Thursday, August 28, 2014

The America’s Got Talent BBQ: Games, Good Food And Great Talent!

By: Anne M. Raso

About 50 journos descended upon the legendary NBC Studios Commissary (now named NBC Studio 9C) last night for a fabulous BBQ that included games, prizes (that included AGT merchandise), classic BBQ food and show talent.
Howie Mandel

I had a blast sitting up close with judges Howie Mandel and Heidi Klum as they played the first game of Jengo for the evening. I’d say that Heidi was better than Howie at the game but they both were killer players who managed to get about 20 pieces out before the tower of wooden Jenga pieces collapsed. I got lightly hit by flying pieces a few just a minute or two after Howie eyed my serious expression and said, “Don’t be scared!” I'm still laughing about it! Shortly before starting on the Jenga game when gorgeous Heidi arrived in her leopard print gown and stunning diamond jewelry, Howie did the Bean Bag Toss. Needless to say, he did not win a prize! He decided to sit just above the target and crew members threw bags at him, LOL! People posed with wooden signs with the hashtag for evening (#AGTBBQ) donned in All-American glitzy garb, like blue feather boas and glitter covered Uncle Sam hats. I spotted Mel B for a few minutes but she just talked to a few reporters and did not play any games. Host Nick Cannon was supposed to come visit and as I recall, he is one of the most charming people I have ever interviewed, but he probably wanted to keep away from the press so he did not have to discuss his recently discussed split from Mariah Carey.
Heidi Klum playing Jenga
The great eats never ended. More and more trays were brought out of Glazed Ribs, Homemade Classic German Potato Salad, more types of Roasted Vegetables than I could count, Homemade Coleslaw, Roasted Chicken with Mango and more. Delicious mini French Apple Tarts with raspberries and caramel sauce hidden at the bottom made my night, along with homemade Chocolate Cupcakes and designer cookies made just for the occasion. Johnny Carson and Jay Leno always made fun of the NBC Commissary but I would be the first to tell you that their fare is nothing to laugh at. I bet that they have non-stop NBC talent coming through all day long as well.
Contestants who mixed and mingled with the press included Kelli Glover, Wendy Liebman, Mara Justine (the bespectacled 12-year-old who blew the crowd away at last night’s show), Mike Super, Paul Ieti, Jaycob Curlee, Blue Journey, Sons Of Serendip, Bad Boys Of Ballet, Miguel Dakota, Dan Naturman, Christian Stoinev, Quintavious Jonah Smith, Mat France, Emily West and Smoothini. Smoothini did card tricks for two hours with the visiting press and his fellow AGT members!
It was nice to have such an inside look at the show. Some of the AGT talent stuck took chairs at the commissary right next to members of the press and watched the show on a jumbo screen and cheered for their pals. There was a lot of tweeting going on about what acts were favored by the press, but the whole evening was about showing your enthusiasm for the talent. I hope to get invited back for more great chow and press ops—and might even pose for a photo with the Uncle Sam hat, feather boa and #AGTBBQ sign!

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