Wednesday, June 06, 2007

America's Got Talent: Does It? Does It Really?

America's Got Talent, NBC's talent contest/sideshow is back, with a couple of minor changes. Jerry Springer is the new host, replacing… who was the old host again? I completely forget. Shatner? Donny Osmond? Okay, I just looked it up, and apparently it was Regis. Whatever, the host has such an important role anyway. Sharon Osbourne is the new judge, replacing Brandy, who's got some things she needs to deal with. And while divorce, alcohol, and burgers have all conspired to take David Hasselhoff down, you can't defeat the Hoff that easily. If it should come to nuclear war, the only survivors will be David Hasselhoff, Dick Clark, and Little Richard. So, no, he's not going anywhere. Token British judge Piers Morgan is still around, too, because every talent show needs a mean British judge. (Oddly enough, America's Got Talent has two Paulas, as both Sharon and the Hoff are a little loopy.)

The Dallas auditions get off to a positively horrifying start when a Barry White-voiced guy comes out in a fedora and bathrobe to sing "Don't Cha." And yes, I suppose it wasn't very pleasant when he stripped off his robe and started dancing around shirtless like Chris Farley as a Chippendale, but mostly, it was "Don't Cha" that nearly made me change the channel. I'm so sick of "Don't Cha," but I'm even more sick of the ironic use of "Don't Cha." Can we find another national joke, please?

It does get better – how could it not, when it starts with overexposed PCD – and there are several good acts, but quite a few of the ones they put through end up being musical acts. I feel like singers have too much of an edge on this show, because of the residual American Idol appeal, and the fact that no one is going to think their act is crazy or stupid. Last year's winner was a singer, and I have every reason to think that this year's winner will be one too. I'd like to see what would happen in a talent contest that doesn't include singers or musicians. And considering the popularity of talent shows these days, I'm sure I'll get my wish. But on to last night's notable acts.

The Accepted:
The Duttons:
They're a family country band, and they've got some seriously cool moves, including quite a bit of trick fiddle playing – behind the back, bowing the neighbor's fiddle, and so on. I'm not usually one for fiddles, but even I liked them.
Meghan Miller: Ventriloquist act. She does a nice rendition of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" with her puppets, but I'm not sure she'll get very far. In fact, if she weren't a cute teenage girl, I doubt she would have passed the audition.
Fallon: Cute blond girl with a guitar. She sings Jewel, "Who Will Save Your Soul," and she gets a lot of points from me for not trying to sing like Jewel, because that's always a losing proposition. I look forward to seeing what else she can do.
Jabbawockeez: It sounds weird – a masked hip-hop dance crew – but they're quite good.
Mr. Big "Who's the Guy" Beal: His name is stupid, but the guy can play the sax, and he dances around the stage like a maniac, and it's great. Good times.

The X'd:
Adam Aaron Michaels:
He looks like Liberace dressed as Elvis, and he gets about two seconds onstage before they give him the hook. I think he would have more luck as a Liberace impersonator.
Mr. Bill: Not a great singer, but a nice guy, and it's sadness all around when the audience starts to boo him. Even Piers feels bad for him. How did the audience get to be crueler than the Mean British Judge?
Human Slinky: Just like it sounds. I'm sure he'll have a great career performing in halftime shows at basketball games, just like the Horn Guy. However, the act is notable for the Hoff's reaction alone. He calls it a "giant colon going berserk," and he really seems to be scared, like he thinks it's going to attack him. So if you ever meet the Hoff, don't come at him with a colon.
Brandon Pereyda: He calls himself an "aerialist," and he twirls around on these long strips of cloth suspended from the ceiling, and it's all very Cirque du Soleil, but a little rough. However, he is extremely buff and shirtless. Points for that.
The Pec Brothers: Their pecs bounce to "Dueling Banjos." It's funny, but not exactly something you can go on the road with. More like entertainment at a family reunion after everyone's gotten nice and drunk.

The Kids:
Erica Marks:
Okay, so a theme emerges as we're going through the auditions: Piers is mean to kids, and it's breaking Sharon's heart. Hoff mostly stays above the fray, or maybe he's off in his own world and doesn't know what's going on. It starts with Erica, who sings this year's power song, "(And I Am Telling You) I'm Not Going." She's not great, but she's not bad, certainly not bad enough to warrant Piers' scathing criticism of her. But this is just a prelude to…
Breeze: This little girl with crimped, streaked hair comes out and does a little cheer routine, and it's not good. Piers blames the mother, the mother comes out and defends herself, and before you know it, Sharon has gone off to her dressing room, Piers has followed, and the poor kid is still standing there on stage, because they haven't voted on her yet. She's extremely gracious and sweet about it, but I really hope that girl got, like, a giant slab of chocolate cake that night, because she didn't deserve all that.
Bob Moore and his dogs: Not a kid, but I'm including the act here because it proves that Piers hates puppies as well as kids. The dog act isn't that great, but you've got to give the guy credit for not only training those dogs, but rescuing them from the pound as well. But Piers has to go and say that he should send most of the dogs back to the pound. And then Piers shrugs on his puppy-fur coat and goes home for a relaxing evening of kicking puppies. He's not a fan of puppies, is what I'm saying.


Liz said...

I feel like the kid that won last year sang "And I Am Telling You" for her audition song. And that was PRE-Dreamgirls. What a visionary. Also, On the Lot lacks a mean British judge, and suffers greatly as a result. Or rather, I suffer greatly as a result.

Lori said...

You're right, she did, and that's part of why Piers made an unfavorable comparison between the two girls. The other part is that he's a mean British judge. How did On the Lot make it on the air without one?

Kitty said...

On an NBC board, Erica Marks father said that she wanted to sing a different song, but producers insisted she sang this one.
I think Piers is way meaner and more obnoxious than other British judges. Simon rarely stops someone during first two seconds, and the guy on "So you think you can dance" is reasonably tactful except for people who claim to be dance teachers and are horrible.