‘America’s Got Talent’ looking for its own Susan Boyle

This season, the most important contestant for “America’s Got Talent|shows|site” isn’t competing on the show. She doesn’t even live in America.

Susan Boyle is the frumpy, 48-year-old Scottish singer who rocketed from obscurity to international celebrity after surprising judges with her assured performance this spring on “Britain’s Got Talent.” Now the question is whether Boylemania will boost the popularity of “America’s Got Talent,” NBC’s sister program, which starts its fourth season on Tuesday. Both the American and U.K. versions are made by the same company, FremantleMedia.

Executives are already counting on Boyle, who was the eventual runner-up on “Britain’s Got Talent.” One NBC promo starts with a shot of her singing on the British show — a video seen by tens of millions of viewers online — while a voice-over says, “This June, the international sensation comes home to America.” Viewers might need a second or two to register that the “sensation” being referred to is the “Got Talent” format, not Boyle.

susan-boyleCalling her “the television equivalent of Viagra,” Piers Morgan, a judge on both the British and American versions of “Got Talent,” says the producers are giving “serious consideration” to having Boyle appear in some fashion on the U.S. show.

“In terms of the potential effect she could have on ratings, the British show jumped nearly 50% because of Susan,” Morgan said in an interview. “And I believe the American show could do the same.” NBC’s Season 3 premiere last June drew 12.9 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. Simon Cowell, the “American Idol” judge who created the “Got Talent” format, told reporters in April that the show was a “sleeping giant” and that Boyle could help the program double or triple its ratings this season.

But some analysts are skeptical about whether “America’s Got Talent” will see any long-term benefit from Boyle, a plain-looking, very shy woman who stunned judges with her powerful voice. Whether the show can find American contestants with similarly compelling back stories is an open question. In its first three seasons, none of the “America’s Got Talent” contestants sparked anything even close to Boyle’s wildfire popularity.

“It’s unlikely the show will be able to create talent again the way they did with ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ and Susan Boyle,” said John Rash, of the Minneapolis ad firm Campbell-Mithun.

But that won’t stop NBC and Fremantle from trying. The network is heavily promoting a family act who told the judges during taped auditions earlier this spring that they began rehearsing as singers after their mother was paralyzed from a head-on auto collision with a drunk driver. Their contest song? “God Bless America.”

“I think a lot of viewers would turn up for ‘America’s Got Talent’ with or without the Susan Boyle phenomenon,” said Paul Telegdy, NBC’s new reality programming chief. “We have had our own phenomenon come out of the show. I remind people that Terry Fater is the most-paid reality show contestant of all time.” Fater is the ventriloquist/comedian/impersonator who won the $1 million top prize in 2007 and has a multimillion-dollar deal performing at the Mirage on the Las Vegas Strip.

By Scott Collins and Maria Elena Fernandez | CONTINUE READING TO THE LA TIMES News story…

10/1 America’s Got Talent Finally: The Winner Unveiled!

What do we care about in a winner takes all finale? Who won!! What do we get? Usually not much else, but we have to get through the hour to find out who the grand champion is.

There was way too much Jerry and some rather boring performances except for the Leona Lewis “Better in Time” act.

Jerry made the insight “everybody wants their favorite to win”. Well, Jerry, we didn’t think they wanted their favorite to lose. We will tell you, you aren’t our favorite.

Time for the one at a time elimination, let’s see how we did…

First out: Queen Emily

Clearly the least talented.

Second To Depart: Donald Braswell

Looks like he bored the audience too.

Well, we have to say that so far we are right on for what we expected. Could it continue? Not quite.

Third to go… Nuttin But Stringz

No idea what people were thinkin’. These guys were 1 or 2, but they didn’t get to the final 2? Still, not too shabby for the final pick of the night.

Second Place?? Eli Mattson

Won’t matter, we know who we will be listening to on CD in the next year, and it won’t be Neil.

First Place! Neil E. Boyd!!

We don’t totally believe that America voted for an Opera Singer. And we know people would not pay to see an Opera Singer by himself in Vegas. So, we have no clue what this finale was all about.

Still, Neil is good and we hope next year, we have fewer singers in the finale.

9/24 America’s Got Talent Finals, So Hard to Choose!

Tonight, AGT was better than usual thanks to President Bush. AGT compacted the show and reduced the commercial count because the President had used up a ton of time to tell us how badly the economy is doing and how they want a scant 700 billion bucks to save the day. How did it happen? We don’t know, but we aren’t thinking too many people would vote for Bush in this competition.

We were grateful for the result though. AGT was short, compact, tight, quick and entertaining. Normally it would have been so drawn out, and it was so much better with the judges being quick and Jerry talking much less, awesome.

Now the acts.

Nuttin But Stringz (8/10)

As usual, very dynamic with tons of energy, and, with help, the only act that could do a Vegas performance someone might pay for long term. The audience loved it. The judges stood for the ovation. An amazing performance after which it took a while to calm the audience. Their biggest problem. They went first. That is a very tough slot to win when the voters can’t vote until the end of the show. We didn’t give them the highest score because they are depending more and more on hired hands. Other dancers and performers to enhance their performance. We suppose that is normal for Vegas, but for us it cheapens the act.

Donald Braswell (6/10)

“You Raise Me Up” after I have fallen asleep listening to you. Donald sings “nice”, We could see him doing the national anthem nationwide, I could see him doing Broadway, We could see him doing anything but a concert weekly in Vegas that anyone would want to see. Sorry Donald. You sing great. Honest. But the judges even looked asleep at the end.

Neil E. Boyd (8/10)

They cleared the stage for Neil. They had to because he wouldn’t fit on one stage otherwise. But the adjustment was something they would have to do for Queen Emily anyway. Neil has a hamburger eating competition next week if this doesn’t work out. He listened to the judges and did some incredibly boring opera. And you know, maybe if someone is looking for a real huge man to sing Opera, he will do fine. He has a quality voice and could perform in Opera just about anywhere, but he could not have his own show on Vegas. Maybe a permanent Opera show though, something that centered on him but was a much bigger show. That could work. But we are not sure enough America will recognize it, and they would need a massive stage to hold him and anyone else.

Eli Mattson (9/10)

Time for some Phil Collins, “Against All Odds”. Eli had a problem with tonight’s song, which has to do with a disappearing voice at the beginning and end of verses. We think it could be just be a proper microphone adjustment because of his style. Eli has a lot of inflection in his voice that leads to soft and louder moments that are part of his technique. But the microphone cannot be set flat or it doesn’t pick up his voice on the softer moments. Eli was great, but has one major problem; he is no Vegas act. So, what do you vote for? Talent or Vegas?

Queen Emily (6/10)

We said when we originally saw her, “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings”. Well, they are once again going to have Emily sing last. An advantage clearly, but so far, we haven’t thought much of her talent since her first week. She had a chance to choose a killer song, and chose a boring one. “One Moment In Time” is a classic, but it is boring and has to be driven by an incredible voice. Emily doesn’t have it. Back to donuts.

Here is our selection:

Eli was once again better than anyone on the stage. He needs a quality microphone, but overall, no one touches his creativity and talent.

A dark horse is Nuttin But Stringz, but they went first and by the end, America may forget to vote for them. We think they are the only unique act left so deserve the votes to at least be close with Eli even if they don’t win.

Neil was great, and if you could picture a long running Opera show on Vegas, Neil could pull it off as the center of that show, but it would have to be a large show. Very large.

Eli and Nuttin But Stringz are so close that it could go either way. We will leave it for you to pick.

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