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D.C. area groups show America their talent

West Springfield Dance Team, left, and Gymkana appear on “America’s Got Talent” with host Nick Cannon. (Chris Haston/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The talent has been narrowed down. The competition, a little tougher. So the idea that two groups from the Washington region have made it to the semifinal rounds of the popular TV show “America’s Got Talent” has some folks feeling positively giddy.

Not that anyone will say as much.

Apparently “America’s Got Talent” doesn’t want anyone — in particular contestants or their family members — to say anything that could sway public opinion when it comes down to choosing a winner, based on the public’s opinion.

“We are excited, but the thing is, we don’t know if we are allowed to talk about it,” said a parent of one of the contestants, citing an agreement with NBC that bars contestants and family members from talking to the media.

What is clear is that Gymkana, the gravity-defying acrobatics team out of the University of Maryland, College Park, wowed the judges enough to make it to the final group of 20 contestants selected to move on.

“You come under the category of ‘what will they think of next?’ ” judge Howie Mandel said on the show last week.

The student-run group was founded at the university in 1946. With more than 50 members, the group normally performs its acrobatic routines at local middle and high schools. Until last week, the members had never performed professionally, let alone been on national television.

They will be joined in the semifinal rounds, which begin Aug. 23, by the West Springfield Dance Team — high school students who perform in gothic costumes. Both groups were selected, along with 10 others, from thousands of submitted YouTube videos to perform on a special YouTube episode. Both videos had received more than 1 million views.

West Springfield performed one of its signature dance routines to the tune of dubstep and techno music.

“Our look is really dark and creepy,” one performer said on the show. “We like to scare people.”

Although West Springfield initially came up short in its quest, “Talent” judge Sharon Osbourne chose the team as one of her wild-card acts. The team is scheduled to perform Tuesday.

And should the West Springfield performers win? A spot in the semifinals gives participants a shot at $1 million and a headlining show in Las Vegas.

Then, they might have something to talk about.


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