72°F
weather icon Clear

Dogs, dinosaurs and a ducky? It’s ‘America’s Got Talent Live!’

Must love dogs? Not exclusively.

You can also love the light-up ducky, the dancing birds or the tiger who fights dinosaurs with a light saber.

But those are puppet illusions. So the only reason why a dinosaur swinging a light saber is not the best part of any show, anywhere, is because it’s real dogs up on their hind legs, waltzing like Fred Astaire.

Then there’s the escape artist, the drummers, the comedian, the artist making rapidly changing pictures out of sand and the guy playing the harp with strings that stretch all the way up to the balcony.

It’s all in one show, and of course that show is "America’s Got Talent Live!" The acts on display at the Palazzo make up a variety show in the purest definition, its cast is determined by the strange tides of viewer voting on the NBC talent show.

All in all, producers count themselves lucky by the cards they were dealt this year.

Unlike 2009, the first time "Talent" tried an extended sit-down on the Strip, none of this year’s finalists is an amateurish performer. And by sheer luck (with perhaps some selectivity in the invitation process) they blend together fairly well.

There are a few jarring transitions, as there are bound to be given the format. The first appearance of the Olate Dogs – the million dollar-winning, small fry-delighting pooches who jump hurdles, shoot down slides and do backflips – is immediately followed by comedian Tom Cotter finding raunchy hidden meaning in Snow White and "Green Eggs and Ham."

The seven dwarves, he explains to youngsters in the audience, appear to be calling Snow White a prostitute when they yell out, "Hi ‘ho!"

But Cotter did much of this material on television, so parents who watched can’t plead ignorance. And if you don’t like one joke, wait a few seconds. It helps explain how a comedian could come in second when you see how many jokes Cotter can fire off in 90 seconds.

It’s also good to have Cotter around when an automated fire alarm shuts the show down, and gives him extra stage time. The live "Talent" hit the ground running, selling tickets for its first show only 13 days after the winner was determined on TV. But even on this press-invited night eight days later, curtains were getting stuck and the false alarm ground things to a temporary halt.

The rush to market may also explain why the show gets off to a fine start but then seems to circle in repetition.

It begins on an ethereal note with William Close on an elevated side stage, hitting a Yanni-like groove on the endless strings of his Earth Harp accompanied from the stage by drums, guitar and a spinning acrobat.

Then, after a video welcome, it’s right into the Lightwire Theater, the joyful animal illusions created by limber ballet dancers in black bodysuits patterned in luminescent wire.

What could follow that, you ask? Try an upside-down straitjacket escape by Spencer Horsman, whose "good evening" marks the first live words spoken onstage, 12 minutes into the show.

There is no traditional host as there was with Jerry Springer in 2009. And Recycled Percussion returns from that year’s lineup not as a house band, but another segment plugged into the rotation, as is Cotter.

The rotation made the second half of the show seem a bit like a do-over. The dogs in particular seemed kind of rationed out – a five or six-minute act broken into shorter segments.

Hints of collaboration – the Recycled drummers joining Close for a rousing version of The Who’s "Love Reign O’er Me" – point to the solution of what this ragtag band of players could gel into if the show sells enough tickets to return in January.

Close could provide the live soundtrack for Lightwire or sand painter Joe Castillo. Recycled could provide the thrilling music for Horsman’s water-tank escape. The dogs could howl when Cotter slips into stock airplane and Irish boozehound jokes.

What was that? You can’t ask the dog to do more than he’s done by riding the scooter? Agreed. Forget that last one. But you get the idea.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Heavier traffic expected from EDC festival attendees
Electric Daisy Carnival attendees began to vacate the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting before 5 a.m., the majority heading south on Interstate 15.
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DJ Steve Aoki visits Las Vegas comic book store
DJ Steve Aoki visits Torpedo Comics in Las Vegas Friday, May 17, 2019, for a signing for his new comic book series "Neon Future." (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America Pops Up In Vegas
Tattoo'd America, a new pop-up attraction on the Linq Promenade, had their grand opening Friday. The attraction is dedicate to the culture of tattoos. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jose Andres gets key to the Strip
Chef Jose Andres was presented with a Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation declaring April 26 Jose Andres Day in Clark County by County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Friday. The ceremony took place at his restaurant Bazaar Meat in the SLS Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prime rib is carved tableside at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Las Vegas
Dave Simmons, executive chef of Lawry’s The Prime in Las Vegas, which plans special cuts for National Prime Rib Day, demonstrates the restaurant’s service from rolling tableside carving carts. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Roger Waters melds classic rock, modern concerns

The tour is called “Us + Them” for reasons made very clear. But Roger Waters’ tour stop Friday at T-Mobile Arena also seemed at times to alternate between “us” and “him.”

Mel Brooks makes his Las Vegas debut — at age 91

Comic legend witnessed classic Vegas shows, and his Broadway show ‘The Producers’ played here. But Wynn Las Vegas shows will be his first on stage.