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America's got ...?
August 21, 2012 - April Diodato
Sure, I love the Olympics -- especially the gymnastics -- but throughout it all, I was counting down the weeks until my summer guilty pleasure returned to the airwaves. I had never gotten into it until this most recent season, but there's something about "America's Got Talent" that got me hooked this time around, and I am kind of ashamed of how psyched I am to tune in each week. Maybe it's the outstanding talent they have this year; perhaps it's Howard Stern's no-holds-barred commentary, my love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with Howie Mandel or my curiosity surrounding Nick Cannon's ensemble each week. Sometimes he looks very dapper, and there are other times where it appears he got dressed in the dark. Maybe Mariah picked out those crazy plaids and stripes.
With the Olympics on NBC, "AGT" was on hiatus until Aug. 14. When it finally returned last Tuesday, I prepared a delicious dinner, set it up on my TV tray, waited an extra hour to start watching so I'd be able to fast-forward through the commercials, and giddily pressed play. Little did I know about the epic disaster that was about to transpire onscreen.
It was the YouTube episode, sponsored by Snapple, wherein acts were chosen based on the videos they posted on the site, with one selected based on fans' votes. Unfortunately, there was a key element missing: talent. There was a guy who played air guitar, and had no business leaving his parents' basement to force an audience to watch him hop around the stage in a get-up Poison would have deemed too gaudy; a wannabe Justin Bieber (the fans' choice, no doubt beloved by the tween set), better suited to singing around a campfire than national television; an ill-prepared comedian who bombed so badly, it was painful to watch; and a "rock" band that would probably struggle to get booked for a high school dance.
At this stage in the competition, the acts that remain are the best of the best. The judges did let some weak performers through to the Vegas stage, but once they arrived, it was a free-for-all no longer. Vegas was cutthroat, and it made for fantastic television. There were still a few bad acts (like Big Barry) that made it to the live shows, but each week, only the most talented performers were voted through. And this is exactly what made me so irate about this episode, a poorly-conceived idea likely dreamed up by some Snapple and NBC execs in a mid-morning boozy haze in a posh boardroom.
I didn't even bother to tune in to the results show; only one act actually impressed me -- unique dance crew Academy of Villains -- and the rest were not worthy. For those who followed suit, here's who made it through: Academy of Villains, country-singing teen Bria Kelly, The Magic of Puck (a magician, natch), and Clint Carvalho and his Extreme Parrots (which is a lot of nonsense).
Tonight, "AGT" presents the Wild Card show, which brings back acts given the axe during the quarterfinals, along with two cut during the Vegas round. Will any of them be worthy or will they all deserve the hook? After last week's debacle, I'd just like to fast-forward to the semifinals already. Methinks it is not good for ratings to make your audience want to jump ship before they actually begin.