As on America’s Got Talent over the past few months, has received a crash course on what makes the popular NBC reality show so unique.
While musicians on shows like The Voice and American Idol battle it out with singers from multiple musical genres, many of Hockenberry’s entrants are on a planet all their own. Take “Horse – the King of the Nut Shots,” a group that features – you guessed it – a guy whose entire act is based around being hit in his genitals.
Hockenberry no longer has to worry about Horse, as they were eliminated late last month. But the group provides a perfect reminder of Hockenberry’s unenviable task: to convince a panel of judges that he’s more deserving of a headlining Las Vegas show than acts that serve up all sorts of wild entertainment.
“If they keep a singer a in the mix, I’m hoping it’s going to be me,” Hockenberry says. “It’s a crapshoot. A lot of America doesn’t want a singer to go through on America’s Got Talent because there are so many other singer shows. But there’s always a chance.”
Hockenberry has been on a break from America’s Got Talent for the past few weeks as NBC has put its programming on hold for the 2012 Olympics. When the Olympics conclude this weekend, the show is expected to return with a few more rounds of competition before the semifinals, to which Hockenberry has already advanced. He expects to head back to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark to perform on the show at the end of August or early September.
While he waits, Hockenberry has been building himself a small music studio at his home on Panoramic Hwy., and he’s lined up a number of gigs, including two on Sunday at . He’s also playing Friday night at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.
At the Throckmorton shows, Hockenberry is once again teaming with longtime collaborators Tal Morris and Vince Littleton. Hockenberry said “a lot of mind-reading” goes on among the trio in a live set. “Those guys are so talented that we can go wherever we want to go,” he says.
Sunday’s shows at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. will feature a wide range of material, including covers from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Louis Armstrong and Tom Waits, as well as Katy Perry, who to advance to the semifinals.
“We’ll take immense liberties with the arrangements,” Hockenberry says of Sunday’s shows. “We’re not just doing old guys doing yesterdays hits.”
As for the hit NBC show that has serendipitously become a big part of his life this year, Hockenberry retains his sense of perspective on the whole thing.
“It’s pretty exciting,” he says. “It’s a lot of waiting with a long time between these very short, 90-second performances. But it’s been a blast. At least I won’t lose to a guy who gets hit in the nuts.”
The 411: Tim Hockenberry performs with Tal Morris and Vince Littleton at on Aug. 12 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Click here for tickets and more info.