"Hey! What about this? If you had a choice between being the top scientist in your field or getting Mad Cow Disease, which would it be?" This Will Ferrell line (playing Harry Caray) in one of the all-time great SNL
skits was my first thought after watching this week's auditions on America's Got Talent
After two hours of acts from New York City and Los Angeles (again), picking the one act to watch was easier than answering that hilarious question. Sure, there was an abundance of talent, but there was next to nothing that stood out, and I blame the setup of season 8.
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In the season premiere, we saw performers in New York, Los Angeles and San Antonio. Then we traveled to New Orleans and, wait for it, San Antonio for episode two. Then it was off to Chicago before more acts from New York and LA. Then next week, we're headed back to Chicago? What is all that about? Of course we're not going to see a ton of memorable acts during the second go-through -- you used them all up in the premiere!
Of the 13 acts that went through from New York this week, seven of them were dance acts. And outside of the creepy Jersey Shore kids who did more pelvic thrusts than dance moves and the creepy-in-a-totally-different-way gas mask-wearing Irish clogging hip-hop dancers, none of them was able to distinguish itself from the others (though the girls of Studio 19 stood out to me for all the wrong reasons).
The magician couple was just so-so, the little kid with the heavy metal demon voice was frightening and the first group of flipping acrobats was more or less an afterthought. If not for the homoerotic hand-balancing stripper stepbrothers and (I feel bad putting them in the same sentence) the choreographed Gospel choir from Virginia, the most memorable thing coming out of the Big Apple might have been the rejected cat-driving-a-motorized-car act.
Then we moved on to Hollywood, where we were treated to a string of bad magicians and an awkward comedian who, while funny, is way too raw even after 10 years to find his voice to go very far in this competition. He also faces the problem all nerdy comics face as they develop their persona. How much of it is genuine? It always starts off that way, but once he or she grows more comfortable with telling jokes, it blurs the line between being authentic and acting, and trying too hard can derail a routine.
Even the magician who moved on needed two chances to impress the judges, and I found myself more enamored with the fact that he was Asian with an Irish accent than I was with his tricks.
The rock band with the 13-year-old lead singer and the 15-year-old brother with the lazy eye were going to be my one to watch before AGT made the decision easy by putting what was far and away the most talented act in the pimp spot. But still, just because they rocked out with a polish reserved for much more experienced artists, let's check out Savannah and Brandon.
And before we get to the one act to watch, I first have to give some love to last week's pick, Sprice and his Rube Goldberg machine. Not only did he wow viewers with his act, he also commented on the BuddyTV article picking him as the act to watch
! The groupies I mentioned in that article are apparently his girlfriend and sister. Way to go, Sprice! Now don't screw up.
On to the easy choice for the one act to watch of the week: three tenors Forte. Their backstory is that they met online a few weeks ago and in person for the first time just a couple of days before the show.
The United Colors of Benetton of the opera world, the trio hails from New York, Puerto Rico and South Korea and performs splendidly for the first time in front of an audience. Apparently, one of the guys put an ad on Craigslist or something asking for two dudes to come perform with him, and the rest is history. We should all be so lucky to have our ads answered in such fashion.
These guys have the potential to go the distance in a season that has thus far been void of many truly original standouts. There have been no sand painters, no Light Wire Theater, no talking pooches, polished stand-ups or quality animal acts.
The shadow dancers showed promise, but even they weren't up there with the country singer that week. It'll be interesting to see the advancing acts that didn't get much play during the auditions shows. I feel like there will be a few diamonds in the rough from that group that will emerge once the live shows start. But hey, at least you didn't pick Mad Cow.
You can watch America's Got Talent every Tuesday at 9pm on NBC.