Sharon Osbourne and Piers Morgan dish on 'America's Got Talent'
By Christopher Rocchio, 09/11/2009
America's Got Talent judge Sharon Osbourne supports home viewers in selecting fourth-season finalists for the NBC reality competition series.
"I think it's quite diverse, which I like. I don't think they got it wrong at all," Osbourne told reporters during a Wednesday conference call. "I like the diversity in our show."
While Osbourne is content with the fourth-season acts, fellow judge Piers Morgan told reporters he's "not quite as convinced."
"I'm very disappointed that acts like Acrodunk didn't make it," said Morgan before explaining the show's fourth season is "a little bit singer top-heavy."
"I think it's one of the problems of this show when it gets to this stage, is that sometimes the American public do tend to veer towards the singing acts over what I think are very good variety acts. There's not much you can do about it. Singers always have an advantage because everyone can connect to a song in a way that they can't do to a basketball act or a magician act. But I think it's important for the show that we do continue to attract very strong variety acts to the show."
Osbourne agreed with Morgan that the elimination of Acrodunk, an acrobatic basketball team, was a "big disappointment to the show because they were so different and another great form of entertainment that wouldn't normally get as big an audience. She also likened them to the Harlem Globetrotters.
"America got it wrong, plain and simple," bluntly said Morgan in assessing Acrodunk's ouster.
"I've never seen an act quite like it. I wish they were in the finals and I think they had a great chance of potentially winning it. I could see them performing in Vegas or all around America. It's an absolute tragedy they didn't make it."
While Acrodunk didn't make it, Osbourne and Morgan are excited about a few of the remaining non-singing acts -- including Grandma Lee, an elderly stand-up comedian from Jacksonville, FL, and Fab 5, a team of tap dancing sisters from Morgan, UT.
However it's Barbara Padilla, an opera singer from Houston, TX, who Morgan is really enthused about. Still, he cautioned viewers to not automatically award her the grand prize.
"The thing about Barbara is that everyone now will think that she is definitely going to win," Morgan told reporters. "But look at American Idol, where everyone thought [runner-up Adam Lambert] was going to win right to the last show. Anything can happen in a live environment. Barbara could come back next week and completely blow it."
Morgan pointed to Kevin Skinner, a singer and guitarist from Mayfield, KY, as someone who could topple Padilla.
"He might suddenly produce the performance of his life, which I think he's got in him," said Morgan about Skinner. "We haven't seen it yet because he's been a bit shaky and a bit nervous. If he was to get the right song and nail it and [Padilla] doesn't do quite as well, then he might win."
In addition, Morgan said he thinks someone like Padilla could most definitely support a stage show in Las Vegas, which is part of the grand prize package the winner receives.
"I think anybody who saw Barbara Padilla [Tuesday] night, she could sell-out Vegas tomorrow," he told reporters. "I don't think I've ever seen a more stunning performance on the show in four years... She will be a huge star."
"I think the only reason an act would not work in Vegas is because they're not talented enough," he explained.
Osbourne said it also isn't up to the judges if an act belongs in Vegas since the grand prize winner is chosen by home viewers.
"You try and just put through the people with the most talent -- whether they belong in Vegas is down to the American public," she explained. "Yes, we give our opinion... That's what we're there to do."
During last week's semifinals round of the competition, the judges put total control in the hands of home viewers -- deciding to get rid of the judges' choice and simply send the Top 5 vote-getters into the finals. They subsequently did the same thing during this week's semifinals round.
Despite some skepticism surrounding the spontaneity of the decision, Osbourne assured viewers that it really was a spur-of-the-moment choice.
"We went through a lot in just a few minutes," she told Reality TV World.
"The three of us went through so much about which one we're going to send home. Nobody wanted to make a choice, and it's like, 'Hey, we're not going to do this.' We genuinely felt that [fourth and fifth highest vote-getters Fab 5 and The Voices of Glory] added so much to the show and that they should go along hopefully to be in the finals. They both deserved it. It was nothing preplanned."
In addition, Morgan and Osbourne defended the participation of young children in the show -- with Osbourne claiming "age has nothing to do with it."
"I think this whole thing about the kids, it all depends on the child," explained Morgan.
"Where you have a child who is a natural showman and loves the buzz of performing and all the rest of it, I mean look through history, there have been some incredible young acts. Look at Michael Jackson when he was five or six. Somebody right now -- and this is the PC age -- would have stopped him right then and there and said, 'This is unfair on him.' Well of course it wasn't. He turned out to be one of the greatest performers in history -- damaged in the end by fame and other things."
Morgan also defended his use of the buzzer duringAmerica's Got Talent's fourth season, explaining that it provides "drama and a reality check" for both the audience and performers.
"I do quite enjoy the buzzer because I think it makes the show different," he said. "They don't have buzzers on American Idol. I know [Idol judge Simon Cowell] -- who does Britain's Got Talent with a buzzer -- he really misses his buzzer on Idol. So there's no doubt it brings drama to the show. But I do exercise it with honest intent."
America's Got Talent's Top 10 fourth-season finalists will all perform on Monday, September 14 at 8PM ET/PT, after which home viewers will be able to vote for their favorite acts.
America's Got Talent's fourth-season champ will then be revealed live during a two-hour finale broadcast on Wednesday at 8PM ET/PT.