Thursday, September 18, 2008

On America's Got Talent Not Having Talent...


OK, so that's a bit harsh.  Certainly all 10 of the finalists have some form of talent.  But talent I want to watch on a week to week basis?  Talent that could handle a Las Vegas stage?  Not a chance.  Add to this fact that it is consistently (even last year when the incredible Terry Fator made it worth watching) the most poorly put together show on TV and I just had to rant a bit.

Reason's AGT is just not worth my time anymore:

1) It's Bloated

2 HOURS!?  You really need 2 Hours to showcase 10 acts?  My guess is that it could fit into an hour if need be but that 90 minutes is way plenty.  How many times do we have to see the same reactions/comments/previous tryouts/sob stories in different colors and slow motion.  We get it, they can't believe their here, they would love to play Vegas, and no ones going to stop them.  Also can we just quit with doing the phone number thing over and over.  We can't vote until the end of the show anyway and we will be plenty aware of the number we want to vote for (as if any of us vote in the first place.)  They should replace Springer with a stage announcer and have act, judges comments, next act, etc.  Throw in one or two WELL PRODUCED vignettes featuring the contestants doing something DIFFERENT, and you have something possibly worth watching (if not for a few other things).

2) All 3 Judges are out of Touch

Piers is closest to making any sense whatsoever occasionally but even he has put through some wildly ridiculous acts.  Week after week I am astounded by what lame thing they consider talent.  I'd cut them a little more slack if it was "America's Got Entertainment" in which case it could be argued that some of these acts are entertaining (even if not to me), but talent?  The freak show contestants could swim in a pool of talent guacamole and still not come out green.  The fact that these type of acts routinely get advanced over some truly interesting talents (jugglers, acrobats, contortionists, illusionists, etc) infuriates me every year.  It's as if the producers think that they get to be the reality show to continue to feature William Hung and not lose their integrity, when in fact most of us might laugh once at the silliness of it all, but still hold them accountable for allowing people through that obviously deserve to go home.

3) Singers and Kids

It's been my opinion since I heard of this show that there should be only two rules.  No singers and no kids.  It's just not fair to the contestants and honestly as a viewer I'd prefer not to see it.  First off, I get my fill of great singers with American Idol  I don't need another singing talent show to fill my time.  Also, there is a reason singing is one of the most respected talents in entertainment, because it is emotionally engaging.  An illusionist doesn't have half a chance at connecting with you emotionally in the way a singer does, and it completely skews the playing field.  Ask yourself why 9 of the 10 finalists are singers (yes 9, I give the two impressionists a bit of a break but at the end of the day their talent is still singing.)  Just call the thing America's Got Vocal Talent and get it over with.  Terry Fator (last year's winner) is an amazing ventriloquist and even an amazing impressionist, but do you think for a second he makes it anywhere near the finals if he doesn't sing? (Side note:  I don't think singing+ acts should be forbidden, but straight singers, yes)  Secondly the kids.  Sigh...  What to say about the kids (2 kid acts in the 10).  OK if cuteness is a talent, then vote your heart out for that little girl, but if you could for one second, in fairness, set aside their age you will see they cannot sing well.  Someday maybe, today not even close.  This was no more evident in the final 10 performances when both kid acts chose Jackson 5 tunes.  I literally shook my head at the screen, wagged my finger and said, "Oh, no they didn't".  MJ was the one 5 year old who could pull it off because he was an amazing singer, not just for his age, but for any one's age.  These kids are great singers FOR THEIR AGE, but it's not fair to other contestants to have to compete with the root for cute gene we are all born with.  The only kid I saw all season who I thought had genuine talent (that could even come close to holding a Vegas show) was the contortionist girl, and she disappeared fairly quickly.

Thanks for allowing me a bit of a rant (OK a lot of a rant) today, after watching the Final 10 performance show last night I had to get it off my chest.  It's such a shame that a show with such a winsome premise (to find and highlight unique and extraordinary talents) has become so predictably banal and offensive.  I just hope that Nothing But Strings can pull off the win this year since I consider them the only act that truly belongs on that stage.