This week on America’s Got Talent, the Semi-Finals began, which means that the crap from the audition round has been waded through and now we’re at a slightly lower level of crap. How lovely. Oh who am I kidding? In the fight for my immortal soul between the smartly written and beautifully acted Deadwood and the shitshow that is America’s Got Talent, The Hoff has brutally killed Swearagen and pissed in his skull. And I’m okay with that. Let’s see what the semi-finals brought us, shall we?Here are the semi-final rules that surprisingly, make absolutely no sense. The judges put 61 acts through to the semi-finals, so over the course of 4 nights there will be 15 acts per night. 15 acts, yes, but not 15 performances. What is that you say? Madness! Why indeed it is! Apparently, there isn’t enough time for all 15 to perform on television. Then why put all the acts through in the first place? It just makes no sense and it’s bad planning. So all the acts had to perform for the judges off-camera and the judges picked the 10 performers they wanted to see again. How riveting! So now all 15 acts are in the studio audience waiting for Reege to call them up one by one – because the 5 losers who don’t get to go on again have absolutely no idea. Over the course of two nights – oh that’s right, they’ve taken The Hoff into results show territory -two acts will be put through to the finals. Tonight the judges will make their pick; on Thursday, the audience vote is revealed. It’s just a little all over the place and doesn’t have that air of composure and organization that a one Mr. Ryan Seacrest exudes. Oh, they’ve also gotten rid of the buzzer system. Well, not exactly, just now the buzzers can either be a check or an X, and they symbolize whether they should go through, not their overall talent. Don’t think too much about it. It’s better that way.
Taylor Ware is the AAAAdorable yodeler who stole our hearts in the audition round. Last time we saw Taylor we discovered that she learned how to yodel using a book, and this week we get to see it. The book is literally called, So You Want To Yodel? I don’t know why that makes me laugh, but it does. Again, the crowd loves her and the judges love her – and I submit that none of us know what we’re talking about. I mean, would you know a good yodeler from a bad one? Regardless, you just want to dunk her in your coffee, so it’s okay with me. She’s a frontrunner to get voted through. Hooray!
I hate All That passionately the first time we saw them, because I just think they are pretty lame. They were a lot better this week, but they still didn’t do anything for me. Oh and apparently they are not dancing sprites or tap fairies but rather cloggers. It’s an interesting distinction. The only promise is that none of them blew out their hair this week, although one of the guys is rocking out a faux-hawk which is as hardcore as a clogger can get I think. Brandy and the Hoff loved them again, as did Piers, except he wants them to dance in business casual attire next time. He doesn’t like their look. I don’t either – but I don’t think that the khakis and button down shirts he suggests are the answer. Although it would be fun to watch cause it’d be just like those snazzy Gap commercials from a few years ago. Fall into it, baby.
Kevin Johnson is the crazy talented ventriloquist with the two bird puppets, Matilda and Clyde. I really like him, but he does a variation of the same schtick as last time, and I’m a little underwhelmed. Still when the guy throws his voice, it’s kind of freaky. And not a “The Hoff’s mullet doesn’t ever move” freaky. Freaky in a good way. The Hoff challenges Kevin and the birds to push themselves further, but Piers wants to know that there is more to Kevin than just this one bit. I want to know that there’s more to me than watching mediocre talent competitions. The vote is still out on both accounts.
The Michael Phelps of this competition. After the auditions when she sang I Have Nothing, she brought everyone, including herself, to tears. She was really great, and suddenly became a front runner. They even used her all over the early promos for the show. I don’t what happened in these last few weeks, but when she sang At Last tonight, it seemed like a very different girl. A distinctly less talented girl. Talk about not living up to your own hype.
Up until now Vladik was known as the man who made juggling come alive for the Hoff. Tonight, he was the man who killed that glimmer of hope. Vladik’s been performing on stage since he was 7, which makes me wonder why he even wants to be in this competition. Isn’t Tarzan Juggler #4 in a Cirque du Soleil knockoff enough for you Vladik!?!? Regardless, he’s okay, but not worth a million bucks. There is a mild controversy when The Hoff and Piers criticize the poor kid for dropping one of the balls while juggling on a ladder. Brandy and Reege however submit that he didn’t drop the ball – his assistant did. Whoa. Remember the Janet Jackson Superbowl incident? The controversy that swirled around that is a pail breeze by comparison to this. Either way they didn’t like Vladik, and he does NOT take it very well. No talking back to the Hoff, Vladik!
Shawn Ryan is a Cabaret act that I don’t think we saw in the audition round. He’s pretty good, but for me life isn’t a cabaret, it’s more of a drunken Killers concert. The judges don’t like him as much as they did last time, but they think he’s very talented, which I agree with, I guess. He takes his lumps like a man, and has the last laugh: The kid’s been nominated for a Grammy, in the same category as Reege! They both lost however. The funniest part of it all is that Reege didn’t even know he was nominated for this Grammy. I’m sorry, but is Reege’s mantel so full of awards he can’t be bothered with a measly Grammy nomination? Last I checked his show wasn’t called “The Ellen DeGenneres Show” or “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and things must get very cold on the limo ride home from the Daytime Emmy’s, even if he does get to sit with Kelly Ripa. RRRRR.
JR Johns and his Best Friends
Further cementing my theory that you just can’t trust someone in a velour shirt, JR Johns totally bombs with his pet comedy act. The crowd hates him, the judges hate him and even the dogs he’s working with hate him. When Piers tells him this much, JR asks the audience for some help, and the silence is almost defining. Piers goes so far as to tell him that it was uncomfortable watching him torture the dogs, which almost makes JR cry, inturn making me laugh, so everybody’s a winner here.
Hoopalicious is another act we didn’t see in the auditions. She’s a world renown hoop dancer and she looks a lot like Franke Potente. She dances seductively and all but as I’m watching her I cant stop thinking how glad I am that she was killed off in The Bourne Supremacy, cause that movie kicked ass.
It was getting close to the end of the show and with only two spots left I was getting nervous that my Bronx-based, harp playing girlfriend would not make the final cut. Thankfully she did, and she sang Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, because she took the advice of the judges who told her to be a little different. Of course, they decided to criticize her choice and someone had the nerve to suggest something with a more Enya-like flavor. Maybe I’m just defensive because I’m in love. Leave my girlfriend alone! It should be noted that Brandy gave Corina, her only X of the night, prompting me to destroy three Brandy CDs that I probably shouldn’t have in the first place.
The Millers were the last act to be called, in some sort of attempt to cause faux-suspense even though we knew that LJ, the greatest harmonica player, like, ever, would definitely get another shot to strut his stuff. This time, in leather pants! He really is awesome playing the harmonica, which was something I didn’t think was possible to be impressed by. I mean harmonica? Snore. But this kid just kills is. Not too surprisingly, however, Piers has a suggestion to make: LJ should lose his older, singer/guitar playing brother. This instantly sends the 12 year old LJ into tears, because he, and all of us, have been expecting to hear someone say the same thing. His brother plays it totally cool, but poor LJ is annihilated, and tells Piers he’s not breaking up anything. Yeah, let’s talk in a few years. Your brother is half way out the door, man. Highlight here though is that Reege refers to LJ as a young Wayne Newton, and I am completely lost.
The judges take some time to talk it over and although they liked the yodeler Taylor Ware and cloggers All That, they choose The Millers to go through to the next round, which is the right choice, although I’m sure that Piers guilty conscience also helped tip the scales in their favor.
The next night we’re treated to 24 minutes of filler, that included an encore performance by the Millers and some other acts that aren’t in the competition like a guy who wanted to jump rope with 3 hot girls on him. No kidding, I’d like to do the same thing. Weird.
The suspense ends when we find out that Taylor Ware was the viewers choice (2nd place was All That) and she is continuing on to the finals. I’m very pleased.
Okay, Okay, this show is starting to wane. I don’t know how it’s going to last in the fall when it’s up against actual show’s as opposed to, say, Windfall. But that’s not my problem right now. My only problem right now is making sure Bianca Ryan wins $1,000,000!