The latest installment of "America's Got Talent" delivered another round of auditions from St. Louis, a city often overlooked by the producers. This episode raises some serious questions about ethics and morals. More specifically, is this talent competition encouraging people to put their lives in jeopardy for a little fame and fortune?
"America's Got Talent" sends St. Louis performers to "the lions."
From week-to-week, this ongoing talent search resembles the bloodthirsty entertainment of Ancient Rome more and more. This time, those at risk are a mixed bag of talented hopefuls and wannabes left to the mercy of three lions named Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne, and Howie Mandel.
In the case of retired computer consultant Tom Bonham, the event was mostly harmless. Bonham, a self-proclaimed puppeteer, created characters out of household products, including brushes and an old bleach bottle. Bonham had heart, but not much talent, so he was dispatched quickly.
Spencer Horsman, a young escape artist, offered up a much more disturbing act. Host Nick Cannon helped secure Horsman in a straitjacket before the young man was lifted into what can only be described as a death trap. His escape was a little too close to be considered clever stunt work. From all indications, Horsman could have been killed in front of a live audience.
Is it worth placing your life and your future in danger at the mercy of three celebrity judges? Horsman said he has scars and the hospital visits to prove his dedication to his craft. The judges sent him to Vegas with the hopes of seeing what else he can do.
This kind of irresponsibility brings to mind "That's Incredible," a classic television show featuring people who performed dangerous stunts. The show came under fire when guests such as Steve Lewis were seriously injured while performing. Lewis attempted to jump over two speeding cars, catching his foot on the second car instead of landing safely. An earlier contestant put on a flame-resistant suit and ran through a tunnel of fire, suffering horrific burns as a result.
The Ancient Romans reportedly watched gladiators fight to the death, but hasn't modern society grown beyond that blood lust?
How young is too young?
Kid performers are a staple of "America's Got Talent," but do tiny tots need to be thrust in the spotlight? On stage at the Fox Theater in St. Louis, pint-sized Issac Brown bubbled over with personality and charm. Is this little charmer being forced to grow up much too soon?
Brown sang "One More Chance," a song made popular by Michael Jackson when he was not much older than Brown. This little boy seems genuine right now, but the pressures of show business could chew him up and spit him out. Brown is going to Vegas for the next round, however.
"America's Got Talent" is supposed to give us more Susan Boyle moments, not leave the viewer profoundly disturbed.