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The judges, once drunk on power with the ability to accept or reject anyone in the nation, now awake with the hangover of responsibility as they survey the acts that they selected and desperately hope that they start displaying some talent. That’s all metaphorical, but I bet they got shitfaced last night, too.
The America’s Got Talent producers, in their endless quest to find a location where Nick won’t be in the way, have him open the show from the control room, where he reminds us that over 100,000 people auditioned (!) and now we’re down to 40. The editor gets his big break and Actor’s Guild screen card by yelling “roll titles,” and we’re off on that magical series of montages we’ve come to know and love.
That guy in the white is directly responsible for the ninety minutes of montage in tonight’s two-hour show.
At this point I should also note that there are twelve acts performing tonight.
Color me intrigued, ‘gasm reader. Speaking as someone who received a perfect 5 on the AP Statistics exam in high school, I feel very qualified to inform you that 12 does NOT
divide evenly into 40. So, if they stay with the projected four-week quarter-finals,
that’s 48 contestants. COWELL CURVEBALL?
So some montages about last week, and then we get the replay of the infamous Cowell
Call, but this time extended. It seems that Simon has sent the judges a list of acts
he felt should have been included (my heart soars for a potential Ciana redemption)
and they will bring the number to 48. Please note that your recapper did, in fact,
call it. Also, I like the idea that Simon just takes it upon himself to fix anything
wrong in the reality TV industry. I would love to see him pop into the Big Brother house and tell them that he has “serious problems” with their gameplay, and then jet on over to Hell’s Kitchen and whip up some desserts.
Tonight’s Wild Cards are the Diva League and all those little girls with the afros
that danced. Huh. That’s who you thought we were missing out on, Simon? I guess I
appreciate the thought. Summary of the acts performing tonight, and there are
definitely a lot of memorable people. I would be pissed to get stuck with this group
while Elysia and Fake Obama duke it out with the losers.
Nick Cannon takes the stage and reminds us that there’s a million dollars at stake.
There’s a lot of over-the-top fanfare as the judges are introduced, which Nick
nicely contrasts by reminding us that they “done their part” and now it’s up to us.
We begin Generic Judge Talk time as Nick asks Piers what the acts have to have to get
America’s attention (talent, shockingly) and then because we need the same answer in
three different ways, Sharon and David also get to talk. Sharon makes a pass at Nick, and seriously, what’s wrong with Ozzy? Over the past month she’s become like the horniest broad ever. The judges try out their buzzers, which I will replay over and over edited to look as though they’re buzzing Nick, and then we’re ready for the first act.
First up in Breaksk8, and time for their history montage! They won that dance-off
challenge in Vegas so they feel the pressure is on. They want to win, same stuff
we’ve heard a million times, and then it’s time for the live performance. They come
out with some random skanky girls and start, uh, roller skating, to “Smooth Criminal.”
It’s good I guess, but nowhere near as impressive as their original audition. They
finish with a moonwalk. On roller skates? I feel like that’s only slightly more
impressive than simply standing on a backwards-moving escalator.
So Nick congratulates them, and oh boy, Piers does NOT look pleased. He tells them
that the skates slow down the number, which is absolutely true, and that he didn’t
care for it. But, while Sharon agrees that it wasn’t top-notch, she still loved it,
and David tells him that they need to lose the randomly-hired hos and work harder, but he’s sure that they’ll be back. So there you have it, Breaksk8 is firmly supported by the Osbourne/Hasselhoff Alliance. Oh, but will the viewers be so shortsighted? We’re all watching this million-week long show, so probably. Nick takes an inordinate amount of time to give a giant explanation of voting, etc. and my heart sinks as I realize that we’re going to do this after EVERY act. One down, and it’s time for the first break.
And this is as good a time as any to bring up how much Nick Cannon annoys me in live television. Over the past few weeks, my relationship with Nick has cooled, as I’ve grown used to his childish antics and other, greater evils have emerged (just Elysia, really). But now that we’re back to a live format, we get to suffer through every awkward ad-lib and fake-ghetto voice inflection that he wants to throw at us. What annoys me here and now, as he welcomes us back from break, is his left arm. I know how awkward it is to control your arms while public speaking, but Nick makes no attempt; he simply curls his hand into a fist and holds it in front of himself like he broke his arm and has to be very careful with it. And while I can understand someone breaking Nick’s arm, it just makes me angry all over again that we’ve got Nick Cannon running the show.
Alright, that’s enough anti-Nick for now. We’re ready for Thia Megia (as Nick hisses), the fourteen-year-old from Tracy, CA. She talks about her daydreams of talent, and Piers tells us that he wants her to step out and not imitate any other singer. I guess that’s a good goal, but kind of a high standard for a preteen. Thia sings beautifully as always, but she’s singing “The Climb,” perhaps my least favorite song currently on the radio. I consider myself pretty open-minded when it comes to Miley Cyrus (she’s amazingly over-trashed by critics. And it’s so random. You can’t make fun of her for being disgustingly goody-good AND a whore, let’s keep our stereotypes straight) but I definitely hate the song. Thia sings it much better than Miley (not hard) and Sharon gives her a glowing review. Before she can start hitting on her, we move to David, who informs us that “Thia Megia really got to me-uh.” I’ll bet you anything David didn’t watch Thia and instead worked out that line for the whole two minutes. Same old voting spiel from Nick, and then we go BACK to Piers. See, he was skipped during the judges’ comments portion (which was clearly the producers fault because they even interrupted David with their ‘Wrap It Up’ music, but which I will blame on Nick) and because it just wouldn’t be America’s Got Talent with only the same comments twice we now need to go back for a third time. And how indicative of this show is it that everyone just ignored Piers?
HELLA ASIAN THIA.
A fist-sporting Nick Cannon welcomes us back after another break, and we’re ready for the Platt Brothers. And I have to say that these guys are here mostly for filler. There’s just too much competition on a night with the hick, the dorky dancer, and Grandma Lee to think these guys are going to make it. They’re struggling with the fact that their act is just glorified dancing, but Piers reaffirms that they have the potential to go far. ‘Potential,’ of course, being the mark of death on shows like this.
They do some neat acrobatic stuff like falls and jumps, along with some really stupid martial arts stuff, and it’s a lot like their audition act. They even do that same homoerotic flippy move. David calls them one of his favorites (which goes nicely with the previous sentence that I wrote) but he was underwhelmed. Piers says that he isn’t sure what their act is because it’s everywhere, so they need to pick a niche. Sharon agrees. Apparently, “warming a spot in the Top 40″ isn’t enough of an act, so after the lengthy voting discourse that Nick still manages to make awkward even after reading it twice already, the Platt Brothers wander away. It’s good practice for tomorrow.
Contestant four is the Diva League, the first of Simon’s Wild Card picks. I’m a little unclear on exactly how many people are in the Diva League. I recall a bunch of them dancing on stage, but now in the seated interview it’s like four of them sitting and talking with a bunch of random people nodding stupidly all around them. But enough about The View! Slightly-aged jokes aside, I’m pretty sure it’s just these four guys? girls? divas that make up the act. They continue to aggressively stereotype themselves by gushing over the wardrobe for the Hollywood show, and Sharon laughs about these heavy guys (DIVAS, Sharon) jumping around in heels. Nothing like a little broken ankle humor.
The four Divas start out in coffins dressed as vampires, and then their heavily made-up assistants escort them out and join them in a choreographed lip-sync to “Disturbia.” It’s like what Michael Jackson would have done instead of “Thriller”, if he hadn’t had any talent or common sense.
I have to admit that I kind of enjoy the ridiculousness of the number, and coupled with my love of the song I would say it’s the most entertaining act so far. Piers, bitter over the Simon Power Grab, gives them an X, but the O/H Pact stays strong and we watch the whole dance in all of its campy glory. Then it’s attack time. Piers says we don’t need lip-syncing old drag queens that can’t dance. And further, he says, donning his stars-and-stripes hat and sparklers, it’s not what AMERICA needs. “Not exactly Barack Obama, is it?” he chuckles dryly. First, I like that he thinks Obama is just an advanced version of a lip-syncing drag queen. And second, who’s the world superpower around here, us or you? I’ll let David tell me what this show is and is not all about, thank you very much. USA! USA!
Sharon says she loved it and Piers is too serious (it’s not rocket science, she hilariously intones) and to no one’s surprise Hoff agrees with her. The Divas answer that they are diverse and entertaining, exactly what America needs. As much as I’d love to watch Piers Morgan debate the Diva League on potential domestic policies and the Iran situation, Nick mercifully cuts it short with a reminder on how to vote that any viewer with a brain has already memorized.
So after a break Nick plugs tomorrow’s Results Show, with performances from the Season 2 winner (who’s happy to have the work, I’m sure) and the “most amazing and talented woman in the world, Mariah Carey.” I can’t tell you how many ways to make fun of Nick Cannon I thought up after hearing that, but then I remembered that they’re married so I’m forced to admit that it’s a little sweet. Also, this potential joke led to a half-hour Wikipedia session. Did you hear about this thing between Eminem and Mariah Carey? And where was I?
Next up is Manuela Horn, that Sound-of-Music/yodeling dominatrix mom from a while ago. She looks like an entirely different person out of costume as she tells us what a wild ride it’s been. She’s trying out a blend of sexy and motherly tonight, which is good news for you Oedipus fans. But this actually proves to be a terrible idea, because yodeling and singing are very different things. Her voice is pretty terrible when she’s just straight singing, and the weird parody of “Dontcha” should really be enough to get her kicked off the show forever. This, of course, all follows basic reality show principles, because Manuela is my favorite participant tonight.
So her bizarre act gets an X from David, followed quickly by Sharon and Piers. Manuela is crushed as Piers rightly berates her for ruining her yodeling dominatrix persona, and Sharon tells her that they didn’t vote through Lucille Ball but that’s who they got tonight. Who else is disturbed by Sharon thinking that this was a pretty accurate depiction of I Love Lucy? I guess the European ones get a little steamy with all that grape-stomping, but still. David says he understands her wanting to change but she doesn’t need to, and they all give her feedback on her dominatrix-ing. Sharon says everything feels slower to viewers at home (AMEN, SISTER) and Manuela states calmly that her dream is broken. It’s a show the whole family can enjoy!
Grandma Lee has a little Q and A when we come back, and we learn that she’s basically had every job ever during her life. That certainly was a random and apologetically consumeristic segment. She AGAIN gets the “Murder, She Wrote” theme as she talks about cleaning up her comedy for the family show (a show in which we were just critiquing a dominatrix, remember) and now we’re ready for the Comedy Stylings of Grandma Lee. She tells a lot of old people jokes about dating and funerals, and finishes it off by displaying underwear that she says belongs to Piers and David. Good grief, her second act and she’s already resorting to prop comedy? She’s going to be making humorous observations about airports and begging us to take her wife if we vote her through, America.
David makes some awkward jokes about their sexual encounters, Piers says that they love her even though she’s old, and Sharon, not to be left out of the most blatantly sexual moment we’ve had on this show, asks which judge was better in the sack. Grandma Lee says she was there. Piers, David, Sharon, Nick, and Grandma Lee laugh and laugh, and the rest of America weeps quietly in the corner. But there’s more praised heaped on the old lady, who in my opinion wasn’t really that funny. OK, the underwear, maybe. Grandma Lee pantomimes the entire history of communication to get our votes as Nick reads his script for the sixth time.
Singers Mosiac are up next, and they might have the least shot out of anyone on the show tonight. They’ve got talent, sure, but it’s not the flashy talent of Thia or Acrodunk. They’re also missing the lovability of the Diva League and Grandma Lee, so they’re definitely fighting an uphill battle. Generic montage about the pressure being on, and then they start to sing. It’s a solid little number (“Superstitious”) but nothing worthy of the million dollars Piers keeps prattling about. Nick praises the a cappella that they did, which was decent, and the judges say basically the same thing. They started slow, got better, still not great. When the judge praises your courage to perform live, they’re scraping.
Next up is Acrodunk (the most dangerous act EVER? Really, Nick?), and they’re worried about how high they set the bar. I bet the other contestants love hearing them bitch about how much it sucks to be great like this. Piers builds up a ton of pressure by saying it had damn well better be perfect. Basically, everyone agrees that they should probably not blow it. There’s a lot of trampolines and safety pads everywhere (sissies) and Acrodunk starts jumping around like normal. The dunks are unbelievable, just like the first round, and I again feel bad trying to recap it. This is a YouTube Act, people. There’s a weird, twisty camera finish, and the crowd goes nuts.
Sharon notes that their act could definitely be a whole show, which I’m still not sold on, and Hoff reuses the “punks in trunks who dunk” line. BUT WAIT. Piers thinks they missed the last shot! Too bad we had that twisty angle, now Acro-gate will never be solved. But Piers says it was one of the most amazing acts ever, so it’s all good. In other news, Nick declares war on Samantha Harris for “Worst Live Host” by reminding us that a land line is “the one with the cord.”
Next we get the replay of weirdo Arcadian Broad’s underdog story, and he goes exactly three seconds before mentioning being bullied. He’s adding a new element tonight, and I don’t know about you but I’m hoping for some yodeling dominatrix. When he starts his act, we learn that the new element is apparently playing the piano, and oh snap is Jeffrey going to be pissed! Remember that kid? Playing the piano is his ONLY ACT? And now this punk Arcadian just throws it in like it’s NOTHING? Don’t try to play the victimized card against the Asian teenager, Arcadian, it’s a battle you won’t win.
So, learning nothing from Manuela, he’s playing the piano for like the entire time and I’m starting to sweat for him. Or not. How great would it be if he just got Xed out right there on the piano bench? I guess then he would deserve the bullying, at least. But then he starts dancing to “Footloose” as highly unnecessary pyrotechnic effects explode, and the crowd loves it. Also, I just notice his shirt has a giant ‘AB’ on the back. Yeah, you would beat him up, too.
So we get the standard judge/contestant ego boost about how great he is and how he might win, except for Piers who tells him straight up to knock it off with the piano. Because this is constructive criticism that is vital to Arcadian’s success, Sharon mocks Piers as he talks and then delivers a quick one-liner about Arcadian’s brilliance. The crowd continues to cheer and we get another break.
Opening the show back up is Drew Thomas Magic, the sole magician left in our cast. We’re reminded of him and his wife and those skanky assistants he has, and Sharon says he has to keep coming up with amazing tricks. Drew’s montage is also about how he’s having a bunch of technical problems, because everyone knows that magic does not extend to the union employees. Drew welcomes us to his “warehouse” and dedicates the act to David. It starts with locking girls in a box. How…creepy.
So they write “Ship To: The Hoff” on the side, and for the zillionth time tonight I’m wondering wear these extras came from. Do they just have a stable of background dancers and assistant magicians that they can use whenever needed? I suppose it’s necessary for the acts, but it just seems like there’s backstory there.
Drew gets in a box and it’s lifted in the air. Jeez, talk about moving slow. Nothing has happened for like thirty seconds. So then Drew’s crate explodes and he’s not inside, and the other box explodes and there’s three skanky men inside, instead of three skanky women! Drew appears behind the judges. It should be impressive, but with the amount of time it took I wouldn’t be surprised if he had tunneled his way through the floor. The judges are shocked, and Nick takes special care to point out that he can see guys in their underwear (INDICATIVE). Piers tells him (Drew) to spice up the wardrobe a little bit, because like any good Brit he likes his magic flamboyant. Sharon agrees with the wardrobe issue, and when that’s the biggest judge critique I guess you did pretty damn good.
Just two acts left, America’s Susan Boyle (the hick) and those Wild Card afro girls. The hick, and I guess I should start calling him Kevin, ratchets up the folksy as high as it will go for a “Visiting LA” montage, and David reminds us that Kevin is an ordinary guy with talent. Jesus Christ, we get it, he’s the producers’ shining hope for the post-Boyle World. So he’s playing the guitar and singing, and it’s all very sweet but I just don’t think he compares with other country singers that are around today. He’s a little pitchy. But I guess nothing hides that like country charm. And Lord knows the producers pump him full of THAT every night.
Sharon says that he is an honest man, which is kind of absurd. She’s in a position to comment on his moral character after watching him sing twice? Then I’m a freaking EXPERT on Kelly Clarkson. Ever the cougar on the prowl, she compliments his hairstyle and thanks him for being here with them. ‘As opposed to on Idol’ goes unspoken. David makes fun of him in a nice way and Piers again drills the simple-guy-with-talent story into our heads. He also calls Kevin the act of the night, which I think is false. Acrodunk? Thia? Maybe even the Diva League? Kevin charms us some more by referencing his friends watching him on “the TV,” which he stretches the pronunciation out on in a classic, David-and-Mary play for the hick vote. Again there’s talk about voting. How many idiots do you think have tried to phone in up until now?
The last act of the night is the afroed dance girls, cut before the Top 40 but Wild Carded by Simon. They talk about how sad they were, and one of the little girls slips and says that “the judges really wanted to bring us back.” Judges, plural. So the melodramatic pretapes in the plane were a scam? Simon Cowell didn’t fly them out on his own dime and beat Piers until he reentered them? DAMN YOU AGT!
The girls talk about how they’re all friends and they’re stoked to have a second chance, and Sharon again reiterates the pressure on them. So they start out at a fake slumber party in which they’re all wearing ugly pink pajamas, a fashion nightmare on many different levels. They’re dancing to a poor cover of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” (pay Cyndi the royalties, AGT, she needs the dough) and it’s entertaining enough, I suppose. I’d rather associate America with the Disturbia Drag Queens than this sickening display of love and the color pink, but I voted for McCain, so what the hell do I know?
The whole thing climaxes in a messy pillow fight, a phrase I wish I could be writing anywhere but here. David tells them he’s glad they’re back and he’s glad they ditched the afros, and he thinks they did great. Piers again plays bitter at Simon’s Wild Cards by saying it was worse than the audition, he hated the props, and he liked the afros. I love these little one-ups they have with each other while they’re judging preteen girls. Sharon says she hopes all their friends are staying up to vote, which is really mean if you think about it.
Finally the phone lines open. We get the quick flashes of all the acts from tonight. Wow, you really only need to watch the last five minutes of the show. This depresses me to no end.
So the two hour performance show is over, and there’s an hour of results tomorrow. And then another three hours of AGT every week for the rest of our lives.
My offical recapper predictions are as follows: Kevin, Arcadian, Grandma Lee, Acrodunk, and Thia. But I’m still pulling for my girl Manuela, that’s for damn sure.
What did you think? Who gave the best performances? And is Nick annoying anyone else but me again?