May 16, 2012 at 8:09 AM ET
Howard Stern likes opera-singing nurses and rapping grandmas. Who knew? Night two of "America’s Got Talent" auditions brought the traveling circus to San Francisco, where the acts got more compelling — and so did the backstories.
No one captured the hearts of the judges — and the audience — like 21-year-old Alonzo “Turf” Jones, an “extreme hip-hop contortionist dancer” who was homeless for two years after being kicked out of his home by his mother. Turf, it seems, can do things with his body that hurt most of us just to watch. But he is certainly impressive to watch. And when he started crying tears before the judges even spoke, you could feel potential voters already throwing their support behind him.
“You are a true original and I think you are what we’re looking for,” Howard told him.
Turf will easily make it to New York — and he’ll probably have some company from his hometown.
Among the night’s other standouts:
TIM HOCKENBERRY, 49 (singer)
Tim showed up with his girlfriend, 3-week-old baby girl and a standard issue back story about battling the bottle. Singing in public made him nervous, he said. “The only time I could pull it off is if I had enough beer or wine in me. I knew I was an alcoholic pretty early — around 17 or 18 years old.” Now clean and sober, the Binghamton, New York native took the stage to deliver a raspy version of “You Are So Beautiful” that Joe Cocker might have had a tough time beating. Tim has the look, sound and story to win the whole thing.
LUIS MENAGHIN, 54 (nurse)
Up until now, the only audiences that had heard Luis’ amazing opera voice were the folks at the old-folks home he works at. “Every day down at work they gather after lunch in the lobby, and I sing for half an hour for them,” he explained. “I tell them that I sing opera for them because it helps them with their bowel movements.” Turns out the Brazilian import (by way of Utah) has quite a voice. He’s no Susan Boyle, but impressive enough to make it to Vegas and probably beyond.
DAVID GARIBALDI & CMYK’S, 25 (concept painters/dancers)
Both original and amazing, David had the audience roaring as he performed a dance routine with his team while each of them took turns splashing colored paints on a huge canvas. In less than 2 minutes they had created an incredible portrait of Beethoven (though Howard admitted he thought it was a painting of him).
GRANNY G., 80 (rapper/comic)
Where else in prime time can an octogenarian come on stage with a walker, grab her backside and earn a free trip to Vegas? Granny G performed a rap that basically warned young men to be responsible and not ditch their baby mamas. But all she really had to do was come on stage and smile. If the judges let her advance to New York, expect Granny G to be a shoo-in for the Top 10.
What do you think of the talent so far? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.
More in The Clicker: