America’s Got Talent is open to everyone. No matter what you do, who you are or how incredibly vague your “talent” is, you can perform in front of the judges on America’s Got Talent. (Well, you can perform in front of the judges after what has to be a long vetting process to prove you are at least entertaining enough to be on TV.) So though it may go against the core idea of America’s Got Talent, here are 5 type of acts we wish would be banned forever.
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The Gross Out Acts
The quickest way to get me to tune out of America’s Got Talent is for people to start sticking things in their bodies that don’t belong. Sword swallowers, fire eaters and whatever The Regurgitator did in season 10, I’m not interested. Year after year, though, acts make it through and their only seeming purpose is to disgust the audience. In a very, very small way it is impressive but disgust never equates to entertainment.
Just as recently as the beginning of season 11 we had Ryan Stock and AmberLynn. The “act” is just Ryan holding and hoisting things from his many piercings. Nostril strength is not a talent. The core problem with these gross out / body horror acts is there is nowhere to go. Once the novelty wears off (and for me the novelty never starts) there is nothing there. They are repetitive, boring and by their very nature gross.
Clowns are not a perennial act on America’s Got Talent. There have been a few over the years, but usually they have another gimmick besides being just a clown. In fact the most memorable segment of America’s Got Talent involving a clown came in season 11 when the show explored Simon Cowell’s fear of clowns.
That alone is enough to tell you why America’s Got Talent should ban clowns. Not because they make Simon uncomfortable — anything that makes America’s Got Talent’s most stoic judge more queasy is a good thing. I don’t hate clowns because they are scary. I hate them because they are boring. Clowns’ purpose is entertain children whose brains have not fully developed. They have no reason being on a show that is going to entertain all the family, not just the toddlers.
This is a bit more controversial. Unlike the gross out acts and clowns, dancers have a real obvious and marketable skill. An excellent dancer is immediately distinguishable from a bad or mediocre one. There’s no real barometer of skill when it comes to someone as useless as a clown.
While dancers can be impressive and entertaining, they don’t fare well on America’s Got Talent. Sure, the odd dancing act has made it to the live shows but they are gone within a few airings, if not the very first show. America can turn to other TV avenues if they want to watch good dancers. America’s Got Talent clearly isn’t one of them.
Daredevil acts are the distant cousin of the gross out acts. They are far more entertaining but like the gross out acts they come to the same end. Daredevil acts, whether they be trapeze acts, tightrope walkers or motorists, all give their best performance in the audition round. They always promise that they are going to come back with something even more impressive and they are always lying.
Like most people I was really impressed with Duo Guerrero in season 11. I also think that Duo Guerrero had no actual shot at winning America’s Got Talent because their audition was so strong. Daredevil acts, like Duo Guerrero, are always the more exciting acts to watch during auditions because they try so hard, so fast. It’s just too fast.
If by some miracle a daredevil act does make it to the live shows, they never last long. There is a world of difference in watching someone defy death on TV and seeing it in person. It doesn’t translate to the TV audience especially since America’s Got Talent often shoots daredevil acts with a lot of edits and production that make the act seem even less authentic.
If the clowns aren’t after me with their brightly colored bowling pins or the dancers aren’t preparing to pirouette me in the jaw, the singers will be my doom. It’s not that America’s Got Talent doesn’t find good singers. Its the exact opposite, really — often they are excellent. Statistically, singers probably have a better chance at winning based on the previous victors.
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To put it bluntly America’s Got Talent would just be a more interesting TV show if singers were banned. There are enough places to get your singing fix on reality TV even after American Idol has been cancelled. America’s Got Talent doesn’t need to fill a void or service an audience with singers. It does, however, need to fill a void with the variety acts. America’s Got Talent should be backing the acts that can’t perform anywhere else. They shouldn’t be standing so firmly behind singers.
But what do you think? What type of acts do you never want to see on the America’s Got Talent stage? Which type of acts are your favorite? Do you enjoy being disgusted by the gross-out acts? Which type of acts can’t you stand?
America’s Got Talent season 11 airs Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)