It's hard to do something that no one has ever seen before. But only on "America's Got Talent" will you see ordinary citizens desperate to do so. We watch this reality competition in addition to (or in lieu of) all the other "talent" reality shows because it ascribes to the belief that everybody is good at something. As we tuned in for the premiere of the 7th installment, we learned several solid lessons that will perhaps be echoed throughout the season. Here are ten of them…
Lesson #1: Sweet and adorable will only get you so far.
Jorge and Alexa are an adorable father/daughter singing duo. And they are so incredibly sweet that the judges felt compelled to send them both through. However they are likely to get clobbered later if the precociousness is overshadowed by flashier acts.
Lesson #2: Clogging is now officially cool.
You are thinking that if you've seen clogging once you've seen it a thousand times---that is until you have seen the teen girls of Elements Dance Crew. We've seen clogging before, but not as crisp and whimsical as this. You can literally see dozens of dance genres blended into the tight choreography, paying specific homage to "vintage" African-American styles of dance. These young ladies bring theater to their odd style---like bouncy, little broken down dolls with permanent smiles etched on their faces. Pure brilliance.
Lesson #3: $1 million is a very accessible number in the public mind.
"What would you do for a million dollars?" That's the ultimate vibe that this program gives off. That it's humanly possible to score such a big round pile of money for showcasing a random talent is incredibly attractive.
Lesson #4: We don't like magic tricks that aren't really magic.
Aoni Jackson, a stripper/magician is ridiculed for his small package, man boobs, and watery magic tricks. Magicians already have it rough; they have to engage us right away and can't afford to take too long to get the tricks going. Needless to say this act didn't make it through.
Lesson #5: AGT isn't exactly the place for hip-hop…
Chris is a guy who freestyles. To his delight, the judges and audience seem to like his simple, yet clever little rhyme. (Disclaimer: the hip-hop community and all the street MCs who "freestyle for a living" are probably insanely offended, if not outraged by Chris's lukewarm presentation.) Just sayin'.
Lesson #6: AGT's child stars are no wussies.
This competition gives children the opportunity to become child stars. But only if they're really, really good. That means that the little singers must sound almost as good as adults. Any other acts usually include some element of danger. Danger + Kids = ratings.
Lesson #7: Nick Cannon is The World's Most Lovable Cornball
Some may call him Mr. Mariah. But he doesn't seem to mind. And perhaps neither do we. In any case, Nick's antics on the show have the kind of fluffy comic relief necessary for family viewing.
Lesson #8: AGT is like a science fair for adults.
William Close and his massive man-made musical instrument consisted of hundreds of feet of wire. Using the entire balcony to anchor his sound, he amazes us with his sheer use of skill and science. This show reaffirms the world's hidden respect for nerds.
Lesson #9: Looks still matter in show business.
You can hardly blame the world for gasping in awe at someone shooting a crossbow at another human being. But audiences swooned for other reasons. Ben Blaque (who happens to have a Jonathan Schaech-like appeal) and his crossbow contribute to the show's requisite perils. "Anything could go wrong," he menacingly tells us. Yes, this act is dangerous, even if he's using a scope to aim. This performance is impressive for now. But isn't he cute?
Lesson #10: If you can hold a venomous scorpion in your mouth, you could win $1 million.
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