The singers that audition on "America's Got Talent" fall into two very disparate categories: They're either great or they're awful. But on Tuesday night's set of auditions, the music artists that performed were of the former variety. And although the show started off with a 12-member all-family Partridge Family-like ensemble called the Willis Clan that were "more talented" than the Osmonds (they got a pass to the next round, of course, after being judged both talented and "good-looking"), the two artists that really connected were 15-year-old Julia Goodwin and 21-year-old Miguel Dakota.
Was the second episode of Season 9 as good as the first? Perhaps. Hollywood Life recapped the show June 3 and found it "even more entertaining than the season premiere." One thing is certain, though: The singing artists on the second episode were just as entertaining as their premiere show competitors, and that is saying a lot.
Julia Goodwin is used to singing at home with her father accompanying on keyboards. She admits to playing major venues like pizza places. On Tuesday night, however, he watched from the side as she stepped out on stage and delivered a shockingly controlled and beautiful, slightly jazz-like version of Billy Joel's "New York State Of Mind." She was so poised, her presence on the stage so in the moment, that she appeared as if she had been performing for years. Judge Howie Mandel's jaw dropped. Judge Mel B and Judge Heidi Klum looked mesmerized. And Judge Howard Stern simply closed his eyes and enjoyed the vocal ride, opening them only to say, "Fabulous."
And so it was that Julia Goodwin received an immediate standing ovation by all four judges. She was beside herself, looking over toward her father in wide-eyed joy.
Judge Howie said that if "I had to define 'passion,' it's the sound of your voice."
Four yeses later and Julia Howard was set for Las Vegas and the second round. She ran off stage and called for a group hug from her father and show host Nick Cannon.
Back at the judges table, Howie Mandel said he bet Billy Joel "would like that." Howard Stern agreed, adding, "She's something different. And I like that."
And where Julia Goodwin was different, Miguel Dakota was not. His had the tried and true sexual appeal of a young man with a guitar. He brought with him the complete marketing package. Handsome, great voice (with power -- he performed Alex Clare's "Too Close" with an acoustic guitar), presence, and an air of humility that appealed to the judges and the audience.
Viewers already knew before he stepped on stage that Miguel Dakota had dropped out of college and had taken on construction jobs to help his mother take care of his three siblings. But he didn't need the sympathy card. Quite a few females in the audience were screaming and cheering before the judges could even find out who they were judging. Heidi Klum took note.
Miguel delivered like a pro, his voice somewhat reminiscent of Tom Jones. His stage presence was excellent; he leaned into the more angsty parts of the song. And his cadence was compelling, the audience standing and clapping along with the song.
Judge Heidi said his music was "beautiful." She pretended to faint.
Mel B told him he had a "sexy voice." She added, "And you don't look bad... obviously." (A quick camera shot then captures a few young females in the audience smiling like they were in on some shared truth.) After a round of questions, she ticked off his answers: "He's doesn't have a girlfriend. He can cook. He loves his mother." She threw up her hands as if to say, "Complete package -- on and off the stage."
Judge Howie admitted to going "through the same stuff," which got a laugh from everyone, including Miguel. He noted that Miguel sang with "heart" and asked what he did for a living whereby he was informed that Miguel did the odd construction job. Howie said he believed that would all change after his performance.
Judge Howard noted he had a "good look" and a "good sound." He predicted the young man would go far on "America's Got Talent."
Of course, Miguel Dakota got four yeses.
And if you didn't already know that Miguel Dakota was marketable, the producers at "America's Got Talent" have a prompt to let you know that they think he is as well. At present, his audition video is the featured video over on the "America's Got Talent" website.
Yes, it certainly looks as if working construction might be a thing of the past for the instant heartthrob...
Fans of "America's Got Talent" will note that there are some above-par artists on the show this season, at least they seem to be according to their first auditions. Last week, during the Season 9 premiere, there was the amazing 9-year-old Adrian Romoff, who dazzled everyone with his piano-playing skills. There was also Jaycob Curlee, whose heartfelt rendition of John Mayer's "Waiting For The World To Change" was simply compelling. And as for backstories, his tale of adoption pulls at the heartstrings.
So will the show put another singer in the winner's circle at season's end? Time will tell...
"America's Got Talent" airs on NBC at 8 p.m. (EST) each Tuesday.