The Gambrills-based dance group, the Bad Boys of Ballet, was eliminated Wednesday in the semifinal round of "America's Got Talent" after a whirlwind week.
The group was initially dismissed last week in the quarterfinals, but was saved by judge Mel B, who used her power to save one act on the Bad Boys.
Her support, however, was not enough to keep the group alive, led by Adrienne Canterna of Linthicum, and into the final round. The group would have had a chance to earn the grand prize of $1 million if they had made it into the finals.
He did not like that Canterna, the lone female dancer in the seven-member dance troupe, left the stage for a period of time that he felt was too long for their allotted 90-second routine. She left for a change in shoes and costume for about 15 seconds.
He told Canterna that she was the main feature of the group, or as he put it, "the gimmick," they were trying to sell to America. Therefore, he said, she should not have left the stage for what he hyperbolized as "hours."
When given a chance to respond, Canterna said, "First of all, Howard, I love you, but I'm no gimmick."
The crowd roared its approval, but Canterna was not done.
While Stern continued his critique as she spoke, Canterna — a professional choreographer who has traveled the world performing — countered Stern's criticism by saying she was only off stage for "two counts of eight," not long in the world of dance.
After the show, Canterna wrote in an email that it felt good going toe-to-toe with Stern, and performing for more than 10 million viewers.
"It felt good to stand up for myself and fellow dancers. I'm so grateful for the opportunity and the memories of this experience will never leave me. This competition has made me a better dancer and choreographer. Big thanks to all those who have supported us and big love to Maryland!"
The initial goal of the Bad Boys was to gain more exposure for their unique take on ballet. The group is known in Europe, Asia and Australia, but does not have as significant a following in this country.
Phil Turner writes the weekly "Linthicum" column for the Maryland Gazette. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.