UPDATE: 9:45 p.m. WEDNESDAY — The West Springfield High School dance team was voted off “America’s Got Talent” by viewers. “We did not expect to go this far,” said one team member.
More than a hundred high school students and well-wishers gathered at West Springfield High School Tuesday night to watch the school’s dance team compete in the top-ten finals of the NBC reality show “America’s Got Talent.”
The hip-hop dancers, who range from sophomores to 2011 graduates, are competing for a grand prize of $1 million and a chance to headline a Las Vegas show.
“This is a really big deal because we’re just a little suburbia for families, you know?” said Del. Dave Albo (R-Fairfax), a 1980 West Springfield graduate who attended the watch party last night. “To have a group of girls like this who are just so sharp and obviously extremely talented representing us — I’m just really excited about it.”
In television performances over the last month, the West Springfield Dance Team — who missed the first day of school Tuesday in order to compete — has wowed judges, viewers and hometown crowds with its electric choreography, dark intensity and zombie-inspired costumes.
“We like to scare people with our look,” one dance team member told the “America’s Got Talent” audience in August.
Tuesday night, the team competed against acts including a magician and a 11-year-old pianist singing a Phil Collins tune. West Springfield drew disappointing critiques from judges — Sharon Osbourne called the performance “predictable” — but the team’s fate really lies in the hands of voting viewers.
Voting closed at 6 a.m. this morning. The top four vote-getters will be announced on NBC at 9 p.m. tonight.
“They know what show biz is like now — a lot of hard work, a lot of being away from home, a lot of missing summer activities,” said Jim Campbell, whose daughter was on the West Springfield team from 2002 until 2006.
Campbell said he was impressed by the dancers’ composure, standing before millions of viewers and listening to judges’ critiques with unwavering poise. Whether the team wins or not, he said, they’ve shown class.
“With the judges’ comments last night it will be hard, because I do think they have a lot of influence,” he said. “But we’re proud of them no matter what in West Springfield.”