Thanks to Susan Boyle, America’s Got Talent is relevant! The show that has already rewarded a ventriloquist and an opera singer is back to try and find another American with an obscure talent that no one really cares about. The Susan Boyle Effect is sure to play out this season, as a ton of hopelessly unattractive people will try to prove it’s what’s on the inside that matters.

Sadly for them, they probably missed the finale of Britain’s Got Talent where Boyle lost to a dance troupe and proceeded to get checked into the hospital for exhaustion while cursing her way across the country.  Beauty may only be skin deep, but just like fried chicken, the skin is the best part.

Here to guide us through a parade of freaks, children and ugly old ladies are the judges.  There’s Sharon Osbourne, who was sued by Megan Hauserman for assault during the Rock of Love Girls: Charm School reunion, David Hasselhoff, most famous for starring in Knight Rider, Baywatch, and eating a hamburger on the floor, and Piers Morgan, the poor man’s Simon Cowell who won The Celebrity Apprentice.

That last one may sound impressive, but Joan Rivers won this season.  It’s a bit like me trying to impress you by saying I share a birthday with the Hoff’s Baywatch co-star David Chokachi.  It may be true, but it’s certainly not anything to brag about.
Jerry Springer was smart enough to get off this merry-go-round after last season, as he’s off to do more respectable things like his talk show.  Replacing him as host is Nick Cannon, also known as Mariah Carey’s boy toy.  I know what you’re thinking, and no, Nick Cannon is not the skinny kid from Good Burger.

The freak show kicks off in New York City.  Nick Cannon is way to happy as host, probably because this is the first time he’s been able to escape Mariah’s menopausal eight-octave shrieking.

The first waste of time is a 26-year-old idiot who does some really bad singing and dancing.  It’s not even entertaining, it’s just bad.  He’s followed by a unicycling guitarist and a white “rapper” who actually does poor spoken word.  Finally there’s a fire dancer who sets her hair on fire.  The Hoff claims it was a terrible start, but it was entertaining.  I’ll agree with half of that statement.

Rather than stick around, the show moves to Chicago before NYC can suck any more.  The first audition is a man who claims he’s the only living person who can walk while turning his feet 180 degrees.  The Hoff correctly points out that, while it may be unusual, it’s not really a talent.

Finally we get our first not-sucky performance by the FootWorKINGs.  You know they’re going to be good because we get a sob story about how they’re from the streets and want to prove that talent can come from anywhere.  They do some fancy footwork and dancing which I guess is OK, but the audience is freaking out like they’re the Beatles.  These guys wouldn’t even make the finals of America’s Best Dance Crew, but they might be OK as back-up dancers for Rihanna.

Next it’s time for the children of the corn, a four-person brother/sister singing group from Wisconsin called Shine.  They smile and say things like “golly” and “gee.”  It’s the most absurdly creepy thing ever, mostly because I didn’t realize Mormons lived in Wisconsin.  They sing and dance poorly and the audience boos loudly.  Huzzah, this audience is booing a bunch of cheery, good-hearted people who want nothing more than to spread cheer.  And they said cynicism died after 9/11.

They’re followed by more crappy idiots.  So 30 minutes in and we’ve seen one not horrible audition.  I’m going to spend the night coming up with an America’s Got Talent drinking game, because that’s the only way anyone can survive this show.

The only thing worse than a presidential impersonator is one who does comedy, singing and dancing.  Let’s welcome a President Obama impersonator who does just that.  He actually doesn’t look or sound like Obama at all, nor is he funny or a good dancer or a good singer.  Basically, he fails on every imaginable level.  He also does impressions of James Brown, Ray Charles, Little Richard, and a bunch of other generic black singers who’ve been impersonated much better by the cast of In Living Color.

Yet somehow he gets through, as do a bunch of inner city drummers called Black Fire Percussion.  Proving fake percussion is as good as real percussion, a beatboxer makes it through too.  So do a bunch of young girl steppers.  Color me unimpressed, because I guess I just set my bar a lot higher when we’re talking about giving away one million dollars.

Finally we get our first older, unattractive lady.  Is this our Susan Boyle?  Probably not, since she does animal sounds.  Sharon correctly buzzes her as soon as she opens her mouth.  The animal parade continues with a golfing pony, only the pony isn’t very good.  Piers buzzes him to put the pony out of it’s misery.  I think he wants to turn it into glue.

The animal trio ends with a man and his dog named Rockin’ Rory.  The dog catches a bunch of frisbees while jumping around, and this is allegedly amazing.  I’m sorry for being a hater, but dogs cannot be talented because they don’t possess the capacity for rational thought.  That’s like rewarding a baby for taking perfectly spherical dumps – it has no idea that what it’s doing is special.  The judges must love dogs more than me, because they put the dog through.  Maybe if he’s lucky Piers will serve Rockin’ Rory some Golfing Pony Dog Food.

Woohoo, the next city is Seattle, aka my city.  Nick Cannon dodges some flying fish at the Pike Place Market.  Hopefully these auditions go better than So You Think You Can Dance‘s Seattle auditions.  Actually, it’s being held in Tacoma, but to anyone not living here, it’s the same thing.

The first man up is some Idaho performer with dreams of wowing the world.  He seems innocent until he takes a fish hook and feeds it through his nose so it passes to his mouth, then he lets it dangle and picks up a heavy weight and swings it around.  Next he puts a drill in his nose.  OK, now I’m won over, because this dude is amazingly talented, and he can allegedly also do everything from sword swallowing to yo-yo work.  Sharon is a party pooper, but the men recognize talent when they see it.

He’s followed by a bunch of freaks, but one in particular surprised me.  One guy played the accordion and sang a chicken polka, and somehow he was buzzed out.  That is so much more impressive than some of the crap they’ve put through, and I want more of the Chicken Polka Man!

After the freaks leave, three sweet tween sisters show up to brighten things up.  The EriAm Sisters want to be the next Destiny’s Child.  In other words, one will become super famous, one will go on to co-host a Bravo fashion show, and one will constantly be replaced.  They’re actually very good, but to me it sounds like there was some funny business with the dubbing, because it doesn’t seem like they’re really singing live.  I think we have our first ringers.

They’re followed by some high-flying gymnasts and an urban choir.  I don’t want to be accused of being a racist, but it seems like if you’re a group of young black kids, preferably siblings, who either sing or do some form of urban hip-hop dancing, you will make it to Las Vegas, guaranteed. 

Next up is David Johnson, who plays the guitar and sings a song about a crush he has on one of the stars of Baywatch.  They make us think it’s about Pamela Anderson, but obviously this is a song all about his love for David Hasselhoff.  He also mocks some of the Hoff’s acting choices.  Despite buzzing him early, the Hoff says yes because he’s an obscene narcissist.  Proving that this is the dumbest show ever, Piers, the other judge who buzzed him, agrees to send David Johnson to Las Vegas.

No, I’m being serious, the dude who wrote the stupid, silly song about being in love with David Hasselhoff made it to the next round.  That’s how dumb America’s Got Talent is.

Things get even creepier than a 30-year-old man who wants to spoon the Hoff when a pair of aging soulmates who look and act like what happens to a married porn star couple after they’ve passed their prime years.  They spin around in a hoop and do some aerial work.  Nick Cannon is thinking of getting one for his bedroom.  Be careful Nick, you wouldn’t want Mariah to break a hip.  Sharon vows that if Piers says yes, she’ll swing in the hoop with him later.  So he says yes, so now Seattle has sent three freak shows to Las Vegas (four if you count fire dancers).

The show moves back to New York City to finish up the first night of auditions.  A stupid men’s choir singing Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” goes through with their cutesy movements.  It would’ve been better if they hade the black unitards like Justin Timberlake or Joe Jonas.

Then we get an unemployed impressionist.  Ugh, I hate impressions, because even the best ones are just worse versions of genuinely entertaining people.  At least this guy has the decency to suck because his impressions are the worst ever.

Paradiso Dance, a pair of married dancers perform, and this man should never wear a skin tight outfit because he clearly loves cheeseburgers and has no business dancing or being married to his sweet dish of a wife.  But somehow it totally works, and he stands there and does his job while she flies gracefully, even picking him up a few times.  It’s like that beautiful waltz in Beauty and the Beast, where something that horrific looking shouldn’t be so poetic and beautiful.  They make it through, obviously.

There’s only one act left, which means it’s time for the one the show really wants us to see and they’ll pull our heartstrings.  As expected, it’s a group of inner city black siblings who sing called Voices of Glory.  See, my theory about inner city black kids who are siblings is right.  They’re going to sing “God Bless America.”

Why did they start singing?  Because three years ago their mother was hit by a drunk driver and was in a coma for eight months, so when she woke up they started singing for her and the other patients in the hospital.  I know I should be crying, but I’m savvy enough to know when I’m being manipulated, and this isn’t just tugging on heartstrings, it’s yanking them as hard as possible.

They sing, and it’s fine, but if we didn’t have all that emotional set-up, it really wouldn’t be anything that special.  It’s just a bunch of kids singing well, and to be fair, there are tons of kids who could do that exact same thing, if not better.

The judges, being in on the manipulation conspiracy, give them a standing ovation with crying and excessive praise.  The mom comes out and gets a standing ovation for being in a wheelchair.  Piers tries to make this about the actual singing and he pretends that they were some of the best vocalists they’ve ever had.

That’s a dirty, dirty lie, Mr. Morgan, just like when you told me to my face last year that this show wasn’t fixed to let the opera singer win, duplicating Paul Potts’ journey on Britain’s Got Talent.  A few weeks after he said it wasn’t fixed, we were supposed to believe that America voted for an opera singer.  I don’t think so.  I didn’t buy it then, and I don’t buy it now.

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.