***Please welcome your newest recapper into the fold, Moorels!
The fourth season premiere of America’s Got Talent had everything the show promised us. Amazing acts, hilariously terrible acts, and warming of the heart, both genuine and constructed. Judges Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne, and none other than David Hasselhoff himself led us through the crowd of crazies to pick out the ones that can be best edited for television, and I, your trusty recapper will lead you through their lead-through. As it were. Remember: we’re living in a Post-Boyle world, and the bar for both inspiration and YouTube circulation has been raised. We open with a camera shot flying through space, and showing the many versions of ________’s Got Talent that exist. It’s like a fun guessing game for the viewer:which show will we end up on? Holland’s Got Talent? Tienes Talento? Poorly CGIed Moon’s Got Talent? Nope, of course we’re going to the good old USA. Also, I didn’t realize how many countries had this show. And I’ll be the first to express shock if anyone in Holland does, in fact, got talent.
So the judges greet us, and give us a little roadmap. Piers wants to find a unique, exciting act for the show. Sharon says it’s all about opportunity and hope and making dreams come true. Haselhoff reminds us that the show is simply fun, moreso than any other show on television, which is quite a claim to make.
We’ve got the buzzers, we’ve got the audience, and now we’ve got this new host (I know, I miss Jerry, too). Nick Cannon tells us he’s a “new face in town,” and what I didn’t realize was that he would become the bane of my existence over the next 115 minutes. But we’ll get there when we get there. One final video package promises that the wait is over, and it’s time to get to the show!
I can tell RIGHT NOW I’m not going to get along with this guy.
Nick greets us from the lawn of the White House, which is odd because we know no one there has talent. Oh, I’m joking, I swear! So after a nationwide tour of the major cities, Nick reminds us that the winner will recieve $1,000,000 (!) and a chance to perform in Las Vegas. We’re starting in New York, where a bunch of auditioners discuss their dreams of eventual glory that alas, will likely never be. Nick tells us we need just three more people to start the show (insert your own joke about three people with actual talent here) and Piers, Sharon, and, after a few last-minute push-ups in the lobby, David take their places.
Am I too late to make a “Hasselhoff eating cake off the floor” joke?
First out of the gate is Ray, the twenty-six year old teaching assistant. He tells us that anyone can have talent if they just reach into themselves and pull out the emotion that they need, which is code for Ray likely has no natural talent. Also, teaching assistant? Time to reach into yourself and pull out some tenure, buddy. After telling the judges that he has been singing for ten years, he does an awful song-and-dance rendition of Elvis’s “A Little Less Conversation.” For those of you keeping score at home, this is also when Nick Cannon first earns my ire for his snotty cut-away comments during the performance. The audience boos loudly, and the judges agree he needs improvement. Ray looks sad as they turn him down, but because this is a Post-Boyle America the judges need to be nice and so they thank him and send him away kindly.
Next we’re treated to a montage of how New York does NOT got talent, including Jay the tour guide, who rides a unicycle while playing guitar, which I must agree sounds cooler in writing than it did on screen. We also get Andy the taxi driver (stage name Cheap Shot) who compares himself to Eminem and proceeds to rhythm “Chuck Norris” with “Amazon Rain Forest” (why did it have to be the Amazon one? So much I don’t know about rap music). He is given three Xs and dismissed.
You either die the hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villian!
Sky and Vladmir the “performance artists” are the most intriguing so far, because we seem to have caught them after their weekly Justice League meeting. Seriously, she’s in this silver bikini thing and he’s some sort of Russian cowboy, and I just feel like they both have very dark origins and now they heroically battle the forces of evil or something. But in any case, they do a lame fire dance that ends in Sky falling over and some concerned-looking security persons needlessly extinguishing the flaming batons. Sky and Vladmir are out, and woah, we’re done with New York. Uh, ok, so New York just sucks.
Time for Chicago! More footage of random auditioners wandering around and sped-up footage of the audience filing in. We are now introduced to the forty-eight year old Moses, who frankly just looks kind of bored. He tells us he’s the only known living person with his talent and we should never ever try it because it’s dangerous. Kind of a cheap way to assure yourself uniqueness, I think. He tells the judges that he is about to blow their minds, but Piers has been fooled by Talent contestants one too many times. HOW? HOW WILL YOU BLOW OUR MINDS? he demands to know. SPEAK, DAMNIT. Moses tells us he can turn his feet around 180 degrees and walk on them, and when he does it it’s just as weird/disgusting as you would think. They highlight of the act is the cut to Nick’s super-concerned face, which delights me to no end. I also have to wonder here how Moses the foot-turner would sell out a Vegas performance with this “talent,” and Piers voices my concern by voting no for the same reason.
Hasselhoff joins him by voting no, and that’s it. Piers tells Sharon that he was “physically sick…literally,” and it’s always annoying when people tag “literally” to statements at random. Moses is left to slink away into the shadows, doomed to forever haunt the Chicago America’s Got Talent 4 set. Nick Cannon walks out with his shoes on backwards like ONE MILLION YEARS after it would have been funny, and here cements himself as dead to me.
The most effeminant thing David Hasselhoff has ever done.
Onward to the obnoxiously-named FootworKINGz, a dance troupe composed of six twenty-something African-American men. Now, THESE guys know how to rock in a Post-Boyle world, and they give us their touching tale of fighting the violence and death of their inner-city neighborhoods with their dance. Race and age don’t matter, they say, and then engage in some group prayer. Yeah, we get it, inspiration. They dance to a Black-Eyed Peas song from a few years back and I guess they’re good, but what the hell do I know about dance? The producers want me to think they’re good and shower me with crowd approval and very positive judge reaction shots, so fine, I’ll bite, I loved them, just leave me alone. Sharon gives them a yes, but the Hoff wants to toy with them a little. It’s good, but will people pay $75 to see it? But oh, what the hell, he’s a sucker for Chicago and they’re through to Round 2! The group freaks out and hugs a lot, which continues backstage.
Another montage of performers that we will never see again.
Up next are some attractive-looking young white people, and we quickly and to our horror learn that they are brother/sister singers from Wisconsin called “Shine,” and I wish to God I was making that up. They sickeningly discuss how they are happy all the time and their music is so uplifting and upbeat and they used to have this brother but he had an impure thought one time and so they had to bludgeon him to death and then consume the remains. See, the problem with being white is that I’m really forced to accept people like this as my culture, and it’s just not fair when contrasted to other groups like FootworKINGz. They say they’ve been singing ten years, but once they start it’s clear that A.) they’re lying, B.) they’re poor judges of time, or C.) they’re parents are deaf. They butcher “I’m Walking on Sunshine”and are soundly booed by the audience. Piers, who has no soul and whom I love, buzzes them very quickly, and David soon follows. Nick from his perch awkwardly hovering on the side of the stage deduced that they don’t know that they suck. Really Nick? You don’t think that they drove all the way from Wisconsin to knowingly embarrass themselves on national TV? I never would have guessed. “Shine” (and that is going to remain in quotation marks as long as I’m in charge) is ushered off the stage, but Sharon says she feels like they’re really nice kids which Piers counters with a well-delivered, “you don’t know how nice they are.”
REALLY? You had to know what kind of edit was coming if you allowed this footage.
Some motivational speakers jump around in red jumpsuits. I frankly see no difference between them and the first dance troupe, but they left their inspirational story at home and so it’s back to obscurity for them.
This old lady with an accordion insists that she’s original, which is the best thing to be, apparently. She plays her accordion while another, much hotter girl in a bikini jumps around and does the splits, and I have never changed my mind about voting yes or no on someting any faster. After a quick three Xs, the Hoff wants to know where the actual act was (uh, dude? Did you see the other girl?), to which the old lady again insists that it’s most important to be original. She’s like the annoying parent who won’t punish her child for fear of stifling “creativity.”
How do we vote for just one of them?
Christie Marie, a local cable reporter, is robbed after she gives a good rendition of a tricky Cher song. She introduces herself as Sweet Pea, but Nick calls her Georgia Peach on the way out. Have I mentioned I hate him? Some teen named Jay Jay does a terrible song on keyboard and is quickly removed.
After another break, we’re STILL in Chicago.
Were you fooled into believing President Obama was competing tonight by the teaser before the break? Well then you’re an idiot, it’s just some impersonator. Don’t worry, I was tricked too until I remembered he was competing on Wipeout tonight. Apparently this was just Pete the impersonator, who does a really lame Obama stand-up and then a decent song and dance number. Everyone here in Illinois is so blinded by a love of Obama that of course they freak out over what is actually a pretty bland act, and my internal dialogue while watching it goes, “I wonder how the judges are going to tell him no. It’s going to be tough with the audience cheering. I guess he might OH MY GOD THEY’RE GOING TO VOTE YES.” Pete is sent through to Vegas and ONCE AGAIN Nick Cannon assaults hilarity by donning the wig that Pete wore for the act.
My favorite image of the night. I’m imagining the girl on the right didn’t find him funny at all, but is deathly afraid of being labled racist. Hence, the awkward cover.
Quick montage of people with talent but no backstory: A drumline called Black Fire Percussion is voted through (and really, would you pay to see a drumline in Vegas?), this guy named Annointed S. does some “vocal percussion” and is the most head-scratching vote-through of the night, and the Unexpected Step Team gives a good performance and gets the nod. And good grief, I don’t want to ruffle any feathers, but how many of the acts that have gone through have been entirely African-American? Good for them, I guess, for having talent, I was just surprised at the lack of diversity for what prides itself on being a diverse show.
Another break, and how about a little more Chicago? We meet fifty-four year old Debbie Victor from California who endears herself to fellow competitors everywhere by assuring us that she’s in a class all her own and no one else can even compete with her. She then calls her talent indescribable, which I take as a personal attack to my recapping skills. I didn’t get second place in a recap contest for nothing, Victor, bring it on! As it turns out, I will own her very easily with the description, “stupid animal noises.” She makes stupid animal noises. I guess they sound accurate, but they are animal noises, so not terribly impressive. Sharon Xs immediately after she begins, and Debbie looks like she plans to kill herself as they all send her away to loud boos from the audience.
Tommy and Diane are very patriotically-dressed horse trainers with a miniature pony, but their horse can’t do the trick with the golf club that they attempt. So long, T/D.
Next up are Tony and Rocking Rory, a very cute dog that I will say nothing bad about. Tony tells us about how he got Rory from an add in the newspaper and he is definitely the talent of the act. Taking a stab at the Susan Boyle award, he tells us how his life used to be pretty empty until he got his dog, and now they love each other. Which is sweet, in a pathetic sort of way. The two perform “canine flying disk,” which means a bunch of really cool frisbee tricks. Piers likes him, David says America deserves to see him (which we just did, but thanks for the shout-out, Hoff!) and they’re going to Vegas!
Woah, woah, woah. We were led to believe he was sad and alone. Either we’ve been duped, or she’s been insulted.
At long last we’re allowed to leave Chicago and head for Seattle, or as host Nick Cannon calls it, “the high seas.” I don’t even know what to say about him anymore. First up is the forty-nine year old “surplus technician” Brad from Moscow, and let me just say 1.) right now America has NO idea the trauma this man will inflict on us and 2.) if anyone knows what a “surplus technician is, drop me a line.
So it starts off innoculously enough, he tells a story about his grandmother’s talent show when he was fifteen, I plan out a joke about how we didn’t ask to here his life story, the show/recapper balance is in perfect harmony. BUT THEN. He gets out on stage and picks up a GIANT hook and anchor, and tells us he is going to do an impression of a fishing trip gone horribly wrong. He then SHOVES the hook up his nose, twists it around, AND IT COMES OUT OF HIS GODDAMN MOUTH! AND I AM FREAKING OUT. Then he hooks it to this anchor, and he is supporting the anchor by a HOOK through his NOSE and his MOUTH and I have my resignation letter to TVgasm half-way composed. So then, if this weren’t enough, he takes it out, and he’s all polite serial killer, he-was-such-a-nice-guy-who-mostly-kept-to-himself-style talking gently to us about drills, and then HE STICKS A WORKING DRILL UP HIS NOSE AND I’M FREAKING OUT AGAIN AND I WILL PAY ANYTHING HE WANTS IF HE WILL JUST GO AWAY.
The judges and audience are all grossed out too, and Brad starts to look a little nervous, like maybe giving us all nightmares wasn’t the best way to get to Vegas. He tells the judges he does basically everything that would creep me out, like swordswalling, beds of nails, etc. Piers calls him the most disgusting man in America (so now Blagojevich has nothing) and the Hoff votes yes. But Sharon votes no! A house divided can not stand! What do we do, Piers? Piers gives it to him, meaning he will get to freak me out all over again, and Hasselhoff humorously pretends to hook his own nose in front of Sharon. Oh, David, what a card.
YOU HAVE A REAL ONE, SHARON.
Brad tells Nick he started practicing with an ice pick. He definitely has bodies in his freezer.
More rejects, like the surreal stripper empeROAR and defeatist Leaping Louie the comedian, who tries to impress us by lassoing lugage and then pessimistically and stupidly saying, “I’m probably out,” after three Xs. Oh, Louie, where was that cynicism BEFORE you decided to audition when it would have helped? Kerry the Yodeler plays the accordian and makes clucking noises, confirming my suspicions that Debbie Victor simply dressed in dragged and continued to audition in each city. Piers calls some circus troupe that does a fire act strange and they get a no, and we finish up by denying bagpipe-player Johnny Bagpipes, which is the exact name I planned to call him to make fun of him. Sharon says Seattle is barking mad, and it’s time for another break.
NBC: Pure Family Entertainment
Still in Seattle, and oh, boy, here we go again. This time it’s Nole the Freak and the Hammer Brothers, who I gurantee you have battles Sky and Vladmir in the past. Again, seems innocent enough, until he hangs hooks FROM HIS EYES and supports GIANT BRICKS that the Brothers smash. Why hooks? Why doesn’t someone stop these people? Their act is not as well met as Brad the Serial Killers, and the three are soundly dismissed by Piers, Sharon, and David.
Up next are the EriAm sisters, three teenage girls that love to sing, dance, and groom each other in montage form. They immediately jump to the top of my list after seeming just as fed up with Nick as I am (as a side note, I saw you tell the African-American girls you were excited to finally meet some “normal” people, and your racism sickens me). The girls mantain proper distance from a way-too-excited Nick as I pray that they will be good so that I can keep rooting for them, and finally they take the stage.
United in a hatred of Nick Cannon.
Sharon asks if they’re any good (you do your job and we’ll do ours, SHARON) and then they start singing and DAMN the young one has pipes. All three rock the house and this recapper can tell you right now these girls are going to represent him in the finals for all the music-loving, Nick-haters of the world. Nick loves them too, which almost makes me change my mind, and Piers tells them they need to stay tighter together on stage when they perform. David says they are the most talented kids ever on America’s Got Talent, Sharon says it’s great they are a family act, and of course my girls are through to the next round!
Really, Nick? Really?
Another break, we briefly see the Jesse White Tumbling Team do some cool gymnastics and they are vited through. The Urban Nation Hip Hop Choir sings “Celebrate” and despite seeming mediocre they also make it to Vegas. Next is Draconik the Fire Act, who in my opinion is good but up until now they have hated on every fire act so far. Plus, Sky and Vladmir could totally kick their ass. The Hoff says he loves fire and women and so of course votes yes, and he tops it off with a semi-disturbing growl.
Now we get the thirty year old loan officer David, who claims that he has played the guitar since high school. He tells us how he has always had a crush on a certain Baywatch character, and even though there’s a picture of both Hasselhoff and Pam I can sense this coming a mile away. Sure enough, he performs an original song about his love for David Hasselhoff, with lyrics that are actually very clever. Because his singing is so bad Piers and even Hoff himself X him before they know what the song is about, but with Sharon keeping him alive the boos of the audience turn to cheers at the love ballad from David to David. Backstage, Nick, in a desperate attempt to always react like the rest of America, assures us that he was confused at first but he loves it now.
At the end of the song, Hasselhoff votes yes (as damn well he should) but Sharon, perhaps out of jealousy, votes no. AGAIN it’s up to Piers, who votes yes and then teases the Hoff about the special night the two Davids might share. As much as I liked the song, I have to question the decision to vote David through. I guess his talent would be songwriting since it sure as hell ain’t singing, but didn’t he say he’s been writing this since high school? And now he’s going to turn out another great song for every show? Color me skeptical, TVgasm readers.
Michael Cera has really let himself go.
After another break, it’s time for out last Seattle audition. Meet Seattle sweethearts Bruce and Simone, two middle-aged acrobats who perform a hoop routine. They get the longest segment EVER while Simone tells us they are soulmates and she was in awe of him when she first met him: his hair was soft and his “man feet” were beautiful. If their talent was making me gag, then I vote yes! Hi-oh! Bruce says Simone is perfect and he loves her piercing eyes, and basically all you need to know is that they are crazy in love. Also, Bruce says it is written that they will win.
They shock both the judges and us by telling us that they are not married, and also that they usually perform with the “Arial Army of Love” (no joke necessary). They get up in the hoop and spin around and make out, but what strikes me is how complex the rules must be to audition for this show. You could do anything (hooks, dogs, fire, acrobatics) and there’s probably all sorts of liability and logistical stuff that the production staff has to account for. So well done, show, you have impressed me.
Does anyone else think she looks like Tina from the second season of Survivor? Does anyone else remember the second season of Survivor?
Piers harshes their mellow with an X and tells them to get a room, and Nick says he’s getting a hoop in his bedroom after which I immediately take a knife to my temple. Sharon says she likes them and David, not realizing Nick is backstage canabalizing the judges’ jokes, says it made him want to get a hula hoop. The crowd liked it and chants Vegas, but Hoff says no, Sharon says yes and Piers, after a risque exchange about getting to perform on the hoops with Sharon for which Ozzy will have to kill him, sends them through. They continue to (shock!) kiss backstage.
Nick is now officially “that guy.” You know the type.
After another break, we’ve decided to go BACK to New York for some reason. I guess they deserve the chance to have some talent represent them, but isn’t a second trip extremely pricy? UNLESS the show was edited this way to create the most heartwarming ending possible? Seems a little fishy.
Hasselfhoff says he is well-rested and ready to go for Round 2. Another montage of people talking about how much they want the money. The Gay Men’s Choir challenges stereotypes with a rendition of “Single Ladies,” and the judges vote them through. Sure, this seems harmless know, but I gurantee that in three weeks there will be some sort of scandal over this group that involves NBC, GLAAD, Jesse Jackson, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, and possibly Oprah.
Less controversy-worthy is thirty-two year old Joe from Queens, who says it scares him how good an impersonator he is. He undergoes a complete metamorphisis to become a character, and all he wants to do is go into show business. He starts off with a decent Jack Nicholson, but Jack is probably a bad choice. Impersonators need to do big characters to show their skills, and Jack is more of a specialty than a mainstream. Piers gives him an X before he even gets to his second impression, Anthony Hopkins, and as Piers will point out we only know who these people are because Joe tells us first. Joe looks like he is going to cry as the judges tear him apart, and dusts off the old “I respect your opinion” reality TV chestnut. He AGAIN does his Anthony Hopkins for Nick backstage, and says the judges were probably just jealous of his talent. Yeah, I’m sure that’s it Joe, David Haselhoff is jealous of an unemployed impersonator from Queens. So long Joe, thanks for dropping by.
What do you think that lady’s talent was? Sales presentations?
Our penultimate competitors are Dave and Zoe. Dave is a fat teacher and Zoe is his hot new wife, and the two are quite adorable as they frolic together in their purple dance outfits and make-up. The introduce themselves as Parodizo Dance (I thought they said Paradies of Dance at first and I was ready for an entirely different act) and she proceeds to stand on his shoulders very artistically. But the REAL talent comes when they get back on the ground. Zoe manages to flip giant Dave over her tiny little frame, and then actually supports his weight while leaning back and holding him. We finally understand that she needed to marry someone large in order to showcase her freakish strength, and the judges go all Biggest Loser on them and ask for their weights. Zoe weighs 100 lbs. (girl needs to eat) and our man Dave weigh 240 lbs! The judges of course vote them through, though really they only need to send Zoe and anything heavy. Who am I kidding, I love their little love story and that a guy like Dave can get with Zoe! If only he would have punched Nick when he refered to his “big ass” they would have bumped the EriAm sisters from the exclusive Recapper’s Choice.
This was going to be a joke about the judges wishing they had been meaner to Dave so as to create their own Susan Boyle moment, but note instead what the image reveals about the judging decisions.
One final break and it’s time for one final act. Yes, I’m just as shocked as you that we made it TWO HOURS together, but here we are on the home stretch. We meet Michael, Nadya, and Avery, siblings that make up Voices of Glory. They seem like really cute kids, but just contrast their video package with “Shine’s” to see the power of a good edit. The kids talk about how singing helps them through tough times, and then tell the judges about how they began after their mother was injured by a drunk driver. They inform us that she lived, briefly opening the possibility that they might not get voted through before showing us that she is in a wheelchair and slamming it shut again. Voices of Glory brings down the house with a rendition of God Bless America. Sharon is in tears and the judges give them a standing ovation, and then while they wait for the forgone vote the kids actually look nervous, like there’s any way they will not get a yes and win the entire competition. The judges give them the obligatory amazing comments about being the pride of America and highly inspirational, and then the croud chants for the mother to join them on the stage. Each of the judges gives a dramatic yes and assures us that we’ve never had such a moment on the show before, and the family continues to hug and rejoice as the show ends with relatively little further fanfare.
So what did we think? Which act will make it the furthest in the competition? Does anyone else hate Nick as much as me? Did Voices of Glory do it for you like the producers wanted? How sweet will it be when I win vicariously through the EriAm Sisters?
Go, my pretties. Lead me to victory!