I've been critical of America's Got Talent
over the past few weeks,
mostly because I have standards. I'm not going to ooh and aah over a
cute little kid just because they have charisma, because being likeable
is not a talent. I also won't applaud a comedian who was cut during the audition process of a reality show, about comedy, even if she is old. But finally, on the sixth audition episode, America's
showed some real promise with the genuine talent of Acrodunk.
These men are acrobats who do aerial stunts using a trampoline and a
basketball. At first I thought it was just some silly dunking, but
then they delivered intricate choreography bouncing the basketball from
person to person while jumping, flying and keeping some incredible
coordination. It was poetry, and most importantly, it was actual
For me, talent is a demonstrable skill that sets you apart. Talent requires hard work, dedication, and an ability to put together many great elements. If you can sing, that's fine, but there are a lot of singers in the world, and none of the ones on America's Got Talent
are so astonishingly brilliant that they put famous singers to shame.
Acrodunk, however, showed a unique and well-crafted skill that is both visually and mentally impressive. The detailed coordination it would take to be able to pass and dribble the ball from man to man while soaring through the air is practically impossible, but they made it seem effortless. That, to me, is what this show should be all about.
Sadly, it's not, as exhibited by some of the lesser acts. There was the 8-year-old girl who played a keyboard and sang off-key. Sharon Osbourne had the balls to say "No," but the two male judges were weak and spineless. Sure, the little girl was precocious and had real stage presence, but she had no talent. Her singing and piano playing were simply not very good, and even her jokes were ones I was reading in Highlights magazine two decades ago. If the judges are going to put every kid through, can we please set an age limit to avoid these sub-par performers being allowed to mix in with the real talent.
Next on my hit list was Grandma Lee, the 75-year-old comedian. Anyone who's ever watched Last Comic Standing
knows she's auditioned for that show several times and never made it into the actual competition. If she's been passed over that many times by a panel of true comedians, why the hell should her silly act be applauded on this show. If a baseball player in the minor leagues can't hit a ball, why would anyone let him play for the major league?
Finally, there was Barbara Padilla, the opera singer. First of all, I object to opera as a talent because Americans, as a general rule, don't like opera. They might say they do because it makes them sound smart, the same way they might say they watch PBS and listen to NPR. But in reality, those people are watching Flavor of Love
and listening to Britney Spears' "Circus" on a constant loop on their iPod.
Second, this competition was won by an opera singer last year, so there are two options. Either she's better than him and should therefore win, or she's worse, and why the hell should I vote for an opera singer who isn't even the best opera singer on this show?
And before anyone criticizes me for dissing opera and making dumb generalizations about what Americans like, I should point out that the number one rated TV comedy is Two and a Half Men
, a show filled with poop jokes. And Larry the Cable Guy is a successful comedian. And a musician's funeral gets more news coverage than a U.S. governor's mysterious and sudden resignation.
I know America is diverse, but I refuse to believe that the same country that enjoys all those things can also love opera. Hell, we haven't even accepted soccer yet.
-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer(Image courtesy of NBC)