Rick Bentley: 'America's Got Talent' wants to see if Valley has some

The Fresno BeeFebruary 4, 2014 

Don Friesen


Producers of the NBC competition series "America's Got Talent" are so interested in attracting potential contestants from the central San Joaquin Valley that they have provided front-of-the-line passes for the tryouts scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in Los Angeles. Season nine will be broadcast this summer on NBC.

Don't miss this chance because you don't think you are a strong enough singer or dancer. Andrew Ward, one of the show's producers, says they are looking for all ages and talents from 5-year-old magicians to 90-year-old rappers. The only guideline is that the act must be suitable for a family-friendly TV show.

"We try to push the limits as far as the creative acts. If you have a really big act, then you can bring in a DVD or give us a link and then talk to the judges about it," Ward says.

The auditions will be held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles, 506 S. Grand Ave., and will run from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. Those who have the special pass can move ahead of the crowd either day.

Each hopeful will have 90 seconds to perform in front of the show's producers. The judges — Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel — could pop by the venue but their work starts after this initial round. You might get a call from one of the judges when those who will be moving on are notified a couple of weeks after the tryout.

Be sure to bring anything you need to perform your act and go to www.AGTAuditions.com for updates, registration forms, audition tips, venue information and to submit an online audition. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

To be put into a random drawing for one of the five front-of-the-line passes, go to my blog post at www.fresnobeehive.com and talk about your talent in a comment. You have until 4 p.m. today to be eligible.

Funny business

Bullard High School graduate Don Friesen continues to land television jobs. The local comic is appearing on the current season of NUVOtv's "Stand Up and Deliver: Cabo." He's one of the comics on the 10-part special series filmed in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. His episode airs at 10 p.m. Tuesday. NUVOtv is available at channel 194 on AT&T U-verse, 477 on Comcast and 167 on Dish.

"I filmed the episode in October while I was in town for the Cabo Comedy Festival. I am one of four comics in the episode so I got to do 10 minutes of material," Friesen says. "This was the first time I had been to the festival. It was a beautiful backdrop to work but I'm a little anxious to see how it turned out."

Friesen is more accustomed to longer comedy shows. His type of comedy is storytelling rather than rapid-fire jokes and that meant he had to adjust his material to get the most comic impact in the brief set.

"It feels fast. My comedy is more like the 'Bohemian Rhapsody' or a novella," Friesen says.

He was more at home for his Showtime comic's comedy special, "Ask Your Mom," that was taped at Glendale's Alex Theatre. The time frame may be different but the material remains the same. Friesen uses his own life as inspiration for material about everything from suburban life to creditors.

Friesen's material is family friendly, something that could have been an audience turn-off in a party city like Cabo. He says the key is not trying to guess what kind of audience he will be facing but to just do the best material possible.

Other news

Help needed: KFCF (FM 88.1) has been in the throes of so many transmitter problems recently, the local listener-supported radio station has ordered a replacement. General manager Rych Withers says it will cost about $10,000, and KFCF has only about 10% of the money it needs.

Call (559) 233-2221 or go to www.kfcf.org if you would like to help with a donation.

Mark your calendars: KAIL (Channel 7.2), seen on Comcast channel 191, will televise 17 San Francisco Giants baseball games starting with the spring training game against the Oakland Athletics at 3 p.m. March 15. Regular programming on the local station will be pre-empted for the games.

The rest of the schedule: A's (spring training), 7 p.m. March 27; Colorado Rockies, 7 p.m. April 11; Los Angeles Dodgers, 7 p.m. April 16; Dodgers, 7 p.m. May 9; Miami Marlins, 7 p.m. May 16; Minnesota Twins, 7 p.m. May 23; New York Mets, 7 p.m. June 6; Arizona Diamondbacks, 6:30 p.m. June 20; Cincinnati Reds, 7 p.m. June 26; A's, 7 p.m. July 7; Diamondbacks, 7 p.m. July 11; Dodgers, 7 p.m. July 25; Pittsburgh Pirates, 7 p.m. July 28; Philadelphia Phillies, 7 p.m. Aug. 15; Milwaukee Brewers, 6 p.m. Aug. 30; and Dodgers, 6 p.m. Sept. 13.

Shoot for the Stars: If you are looking for a Valentine's gift for the film or TV fan in your life, then check out the Central California Youth Symphony's "8th Bi-Annual Salute to the Stars" starting at 6 p.m. today.

Along with free concerts, there will be a silent auction of signed celebrity and sports memorabilia. Stars who have provided auction items include Jim Belushi, John Travolta, Betty White and Dustin Hoffman.

TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, rbentley@fresnobee.com or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.

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