Thursday, June 29, 2006

America's Got Talent? Maybe Not

I didn't think a low-rent "Gong Show" was possible, but "America's Got Talent" proves me wrong. Why is it a cheap rip-off of that Chuck Barris guilty pleasure? Because it doesn't KNOW it's a silly piece of junk. It thinks it's a spin on "American Idol," which seems like "Citizen Kane" compared to this foolishness. I've been wrong before (hello, Howie Mandel and that box game show), but I think this is harmless summer filler but would be a flop in the fall opposite other shows. The big problem is that no one has talent -- almost none of the acts could do anything more than fill two minutes in a cavalcade showcase. Who could hold the stage for say ten minutes in Vegas? The Russian-born go-go boy dressed as an angel that sort of balanced a sword on the end of a knife? The boy band spin-off of Riverdance with five chunky, suburban looking guys who tap-danced like crazy? The scary little girl who mimicked Jennifer Holiday and got wrongly praised as if she were a singer instead of a stunt? (There's a big difference between singing and karaoke. That kid was a killer karaoke performer, but not a singer. Maybe she has talent but Shirley Temple aside, even kids with voices usually shouldn't sing -- whatever skill she might have would be ruined by performing at such a young age when all she can do is belt.)At least the Snow White stripper brought a little old school pizazz, a certain Coney Island feel to the proceedings. (Followed closely by the beat box military guy and the martial arts trio who all wisely began their acts by taking off their shirts.) Sure it had good kitsch. The Russian-born sword-balancer dressed like a psychedelic angel came back and begged for a second chance in such broken English they felt obliged to provide subtitles, winning over the crowd as he knelt before them in prayer. Crazy. Silly. But not actually talented.

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