Tonight ten acts perform. First up is the Texas State Strutters. They are basically Texan Rockettes. They call themselves precision dancers, but I doubt anyone else does. Piers calls them Stepford Wives and I end up loving him just a little. That may be the first actually funny and snarky thing he has said this entire competition. The Strutters strut out to Boogie Wonderland by Earth, Wind and Fire, wearing black shorts and hot pink sparkly halter tops. They dance. They lift their legs in unison. Piers buzzes. They dance some more. They do the splits in unison. They dance. Sharon buzzes. They join arms, lift their legs, prance, do some more kicks and splits. The Hoff buzzes. Whoa there guys, they aren't that bad! Well, maybe. Piers announces that they're boring, and if they were in a pool they'd be synchronized swimmers. Oh, please, Piers. If you're a synchronized swimmer, you have to hold your breath and swim upside down and you can't see what the others are doing. These girls wish they could be synchronized swimmers. Sharon doesn't think they could sustain an entire show. The Hoff thinks they weren't together enough to measure up to the dance competition in this show. Why did the judges let them get this far in the competition then? I bet there were some worthy cloggers out there just dying to clog the stage. Jerry gives The Strutters an opportunity to respond and they totally Miss America it. Their spokesmodel puts her manicured hand on her pink-spangled heart and swears they did the best they could and put their hearts into it and had fun. God Bless America! Now go away.
We're back! Jerry once again reminds us of the stakes. I will refrain. Next on stage is Michael Strelo-Smith, the Other Opera Singer. During his pre-performance introduction, he reminds us not to give up and stick with our dreams. There are students cheering, there's a scrapbook of wishes, the judges cheer his determination. He's like the Afterschool Special of the competition. He steps onto stage belting a song that I don't recognize, but it sounds like it is from a b-list musical. He is really letting it rip. Piers buzzes. A few more notes in and Sharon buzzes too. Were they mainlining Red Bull before they came out? 'Cause whoa with the buzzers, guys. As the song comes to its rousing and anthemic conclusion, Piers tells him that his look, his feel, his voice is karaoke. Gasp! This does not sit well with Mr. Strelo-Smith, and since he has a microphone (which the sound guy failed to cut off at the end of his song), he feels free to use it. He tells Piers he's singing from his heart for his parents and friends and students. He is sorry that Piers doesn't get it. Piers gets all huffy, Michael gets huffy back. Sharon cuts them off with a schoolmarm's hush. She felt that he was great, but altogether too music teacher. Michael is still feeling huffy and tells her that being a music teacher is admirable. She snottily asks him why he quit. He gets huffier and huffier and blows himself out. Sharon schoolmarms him some more and The Hoff takes over. The Hoff tells him he loves his determination. He thought he was great. Michael Strelo-Smith has nothing to say about that. He smiles cherubically until Jerry shoves a microphone in his face and asks him about getting buzzed. He huffs, he puffs, and he finds his inner strength. He is done getting buzzed off, he is fighting through, he is not going anywhere. Except, you know, off stage.