May 29, 2012 at 11:43 AM ET
So does Tampa have talent? We’d assume so, but there wasn’t much of it on display during Monday night’s "America's Got Talent" audition episode.
You know things have gotten pretty bad when one of the highlights was a guy dressed in a Bill Cosby sweater singing TV theme songs. "Love… Exciting and new… Come aboard… We’re expecting you…"
Judges Sharon Osbourne, Howie Mandel and Howard Stern were able to filter out a bearded-lady belly dancer, a hair stylist with "scissor hands" and a guy who considers himself "America’s escape artist."
Here are a few of the acts that made it through:
All That! 23 - 36 (cloggers)
They looked like grown up frat boys with tap shoes. This muscle-bound group of professional cloggers from Myrtle Beach started off competing against each other before banding together 14 years ago. They brought perhaps the only act of the night that has a chance at making the top ten. "When you could bring (the crowd) to their feet with just your feet, I think you have done something," Howie said. Sharon loved it too. She even asked if they could give lessons to Ozzy. Three yeses!
Inspire the Fire, 13 - 29 (singers & dancers)
It’s “urban Glee” with a side order of inspiration. The talented crew -- which took the stage in khakis and bright colored sweaters -- represents a non-profit organization that helps teens find their way through the arts. Their interpretation of the Bill Withers classic “Lean On Me” was straight out of a (off-off-off-) Broadway musical, inspiring a standing-O from the judges. "You guys are so upbeat. You make us smile. You can sing, you can dance…you do it all!” Howard said. “By the way, I hate 'Glee,' but I love you.”
Distinguished Men of Brass, 24 - 60 (brass band)
They lost their jobs working at a local theme park when the economy went south. But that’s OK. “We took a bad situation and turned it into a new dream for us,” one member told the judges. Now clad in black suits, white shorts and fedoras, the nine men of d’Mo Brass are ready to bring some Mardi Gras heat to the "AGT" stage. Howie loved it – "Just one word described watching you — fun!" So did Sharon -- "All your hard work has paid off. I adore you." And Howard? "There are people who can’t get to the next level, and you know what? You are not one of them," he praised. "You are there. Thank God for bad times." Yes, yes, and yes.
Ulysses, 49 (singer)
He’s been singing since the age of three and said it had been a lifelong dream to be in show business. But the theme to “The Love Boat?" He wasn't serious, right? Howard didn’t even let him finish and dropped an "X" -- but by then the damage was already done. The entire crowd was on its feet and whipped into a bit of a retro-schmaltz frenzy. "I haven’t heard that song since the early ’80s," Howie joked before passing him through. But Howard remained unimpressed -- even after getting the poor guy to drop in a few bars of "Green Acres" and "The Addams Family." Still Sharon wouldn’t let him go home disappointed: "You thoroughly entertained me," she said. "Everybody could sing along. I want to hear more!" So on he goes to the capital of schmaltz -- Las Vegas.
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