WILMINGTON — When their Star Wars-themed clogging video was posted on YouTube, the Fancy Free Cloggers could never have imagined that it would lead them to an audition for the TV show America’s Got Talent.
Evie Poe, the group’s founder and director, described getting the call from the show’s producers as a wonderful day.
“I received the phone call and the caller ID came up as Los Angeles,” said Poe. “I almost didn’t answer because I thought it was a telemarketer or a survey, but I answered anyway. The person asked if I was with Fancy Free Cloggers and I said yes, and they asked if we were familiar with the show.
“I asked her if it was a joke and she said no, it’s not. She said she saw our Star Wars video and wanted us to come and audition for the show.”
When it comes to why the group stands out, member Dustin Williams of Blanchester believes it has to do with their presentation.
“It’s a show,” said Williams. “We put in all these theatrics — it’s not just clogging.”
The group, based out of West Union, was started in 1995 by Poe and has been performing for multiple venues for many years. Williams is not the only other local resident in the group — Wilmington resident and former city council member Randi Milburn says she was brought in by Williams three years ago after Milburn clogged with Williams before.
The group also consists of 93-year-old World War II veteran Jim Kimmerly.
In their Star Wars routine, the group performed a tribute to all seven Star Wars films while dressed as characters from the franchise. It even included light saber duels choreographed by Brian Polley.
The group did not perform the Star Wars routine at the audition due to trademark issues, so instead they went with a patriotic theme performing to James Brown’s “Living in America.”
They taped it at the Murphy Theatre in Wilmington and sent it to the producers. Poe and the others express much gratitude to the Murphy Theatre for their help in getting their tape ready.
According to Poe, they were called earlier than expected to come and audition.
The group traveled to Chicago, and the members termed the experience “amazing.” They received fast passes, which allowed them to get to the front of the audition lines. According to Williams, this was because they already went through two round of auditions with their videos.
“It was very humbling,” said Randi Milburn. “We got to perform for the people in the auditioning room. I was never hugged so much in my life. There was a lot of hugging going around.”
According to Milburn, everything was great — from their Uber rides to their treatment by the workers at the show to their interaction with other groups auditioning.
“I never once felt like a small-town kid in this big city,” she said.
The group expects to hear the results of their audition around February.
The Fancy Free Cloggers will be performing again at the Murphy Theatre at the Murphy Express Christmas show Dec. 9-11.