And we're off to the races for a summer filled with fantastic competition hosted by America's new favorite all time host with the most, Nick Cannon.
Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B. and Howie Mandel kicked off the premiere two-hour episode of America's Got Talent
season 9 last night at New York City's Madison Square Garden as recapped by my esteemed colleague, Bill King in his article, 'America's Got Talent Season 9 Premiere Recap: Talent Shines as the Auditions Get Underway'.
As we go forward, Bill and I may disagree (I hope, because that's more fun), but we'll give your our honest though highly biased opinions, and that's a promise. That is. after all, what opinions are made of ... and we all know what they say about opinions. No applause necessary.
The Golden Goose, Er, Buzzer
This year we've got a twist: a Golden Buzzer. What's that, you say? It's a button with the same magical powers as Charlie Bucket's golden Wonka Bar certificate that gains him entrance into Willy's chocolate factory and an opportunity to take over the world. On NBC's America's Got Talent each judge gets one chance to advance a performer who would otherwise be kicked to the curb. Remember, it takes three yeses from the judges for an act to move on. If an act only has two out of four ... it's thank you for playing and don't let the door hit you on the arse on your way out, unless they can charm someone enough to hot that golden buzzer on their behalf.
The Highly-Technical Goose Bump Scale
Now, evaluating talent is a truly subjective activity for the non-experienced layperson (regular viewers like you and me, in other words) and God knows the world is filled with all levels of artistic taste. That's why there are four judges on stage and 12 million of us out here in nowhere America rooting for our favorites. So ... I'll give you my opinions for the next four months. Feel free to disagree politely and we'll get along just fine.
I judge on a goose bump scale. Nothing makes the first cut unless it raises the pricklies on my arms and legs. If an act can't do that then it's Sayonara in my book. For a $1 million investment an act has to just about move mountains. Goose bumps may be small, but they are telling. So listen up, fellow reality junkies and let's see how this all turns out.
And the Contestants Are ...
Piano player 9-year-old Adrian Romoff presents as a genuinely talented and precocious kid, but his performance dramatics are cringe worthy and his persona is obnoxious. That act is going to get real old lickety-split if he doesn't ditch the distracting synthesizers and pull a lot more talent out of his, um, tiny hat. If he's lucky he'll advance a couple episodes, then get eked out by more mature talent. Goose bump scale of 1-10: Big fat zero.
Speaking of mature talent, strong man Mike Greenstein, aka Mighty Atom, Jr., is sweet and adorkable, but I have to agree with my colleague, Bill King in his recap of last night's events. This act is one-dimensional with a half-life of about five minutes. Grandpa has extraordinary strength ... but how many times can he wow an audience by pulling heavy crap with his teeth? It's just not titillating! Goose bump scale of 1-10: sorry pops, no dice.
Hand balancer Rokardy is a joy to converse with for the judges and his performance is awe-inspiring, but again, does he have any variety in his repertoire? If he has an entire show, he may have a chance. If not, it's gonna be a short fall for Rokardy and his assistant Carlos. Goose bump scale of 1-10: Two, for daring-do.
Dan Naturman whom Howie dubs the lovechild of Seinfeld and Jon Lovitz is a quirky-awkward, unassuming and hilarious stand-up comedian who shows great entertainment potential. He could go far once he lets loose a bit, provided his act doesn't come off as too canned and his jokes remain fresh. Dan kinda makes you want to see him succeed ... so he's worth a look-see. I'll give him a goose bump rating of 6 because I think he may be on to something.
We have Two Runners-Up This Round
America's adopted not-luggage son, Jaycob Curlee's soft rich baritone cover of David Matthews doing John Mayer's "Waiting on the world to Change was a little rough, but powerfully moving and emotionally delivered. This guy could win our hearts if he can go the distance. Goose bump scale: 6-7.5 for potential.
Dancing couple Nick and Rachel of Blue Journey have extraordinary skills in view of the fact that they just met four days prior to taping. Their performance was as fresh and current and like nothing I've ever seen before. The novelty alone wins Blue Journey at least a 5 goose bump rating. Add another two to three goose bumps for their potential after having spent more than 96 hours together. That's a total of 7-8 goose bumps.
The One Act to Really Watch is ...
My personal favorite was the operatic duet who calls themselves Acte II. This set all of my hair follicles standing on end. Their success will depend on America's taste for opera. If they made a fan out of Howard Stern, they have a fighting chance. I think I'll go listen to them again. Here, you can too.
Watch America's Got Talent on Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC
(Images courtesy of NBC)