Another week, another two nights of America’s Got Talent. It’s around this point I’m starting to realize that the producers are probably going to just quietly dismiss a lot of these acts being pushed through to Vegas, because just the first week of auditions left us with a lot of goddamn talent. But I suppose only time will tell, so let’s settle in for a night of Nick Cannon constantly welcoming us.So after the obligatory recap and preview montages, the producers have once again been throwing darts at a map and so it’s back to New York. Nick Cannon welcomes us BACK to the city that never sleeps, and Hasselhoff displays his short-term memory by expressing his hope for finding talent in New York. More partying people with flags, more celebrating the search for talent. It’s basically a patriotism orgy. Nick introduces the judges like we did last week (and Piers actually takes high-fives this time!), David is sufficiently wacky, and we’re ready to get started.
First up is Carol, the 62-year-old mother of three. She works in a supermarket in New Jersey, says that dancing is her passion, and frankly looks worn out just doing the video interview. We get some shots of her stretching and whatnot and she tells us she wears her dancing shoes to work to keep her dream alive. I guess dancing is in her sole! ZING! Seriously though, she seems very nice. She says she’s been waiting for this performance her whole life and she enjoys the hope and promise that go with dancing, which is actually how most of America feels about the president.
For the love of God, give her some protein.
So she’s out on stage, and Hoff gets really excited when he hears her age. Piers wants to know if Carol can bring the smile back to America since we’re going through a rough time, and woah, there’s nothing like building a little pressure on the gal. “Right, so if you get any Xs, the economy is finished and we have to skip right from July 3 to 5. Go ahead, grocery lady.” The music starts and she’s either rocking out or having some kind of fit, but the judges love it. Sharon wins the Irony of the Night award by calling her “wonderfully bizarre,” David tells her she has amazing talent, and Piers complements her but reminds her she still needs to do something about the recession. I’m not sure why Piers is entrusting the state of the nation with this grocer, but it really goes to show just why the British are where they are. Three yeses, she’s on to Vegas and dances away into the sunset.
How freaked out would you be if this came at you in a dark alley?
Time for Joseph Harris, the college student. He wants to be called Yo-Yo Joe, which prompts an embarrassingly dated reaction from the judges. He throws some yo-yos around and everyone freaks out, and a minor stir is caused when David fails to catch the yo-yo Joe tosses to him. Sharon thinks that both yo-yo fanatics in America should be represented by Joe and he’s joining Carol in the short-term Winner’s Circle. Next up is some drag queen variety act who do a well-choreographed dance number, and how great would it be if it were like this group up against the “God Bless America” kids in the finals? I think the results would be VERY telling of American values. Sharon jokes that the drag queens have made Piers happier, and they too are headed to Vegas (and I’m sure not for the first time).
I wasn’t aware that recreating weekends at my house was a talent.
So now we’re ready for “Coney Island” Chris, who says he’s going to eat a lightbulb for us. Sometimes I’m impressed by the level of talent in ordinary people this show highlights, and sometimes I’m struck by how much it resembles a ten-year-old’s basement. Ol’ Coney Island makes a joke about the dangerous part being the glass coming back out and then BITES INTO A LIGHTBULB. Chris shows us he’s the man by having large amounts of fake blood ready to spit out his mouth as he chews and the audience loves him. Piers says he’s a big fan of this kind of thing (?) and Sharon invokes poor, banished accordian lady from Night 1 by voting yes based on his “uniqueness.” Chris is on to the next round and it’s time for a break.
Meet Edward Cullen’s wacky uncle, here to spice up the saga with some madcap buffoonery!
Next we meet Jay from Virginia. Jay has always wanted to be a magician, and we meet Jay’s dad as we here about how most of Jay’s magic is delightfully ghetto and made in his garage. Jay’s been waiting twenty years, and he’s ready to go! David trys to stump him right away by asking if Jay is good enough, but Jay cleverly says yes and so the judges are forced to watch his act. He starts by levitating the microphone and then leaning way further forward than he should be able to, then dances around and climbs in a big yellow box. The box collapses and he has disappeared (!), which befuddles Nick Cannon to no end. But suddenly it un-collapses, and he’s fine! And that’s the pretty impresive act. Piers says he likes him and he enjoys his pizazz, but he liked the mic trick more than the box (dirty). Sharon likes his modernity and David says Jay made it “cool,” it’s three yeses and Jay is going on. Jay’s dad tells him how proud he is of him and how glad he is Jay didn’t screw up with the props he spent twenty damn years building, the judges keep gushing over him, and another break.
Chicago’s Got Heart Disease!
So now we’ve decided to go BACK to Chicago, and seriously, what is this, Lost? Pick a time and location and stick it out, darn it. Hasselhoff tells us that what he wants to see from Chicago is some delightful scenary, No? He want to see talent? I guess I figured that was pretty obvious on a TALENT SHOW.
Up first in Chicago (tonight) is some scary-looking guy named Franklin, a 56-year-old judge. He says he likes to have music because his court is generally a pretty serious place. Except, you know, when Richard Gere and Renee Zellweger stop by. He’s excited to get his shot and represent Detroit, and off he goes. The judges are shocked to hear that Franklin is a judge, but after Sharon’s crack interegation skills they decide to take his word for it and allow him to perform. Franklin butchers “Downtown” and proves that he is decidedly not going pro, which is too bad because “Franklin Sane” is a perfect name for a performer. There’s that really sad look in his eyes that the auditioners always get when it’s clear they’re not as good as they thought and Piers and David both X the judge. Piers tells him he can’t sing, and David beats me to a joke about all of Franklin’s previous audiences being prisoners. Three nos, and Franklin is back to the courtroom. Backstage, the judges berate Franklin’s (nonexistant) “attitude” and Piers expresses his disgust for a “serious man” even auditioning. Which is funny, because a “serious man” with talent would have been in all of the promos and would have earned at least three “you’re what this show is all about”s from David.
Oh, hello. David didn’t see you come in.
Still in Chicago after a break, time for some fourteen-year-old. Thia is my Northern California homegirl, who for some reason is audditioning in Chicago. We get a standard story about dreaming about singing, excited to impress the judges, and long story short, her talent isn’t an interesting backstory. She plans to sing “I Am Changing,” so I guess she gets appropriate song choice credit, and Piers emphasizes several times that it is, in fact, a big song. Turns out Thia has an absolutely FANTASTIC voice and does an amazing job with the song, and seriously I would have been SO cocky if I had had her skillz at fourteen. A standing ovation for Thia. and Hasselhoff draws all of the obvious parallels from the song lyrics out for us idiotic viewers. Sharon loves her, standard judge gushing, Piers thinks she is the best singer so far, BUT he declares they still need to vote. It’s so stupid how Piers always makes it seem like a vote will change the judges’ opinions, but I suppose he’s out for the drama. Thia’s off to Vegas, and we’re taking another break.
Single-handedly keeping shows like “What Not To Wear” in business since 1982.
So now we’ve got Jeffrey, the 5″ 3′ librarian. His video package focuses on his shortness keeping him out of show business and he makes sure to use AS MANY SHORT-PERSON CLICHES AS POSSIBLE. He comes onto the stage with a giant red chair set up (because when I’m out to downplay my height I surround myself with comically large furniture) and, after a quick name confirmation, he’s off. He climbs into the chair and starts to sing terribly. Piers gives him an X before he even does a semi-impressive leap/somersault down to the ground. Jeffrey’s song is about the unimportance of size and he delivers it with the gusto of a horrendous dinner theater, prompting another X from David. After some dancing and Sadistic Sharon’s refusal to end our pain, he finishes his number to loud boos. David says it was weird, Piers calls it “stupidly irritating” and he’s outie. As much as I’d like to make fun of them, these D-list celebrities are surprisingly intuitive.
If aliens could take one show as representative of our entire culture, how painful would our deaths be if they picked this one?
Jeffrey kicked off our evening’s failure montage, which also includes the untalented and aptly-named “Witches in Bikinis,” the bizarre RObert whose talent appears to be changing clothes, and the perky samba group (Samba Samba Samba) who dance long after they get the Xs. Hasselhoff demands to know where the talent is, but wait! We’ve got a group of five sisters ready to take him on. They’re originally from Utah (lending credit to my brewing Performing Mormon jokes) and they now live in different states. They’re all moms, they’re all married (to one very lucky man. Morman jokes!), and they call themselves the Fab Five. The sisters tell the judges that they are moms when they ask their profession, to which Sharon gives the most condescending “mmk, that’s great” ever. Being a mom isn’t work at all, and Sharon would know! So the sisters have a snazzy little line dance going on, and Nick says something about them having soul. I wonder if they film Nick saying something positive and then something negative about the act, and then after the audience reacts they know which one to air? I wouldn’t put it past these execs.
I would have bet money there was a “No Osmonds” clause.
Anyways, the dancing gets more impressive and the audience loves them. David says that everyone from Utah has the same smile (so you should direct all your Mormon anger from me to him) and the judge reviews are good. Sharon validates the name “Fab Five” and the sisters are going to be hitting Vegas. One more break, and then it’s time for our obligatory uplifting ending.
Tonight it will be country-boy (WHATry-boy?) Kevin from Kentucky, hoping to play some guitar. Kevin’s talent is using as many rural cliches as possible, and he opens fast with his pronunciation of gi-tar, observation that things in the country move slower than in the big city, and declarations of love for hunting and fishing. Also, taking his truck mudding. Oh, God, hold on, he isn’t done. Something about porches and counting stars, too. Ok, let’s get to it. He tells the judges he wants to sing a Garth Brooks song and Sharon immediately begins laughing at his accent and hillbillyness, which while true, isn’t nice. You’re supposed to blog these generalizations, not laugh right in front of him, Sharon! He tells David that he used to be a “chicken-catcher” for a few years, but isn’t real good at math at doesn’t know how many he caught.
How great would it be if he had let loose a little Les Mis?
This is the closest they’re going to get to Susan Boyle 2.0, and the AGT team moves into Priority 1 Go Mode. The judges heat up the ridiculing, the audience begins to laugh that such an off-beat would ever dare attempt to entertain them, and even Nick Cannon gets to try out his Southern accent. He guesses they caught 60,000 in one night which…probably isn’t true, and fits perfectly into the new, temporarily meaner mode we’ve shifted to. He can have talent! He’s an idiot! And ugly! And lives with his cat Pebbles! As predicted, his singing is amazing and his guitar is good, everyone gets to look shallow and we’re all guranteed a decent YouTube circulation. It’s win-win.
Audience goes nuts, and it’s time to begin the end-of-show judge gushing. Piers talks about their incorrect first impressions, Sharon says she can tell he’s a good person, which seems a bit much, and David drops one of his patented “you’re what this show is about.” Piers reminds Kevin that he was at the end of the show and so he could concievably win the competition. Much crying by Kevin as the judges leave for the night.
Nick says we’re done with Chicago (which means we’ll be back there tomorrow) and the judges continue to rave about Kevin from outside. David says there’s no point singing if you don’t tell a story (which I’m pretty sure Lady Gaga disproves) and after he drives away we get a brief MJ tribute and we’re ready to call it a night.
What are you doing after?
So which acts impressed you the most? How does Kevin match up against the other end-of-show acts? Is there any pattern to the locations that they show in each episode?