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Tuesday’s America’s Got Talent episode was only an hour long due to a two-hour Summer Olympics trials special airing earlier on NBC. But those 60 minutes were packed with dazzling talent, including Olympics-worthy martial artists World Taekwondo Demonstration Team (who earned host Terry Crews’s Golden Buzzer) and edgy standup comic Kabir Singh, who somehow managed to make the taboo topic of serial killers uproariously funny. But one serial-killer-esque contestant’s standout audition was no laughing matter.
“Do not try to adjust your television. There is nothing wrong with your screen. Do not try to resist. I am in control now,” boomed an ominous warning, as an axe-wielding masked mentalist disrupted the broadcast with a staticky flash of television test patterns, then wordlessly skulked onto the stage looking like a steampunk Weeknd or the villain from some sort of Hellraiser reboot. That sure was a hell of a goosebump-raising entrance — and the AGT judges, even the usually unflappable Simon Cowell, were shook. (Simon didn’t totally lose his cool or his sense of humor, however, later quipping, “I never knew Howie [Mandel] had a twin!”)
The menacing mystery magician then popped a dusty old-school cassette tape into a rusty Radio Shack player, and out croaked an evil Scream voice reciting his list of demands. That distorted, disembodied cassette voice chillingly proclaimed: “My name is Klek Entòs. And I am the sum of all your fears.”
Klek handed judge Sofia Vergara a vial of ink and ordered her to create a Rorschach test, then asked Terry what that still-wet ink-blot pattern resembled. I thought it looked like a scorpion or some sort of creepy crustacean, but Terry answered, “A spider.” I am sure that the judges were wishing that Terry had seen an adorable puppy or bunny rabbit in those ink splotches instead, because Klek immediately cracked open a box filled with “the power to make your imagination come to life” and revealed — you guessed it — a live, wriggling tarantula.
Was it all rigged? Would Klek have been able to just as easily conjure a rock lobster or king crab (or fluffy puppy or bunny) on cue, had Terry answered differently? We’ll never know, because just as quickly, that giant spider mercifully disappeared in a cloud of dry ice smoke. (Or... did it?) All I know is this was theater, and it was damn scary. “Wow. This is like a foreign film. You're freaking me out. … I'm saying yes, because I will not say no to you, ever,” gasped Howie. A stunned Heidi Klum and Simon were also on board. Sofia only agreed to give Klek a yes if he promised the magic missing spider wasn’t lurking under her desk, but when the cassette voice failed to respond to her query, she just stared warily into Klek’s vacant goggle-eyes and put him through anyway.
As it turns out, this wasn’t Klek’s first participation in the international Got Talent franchise, although it may have been his scariest. He competed as the decidedly less freaky-deaky David Stone (an established French actor, magician, and author) on France’s Talent in 2018 and made it all the way to the finale, then returned in 2020 as his mummified alter ego Klek. He didn’t win FGT that second time either, but it seems like Stone’s eventual reveal was a bit of a Masked Singer-style TV shocker. His creepy America’s Got Talent debut was certainly the shocker of this week — and maybe this go-round, he’ll actually win. He’ll make it to the live shows, at least, since it has already been established that the judges will be too terrified to ever eliminate him.
Klek wasn’t the only reality TV alumnus who appeared on Tuesday’s episode. Also auditioning was Storm Large. Yes, that’s her real, marquee-worthy name, so who could ever forget her fifth-place star turn on NBC’s Rock Star: Supernova, even if it was 15 years ago? Before David Cook and Adam Lambert were rocking out on American Idol for Simon, there was Rock Star: Supernova — a Dave Navarro-hosted televised search for the lead singer of a new supergroup comprising Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee, Metallica’s Jason Newsted, and Guns N’ Roses’ Gilby Clarke, with Butch Walker producing. Storm, with her massive pipes and badass charisma, almost made it to the finale singing songs by Cheap Trick, the Cars, Dramarama, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, and Evanescence, and she rocked just as stormily on AGT this week with an Evanescence-esque (if slightly unrecognizable) cover of the old standard “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”
Storm didn’t mention her talent show past (even implying she was a TV newbie by calling her AGTaudition an “enormous, terrifying opportunity”), but Simon seemed to recognize her, asking if they’d met before. Storm flirtatiously replied, without missing a beat, “We were so young, Simon! Let’s not bring that up!” Simon was amusing by Storm’s “amazing personality” and impressed by her “naturally amazing voice,” as were the other panelists, who all gave her yeses and a standing ovation.
So… can Dilana audition next?
America’s Got Talent returns in its regular two-hour time slot next Tuesday.
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