Locals follow 'Talent' to NYC
Hawaii dance crew Hype and pre-teen singer Ciana Pelekai were among 60 acts selected to advance in the current season of "America's Got Talent" on NBC.
While 30 finalists were selected outright in the first of two episodes that aired on Tuesday, July 17, and Wednesday, July 18, both Hype and Pelekai were informed they would need to re-audition in front of judges Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Melanie Brown and Howie Mandel.
"We have some really hard decisions to make," said Stern at the start of Tuesday's episode. As it turned out, he was the only one who had a hard time picking Hype to move on.
Rocking red pants, white shirts and black suspenders, Hype's Josh Ulep (aka Hazmat from Academy of Hype and Hypersquad), Mikey Ruiz and AJ Pak (aka Headache), impressed nearly all the judges with a performance to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." Only Stern had doubts, saying he thought the trio were "not anywhere as good as (the) last time" they performed.
Even though Hype fared well, Pelekai did even better. Four years after her last appearance on "America's Got Talent," the Aiea Intermediate School student was easily the front-runner in the show's child entertainers category.
"She made me rethink everybody else," Stern said after her performance of Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind."
"She just made it a little tougher now," Mandell replied.
"She did," said Stern.
Next week, "America's Got Talent" will move into the live audience phase of competition, with the finalists performing in front of a crowd at Radio City Music Hall and the general public deciding which acts move on in the competition.
Hype was announced as one of the acts that will perform during the Tuesday, July 23, episode; no word yet as to when Pelekai will perform again.
Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter and Google+.