The fourth season of NBC’s summer reality competition series begin on Tuesday, June 23rd 9/8 C with a two-hour show. The same trio of clowns err judges are back: Piers Morgan, David Hasselhoof and Sharon Osbourne but NBC says bye to Jerry Springer! Hurray for that!
Nick Cannon joins “America’s Got Talent” as the new host. According to its about page at NBC.com, Nick is:
Cited by People magazine as one of the “Top Ten Most Successful Young People in Hollywood,” Cannon also was featured on the cover of Black Enterprises’ “40 Under 40.” Cannon, 28, is a successful, multi-faceted entertainer: film star, comedian, musician, writer and executive producer of his own hit TV shows.
A San Diego native, Cannon began performing at the age of eight after his grandfather left him several instruments as gifts. Through what Cannon recalls as “a lot of trial and failure,” he recorded his first song at home on his boom box. Soon after, Cannon took to the stage to perform his music along with standup comedy.
In 2008, Cannon hosted the Teen Choice Awards for FBC, and most recently was the host/deejay for ABC’s highly successful Presidential Inaugural Neighborhood Ball. Cannon’s other film credits include the Sundance Film Festival films “Weapons” and “American Son.” His most recent role in the psychological thriller, “The Killing Room.” He now has his own multi-media company — NCredible Entertainment — which has several TV shows and films in development.
So long as Jerry Springer isn’t around anymore, we’re happy. America’s Got Talent will be on every Tuesday night all summer long at 9/8pm Central.
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.
Have a question for the two candidates? Publish it here by leaving a comment!
The Hard Questions For McCain
Do you feel that Senator Palin is Ready to assume leadership in the Whitehouse as well as Joe Biden?
How can you institute a tax credit on Health Care without just allowing the insurers to raise prices and consume that tax credit instead of the people that are purchasing the health care?
Isn’t taxing health care over a certain dollar amount discriminatory against those that live in areas with a higher cost of living?
How long will we be in Iraq in your eyes?
You speak of a tax cut, but what form will it take and how will it help America?
What is your primary focus on immigration?
Could you explain your privatization plan on Social Security?
If you are elected President, do you plan to reinstate the draft, and if so, under what circumstances?
The Hard Questions For Obama
How do we reduce our dependency on foreign oil ASAP?
How do you roll back Bush Tax Cuts without raising taxes? Aren’t raising taxes and rolling back tax cuts the exact same thing?
How can you say you will solve Social Security Problems by taxing people a decade from now, when you know you won’t even be in office by then? Wouldn’t that just be deferring responsibility to your successor?
How do we bail on Iraq without a clear plan. Isn’t blaming it on the Iraqis who are getting killed, bombed and intimidated by terrorist factions unfair?
What is your primary focus on immigration?
Your program costs equal the entire national deficit. How will that be paid for? If you say it is closing loopholes, what loopholes? If it is taxing people earning over 250,000 a year, can you show us the math on that?
What is your viewpoint on repealing legislation that directly impacts civil liberties, such as the Patriot Act?
To add your questions, leave comments below, and we will incorporate them into the article!! Contribute and speak your mind!
There you have it, the final five.Bear in mind that not one of these talents is a long term nightly Vegas act except maybe Nuttin But Stringz with a bunch of help.Four out of the five are singers.Dull.This is now, other than NBS, just a singing contest.Sad really with the variety of talents they had on this show, and another reason why we think they should not have singers on the show or at least limit them somehow.This is going to be an amateur American Idol.
But at least the folks that were eliminated this week pretty much made sense, especially the child acts.They weren’t good last night and it would have been a shame to keep them and, Jessica really had to go.
All that said, here is our expected order of the talent
2.Nuttin But Stringz
3.Neil E. Boyd
We expect Eli or NBS to win.We think Queen Emily does not belong on the list, but Donald is boring, so he may not as well.But it doesn’t matter, there is one winner, our money is on Eli.
You could have missed the first 15 minutes and missed nothing.
1. Paul Salos led off. He did New York, New York. He fouled up some parts. He really didn’t sound totally like Frank, but he was pretty good. Then he forgot the words, and had a reasonable finish, but nothing fantastic. Piers actually buzzed him.
2. Kaitlyn Maher was next, and she appeared, with commercials and filler, 8 full minutes after Paul. Bearing in mind these are two minute acts, that says what this show really is. It has become America’s got Ads. At Any rate, Kaitlyn did Call My Name (I’ll Be There), was real cute, her voice was cracking, she was really not good at all. But she has the cute going. If cute is worth a million bucks, she is worth a million. Talent-wise, not much. Other than Piers, they all pandered to her. We thought *TGFFF.
3. It was a full 7 minutes from the time the judges shut up until Donald Braswell came on. He did his usual show tune style music, Broadway style. We would tell you how well he did, but we fell asleep, but we knew we would have plenty of time for a nap given the 7 minute gap between the acts. He was done in 2 minutes. He has a strong voice and could do a Broadway show. He is just so boring.
4. This time, with filler and fluff, it was again 7 minutes before Jessica Price took the stage. She still sounds like a frightened little mouse when she sings. The song is nice, and she has it going OK, but she wouldn’t get to the final 20 in Idol. She had the chorus down nice, and she has a very sexy appeal so someone could make her popular, but it couldn never be purely based on her voice. And she would have to cut a CD first of studio promoted music before anyone would pay to see her on stage.
5. The time, between the commercials, fluff and the next act was, you guessed it, 7 minutes. Joseph Hall started rising in smoke and sang “Satisfy Me”, by, who else, Elvis. He actually had the Elvis act down better this week. He had the stage moves down and seemed comfortable performing them. As before, though, when he hits the real hard notes, he ain’t Elvis, but he is entertaining and the ladies are crazed about him.
6. 7 more minutes… Neil E. Boyd began. He did “All By Myself”. Going for the powerful chorus, but the slow parts were a bit harsh to listen to. The chorus did not show off his powerful voice as well as it could, but he did take the opportunity to hit a few power notes and had a strong finale. We like him, but find him boring like Donald Braswell. But we are pulling for him because he really could use the money for donuts.
7. 8 minutes of commercials and fluff to the Wright Kids. The kids started with another kids tune. “ABC”. Lead was flat for the first verse. Chorus OK, but clearly not Jackson Five Quality. The performance had no energyand was very boring. Poorly done. We thought they had it going last week. They lost it this week, and it was not the time to lose it.
8. They only got to 6 minutes wasted before they brought on Queen Emily. We were impressed. With the gap, not Emily, only 6 minutes, wow!! She sang “You’re Going To Love Me”. She pushed it and was driving a bit too hard, yelling at times. We know the lady can wale, and she was better than she was last week, but she is not at the same level of talent as the women she imitates and she was trying too hard. We think she is entertaining, but wouldn’t pay to see her. Still, she will likely make the top 5 given the screw up eliminations from last week.
9. Six more minutes and it was time for Nuttin But Stringz. We really like this duo, and we were expecting them to deliver huge. They started off with a marching drum sort of group to build things up. We still cannot place what it is that is entertaining about them. They did have to bring in more fluff like gals hanging from scarfs and swinging from the rafters, but that is typical Vegas stuff. By the time they were done, these guys had their bow strings all shredded. We did not like them as much as last week, but we liked them bunch none the less.
10. Seven minutes to Eli Mattson. He did an Elton Song “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word”. He should be a cinch for the final, but he needs to bring it big next week. This week he was a tad on the boring side.
If you do not have a DVR and you like this show, get one. We watched a two hour show that had 20 minutes of performance in it. That left 1 hour and fourty minutes of filler, most of it painful commercials and fluff of approximately 7 minutes between each act. TGFFF is worth every penny, even if you just get to skip Jerry.
Our contestant order and scores:
1. Eli Mattson (8/10)
2. Nuttin But Stringz (8/10)
3. Neil E. Boyd (8/10)
4. Queen Emily (7/10)
5. Joseph Hall (7/10)
6. Paul Salos (7/10)
7. Donald Braswell (7/10)
8. Jessica Price (6/10)
9. Wright Kids (6/10)
10. Kaitlyn Maher (6/10)
Our definite eliminations this week are the child acts. This week, for them to get to the finals, they would have to get major child sympathy. Neither act was good.
Jessica should not be here and lucked out last week getting cast on the first night when the talent was so very weak. She is pretty, but she is just really not that good. Maybe she could be better in a studio and with singing training. She doesn’t have a horrible voice, but she isn’t at Eli’s, Neil’s or even Emily’s level. But she has a look that could be played up if she found her niche. Maybe she could even step into Idol after a year of singing lessons.
Our definite winners this week are Eli Mattson, Nuttin But Stringz and Neil E. Boyd. All performed up to par and all deserve a berth in the finals, even though we think none could do an hour long Vegas act day after day.
The most talented of the remaining three is Donald Braswell. He could do Broadway, but he is a tad old for that and we wouldn’t pay to see just him sing. Joseph Hall does a mean Elvis, but he doesn’t sing extremely well. But man oh man does he get the girls going. Paul Salos does a pretty good impersonation of Frank. And we could picture him as a background act in Vegas. It is a shame they displaced such great talent last week due to the poor format, or we wouldn’t have such a poor group of finalists to choose from.
Hmmm. We are going to cop out and let you choose. Vote for your favorite among our bottom three.
1. Paul Salos
2. Joseph Hall
3. Donald Braswell
4. Other (you think one of our eliminations belongs in the finals)
One of our readers pointed out something we did not get from the explanation of how they were doing the votes tonight on the ten finalists. There were 20 total acts, and we thought and felt that a total vote competition was appropriate. To not allow the acts from each night to compete against each other introduces a completely random selection into the mix. An unfair flip of the coin, not chosen by the audience or the judges.
But our reader was right. Five were selected from the first night and five from the second. And the second night’s talent was vastly better, so it ruined a chance at a spectacular finale integrating mediocre talent from the first night.
There were two truly sad events on the show . Sharon voted for Daniel Jens to go into the top 10. Sharon then followed up by not even remembering the name of Jonathan Burkin, referring to him as “Baton Boy”!! This convinces us even more that the judges are useless and those that plan the show are pathetic.
Out of our top 4, 3 were selected. But this was primarily because of the ill-conceived format not allowing the second night’s talent to compete with the first. Jonathan Burkin was fantastic and better than anyone that performed the first night. But he got eliminated because of the flip of a coin.
Sarah Lenore was fantastic. She could compete on Idol. Eli is better, but the selections from the first night that displaced Sarah were a joke. Fat Lady (Emily) doesn’t hold a candle to Sarah. Paul Salos? Please. Donald Braswell? We are sleeping already. Sarah blows them away, and we hope she shows up on Idol and makes fools out of the people that run this show. The fact that Jessica Price is in the final 10 and Daniel Jens got within one vote of the top 10 while Sarah was sent packing demonstrates even more, this show is just way too random.
All three of our dark horses were picked. Paul Salos, who we thought was better this week than last, but he wouldn’t have made it if he performed the second night. Donald Braswell made it and that is sad as well. He is a niche performer. We would not pay to see him other than as part of a much broader show. He is a snoozer, sorry to say. And the child sympathy act got through. Kaitlyn is super cute, but to even compare her to some of the talents eliminated in her favor is an insult to intelligence.
We were Wright on the Wright Kids. And we thought the vote against Extreme Dance FX sad.
We agreed with Joseph Hall for the top 10 as well.
So where does that leave us? We have three entries in the top ten that just plain to not belong there and do not have a prayer. But at least they got rid of Jens. Finally!!
The three mistakes:
1. Kaitlyn Maher – We said we would not be disappointed with Kaitlyn being in the top ten, but when we actually saw the talent discarded in her favor, we realized we were wrong. She could not sustain an act in Vegas and the judges and audience know it. This was all about child sympathy. 2. Paul Salos – Paul actually could carry a long act doing his show imitating Sinatra in Vegas, but no one would pay good money for it. He could do an act in front of the slot machines, but talent-wise he doesn’t even qualify as a puppet for Terry Fator. This was the elderly sympathy vote combined with random luck he got to go on the first night when the talent was weakest. 3. Queen Emily – The fat lady can sing. She can’t win. We wouldn’t pay to see her sing one song, let alone a show on Vegas. She was a poor choice.
America didn’t really blow this. America’s Got Talent is primarily to blame with this lame format and incredibly poor choices for each night, clearly placing the weaker talent on the first night.
In fact, though, this pointed out something random about the entire show. The choice of talents for each week can result in incredibly unfair comparisons and eliminations. We have a couple of suggestions.
1. Get rid of Jerry
2. Get rid of the judges
3. Have an overall elimination competition more like Idol that allows everyone to compete for America’s votes.
We think that the random choice of talent from night to night deprives America of the best competition.
We think Eli wins anyway barring elderly and child sympathy votes, but those have been particularly strong this year so you never know. America is gullible when it comes to these acts and the show panders to them.
So let’s order the TOP 10 talents so far (bearing in mind this is before their final performances).
1. Eli Mattson
2. Nuttin But Stringz
3. Neil E. Boyd
4. The Wright Kids
5. Joseph Hall
6. Jessica Price
7. Paul Salos
8. Donald Braswell
9. Kaitlyn Maher
10. Queen Emily
However, we are a bit confused. The judges often infer that the reason for choosing a talent to move on is whether they can “sustain” an act on Vegas that lasts over an hour.
But it seems like really, we are voting for talent, not Vegas. Eli, for example, is hugely talented, but that doesn’t make him a long term Vegas act. There just aren’t too many of those, and those that do Vegas regularly are older names like Frankie Vallie or Sinatra before he passed away. Pearl Jam or Marc Cohn may show up on occasion, but they aren’t there every night. It just doesn’t seem practical to consider a singer for such an act.
That said, that rules out Emily, Jessica, Donald and Neil, none of which are as talented as Eli and none of which, we feel would And Kaitlyn is cute, but she could never sustain a Vegas Act long term. She could be part of one, but not THE act.
Nuttin but Strings we think could, but would need a huge amount of choreography work and vastly more diversity than they currently have. They are hugely talented and great to watch, but for over an hour every day on Vegas?
The Wright Kids could pull it off for a while. But we think that America would tire of it quickly. Again, they are more of a touring show than a fixture in Vegas. We would like to see them at a local show perhaps, but we are not interested when in Vegas in paying to see them.
One thing there are a bunch of in Vegas in lasting acts are niche performers. Female imitators, comedians, magicians, etc. Paul Salos and Joseph Hall come to mind. We don’t think people would pay to see Paul, but he could sustain a more minor act after the initial hooplah was over. SImilarly, Joseph, with good choreography and some more practice could be a huge draw of young girls, at least for a while. And Elvis impersonators are not uncommon at all in Vegas.
So now we have a conundrum. Do we vote for the best talent or the act we think could survive in Vegas the longest? If the former, the list above makes up our choices. But if the latter, we would have to consider two of the less talented stars as the winner. Is it “America’s Got Talent” or “Choose the Vegas Star”?
The show started with the greatest new act we have seen period. Terry Fator!! He brought on our favorite turtle to sing for Sharon. Winston did a great Marvin Gaye tune. No one knows how Terry does this. He sings better than some we have seen on American Idol, without moving his lips and through a puppet.
Terry then brought out Maynard Thomkins, an Elvis impersonator which was specifically related to the later talent, Joseph Hall, that actually does his own Elvis impersonation. You know, Terry can do anybody. He can impersonate Frank, Elvis, even the great Roy Orbison and have you feeling his puppet is an awesome singer. We may be able to eliminate all other acts on this show and just make them into Terry Fator puppets. Great performance Terry. 100 million bucks? It wasn’t enough.
No we would like to explain our title. You should be your own judge on this show because the judges are all useless. Piers is a pompous Simon Cowell wannabe that should just be discarded as the buffoon he truly is. Sharon has an edge, but brings little to the show. And Hasselhoff should go back to talking to cars. Jerry, most of all, is a waste of air time. So, you can save huge amounts of time watching the acts without listening to the judges at all. And the show is infinitely better!! Be your own judge.
Act 1: Sick Step (8/10)
When we were in Boston this past week-end we saw some break dancers at Quincy Market. They were all pretty good, and it was fun, but you can see the difference with Sick Step. They are pros, well choreographed and fun. The synchronization was great and each dancer seems to bring a strength. None are just filler. They are as good as some of the So You Think you can Dance Breakers, and we genuinely love them.
Act 2: Donald Braswell (7/10)
OK, this guy can sing huge. His voice is spectacular, but what comes to mind as he performs is his name should be Donald Boresustohell. The music is totally yesterday. But he has a niche. He could perform on Broadway or in a Broadway show and kill it. He did a Phantom of the Opera song and it was spectacular. We just find him boring and think America will as well, fake tan or no.
Act 3: Joseph Hall (8/10)
Joseph is an Elvis impersonator. In this show, he had some classic Elvis style and moves. He also had the song down fairly well, Suspicious Minds. But he doesn’t have the voice on the power notes. But he has every girl in the audience standing or on their knees screaming for him.
His tan actually looks real and his chest shaved. He gets a point just for his looks. Women will love this guy and he is a draw. But in comparison to Maynard Thomkins, we don’t think he is that much better talent wise. Tough call.
Act 4: Taubl Family (6/10)
New Title, the In Trouble Family. The women came on and sang. The lead was good, but the harmonies were awful early. As the boys came in, they were strong again, and the boys were the stars last week that pulled it off for them, but you know what? They lost. Next.
Act 5: Sarah Lenore (8/10)
This gal belongs on Idol. She has the talent and look to pull it off. She may not win, but she could give most Idol’s a run for their money. She chose a ridiculously popular song to sing. She chose “Bleeding Love”, by Leona Lewis. And as we mentioned last night, that gets you compared to the original, and that makes it real tough to judge. But we loved it. She made it her own, put on a “live” performance of the song and was fantastic. Sara is beautiful and a hot performer. She can definitely be a star.
Act 6: Nuttin But Stringz (9/10)
OK, you just have to see these guys. They are great. It seems simple. A couple of violins and some dance moves and overall, it just seems like a losing act. Then you watch it, and you take them to the top. They draw you in and up. We have no idea what it is. We have heard better violin. We have seen better dancing. We have seen better choreography. We haven’t seen a better act (except Terry).
Act 7: Kaitlyn Maher (7/10)
This act is difficult for us, and we are sure it is difficult for America. The girl is incredibly cute, but that isn’t a reason to vote for her; well it is, but it would have to be purely for child sympathy. But Kaitlyn has something else. She is 4 and remembers every word of difficult songs. She walks and waves in this way that is so cute you know it is practiced, and she pulls it off wonderfully. Even more stunning is she hits every verse with perfect timing. This is something many professionals fail at. Her only failure is also in her youth. We cannot compare her talent to that of adults. If this was America’s Got Talent for Children, she would win. But how can we give her the same ranking as someone like Sarah Lenore? We just can’t. We are not sure if America will, but we wouldn’t feel too bad if she made the finals.
Act 8: Tapping Dads (8/10)
Wow, these guys really brought it tonight. Great choreography, fantastic showmanship. We could see them on Vegas. They know who the star is, and they know how to play off him. Their synchronization, perfect. We raised them a point watching them again. We had them going home this week, but now we are not so sure. They hit it and they deserve a berth in the finals, but so do so many others!!
Act 9: Eli Mattson (9/10)
Eli had a couple of mild intonation problems at the beginning, but the piano was great and he killed the verse. He picked a very difficult song by Alicia Keys. “If I Ain’t Got You”.
We liked his version better. He loses one point because he belongs on Idol. But then again, his piano is killer so maybe his diversity says he belongs here. Eli will have a CD out soon, we can feel it.
Some people want it all Eli. Some people just have it all. Congrats guy.
Act 10: Jonathan Burkin (9/10)
Baton Twirler Wizard. (Performed to “Pinball Wizard”). Jonathan brings together a world of talent. At first you see a guy twirling batons, and you think it is kind of corny, but really, as you watch it closely, you get it. The guy is a massively talented juggler; he just uses batons. He is a gymnast, executing flips and complicated dance moves with aplomb while juggling. And the guy is a major showman, but he does it in jeans and a T-Shirt! Jonathan is a finalist. Period. If he drops the baton once, he is doomed, but he hasn’t yet.
1. Jonathan Burkin
2. Eli Mattson
3. Nuttin But Strings
4. Sarah Lenore
5. Tapping Dads
6. Joseph Hall
7. Sick Stuff
Not again. Another tie breaker. OK, 1-3 are golden. No removing them from the top 10. So who goes from the remaining 4? The acts from last night and tonight will be voted upon together, which confuses things even more. Going back to our review from last night, our only 9/10 act was Neil E Boyd. So, that picks 4/10 from the two nights for us.
1. Jonathan Burkin
2. Eli Mattson
3. Nuttin But Strings
4. Neil Boyd
Leaving 6 more, and we have so many that were so very close. Here are our remaining picks for the top 10.
5. Sarah Lenore
6. Joseph Hall
7. The Wright Kids
8. Extreme Dance FX
9. Tapping Dads
10. Sick Step