America’s Got Talent RoundUp

Created by Simon Cowell, Ken Warwick, Cécile Frot-Coutaz, Jason Raff

Presented by Jerry Springer (2007-Present), Regis Philbin(2006)

Judges Piers Morgan, David Hasselhoff, Brandy Norwood (2006), Sharon Osbourne (2007-Present)

Running time
Varies

Original channel
NBC

Original run June 21, 2006 – present

W hile America’s Got Talent is entertaining, the judges rate very low on the scale of reality show judges. Their quips are predictable, constantly repeated, and the most creative thing they contribute during a performance is the press of the buzzer during an annoying or bad performance.  If you don’t hear Hasselhoff say, “That is what this show is all about!” at least once a week, you probably missed a week.

What really makes this show entertaining are the exceptional off-beat acts we could never see anywhere. A cowboy that can lasso the audience, a magic act that dazzles like Married Magic act David and Dania that change costumes right in front of your eyes Or perhaps an Elvis impersonator that is so original and talented you would swear he may be better than Elvis himself. It would, however, be much better to stick to that theme and not make this just another place for American Idol wannabes or rejects to get another chance, so it would be better for the show to cut most singers out of the competition rather than allow every one that has even a decent voice to get to the finals. The other sickening thing about the show is the elderly and kid factor. Any kid that can sing decently or any elderly person gets special treatment, wasting spaces for real talent.

The camera work on the show is horrible. When we are watching a performance, we want to judge it ourselves. But the America’s Got Talent cameras are all over the stage, on the audience and on the judges’ faces during the middle of critical parts of many performances. The television audience doesn’t need to see Hasselhoff’s face ten times during a dance routine. And they really don’t care about his reaction until the end, if they care at all. The live audience isn’t watching his face, they are watching the performance. Why do we have to see Pierce’s ugly puss (the straight-faced British judge that is a Simon Cowell wanna be) in the middle of a potentially prize winning act? We see him enough before and after.

America's Got Talent

All that said, this is a majorly entertaining show with some of the most amazing and unique acts ever seen on television. Who can resist seeing twenty dancers all clog in step on a Las Vegas stage? Or perhaps a magician that you have never seen that stuns the audience. Or last year’s amazing victor, Terry Fator, a puppeteer of unmatched talent and an unparalleled master ventriloquist.

This show rates number 3 on our list of favorite reality shows. If they fixed the camera problem and got rid of the “too many singers” problems, it may even make it to number 2.

Last Comic Standing RoundUp

Created by Peter Engel

Presented by Jay Mohr (Seasons 1-3)
Anthony Clark (Season 4)
Bill Bellamy (Seasons 5-6)

Running time 60 minutes (including commercials)

Original channel NBC

Original run June 1, 2003 – present

Premise: An American reality talent competition; Select a comedian among the roster to win $250,000 grand prize, including an exclusive talent deal with NBC.

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L ast Comic Standing brings up the rear on our list of favorites. It was a big favorite of ours in the first two years, but last year they seem to be stretching the fabric of humor. Last year was a disaster, with promising talent after promising talent ignored while boring acts were consistently chosen by the judges who appeared to never laugh as they picked the people they wished to torture us with. There was one true talent in the group, Lavelle Crawford, and he made it to the finals with such hysterical lines as “Why are you breathing that heavy?” “So I can live!! What Kind of Stupid Question is That?” And did he win? No. It was a joke. I guess that is appropriate for a Comedy show though.

Funny KuThis year, they have stepped it up.  The talent appears to be much better, but the recent elimination of Esther Ku tells me that the biggest reason someone does not win in this show, and in many other reality shows involving performances, is he or she had to go first.  The last performance always always seems to garner the most votes.  And the first elimination show of this season was no exception, the first act went home while the final act garnered the most votes, when there was little difference in the quality of the performances.  In fact, I laughed more at the first.  But people’s memories are short, and that is why, as Alonzo Bodden said, we invented instant replay, “Because we can’t remember something we just saw five seconds ago.”

The show should also have more performance competition and less hype.  Allowing the contestants to vote off other contestants forcing them to go into elimination just makes it mean spirited.  I would rather see more of a face off of the talents like on American Idol.  And the viewing audience does not get to vote at all.  They leave it to the live audience, perhaps leaving their viewers a bit detached.

That said, winners like Josh Blue, Alonzo Bodden and Dat Phan have made me laugh more at a television comic than even the professionals making millions touring.  There are times I am nearly in tears laughing at this show.  So, if they continue to step up the talent, and the judges can continue to pick winners like they did this year, this could move up on our list.