REVIEW: Darci Lynne at fair moves past her puppets

Last updated: September 28, 2021 - 7:40am


BLOOMSBURG — Since winning “America’s Got Talent” in 2017, teen ventriloquist Darci Lynne has been giving voice to her puppets for the past four years.

But the not-so-secret element to Lynne’s success is her own voice — her singing voice, that is; a surprisingly strong talent that shone through her performance Monday headlining Bloomsburg Fair’s grandstand.

It should be no surprise that Lynn, who in two weeks turns 17, has made music part of her stage act: It was her “singing” puppets that helped win her “America’s Got Talent.”

The surprise might have been how much of her show was composed of music: Nearly 40 minutes of a 90-minute performance.

That’s not a complaint: Some of the show’s best parts were not only how well, and diversely, Lynne sang between clenched teeth during the ventriloquism parts of the show, but how strong her “solo” performances were.

It might have been a hint of how the show would go that Lynne came out to the music of a four-man live band, singing one of what she said were her own compositions for the show — a song called “Do My Thing” that she ended with a long, strong note.

Lynne did bits with all of her puppets made famous on “America’s Go Talent,” starting with perhaps the best known, sneaky, snarky rabbit Petunia, who revealed what would be a (pretty good) running joke through the show about the puppets’ wild road trip to Las Vegas.

And, of course, Lynne sang a duet with Petunia, as she would with all of the puppets.

She did an impressive yodeling song with country-girl puppet Katie (yodeling, and doing it well, behind a clenched smile is impressive). She did an equally impressive version of Queen’s “Somebody to Love” with randy old woman Edna Doorknocker — part of one of the show’s best routines, with audience member “Dan,” who stole the show with his heartfelt reactions to Edna’s advances (he actually hilariously gave the puppet mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when she over-extended her breathing).

She did a more routine “Let the Good Times Roll” with Oscar the mouse, and a perfectly pop version of Justin Bieber’s “Baby” that included another impressive moment — a fast-rap interlude, again through clenched teeth — with her newest puppet, Ivan the one-eyed Australian heartthrob.

But Lynn’s solo songs were almost as impressive. Another of her own compositions, “I Think I Like you, Maybe,” was as good as any of the multitude of Disney or Nickelodeon princesses. She actually had a Stevie Wonder vibe on his “Don’t Worry Bout a Thing,” which most obviously showed her confident command of the stage. And she did another original as the stage’s large screens showed a montage of photos of her growing up.

Those video clips were one way in which Lynne stretched the show to 90 minutes. She also did a bit where she brought up two audience members, Jordan and Sean, who wore ventriloquist masks and did pantomime as Lynne sang both their parts in a ventriloquism “singing contest.”

And while it obviously was adding time to the show, again, Lynne impressed by singing Britney Spears’ “One More Time,” Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and, especially, Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” through a ventriloquist’s smile.

She also had her band play a three-minute song.

There were weaker elements to the show, for sure. By the end, some of the characters’ subtle vocal differences started to disappear, making them all sound the same. And because the show was definitely family fare, the comedy was broad and mostly slightly amusing instead of laugh-out-loud funny.

But Lynne kept the show strong, ending with an Italian opera song with Petunia that was impressive — through clenched teeth or not, and closed with a credible version of Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” with another photo montage and a reprise of the opening “Do My Thing” song that ended with another long note.

It seemed Darci Lynne is finding her own voice.

Contact Managing Editor John J. Moser at 570-387, 1234, ext. 1320. Or email john.moser@pressenterprise.net

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