The Norcross Kruti Dance Academy was eliminated in Las Vegas weeks ago from the biggest summer show “America’s Got Talent” on NBC.
But future CNN talk show host and current “AGT” judge Piers Morgan brought them back for the wild-card round last night. And a shot to perform in front of 10 million TV viewers trumped the lead instructor’s honeymoon.
Here they are Tuesday night with a very clean performance:
“I think my decision was completely vindicated,” Morgan said after the group’s performance. “I didn’t want to lose you in Vegas. I was overruled by these two halfwits to my left. As America has seen, you have talent. That was a great performance. I really enjoyed it.”
Sharon Osbourne was more measured but still very positive. “It was very exotic, very beautiful. Now that America is becoming used to the Indian culture, it’s not only the dance but Indian characters in sitcoms and adverts. I think that you know you could have the Kruti dance in competition with the Riverdance now.”
Howie Mandel, who has quirkier tastes, had some issues: “I agree yet i disagree. I agree you are phenomenal, technically and culturally correct. But at this point in the competition is what you do wow? Is it so exciting? Will people buy tickets? I don’t know that you have risen to the level to be at this level in the competition.”
Kruti’s creative director Shemoni Parekh, 25, said she found out last week her crew was part of the wild card and was floored because the timing wasn’t idyllic: she got married last Friday. And Indian weddings are massive, multi-day affairs. She had a 600 person pre-wedding shindig at Opera in Midtown, followed by the 300-person wedding at the Atlanta History Center and the 350-guest reception at the ballroom at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.
She squeezed rehearsal time in between wedding rehearsals and fittings. She and her husband Jason skipped the honeymoon in Jamaica. Instead of sipping mai tais on the beach, they flew to Los Angeles with her 16 gals from the school. (They ate the tickets to Jamaica but were able to get refunds from the resort.)
Parekh said she’s just “amazed we got this far. And it’s flattering that Piers wanted us. He’s the toughest judge!”
“We just wanted to show something they’ve never seen before,” she said. “A lot of televised Indian dance is very modernized and incorporates hip hop and jazz. It’s a beautiful dance form but it’s westernized. Very few times does mainstream America get to see Indian dance props, regional Indian dance and classical Indian dance.”
The dance troupe faces 11 other acts and only four spots to move on. The competition is fierce. Big dance troupes such as Kruti tend to have a tough time because there usually aren’t one or two individuals people can latch on to when they think about voting.
UPDATE (August 18, 9:30 p.m.): As I predicted, Kruti didn’t make it, eliminated in the first few minutes. Based on the finalists in past years, very few groups tend to make it.
“America’s Got Talent,” 9 p.m. on NBC Wednesday