and Heidi Klum. In the premiere Terry gave his support to choir Voices of Our City Choir. The following week Sofia sent 10 year old singer Roberta Battaglia through to the live shows and in the third episode of auditions Heidi backed singer Cristina Rae.
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