Wednesday night’s (July 14) episode of “America’s Got Talent” (always gamely hosted by Nick Cannon, who really should have his own talk show) featured an appearance by the cast of the Broadway musical “Rock of Ages” (which includes former “American Idol” hopeful Constantine Mouralis). The stage spectacle pays homage to some of the greatest arena rock anthems of the 1980s, and last night’s performance a handful of tunes (including Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”) as well as a surprise guest appearance by Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider. The show also featured a handful of acts getting a pass to the next round of the show (including favorites Future Funk) as well as a performance by Selena Gomez and the Scene.
But Snider’s visit was by far the show’s highlight, because any appearance by Snider is always welcome. Though more of the members of the ’80s hair metal elite are aging gracefully than logic would dictate (including Bret Michaels, Vince Neil and Sebastian Bach), Snider has truly transcended himself. Despite his classic appearance (he always had huge hair, make-up and battle gear, as though he was auditioning for a spot in Kiss), Snider has long been the thinking man’s metalhead. He famously gave a command performance before the PMRC after Twisted Sister was added to the list of the “Filthy 15” in 1984, made a pretty great horror movie (“Strangeland”) and has worked as a top-notch radio personality (his morning show on WMRQ in Hartford in the late ’90s was one of the best in the country).
Snider still sounds great and still tours and records with Twisted Sister, and his songs have survived the test of time. Though “We’re Not Gonna Take It” is probably their signature tune, “I Wanna Rock” is immortal.