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 or 702-383-0288.

Tim Burton's imaginative artwork coming to Las Vegas
Tim Burton's imaginative artwork coming to Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday poultry with Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine
Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine explain the different types of poultry available for the holidays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Spring Preserve kicks off its Holiday Express
Springs Preserve hosts its Holiday Express, which includes a train ride, visits with Santa, SNOW, and a village winter wonderland.
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas art exhibit
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas gallery exhibit
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with blooming jasmine tea
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with jasmine tea
Benny the Ice Skating Dog
Benny is a Las Vegas Labrador who was rescued by former pro skater Cheryl Del Sanyo, and trained to ice skate. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
Throw a better dinner party
Cash appears at Baseball Winter Meetings
Lights FC mascot Cash plays the electronic drums at the EZ Inflatables’ booth on Tuesday at the Baseball Winter Meetings trade show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
5 albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
1. Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. 2. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. 3. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. 4. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” 5. Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like