LEIGH @ AGT Cabazon Ca.

‘America’s Got Talent’ auditions attract singers, comedians and a magical bird to Cabazon

Magician Leigh Hotz, 60, and wife, Mamata Hotz, 50, of Mesa, Arizona feature Merlynn the Magic Cockatiel in their card trick and illusions act. They prep to audition for “America’s Got Talent” at Morongo Casino, Resort and Spa. Auditions on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (Photo by Cindy Yamanaka, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

By ALEX GROVES | agroves@scng.com | The Press-EnterprisePUBLISHED: November 29, 2018 at 5:41 pm | UPDATED: November 30, 2018 at 4:16 pm

Professional magician Leigh Hotz, 60, and his wife, Mamata Hotz, 50, of Mesa, Arizona, were clad in in steampunk-style clothing as they held on to their pet, Merlynn the Magic Cockatiel, and proudly described how the bird was skilled in both card tricks and miniature illusions.

They were among a cacophony of musical, comedy and magic acts practicing in an upstairs conference room at Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa in Cabazon Friday, Nov. 30, preparing to audition for season 14 of popular TV variety show competition “America’s Got Talent.”

For their act, the couple planned to put Merlynn into a small container, squish it to roughly the size of a baseball and stick a small sword through it.

“If it doesn’t work, I’ll have shredded tweet,” Leigh Hotz said.

Embedded video

Leigh Hotz, 60, and Mamata Hotz, 50, of Mesa Arizona do a card trick with Merlynn the Magic Cockatiel.

See Alex Groves’s other TweetsTwitter Ads info and privacy

The couple was among the hundreds expected to audition for the extremely popular TV series, which puts acts of all kinds before a panel of judges.

The auditions at Morongo were just the first step for possible contestants. Those that get selected will get a call back to perform before the show’s judges in Pasadena next year. The show, which has aired on NBC, has included past judges such as Howie Mandel, Simon Cowell, Mel B and Heidi Klum. The judges for season 14 have not yet been announced. After rounds of competition, the ultimate winner gets $1 million and a limited residency in Las Vegas.