Mike Super "freaked out" the judges on NBC's "America's Got Talent" last Sunday. Mr. Super bills himself as a "mystifyer."
By Maria Sciullo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Although Peters resident Mike Super is a solo act, he wasn't alone in his tryout for NBC's "America's Got Talent."
Mr. Super, who appeared on national TV Sunday night during the audition rounds of the network talent show, got an assist from judge Heidi Klum. But he also gave credit to Desmond, a figure of "spiritual energy" that began as one of those imaginary childhood friends .
"Mike Super and a supermodel; it's a great combination," he said.
Mr. Super won an NBC competition show for magicians a few years back but labels himself a "mystifier." He certainly had Ms. Klum and the rest of the judges baffled during auditions at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
He appeared onstage with two props: a clear glass pitcher and a see-through plastic box. He asked Ms. Klum to slide her hand into the box, hold up the pitcher inside and wait for Desmond to make his presence known.
One more thing: The audience was asked to rub its hands together, sort of like clapping for Tinkerbell in "Peter Pan."
Desmond, she was told, would do something innocuous, like generate a little heat around the pitcher or appear as a light near her shoulder. And so everyone did as they were asked and... nothing.
Given that one of the previous acts was a couple of "psychic divas" from New York who were laughed off the stage, the audience seemed a bit skeptical. But of course Mr. Super was just ramping up the sense of drama.
On the next try, the pitcher shattered in Ms. Klum's hand.
"I have no idea what just happened, but I loved it," Howard Stern said.
"That was really weird, but in a good way," added Mel B.
Leaving the stage, Mr. Super told host Nick Cannon, "I am on cloud nine."
The idea of Desmond, whom he said began manifesting himself when Mr. Super was a child, "sounds like a long, crazy story, but please know, I am not crazy."
Desmond "gets talked about more on the show than me."
Mr. Super and his "Pittsburgh ghost" could be making another on-air appearance during the July 22 and 23 "Judgement Week" shows. That's when acts chosen for the live shows -- which begin July 29 -- are announced.
There's no way to predict if he can return week after week to Radio City Music Hall: that is up to the television audience voting. So he is still booking gigs throughout the summer, including jobs on the Disney cruise line.
"Disney had been very good to me; they understand all this. I'm living two lives, I'm making plans, trying to put positive energy out there. You really don't know. It's a hard way to live because you still have to work."
Joel Brady is not your average contestant on NBC's "American Ninja Warrior."
Although would-be Warriors who attack the elaborate obstacle course come from a wide range of backgrounds, how many run attired in khakis, sweater vest and bow tie?
Mr. Brady, an instructional designer in the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education, was on television Monday. He made it almost all the way in the Denver regional but could not get past the Warped Wall.
An experienced rock climber, he might still be in the running to reach the nationals in Las Vegas. Subsequent shows will reveal the results.
Mr. Brady also teaches in Pitt's Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. NBC apparently loved the fact that he has a course on vampires and for a while Monday, his assigned hashtag -- #vampireninja-- was trending on Twitter.
Maria Sciullo: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG.
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