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"America's Got Talent" comes to NOLA

On January 31, 2013

  • Danielle Latimer and the IGNITION Fire Troupe. IGNITION made it through several phases of the sixth season of “America’s Got Talent.”. Photo courtesy of danielle Latimer

Danielle Latimer had no idea what she was getting herself into when she decided to audition for "America's Got Talent" two years ago.
"I was an absolute basket case throughout the audition process. I'm very competitive and when something like this comes around, I want to win," Latimer said.
Latimer and her fire performance troupe did not win, but they did make it through several audition phases of the show's sixth season in 2011. This year, supervising casting director Roz Taylor Jordan said season eight brings the talent search to New Orleans to find the city's hidden talents.
"Harry Connick Jr. and Erin Neville are some of the amazing talent home grown here and we know there are plenty of hidden gems to be uncovered," Jordan said.
Similar to the uniqueness of New Orleans, Jordan said, "America's Got Talent" is the only show with variety.
"Anything goes," Jordan said, "any act, any age, any talent."
Latimer, mass communication senior, auditioned for the show at the Tacoma Convention Center. Latimer was part of IGNITION, a fire troupe.
"Since we were a fire performance troupe, our initial audition was unlit, meaning we performed with our tools, and pantomimed fire breathing when needed," Latimer said.
The troupe made it to performing in front of Howie Mandel, Sharon Osborne and Piers Morgan.
"It was a packed house in the Paramount Theatre, and the crowd went nuts when we started performing," Latimer said. "It was absolutely wild."
Latimer said the troupe did not make it past the second audition, but receiving her acceptance into Loyola the same day was a sign of good things to come.
"The same day I was rejected from 'America's Got Talent' I received my acceptance letter to Loyola," Latimer said. "I feel very fortunate that I've been able to successfully transfer here and fully realize what I can accomplish as an up-and-coming public relations professional."
Latimer has advice for those planning to audition this year.
"AGT really showcases the cream of the crop when it comes to performers," Latimer said. "Know that you are an outstanding performer, and have fun."
Artemis Preeshl, associate professor of theatre arts and dance said to land an audition, it is best to perform what suits you. Walking into the room is your chance to make an impression.
Jordan said to be prepared and blow the judges away.
"You only have one audition," Jordan said. "Come dressed as if you are about to walk out on stage and perform in front of millions of people and get to the best part of the act right away."
Jordan also suggested bringing a support group, such as friends and family to help you practice before your 90 second audition.
"You are given up to 90 seconds but not guaranteed 90 so people need to blow them away right away," Jordan said.
Jordan explained that if you are talented enough to make it to boot camp and perform on the televised show you will not have to worry about missing too much school or work.
"We encourage everyone to stay in school, but AGT makes it possible to follow their dreams also," Jordan said.
Jordan also explained that filming is set up in a manner that makes it easier for students to participate.
"If they make it into the finals, they will have to go to Vegas for boot camp which is several days and then the show is once a week for a few weeks," Jordan said, "it is one episode at a time. Then they are back home, back to work or school. Not too much disruption," Jordan said.
The auditions in New Orleans will be held Feb. 15-16 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

Lauren Hinojosa can be reached at

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