Previously on “America’s Got Talent” Regis Philbin was brought back from the dead, David ‘Scar’ Hasseldork flirted with a donkey and some British guy insulted a few no-talent Americans from the west coast. Speaking of which, we met Bobby Badfinger, the Rappin’ Granny, and the weirdest bovine that I have ever seen outside of a nightclub. Go here to read about the entire motley crew that appeared on stage for the first auditions.
Auditions: New York City Regis begins by showing us some of the weirdos who bothered to come out to audition, a.k.a. the turnouts from the local overcrowded mental hospitals: the world’s youngest belly dancer, a grandma with serious delusions about her sex appeal, a stripping chimp, and a magician’s apprentice who was making her fingers disappear up her nose. Good stuff.
Philbin then reminds us how the auditions go - he walks around the audience with a taser and anyone left conscious at the time he runs out of batteries can perform on stage. I understand this is how they got the original cast of Friends. The judges demonstrate their buzzers, which show big red X’s over the acts that they don’t like. Three X’s and you’re finished.
The first group of acts are called: All That, Dave Smith, and William McGowan. All That is N’Sync with clogs on their feet. And without the singing. We get to watch them limber up, which would be considerably easier if they weren’t wearing jeans. Then they dance. Y’know…without the pretty girls wearing long, fake curls and sticks up their butts, clogging acts just aren’t fun to watch. Hasselhof wants them, Brandy wants them and Piers wants them. For the second week in a row, the first act we see gets sent to the next round. If the producers of this show are reading this summary, and we know that you are, please throw in a real loser to open the show next week or else the three of us who are actually watching will stop watching.
McGowan is next. Imagine “Cliff” from Cheers with about forty more pounds on him. He has a little confessional where he says that people are taken aback by his singing. That has nothing to do with your singing and everything to do with the smell of your rotting gum line, pal. He sings like Kermit the Frog getting crushed in a meat grinder. One child in the audience passes out from the horror. A dog throws itself out of a window. The three judges X him. Some sense of sanity has crept back into this competition after completely abandoning it by the end of last week‘s auditions.
Regis calls on Elliot Zimet, Corina Brouder, PBM and Leonid the Magnificent. Leonid is a seven-foot tall, angel-winged fan of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. He asks Regis what he wants to see because, baby - Leonid can show you anything. Reg begs for a commercial break so that he can have Leonid audition in private.
When we come back from the break, Leonid places the handle of one blade in his mouth while balancing another sword on it point-to-point. Then he does the splits. Piers presses his X prematurely. That’s okay, sweetheart - we understand that you’re British and you can’t restrain yourself like Hasselhof can. The two men decide that they can’t handle Leonid’s act and they send him off.
Elliot Zimet (not to be confused with Elliot Yamin) comes out giving the impression that his microphone isn’t working. He uses that pretext to start his magic act. His magic act is birds. Pfft, whatever. The only cool part is when he rips one of his pigeons in half. Of course, when he does it, the damned thing becomes two separate birds. When I tried it, the neighbors called the cops. The judges send him to the next round.
Corina has a little confessional about her harp-playing that is all sweet and sappy, and which therefore has no place in this summary. Then she performs all sweet and sappy. Look, most people watch these shows to see the absolute looniest that we, as humans, can be. Or to watch people get skewered by judges. But reality shows are not popular because they make us think of our poor departed relatives. I can go listen to the soundtrack to City of Angels if that’s what I want to do. But I don’t want that sort of sentimentality in my reality TV. It spoils the mood and cheapens the cheap thrills that can be gained from watching others humiliate themselves. Unfortunately, the judges want her to get closer to $1 million and they vote her through.
After commercials, Dave Smith gets his big break. He puts his legs behind his head and plays the guitar while singing. Hasselhof (have we called him ‘Scar’ in this summary, yet?) points out that this really isn’t anything special. Brandy disagrees and wants to send the pretzel plinker through, as well. Piers tell the guy to come back with something even
Just when I think that Brandy is showing no backbone as a judge, she toughens up and demands that Leonid be brought back. Leonid breaks down crying and the audience feeds him some of their own maniacal energy to stand up for himself. Piers is impressed with Leonid’s steely look of determination behind his tear-streaked mascara and the foreign judge once gain changes his vote to send someone onward. Leonid the Magnificent literally goes skipping off the stage. Television has officially hit rock bottom.
PBM comes out next. They are from Detroit, therefore they suck. Well, the horn section didn’t suck. Piers points out that their singer is horrible. The other two judges have no idea what they’re doing and they send this group through. By the way, PBM stands for Pathetic Boy Musicians.
Matthew Fuhrman, Bianca Ryan, Side Swipe, Marlon Reynolds and Frank Simon are called up on stage. We need more stage names people! Don’t make me assign them to you. Hey, I just saw my cousin Ronnie in the audience!
Frank Simon starts. Imagine your typical, blue-collar New Yorker complete with food stains on his shirt. He balances large objects with his teeth. Does this mean Leonid is coming back out a third time? No. It means that we see a fat man literally try to eat a stove. The audience loves him. The judges give him three X’s. What is wrong with these judges? They say that’s not a ‘talent’. Can anyone else you know balance an appliance on his or her face? Didn’t think so.
Matthew Fuhrman has a confessional about how he was in the military and that allowed him time to perfect his craft of making noises with his mouth. *writer exercises considerable restraint in commenting on that* Then he comes out, takes off his shirt to show that he’s done a few sit-ups and makes noises with his mouth. Not entertaining. The judges X him.
Michelle L’Amour comes out as Snow White. No, not the Disney version. The Snow White that you find behind the counter at the independent video stores. Brandy immediately recognizes the problem here and - for the second time this episode - shows some determination. She X’s Ms.L’Amour before the first article of clothing comes off. That’s right, this little Snow White is a stripper. The old guy last week was just funny because he was anything but sexy. This is a bona fide stripper doing her stuff on primetime network television. The two male judges lap it up and literally wrestle Brandy away from the judging table before she taps their X’s. Michelle gets down to her sparkly undies. Hasselhof and Morgan vote her forward. Brandy doesn’t even vote because she is too overwhelmed by the weight of representing so many self-respecting women. And she is simultaneously bound by the hypocrisy of pushing through the burlesque act of Leonid the Magnificent while fighting the progress of Ms. L’Amour. By the way, Regis didn’t call Michelle L’Amour’s name. Wonder how she got through the selection process?
Sideswipe brings us back from the commercial break with their martial arts exhibition. Decent show. Enough to get all three judges’ votes.
Marlon Reynolds comes on. He doesn’t last three notes before he gets three X’s. Even the audience has begun to cross their arms in an X fashion for bad performers like him.
Bianca Ryan is an 11-year-old singer. In her confessional, she says that she is possessed by spirits. Cool. Maybe she can sing four-part harmony with herself. No, she just sings a damned good solo. But she’s not real pretty, so she won‘t be going too far. Janis Joplin, anybody? Anyway, the judges send her to the next round.
Then, Simon Cowell and his fellow producer do the crappiest thing they can do. They have Regis say, “By the way, a lot of other people from New York were also voted on to the next round.” So, when - or if - we see these other talented people, it will be just in time to vote. By that time, we will already have lined up behind one of the people who were actually showcased on one of these episodes. So we have been refused the opportunity to be entertained and the performers who weren’t shown have been effectively given their three X’s for the next round. The producers are cherry-picking the people they want to give the money to. This is called the Taylor Hicks phenomenon and it stinks.
Start the boycott of Bianca Ryan right here and right now!