Arts & Culture

C.R. native's shadow dancers The Silhouettes shine on 'America's Got Talent' finals

Ultimate Champion to be named Feb. 17

Founded and choreographed by Cedar Rapids native Lynne Waggoner-Patton, The Silhouettes created this story of homelessne
Founded and choreographed by Cedar Rapids native Lynne Waggoner-Patton, The Silhouettes created this story of homelessness for the finals of “America’s Got Talent: The Champions,” airing Monday night. The Denver-area shadow dance troupe was among 10 finalists for the NBC-TV talent competition. The winner will be announced Feb. 17. (Trae Patton/NBC)

The Silhouettes wowed three out of four judges on Monday night’s final round of “America’s Got Talent: The Champions.”

Founded and choreographed by Cedar Rapids native Lynne Waggoner-Patton, the Denver-area shadow dance troupe enacted a family’s journey through homelessness, ending with a hand-up and a welcome home. The story left celebrity judges Howie Mandel, Alesha Dixon and Heidi Klum in tears, but the typically toughest critic, Simon Cowell, couldn’t make out the final word — Kindness — which the dancers, ages 10 to 26 spelled out with their body positions.

“That was so beautiful,” said Dixon, who previously gave the dancers a Golden Buzzer ticket straight to the finals, skipping over the semifinal rounds. “Your passion was just pouring out of that screen. Homelessness is such a major issue all around the world, that’s what makes you guys are special.”

“Nobody does this — the silhouette shadow dancing clearer and better,” Mandel said after the three-minute story. “You are the inspiration for every act that comes after you, and to use this platform to kind of inspire people and to teach — you’re not just here to win it, you’re here to change the world, and hopefully, your world changes because of it.”

“It definitely jumps from the stage over here into our hearts,” Klum added.

Cowell, however, was less enthusiastic.

“I love you, I love the message, but I’m going to be honest with you,” he said. “On a night like this, where it’s the best of the best, it’s pulling out the performance of a lifetime, and I don’t think that was as good as your previous performance.”

The celebrity judges won’t have the final word — a panel of superfans from all 50 states are voting for the winner. The Ultimate Champion will be named in the season finale Feb. 17, which begins at 7 p.m. on NBC-TV.

The other competitors are Boogie Storm, a British dance troupe dressed like “Star Wars” Storm Troopers; V.Unbeatable, acrobat/dancers from India; Hans, a singer/dancer from Germany; vocalist Marcelito Pomoy from the Philippines; 11-year-old Alexa Lauenberger and her performing dogs from Germany; Duo Transcend, a married trapeze duo from Salt Lake City; Sandou Trio Russian Bar from Utah and Moldova; 13-year-old singer Angelina Jordan from Norway; and 12-year-old violinist Tyler Butler-Figuero from North Carolina.

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