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I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m ready for Round 2. Standard video package of the acts we saw last night. Standard Nick Cannon promising that everything goes to a whole new level. Standard tease of what we’ll see tonight. Standard opening credits. This show clearly isn’t titled America’s Got Originality for a reason.
I KNOW we’ve seen this guy in a montage before. You don’t forget a background like that.
Nick welcomes us from some dark theater corner that he’s been banished to. It turns out he’s actually in the middle of a crowded theater, but I’ve already set my joke up, damnit. So we’re BACK in Houston for some reason, and there’s a bunch of shots of radio DJs talking about what a big deal this is. I’m not sure why they’re making these obseravations now and not, say, last time we were in Houston, but I guess it just goes to underscore the ridiculous jumping around these producers are doing.
So there’s some more talk about how great Houston is, lots of people in cowboy hats share their (gasp!) love of Texas, and good grief, this show is starting to add a lot of filler. I thought they were pretty good about this kind of thing in the beginning, but we’ve really begun to emulate the DWTS Results Show mentality with this video packages.
Hasselhoff, Eastwood, they’re interchangable in the entertainment industry.
Finally we’re out on the stage and Nick, after some general rabble-rousing, does the standard judge introduction. Piers and Sharon get the usual cheers, but for some reason we are then treated (subjected) to a video of David driving up in his finest cowboy hat. He does some strutting and posing that I’m sure sits really well with Piers and Sharon, who are actually trying to host a damn talent show. David dubs himself “The Hoffrider” (I title I’m sure that guy in love with Hasselhoff from a few shows back wishes HE could have. Look out!) and FINALLY Nick pronounces us ready to go.
Up first from Houston tonight are the “Texas Tenors,” three guys who wear cowboy outfits and presumably sing opera. One of them tells us all about how they’re just three guys from the South who are tight on dough and excited for the opportunity, which is actually how this other video that I watched online today started. They give their name to the judges, the audience pretends to be excited about opera, and Sharon starts grilling them about what they do for a living. Two are unemployed and one owns a small business (and THAT’S got to cause some tension), and Sharon is satisfied enough with these answers to demand that they remove their hats so she can “get a look at them.” After informing the boys that she could find a job for them (oh, Sharon, Ozzy’s Cut List just keeps getting bigger and bigger) we’re ready for some wild operatic melody!
Well, thank God, we immediately learn that the Tenors is just a name these Texans wrassled up for alliterative purposes. They give us a good, heartfelt country song, and I guess it’s decent, but I’m coming off Lawrence’s “Old Man River” from last night’s show and this just isn’t doing it for me. They cut to Nick who says something generic about whether or not they can go to Vegas, and dear readers, I’m always conflicted about recapping Nick’s little asides. On the one hand, they’re extremely annoying and contribute NOTHING to the show (hence my hatred for Nick) but on the other it seems overly generous of me to compensate for his own faults as a host. If I don’t give you the most accurate representation of his hatability as possible, you won’t write your congressman as concerned citizens and Nick will never learn. But then again, isn’t it my duty to spare you the awfulness of watching Nick Cannon in his entirety? The complicated ethics of the recapper…
So bottom line, David likes them, Sharon keeps up the passive-aggressive flirting by telling them how “rough” they are (emphasis mine), and Piers says he enjoyed it like the audience. Three Xs, and the Tenors are moving on. First commerical break!
This isn’t the DMV?
So there’s more crowd porn for whichever editor has the large-number-of-people fetish, and we’re back with Bruce, who’s talent is clearly NOT tie/shirt coordination (I know, I know, take a shot everytime the recapper makes a joke about what someone’s talent is). Bruce says that he’s a musician, then absolutely screws himself over by calling his act “unique.” Oh, accordian lady from episode 1. Your quest to promote terrible acts under the banner of diversity lives on. Bruce promises that he is off to “flabbergast” the judges (and you don’t hear that one much anymore) but mostly he just seems bland.
So Bruce blands it up with talk about being a handyman, and then gives us the Second Big Sign (behind the uniqueness) that he’s destined for failure by explaining his talent to the judges as he performs it. And that’s using “performs” in a generous capacity. Bruce essentially makes fart noises with his hands, and then attempts to give a performance of Yankee Doodle while wearing a patriotic hat. Again, this would come off as ridiculously pathetic and hilariously awesome if Bruce weren’t so boring. The judges X him out and pass up what I feel is the first justified excuse to be asses that they’ve had in a long time, and Bruce is outy.
Our failure montage continues with an Urban Burlesque Troupe, basically strippers who look hot but trip a lot and fall off their chairs. Piers has seen enough of that in his day and they’re gone, replaced by a couple of flutists. They perform this really interesting piece that they wrote themselves, but the audience is underwhelmed and they’re out too. Finishing up our montage is the Crispy Family Carnival variety show, the variety being one very fat man and two skinny ladies. He rips of his clothes (not ok) and the two girls start stapling money to him! What the hell? So he’s got all this money attached to him (literally. Definitely, definitely not figuratively) and then he hooks a car battery through some chains and lifts them by his nipples! I’m just in so much pain watching this, I don’t know how to write jokes about it. We finally get that O-face shot of Nick that they’ve been teasing for weeks and the judges complete the trainwreck with three Xs. Piers calls him a man taking his shirt off and doing revolting things, which is actually how Hasselhoff got where he is today. The guy leaves bleeding and mercifully, our failure montage is over for another commercial break.
The next act hoping to improve Houston’s rep is “Acrodunk,” five guys that do high-flying slam dunks. Essentially, they’re responsible for those guys you knew in high school who thought they were really badass when they missed needlessly difficult basketball shots. They do some stretching and the one with the dreadlocks laments how they have so many other commitments and families pressuring them to get real jobs. Well, not counting yearly national talent shows that value internal pluck more than talent, your families are right. They’ve already got their hoop and jumping things set up, and they make sure to tell the Hoff that they’re worth more than a million dollars. So then they’re doing these ridiculous flips and amazing dunks that ALMOST make up for the other 99% of the population that will now attempt this, and it’s clear that they are very talented. They start break-dancing and flip-passing the ball in this chain, and rather than me describe it I think this is the first act you should actually YouTube.
Hasselhoff silences an excited crowd with a theatrical declaration that the judges must speak. He says something about punks in trunks doing dunks (and I gurantee you he’s been sitting on that one since he saw their act on the call sheet) , but they are of course the best. Piers loves their energy and thinks it was great, Sharon says she could watch them all night (OZZY CUT LIST: PARTY OF FIVE) and Acrodunk is moving on. They celebrate with Nick Cannon trying way to hard to fit in with the African-American ball players, and it’s time for another break.
We return with another dance crew vying for the Least Screen Time Ever award. Apparently they did an excellent job, so good for them, I suppose. See you in the Also-Ran montage in Round 2! Some girl in a bikini/skirt thing wants to bellydance and for some reason drags Nick Cannon out onto the stage holding a candleabra. It’s like the beggining of a really bad joke, or even worse porn film. She puts the candles on her head and dances around, David ogling her every step of the way. Sharon says it’s the best bellydancing she’s ever seen (and I’d bet they get a lot of them on this show, no joke) and she’s moving on also. Next up in our collection of questionable talent is Eclipse, the server from Olive Garden. He does this neat little rap thing that the judges vote through, and he dances back to get some more breadsticks.
So next is a little girl who will vie with Nick Cannon for bane of my existance. Oh, it starts out innocently enough, but she’s nothing like that ballroom-dancing girl or my lay-awayed EriAm Sisters. How soon we will find out…
Her name is Alicia, and she immediately feels the need to prove how adorable she is by congratulating Nick Cannon for hosting. That’s strike one even without being so precoscious, Lic. She’s eight, and to nauseating footage of her coloring she tells us how she does basically everything and is just so talented and so darn excited to be here. My annoyance compounds when she takes the stage and adorably clarifies the spelling of her last name while adorably describing her ideal Hawaiian vacation with her cats. Her parents cower in the corner with Nick as Alicia agrees with Piers that she’s adorable and then gives one of the most annoying giggles I’ve ever heard in my life. I understand that I’m sounding harsh in my critique of this eight-year-old, but what do you think she’s going to be like when she grows up? She’s like a baby alligator or something; we’ve all met the people that selfishly command attention and think that they’re hysterical. Well here’s one in the making, folks.
So Alicia does a mediocre version of “Proud Mary” and almost pulls a muscle attempting to be cute. David calls her inspirational but says her singing needs work, which she agrees to. Piers says she’s funny and she immediately tells some golf joke, and Jesus Christ the judges would have eviscerated anyone with her talent level other than her. Sharon says that she’s conflicted, then earns my eternal respect by voting no. Piers votes yes so that he can see her again (goody) and it’s all down to Piers. Alicia says something annoying about vocal teachers that completely tricks David into voting for her, and I will admit that she definitely knows how to manipulate the judges better than anyone else. She milks a little more attention out of her getting a no from Sharon, and finally we’re rid of her until Round 2.
Another break, and now we’re ready for twin singers. Definitely the male answer to the Polish triplets we had awhile back, they call themselves “Timez 2″ and have high hopes for their R&B act. The audience acts like it’s never seen twins before when they take the stage. After the request grilling by Sharon (singing since they were four, put it in the log, Osbourne), it’s go time. They dance around a lot and really aren’t great singers, but Alicia was giving them lessons on milking the audience backstage and they’re a hit with the crowd. David is easily swayed and votes yes, Piers thought they were good, and Sharon (after mentioning their grinding and pumping) says they need to work on their vocals. But even despite Piers’ surprise no vote, the duo is moving on.
Nick reminds us that the auditions are open to any age, from Surprise YouTube Sensation Old on down to Free Ride Young. So next up is a seventy-five-year old woman named Grandma Lee who awkwardly stares down the camera when we meet her and gets the “Murder, She Wrote” them played in the background. God, I hope her talent turns out to be solving a mystery over a forty-minute period. She says she’s the classic grandmother who loves to do the fun stuff with her grandkids without having to be the bad guy, and concludes that she doesn’t think of herself as old. Yeah, until it’s Social Security time, I’ll wager. Hey, how about that economy, huh?
She tells Sharon she’s here to follow her dream, then immediately contridicts her pretaped segment by calling herself old on the stage. You gotta love what the elderly can get away with; anyone else would be thrown out on their ass for going against the predecided edit. She does a little stand-up for us, and while it’s not laughably bad it’s not laughably good either. She dryly agrees with Sharon when she compliments her, and it’s interesting to note that Grandma Lee is doing exactly the same things that Alicia did. Both know that they can’t make it through on talent so it makes sense to be lovable. So why does Alicia bother me SO much more than Grandma Lee? Maybe after I’ve been 75, Grandma Lee will bug me too. I don’t know, it’s an interesting sociological question.
Piers calls her his famous contestant this season (sending Alicia into a fit of rage backstage) and Grandma Lee proudly proclaims that she’d do Piers, yelling “who’s your grandpa?” Ok, I guess maybe THAT’S why people like her get a free pass from me. Piers compliments her taste in men and the judges vote the grandmother onward. The judges keep laughing, Nick welcomes Grandma Lee to Vegas, and it’s time for the last break.
Ok, it’s last act time. Voices of Glory. Nerdy dancing kid. Slack-jawed Yokel. Poor dancing kid. Amazing voice guy. Who will join their ranks tonight?
Nick introduces us to Mexican homemaker mom Barbara, who never gave up her dream to sing professionally to raise her family, and tells a heartwarming story about her daughter thinking all singing on the radio is her. She gives us the standard interview about her excitement, her big chance, and every other cliche we’ve ever heard. Stage time!
The loves of her life/symbol of intense societal oppression.
She tells the judges she’s a singer, and that’s basically it. She starts singing beautifully to one of those opera songs you don’t know of the names of but is recognizable to us laypersons. Man, would I like to get her together with Lawrence! Amazing high notes, clever cuts to her daughter watching her with wide eyes, everything she needs to be our last act it. Barbara finishes to a well-deserved standing ovation. She tells the judges that she’s lived through miracles BECAUSE SHE’S A CANCER SURVIVOR! Wow, disease and selfless mothering. This woman was born to be the last act tonight. More talk of hope for the future. It’s all very uplifting and inspirational, and after the crazy good judge comments we’ve come to expect at the end of the shows Barbara is moving on to Vegas!
What did you think of Barbara? Where does she fit with the other show-enders? And who else is ready to weigh in on the Grandma Lee vs. Alicia debate?