Air Force Academy a cappella group receives high praise on 'America's Got Talent'

U.S. Air Force Academy-based a cappella group In the Stairwell performed a rendition of *NSYNC's "Bye Bye Bye" to advance to the quarterfinals of "America's Got Talent."
America's Got Talent

By KAITLIN DURBIN | The Gazette (Tribune News Service) | Published: August 15, 2017

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — In the Stairwell, the Air Force Academy's a cappella group, "stepped it up" Tuesday night on NBC's "America's Got Talent," the show's judges agreed.

The all-male singing group was one of 12 acts that made it to the first live show Tuesday at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

"I think you stepped it up one more time," said Howie Mandel, one of the show's four regular judges. "I was trying to listen to you, but Mel B kept smacking me, and she said, 'Do they know that I am fully single?' That's what she kept saying. If you guys were a dating app, she would swipe you all to the right."

Laughing, Mel B smacked her fellow judge again but didn't dispute his comments.

"Can I first say, your harmonies, they’re just so yummy," she said. "There’s 15 of you, right? You all look really good, and I love that you still kept the kind of awkward choreography. I love that about you guys. And yes, I am so happy to be single right now!"

When asked what she thought of the performance, Heidi Klum responded to one of the song’s lyrics: "What do I stand for?"

"I can tell you what you stand for," she said. "You stand for freedom, you stand for brotherhood, you stand for talent, and you showed that today - but you also stand for hotness, right? Because we love a man in uniform."

The men sang and danced in their airman battle uniforms, and at one point during the performance saluted the crowd.

"This, to me, was such a step up from when we first saw you to now," said judge Simon Cowell. "I really hope the public pick up the vote tonight and put you through, because you deserve to be there."

Viewers were asked to vote for their favorite acts. The results will be revealed Wednesday night, when seven acts will be chosen to advance to the semifinals.

In the Stairwell was formed in 2004 by freshman cadets who were not allowed to sing in their dormitories and were restricted to practicing in the stairwell.

They recorded some of their performances and uploaded them to YouTube, where "America's Got Talent" producers found them last fall and invited them on the show.

In the Stairwell is now an official Air Force Academy club.

©2017 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
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U.S. Air Force Academy a cappella group In the Stairwell performs on "America’s Got Talent."

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