Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Boy Shakira is no more on America's Got Talent

Ah, America's Got Talent. You know, there's nothing else quite like it. There's talent, yes, but the rest of the show is the sort of pure cheese that you can only get by combining David Hasselhoff, Jerry Springer, and gratuitous overuse of O Fortuna from Carmina Burana. And it's not like that piece isn't overexposed as it is. Somehow, though, it never fails to crack me up when the show uses O Fortuna to introduce the judges, as though we have anything to fear from them besides whatever randomness falls from the Hoff's lips this week.

Week two of the semifinals brought us some great acts, a few not-so-great, and Boy Shakira, who is basically in a category of his own at this point. It also brought us the news of which of last week's performers would be moving on, and I'm sure you'll be shocked to know, as I was shocked, that Julienne Irwin and Butterscotch were the first to hear that they were safe. My girls the Glamazons moved on next, followed by Robert Hatcher, the man from the Cincinnati sewers, and Sideswipe, the guys with the abs. All good acts, and I'm glad that at least one non-musical act made it through, at least to break up the monotony as we get closer to the finals.

Who will move forward from this week? Let's check the performances:

Second Story Guys: Their disco-inspired routine to "Turn the Beat Around" was probably the most fun that they've shown so far, and I loved their '70s-style costumes. But the best part was Jerry trying to interview them afterwards. He looked like an eight-year-old trying to interview the Harlem Globetrotters.

Southern Girl: They're your Dreamgirls! Dreamgirls will never leave you! Seriously, though, I don't remember seeing this group before they showed up in the Vegas callbacks, but their performance of "If I Ain't Got You" had a nice throwback quality to R&B groups of the '60s. But there's no Deena Jones, and that's where they got in trouble with the judges, because the judges wanted a lead singer. I thought they did well enough without one, and I've got to give them props for defending themselves to the judges, saying that they all sang lead.

Popovich Comedy Pet Theater: Okay, is it just me, or were they just Popovich Pet Theater before? When did the comedy part come in? Consistency is all I ask! Their act took a long time to get going, because they spent quite a while setting a scene before getting to the pet tricks. It's okay if you're Cirque du Soleil and your audience has paid $100 for the privilege, but these judges are impatient and they hate ferrets. Yes, that was their other mistake: setting ferrets loose on stage. There are probably still some ferrets scampering around backstage.

Cas Haley: I have a confession to make: I can never hear the song he played, "Higher and Higher," without thinking of Ghostbusters II. (What? Lady Liberty striding through the streets of Manhattan – it's memorable!) But Cas' performance, infused with a bit of reggae flavor, almost made me forget. And if you thought there was any chance that Cas might not come back next week, a shot of his 16-month-old son sealed the deal for him. Good singer, cute kid – yeah, he's staying.

Terry Fator: Terry did a duet with his puppet, Winston the Turtle, of "What a Wonderful World," with Winston as Kermit the Frog and Terry as Louis Armstrong. As usual, spot on impersonation. There are three things I love about this guy: 1) his sock puppet fan club, 2) the Muppet-like way he can impart expression and feeling into his puppets, and 3) the fact that he can get David Hasselhoff all emotional.

The Fault Line: I seem to remember this group being marketed as an acapella rock band, but their performance of "The Way You Make Me Feel" was really just acapella. Now, I couldn't walk out of my dorm when I was in college without tripping over three or more acapella groups, so an acapella group really has to have something extra to impress me, and they didn't. I'm with Piers; they should stick with rock.

Boy Shakira, uh, I mean, Boy Britney: This week he dressed up in the famous schoolgirl outfit to dance to "Hit Me Baby One More Time," and for the first time, I can kind of see where Piers and Sharon are coming from. He was certainly entertaining, and he caused the Hoff to lose his mind again and accuse everyone but him of being on medication, which is always a plus. But, as with Kashif, I'm just not sure that Boy Shakira/Britney is a good enough dancer to justify his continued existence on the show. I'm interested to see what happens once his fate is in the public's hands.

Jason Pritchett: Jason performed without his guitar this week, which was probably smart: it differentiated him from the other male singer with a guitar, Cas, and it allowed him to work the audience as he was singing "Life is a Highway." The crowd loved it, of course, but the judges weren't as keen, and I'm not sure that his voice was really up to the song. However, there's no denying that he's an excellent performer, and I wouldn't mind seeing him stay on.

Calypso Tumblers: Like Southern Girl, this was an act that we were seeing perform for the first time this week, and I have to say that I was impressed. They gave a high-energy performance with plenty of impressive moves, and you've got to love the fact that one of the guys ran up and high-fived the Hoff in the middle of the routine. Perhaps the most shocking thing was that no one talked about their abs, even though they are just as ripped – and there are more of them – as Sideswipe.

The Duttons: They still performed their usual tricks, like instrument switching, but they moved away from their country roots to play "La Bamba." I didn't object to it as much as did Piers, who was positively gleeful that they had fired their children, but I wasn't blown away by it, either. At this point, I could take them or leave them.

Best of the night: Terry Fator, Cas Haley

Worst of the night: Popovich (Comedy) Pet Theater, The Fault Line

I don't even know anymore: Boy Shakira/Britney