Tonight on America’s Got Talent, we find out just how disgustingly attached I’ve grown to these acts over the last five weeks. This week they’re ripped from me one by one as I can do nothing but sit and watch helplessly. It’s a lot like my senior prom, only there’s more David Hasselhoff. OK, fine, there’s more Sharon Osbourne.This week, America’s Got Talent embarks on the Vegas Verdicts, but I will instead be calling them the Montage Mandates for reasons that will soon become obvious. Before the main titles we get what will essentially be a summary of everything that happens tonight: judges fly in on a private plan (economy be damned!), eliminate some people, ruthlessly interogate others, and that hick guy cries. You could really head to bed now if you wanted.
Wait, which part of New York is this?
There’s lots of lovely arials of Los Vegas and Nick Cannon talks a lot from some helicopter, and then it’s time to bring in the “talent” we’ve acquired from all over America. I like to pretend that the ones they picked the in the earlier weeks had to follow the show around for the duration of the auditions and it was the judges’ responsibility to feed and clean up after them. But that’s silly. Instead, they payed to fly over 160 acts into Las Vegas only to eliminate most of them immediately. Someone on the Nevada Tourism Board saw these people coming.
So now begins our intense, hour-long game of Remember These People? Everytime I spotted someone I remembered I would feel: 1.) Excitement at being such a loyal AGT viewer. 2.) Slight shame at knowing these 160 acts probably way better than like, I don’t know, the 100 American senators or 50 state capitals or something. 3.) Embarassment as I remembered the usually stupid-in-hindsight jokes I made about them. He looks like a Sim? That was the best I had? 4.) Intense shame as I took another bite of Snickers Ice Cream. Everyone wanders around a deserted airfield, thankfully forced by the producers to wear the exact same clothes we saw them in originally.
You may not remember me, Alicia, but I remember you. I remember you all too well.
But wait! Nick informs us that the judges will be eliminating some of our favorites right away! We get a lot of footage of Piers, Sharon, and David looking stressed on the plane, and Sharon tells us how difficult it will be to make so many cuts so soon. Yeah, you and David thought the likeable votes were SUCH a good idea at the time, didn’t you Shar? Now it’s time to pay the price! They review the tapes of the auditions and some paperwork that I like to imagine are my recaps.
“Damnit, David, these are the Big Brother recaps!”
So basically the judges watch the entire first five weeks in like twenty seconds (those with envy, join the club) and we begin an evening of sneaky editor hijinks designed to keep us in suspense for as long as possible. You see, dear readers, the show’s bread and butter tonight will be showing us several acts in rapid succession as the judges voice over something extremely positive or negative, but we have no idea which act they meant. Is Kelly from Idol or that thirteen-year-old their favorite singer? Is the guy with the hook or the glass-eater the one they plan to dump? Who are they going to beat to death in the alleyway after the show, Alicia or Nick Cannon?
Remember when I picked them on Night 1? Before I knew about Ciana?
Nick, serving in the same capacity as a basic talent wrangler, tells the assembled masses that we’re playing American Idol tonight and they have to divide into these four groups. Kelly immediately bursts into tears.
The giant Where’s Waldo game continues as all the acts proceed into the crowded hangar, ready to meet their fate. Or have a four-way gang fight. That would be pretty sick, now that I think about it. Instead, the judges arrive on schedule and David gives us all the same spiel that we’ve had a million times: they can’t all go through, this was tough, etc. We’re starting with Group A! Initial impression: eh. I like that yodeling dominatrix, but that’s all I canpick out. But the judges have voted them to stay! So it looks like the dominatrix, Acrodunk, and the piano-playing Asian are the most well-known (by me) that are still in it thus far.
If you don’t want your day to be RUINED, look at this picture and then stop reading immediately.
Group B is mostly made up of those dancers that look like Orphan Annie, that kid magician, and my precious Ciana. But alas, by some cruel twist of fate, Group B is eliminated. WHY, JUDGES? WHY? The Annies cry a lot and that guitar kid that I thought was amazing also turns on the waterworks, but ultimately I’m shocked by the loss of our Hawaiian singer. So now we’re left with two groups that aren’t as good as Ciana, and Piers plays a little clasic reality show mind game with us before revealing both groups are safe, making Group B look even more like losers. Much frolicking ensues among the happy groups, and we should embrace this small happy moment as such favorites (of mine) as the triplets, the Sim-like magician, and the lady with the dog are moving on. Because the rest of this week we’ll be slowly killing their dreams like teenagers in a slasher film.
Doesn’t this look like the last group of survivors struggling for post-apocalyptic survival in the weirdest Stephen King book ever?
It’s time for a Vegas montage set to a little Katy Perry, completely ruining how original I was going to be by titling this post “That’s What You Get For Allowing Yourself To Be Judged By David Hasselhoff in Vegas.” So the whole thing basically turns into a “Visit Scenic Las Vegas” commercial as our hopefuls gamble, see the strip, and stay in luxurious rooms for affordable prices. I’m surprised they didn’t have a travel agent’s number at the bottom of the screen. A quick break, and then maybe THE COMPETITION will continue.
Everyone is a winner here in exciting Las Vegas! The only three Xs you’ll be getting are in the slot machines!
The next day (or possibly that night, it’s unclear) the acts all sit around while the judges watch tapes and discuss AGAIN. Same standard editing tricks as before, this time interspersed with those waiting saying generic things about being nervous. The best part is when Sharon and David try to convince Piers that he voted for some of the terrible acts that we remember were clearly the doing of the Osbourne/Hoff Pact. We also get some more classic David Hasselhoff as he assures the other judges that an act must go through because “America will love him.” Good old David. Always looking out for us.
The show at this point is playing like a recap of the entire season. Quick soundbites from the editors’ favorites and then footage of acts we’ve already seen, all while the judges say things that don’t really seem groundbreaking. Finally the judges decide that it would be fun to interview some of them (ON A TALENT SHOW) and they send Minion Nick down to fetch some sacrifices. They decide to talk to that Obama impersonator that I hate and some guy from a show that I missed, so really there’s no harm if they just want to kick ‘em both.
Forget the impersonator’s motivations, I want someone to explain this room.
Oh, goody, we’re going to interview them both at once in an annoying quick-changing edit. So the backstory that we (I) missed on the guitar guy is that Piers was hesitant to vote him through, but based on the O/H Pact he was in. The judges think that Mr. Fake Obama was good, but they’re not sure how good. This entire episode is just like the awkward time after the contestants finish but before the judges vote. The interviews with both guys is boring, and long story short, guy I never saw is out and fake-Obama is in. I am not pleased. That should be Ciana’s spot.
Lots of crying from unknown guy (and a Nick Cannon blow-off!) and is every elimination going to be like this? Jesus, we have like a hundred to go, let’s get cutting. So after such accomplishments as ONE cut and ONE vote-through, we’re taking another break. You get Obama around and progress slows to a crawl, I suppose.
So next is that dorky kid that liked to dance (OF COURSE we need a recap montage of that) and he gets to talk about his dream and being here and everything we’ve already heard. This is our first test to see if the Show-Ender Principle holds up, so I’m guessing he has nothing to worry about. And yes, he’s through. Yay, the underdog! It’s like we’re taking all the things this show has already taught us and reheating them.
A violent gang war broke out just seconds after this picture was taken.
And now it’s time to rapidly fill the Top 40 before you can realize what large mistakes the judges are making! Acrodunk and those dancing brothers are through (Acrodunk good, brothers bad), along with those guys that played recycled instruments for like two seconds, the parody David Hasselhoff singer, the preteen girl singer, the band of those young girls, those eight-year-old ballroom dancers, an a cappella group I don’t remember, the Texas Tenors, the dominatrix, and the Fab Five dancing sisters.
Woah. What? We just spent like half an hour eliminating one guy and now we’re voting 11 acts through in a split-second montage. My official Recapper Stance: good for the preteen singer, the Tenors, the dominatrix, and the Fab Five. And what were they thinking with the parody writer and the Recycled Percussion? These do NOT seem like sound choices to me, dear readers.
If only they had given us some idea which hotel this was.
So now we get an extended montage on Anthony, that old guy that danced pretty horribly, and my greatest fear at this point is that he will in fact get the nod onward. He tells the judges how much he loves to perform and how much he wants it, but Hasselhoff drops the talent buzzword and gives him the boot. AND THANK GOD. He turns on cranky old guy mode and storms away, pausing only to remind Nick Cannon he might be dead by the next show. And really, you don’t do guilt trips better than that. “Fine, I can’t be in your talent show, now I’m going to go die.” I have to hand it to Anthony on that one.
Getting the dancers on and off screen as fast as humanly possible.
A break, and back to the Montage Mandates. We’re going to see all three dance groups at once, because we’ve never given them fair air time before and why should we start now? One is BreakSk8 (so ok, I guess they are technically a dance group. I was just WAY more impressed by the skate part), Destined To Be (I think I missed them. Nick helpfully says they’re from New York, so that narrows it down to sometime this season), and Euphoria (also missed, but from what I understand they’re pro dance teachers that just through together a routine, and I really respect that audacity at this level). They assemble and tell Piers that they’re nervous (making it the millionth time we’ve heard it this episode) and then he offers them a little wager. Like you, I was hoping it would involve being hunted as animals on Piers’ sprawling estate or playing a high-stakes game of Russian Roulette, but he just wants them to choreograph something. Apparently, the wacky producers want to put some entertainment on their TALENT SHOW. They’re off to practice.
So shocking news, we’re down to just two magicians, which is too bad because I have enough Gob Bluth jokes left to support five or six. It’s the poor (broke) husband and wife v. the guy that I still think looks very Sim-ish, and the judges have decreed that only one act may move on. So, classic magician’s duel? See which one can best dodge summoned creatures while casting magic missile? No, just more montages and some suspenseful standing. Aaaaaannnnnnd they’re booting the poor guy. Poor guy! We get this montage about how broke he and his wife are and how they’ve moved back with his mom and this is their very last chance and then they get cut loose! That was cold, AGT. Ciana-level cold.
“I’ve made a huge mistake.”
So Sim guy and his slut posse of assistants are moving on, and they’re the last magicians standing. No pressure. I bet one of the girls is sleeping with Hasselhoff. A very crafty way to keep your act in the game.
Next up are those postal workers that sing together, and as Show-Enders they should be fine, RIGHT? Standard montages and then they meet with the judges, where David drops the bomb: they’re out! How could this happen? I thought any Show-Ender could write his ticket to the Top 40, but this has shaken the base of my AGT canon (not to be confused with my AGT Cannon, whom I hate). Nevermind that they were pretty lousy, I’m mad the judges aren’t living up to Week 4′s heartfelt editing. But there are new rules now, apparently. NONE ARE SAFE.
Time to make some quick cuts. Dance teams we never saw, the sluty belly-dancer, those guys that didn’t wear shirts, and the burlesque strippers are out. And I have to say, good choices, judges. I’m content with this batch of cast-offs. Still in question is that other Show-Ending dancer (the teen from the small town) and ten minutes ago I would have been sure of his safety. BUT WHAT NOW??? Sharon says they wish him well and know he’s off to good things…in Los Angeles for the Top 40! Oh, Sharon, I can tell someone took Reality TV Hosting 101. Also, I just realized you can totally predict their answers by thinking ahead on whether the lyrics to the songs that they play in the background are happpy or sad.
Another break, and we’re almost done with Night 1 of the Montage Mandates. The last decisions of today are dual Show-Enders Lawrence and that hick, and I’ll cut someone if Lawrence is taken out. Do you remember that voice? Of course, because you could never forget it. Montages of these two singing great, Lawrence being charming, and hick guy being folksy. Really, I can’t imagine eliminating either of them after seeing some of the acts that have already been pushed through.
My thought process: Pearl of WHAT purchase?…Oh! Probably THAT purchase….Really? That’s the pearl?
Lots of standard talk about being good enough and talent and dreams, and then Lawrence gets his yes! Alright! My boy lives to enchant me with his pipes another day. Yes, I know how weird that sounded. The folksy hick gets voted through also (called it!) and he continues to be heartwarming and odds-defying in his interviews. So with about half of our Top 40 selected, we’re done until tomorrow.
Ok. MAJOR opinions on the choices, please. Ciana, what?