America's Got Talent Review: Wild Card Week, Everybody Deserves a 2nd Chance
After last week’s YouTube round and this week’s Wild Card shows America’s Got Talent seems to be trying the viewers patience by drawing out the season. These acts that performed on Tuesday night have already been voted off. Why does America have to vote them off again? I don’t even remember who has made it to the semi-finale round anymore because that was over three weeks ago.
Even with my grumblings about Wild Card Week, the Tuesday night and Wednesday results show were very enjoyable. The three judges each picked four of their favorite performers for a second shot at stardom. Some acts came back with new innovative routines and others reminded us why they got booted in the first place.
The Kinetic King- The Wild Card Show was a perfect venue for The Kinetic King’s comeback. He had a disastrous appearance last time when his popsicle stick kinetic sculpture didn’t go off as planned – actually it didn’t go off at all. This time with soda cans, cups and ping-pong balls his act went off without a hitch and nobody was happier than the King himself. Everybody roots for this guy and loves to see his crazy domino-like sculptures implode on stage.
Those Funny Little People Howie Mandel picked them to come back just to irritate Piers Morgan. I second this pick because Piers irritates me each week and I like seeing him aggravated. Piers feels the that the Little People cheapen the show and don’t belong amongst these other acts. He seems to forget that AGT is the perfect place for these goofy, plushy, dancing life-size gnomes. It’s not a singing competition Piers, it’s a variety show competition. That’s why you have acts on like jugglers, magicians, kiddie pool divers and Those Funny Little People. Howie understands this. He also understands that Piers doesn’t get it. That’s why he brought them back. ANYWAY, they performed to They Might Be Giants’ “Istanbul (Not Constantinople) .” It’s always pretty much the same routine but this time there was a camel involved. Everybody I was watching the show with laughed and enjoyed themselves, but then afterwards they all said the same thing: They shouldn’t go through. I agreed.
Avery and the Calico Cats have strangely grown on me. I think that they aren’t on par with the rest of the acts in the show but they definitely didn’t deserve the buzz that Piers gave them during their rendition of “Dynamite.” The adorable mini girl group’s performance was way too cute for some old bloated meany to just X them in the middle of their song. I might be growing soft in my old age, but why don’t you let the little girls, who were asked by the show to come back, sing for three minutes without you being a jerk Piers.
Seth Grabel isn’t a magician. Gob from Arrested Development is more of a magician than Grabel is. Grabel started the act with a rambling speech that sounded like he was reading off the back cover of “The Secret.” He then rolled around in a giant ring and then made an DeLorean appear behind a wall of smoke and pyrotechnics. It is not a good illusion if five-year-olds can tell how you did it. It was horrible…unless his whole performance is some sort or irony-soaked satire about cliched magicians and horrible magic tricks, then he’s brilliant. But I highly doubt that’s the case. There were three little kids in the car dressed up like the judges. The judges talked to the kids more than they did Grable after his performance. Also: Seth is a terrible name for a magician.
Shevonne sang her heart out on “Nobody’s Perfect,” but it wasn’t a memorable performance and it was boring. Shevonne seemed very happy with it though, and so did the judges. She’s a good example how hard it is to standout from the pack as a singer in this show.
West Springfield Dance Team The horror-themed dancers took to the stage again with a Joker inspired dance routine. I am a fan of their scary brand of high school dance team antics and I was thoroughly entertained by their performance. The judges, on the other hand, thought they did a better job last time…when they got voted off. It might be one of those things that works better on TV than in person.
J Chris Newberg got a second chance thanks to Howie. I am not a Newberg fan, but rather than doing a normal stand up routine he instead gave Piers Morgan a stand up roast, and that took some c0jones to do. Sadly most of the jokes were blunt, obvious, lame, almost non-jokes and that’s where Newberg fails. He doesn’t deliver the jokes like he should. He actually had a couple smart jokes about Piers that fell flat because he didn’t deliver them well. He also came off as defensive and petty instead of witty and affectionate. I’m guessing the “J” in J Chris Newberg doesn’t stand for Jokes (Zing!).
Yellow Designs Stunt Team The BMX bikers performed their stunts in pirate costumes this time around. Even with a couple blunders they were able to pull off an exciting set, though I still wonder how far you can take a BMX stunt act.
Charles Peachock The juggler was promising danger this time around and he gave us a couple of dropped swords. In the words of the judges, he blew it.
The Fiddleheads version of “Grenade” was a good idea in theory, but in actuality it didn’t quite work. I like them and their gimmick of blue-grassing top 40 hits. But no matter how good the lead singer sounds you need to showcase what really makes them different, and that’s the all string band. They didn’t do that and that’s a problem.
Summerwind Skippers lit their jump ropes on fire, which seems like the logical step every act on AGT takes-when in doubt light it on fire. In the Skippers case adding fire worked. They had some hiccups as well, but it was early on in the act and really didn’t effect the rest of the performance. When they mess up it helps to have a flaming rope being whipped around to distract people.
Landon Swank, did his best Houdini impression by being handcuffed and chained and then immersed in a padlocked tank of water and giving himself one minute to emerge. He emerged and it was a nice, tight, well done trick. Ta-da!
On Wednesday night they announced the winners of Wild Card Week and the four acts that came out on top were West Springfield Dance Team, The Kenetic King, Landon Swank and the Summerwind Skippers.
Some highlights from the results show were: a rousing performance from the touring company of Les Miserables which made me want to see the musical for the first time in my life. They were that good. There was also a lethargic performance by singer Cobie Caillat that felt more like a time filler.
And there was , of course, a bloated long-winded speech at the end of the show by Piers Morgan about how great he is. Sharon had to repeatedly ask him to shut up.
It is time to stop with these themed weeks and bringing in new acts and bringing back old ones…AGT is now getting down to business. In the next few weeks things are going to get exciting because competition is fierce and performers will have to fight hard to stay on the show or be voted off. It’s finally time to see if America really does got talent.
Season 6, Episodes 24 and 25 (original airdates August 17 and 18, 2011)
America’s Got Talent airs Tues/Wed nights at 8/7c on NBC
Images courtesy of Lewis Jacobs and NBC.