America’s Got Talent

Another show in the long line of reality television competition, this talent show is in it’s forth season. Nine episodes in and we are still in the primary audition stage (which seems a little long, but remains entertaining), watching acts perform for the first time in the hopes of making it to Vegas.The winner of the show takes home $1,ooo,ooo and an act on the Vegas Strip. But first they must get through a few rounds and win America’s votes. This show, like American Idol, was brought over from Britain by Simon Cowell. (Though he is a judge on the British series, he does not participate in the American show due to his American Idol contract.)

The judges are David Hasselhoff, Sharon Osbourne, and Piers Morgan. Odd that for an American talent show two out of three judges are not American, but that’s neither here nor there. The real question is what qualifies these particular people to be judges? Hasselhoff was on Baywatch. Osbourne was on…the Osbournes. You may remember Piers Morgan from the Celebrity Apprentice. He was also the editor of a few tabloid newspapers.

The show, like American Idol, draws bizarre and uncomfortable contestants, though because it is moer than just a singing competition, the acts are even more varied and outlandish. A man pours water on himself, another does some sort of inexplicable rendition of something vaguely patriotic, another does a dance with a puppet of Tina Turner. But it also opens up opportunities for people all of all ages–like small children who can belt like a rockstar or grandparents who are as funny as the best comedians. Unlike on Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, there does not seem to be a clear hierarchy of judge (Nigel and Simon clearly leading the other panels), which is nice to see. Morgan has definitely taken on the crabby persona, nearly always the first to hit the X during a performance and the most likely to offer negative feedback.

Nick Jones has replaced Jerry Springer as host and though I didn’t watch the show when Springer was on it, I am quite pleased with Jones. He’s funny and entertaining, whether goofing off by coming on stage in costume or attempting a poor imitation of an act.

In Britain’s most recent season, Susan Boyle made a surprising and enormous impression on the judges and the crowd. She walked in with a frumpy, washed up appearance and the judges were ready to dismiss her, but when she began singing everybody took notice. There are rumors that she will be making a guest appearance on the American season. She is one of the many heartwarming stories that capture the audience. A few such stories have already appeared on the current season, including thirteen year old Arcadian Broad who was bullied in school and found joy through dancing, Kevin Skinner the hick sounding unemployed farmer who can really sing, and others.

Like the other big talent competition shows, this show is fun to watch because whether you like watching people make fun of themselves or see some real talent, there is something for everyone.

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