America's Got Talent: Episode 301 (season premiere)
by Isabelle Carreau, posted Jun 18th 2008 1:22AM
(S03E01) "Single worst tribute act I have seen in my entire life." - Piers to hopeful Bill
The greatest search for talent is back with a bang! Even if we only saw 12 complete acts during this two-hour premiere of NBC's America's Got Talent, I must say I was highly entertained. What I love about this show is that you never know what will come next. Will it be yet another singer? Dancers? An illusionist? A puppeteer? A guy twirling batons? A burlesque act? Unknown. It's like a surprise bag. And surprises we've got in this third season premiere. Bad ones, funny ones, weird ones, and amazing ones.
Join me in a slightly-longer-than-usual review of this two-hour entertainment packed premiere!
America's Got Talent is back with a similar format than the previous seasons. However, there is one big change: the winner will not only get a $1,000,000 check but also a gig on the Las Vegas strip! Now, judges and fans not only have to ask themselves "is this act worth a million dollars" but also have to ponder on if the act can become an entire show that will be seen in Las Vegas.
The season premiere starts with the usual recap of what AGT is all about. We also meet the judges via small features that remind us that Piers Morgan won The Celebrity Apprentice, that Sharon Osbourne is royalty in the world of rock, and that the Hoff is a legend! I expected something about Jerry, Jerry, Jerry! But it never arrived. Then, before the show really begins, we are told that last season's winner, amazing ventriloquist Terry Fator, signed a $100,000,000 deal to headline a show in Vegas (did my eyes see the right amount?). Talk about money! The guy did give incredible and entertaining performances last season so no wonder someone wants to bank on him. According to his website, he signed a five-year deal with The Mirage and will perform five times a week starting in February 2009.
With the presentations and announcements out of the way, the show begins with auditions in New York City.
Bill, aka Serious Mysterious - No surprises here. The first act of the night was dreadful. As one of the judges said, Bill was doing Elvis doing Tom Jones. It wasn't pretty. Watching such acts always makes me wonder if the performers have no friends or family members that are honest enough to tell them "you suck." Then again, people are willing to do crazy things for their 15 minutes of fame. Bill's performance also reminded us that Sharon is way too nice (can you believe that she didn't X him?) and that Piers calls it as he sees it (see quote at the beginning of the review).
Jonathan, the trombonist - Okay, Jonathan was entertaining and he wooed the crowed. But giving him a ticket to Las Vegas? Come on! He didn't dance that well and he barely played trombone. Plus, the little notes he played were rather basic (take it from someone who teaches teens how to play wind instruments). Piers should have listened to his better judgment and say no. I'll be mad if he goes further in the competition than last year's amazing sax player did.
Indigo, the twin sisters who try to sing - "You've got everything going for you except the terrible voices," Piers told the twins. Then why oh why did you guys let them through? Because of the touchy story? Because they are not that bad looking? They can't sing! Even The Hoff made fun of their voices by speaking like Dracula. I guess they are one of the bad acts that judges are asked to let through...
Nuttin' but Strings - Not only are they hot and have a touching story to tell, but the two brothers who play violin are entertaining and perform very well. Piers said they were fresh, exciting and super original. I couldn't agree more. As Sharon said, a lot of young kids will try their hands at violin this summer thanks to them!
Mary, the 80-year-old tap dancer - Even if Mary is not AGT material, you have to give it to her for trying out. If I ever reach 80 years, I want to be in her shape.
Kaitlyn, the 4-year-old singer - As soon as I saw the beginning of the feature on Kaitlyn, I told myself "AGT has to up the minimum age because it's too early to have a real talent." That little girl proved me wrong. She not only remembered all the words and pronounced them fairly well, but she was following the music and didn't sound bad at all. I could see her get a lot of votes because she's cute to watch.
The first hour of the show wrapped up and the judges left NYC to Chicago and, later, Los Angeles.
Slippery Kittens Burlesque - The act was entertaining but the dancing was not that good and there was a little bit too much skin and panties for my taste. I'm not surprised that the girls got a pass to Las Vegas since the Hoff and Piers kept cheering for that sexy dancer during Season One (remember, she even danced around/on KITT from Knight Rider). I don't see them going very far unless they take some dance lessons.
Che, the guitar player - Poor guy. Does he know that the double neck guitar was invented years ago? Then again, maybe his was special but we never got to hear it properly. Unless, the aim of this special guitar is to offer a muffled sound and make you sound like a not-so-good guitarist. The Hoff pushed the envelope a bit too far by saying that he burned a lot of brain cells in his life but that after hearing that performance, the cells left were now all dead. Che was not good but he wasn't the worst thing we saw/heard on the show!
Jonathan, the baton twirler - An unusual performance mixed with a touching story = a winner. I don't know if he would have moved on without fiery batons. The latter sure added a danger element to his routine and most definitely helped get the very difficult Chicago crowd going.
Derrick Barry - Boy Britney #2 - I know, he doesn't use the name Boy Britney #2 (remember #1 was one of last season's Top 20 performers!) but I couldn't help myself. Even if Derrick looks a lot like Britney (he surely had some plastic surgery done) and moves like her, he doesn't do much more than what Boy Britney did last year; Derrick just does it better, much better. But since "this show is so wacked," as Hasselhoff said, Derrick moves on to Las Vegas.
Extreme Dance FX - Put the bad outfits aside (I can't believe Piers Xed them only for that!), this power tap/clogging group was in tune, energetic and had some interesting dance moves. The combination of modern songs and moves with the traditional tap/clog makes them unique.
Neal, the opera singer - I'll admit it upfront, as I watched the feature on Neal I had little faith about the guy. I thought it was going to be yet another heartbreaking story that would be followed by a terrible audition. I was wrong. Even if Neal was not following the soundtrack much and was stressed a lot, he sang his heart out and gave a powerful performance. David said that Neal is the front runner; Piers told the singer that he had "a special talent." Wonder if an opera singer can win the competition? It can certainly happen. Paul Potts, one of Britain's Got Talent winners was a "shy and humble guy," as Simon Cowell said, that charmed the Brits with his lovely opera voice. Watch him perform after he was crowed the winner (his performance starts around 5:00).
In all, the premiere was an interesting show that kept me entertained enough to not want to flip the channel (okay, except when that "Gone completely crackers" bit aired). I can't wait to see some of the performers who moved on without us seeing them perform fully (i.e., the puppeteer).
Other tidbits of interests and things to ponder on:
- 200,000 acts? For sure there is a lot of screening and not everyone makes it on stage in front of the live audience. It's one thing to have the three judges see all those acts but it's another to have an audience of around 2,000 people hear all of the bad, the good, and the ugly acts.
- How long does the crowd stay in the theater? Do they have to sit through an entire day of auditions? Half a day?
- Your only trick is sticking out your tongue and you think it's worth a million dollars and a show on the strip?
- "This is supposed to be America's Got Talent!" - The Hoff after a long run of bad performers.
- Like The Hoff? NBC put a clip of his "Hoffness" behind the scenes and mingling with his adoring fans. Go check it out.
|Bill, aka Serious Mysterious||2 (0.3%)|
|Jonathan, the trombonist||11 (1.6%)|
|Indigo, the twin sisters who try to sing||17 (2.5%)|
|Nuttin' but Strings||69 (10.1%)|
|Mary, the 80-year-old tap dancer||4 (0.6%)|
|Kaitlyn, the 4-year-old singer||173 (25.3%)|
|Slippery Kittens Burlesque||7 (1.0%)|
|Che, the guitar player||3 (0.4%)|
|Jonathan, the baton twirler||35 (5.1%)|
|Derrick Barry - Boy Britney #2||34 (5.0%)|
|Extreme Dance FX||27 (3.9%)|
|Neal, the opera singer||302 (44.2%)|