We might be living through a global pandemic and increasingly chaotic presidential race, but there's one thing we can count on: America's Got Talent will keep airing. That's right, not even a nationwide lockdown can halt the juggernaut that is this long-running reality competition—and in last night's episode, one performance stood out.
W.A.F.F.L.E. are a subway dance crew from the Bronx who were given the Golden Buzzer by judge Simon Cowell during their audition, propelling them to the quarterfinals. Viewers finally got to catch up with the dancers this week as they showcased their skills and made a compelling case for taking them through to the semifinals.
Their performance was preceded by an emotionally overwrought introduction in which the group spoke about how much this opportunity means to them, especially in the midst of the nationwide upheaval of COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter, and frankly, the the fingerprints of an exploitative reality TV producer's heavy hands can be seen all over this segment. But that's not the dancers' fault; they're playing the game they have to in order to win. And as their performance then illustrates, they're playing hard.
On a deserted soundstage that all-too-closely resembles the ghost town New York City became during lockdown, WAFFLE burst out of a walkup to 'Party Up (Up In Here)' by DMX. What followed was a dazzling display of strength and athleticism, not to mention some jawdropping double-jointed stunts, aided by expert camera work that followed the team through the facsimile street and a replica of a subway car.
One of the obstacles of this season has been capturing the energy of a performance for viewers at home without a live audience, and in this, W.A.F.F.L.E. succeeded.
"To me, this felt like an old Hollywood musical, but just done modern," said judge Heidi Klum, while Sofia Vergara called their act "the coolest thing I have seen in a long time." And Howie Mandel said that Simon Cowell, who was absent due to an injury, was "absolutely right" to give the crew a place in the quarterfinals, and praised them for their energy and passion as well as their dance moves.
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