Wednesday, March 05, 2008

America's Got Talent (No, It Doesn't)

"UPDATE: If you came here as a result of the link from NBC, there are actually two articles of interest to be found. This article deals with my impressions of the taping itself. If you are primarily interested in the performers for this taping, please click here and you will get a full rundown.

Ok, folks. In just a few minutes we're going to begin loading you into the next staging area."

With those words the porcine mass of people pushed ever forward, stopped only by the resistance at the front of the crowd. I stood in the middle, crammed between the ass cheeks of one stranger and the genitals of another. The moistened stench of alcohol, sweat and cheap perfume threatened to overcome me.

You might be asking yourself, what am I doing within this herd? Why am I allowing this reeking group to shove me hither and thither, grinding against my body in places heretofore unexplored? The answer is simple. I'm here to see a tv show.

Let's back up a step. As I said, I'm here for the taping of a television show. (groan) An American television show. (shudders) A reality show. (shuddering groans)

I suppose it would behoove me to point out that I don't watch television. And I don't mean, "Oh, I only watch 6 or 7 hours a week", or "I only keep up with a handful of shows". No, I watch ONE show. It has 14 new episodes a year, so I watch exactly 7 hours of television a year. I gave tv up about 4 years ago and I've never looked back. (For the record, my single show is South Park.)

And yet, in spite of my general distate for television, when my sister called and asked if I'd like to join the swathing collective of dead eyed surburbanites hoping to catch a glimpse of "a star", my answer was a resounding "HELL YES!". The show in question that I'm attending is America's Got Talent. (For the record, no it doesn't.)

Being both masochistic and meticulous, I did my homework before attending this taping. America's Got Talent is essentially American Idol, except only about 1/5 of the acts are singers. The rest are alligator wranglers, dancers, comedians, puppet acts, ventriloquists and oh so much more.

It's a modern day Gong Show, where you have three judges capable of ending the act at any point. Once the act is complete the "talent's" ego is either demolished or boosted by:

A) Piers Morgan - Asshole Brit
B) Sharon Osbourne - Less assholish Brit
C) David Hasselhoff - The Hoff

After being dispensed from the stage the act has a follow up interview with none other than Jerry Springer.

As you can see, this is a class act all the way.

We stood in the main lobby for over an hour, our sweat and body odors mingling into a bouquet of Americana. Apparently it is rather shocking to admit to your fellow Americans that: You don't watch television; You've never heard of America's Got Talent; You don't give one shit either way, you're just here to absorb the idiocy.

At the appointed time the doors opened and we ever so slowly moved towards the auditorium. I have to admit, I couldn't help myself from mooing loudly every time we'd shuffle forward a few inches. They were only letting groups of four or five people in at one time and there were several hundred waiting in the lobby.

Ever so slowly we made our way to the auditorium until we were next in line. However, my sister's husband managed to get in ahead of us and demanded that we be let in with him. (He has a way with people. Any day with him is an adventure.)

Into the auditorium we plunged until the most audacious realization of the night hit me. They were choosing seats for us. But they weren't just filling in rows or evening out the crowd, no, there was a whole battalion of soulless bastards using headsets, verbal cues and hand signs to determine our seating based on our ATTRACTIVENESS. God forbid the American public looks at the tv and realizes that we are NOT all beautiful people.

I figured the jig was up at this point. I'm no prize pig. The last pig competition I was in I placed a dismal 12th, so I had a bad feeling about this. However, my brother-in-law, via whatever mystical power he holds over people managed to score us seats down front. By the judges. In fact, FOUR SEATS AWAY from the judges. Mind you, this means we won't be on camera much, but hey, at least they figured we were either attractive enough to be on tv or dangerous looking enough that they didn't dare fuck with us. (Thug 4 life, yo.)

I rather amusedly pointed out the two seats at the end of our row, separated from all the others and assumed that two rather ugly people would end up there. I didn't have the heart to tell those that took the seats that my theory proved out. (The previous wasn't a fair statement. They weren't UGLY, just non-traditional looking.)

The couple with their daughter that we had exchanged sweaty rubbings with in the lobby found themselves separated from their child, only because she was "hot" and they were "not".

What was most disconcerting about this was how blatant they were about the whole thing. The crew really were not hiding the fact that they were sectioning the crowd based on camera time and relative hotness.

Once all the cattle were staged on the killing floor, it was time for the warm up act; none other than mega star Frank Nicotero. To say that his humor came up a little short would be an understatement. To say that his punchlines begat a cacophonous symphony of crickets would be an understatement. To say that the very earth opened up and swallowed the auditorium whole, drawing us deeper into the sixth circle of Hell where we found ourselves trapped in the flaming tombs of heresy next to the Epicureans would be overdoing it. But honestly, not funny. At all.

Now bear in mind, we were here for a reality show, so the order of the night was catching America's honest and immediate reactions to what we were experiencing. So, to ensure that our reaction was as pure and "real" as possible, they did several shots of the crowd "laughing at something hysterical" or "reacting to something shocking" on the stage.

The shocking bit really sent me into giggles, as I can assure you that what I find shocking and what you find shocking are two totally different things. Somebody could take that stage, kick his feet up the respective asses of two puppies and wear them as slippers while using a shark tooth encrusted phallus to forcibly penetrate a geriatric nun and I'd half smirk and give him credit for originality.

Needless to say, I did not take part in those "real" moments.

Once the judges made their way to the table the real meat of the show started. I will spare you the details of the show itself. It's just a reality show. I can tell you that the episode airs in June and that the only good act involved puppets. They kicked ass. Puppet ass.

I'll tell you what, though, the interest of people in David Hasselhoff is staggering. He struts and runs around with his arms flailing like a madman and people just eat that shit up. WHY?!?!? He's not really all that great of an actor. I guess he's charismatic enough. I can't claim that he's attractive just because of the sheer amounts of surgery the man has had to stay looking like, well, David Hasselhoff.

But you know what I got from him? Look to the side. Boo yeah. From his hand to my heart. That's an official Hoffograph®. That's the sort of thing you leave for the children as an inheritance. That's the sort of thing that you save for a high stakes poker game. "I'll see your $5,000 and raise you A HOFF!"

So, I'm going to leave it at that. The show will be on in June, if you're really all that interested. You should be able to spot me in the crowd pretty easily. I'm just a few seats to the left of Piers. I'm the one that doesn't smile, doesn't clap, doesn't stand and doesn't cheer.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really "dig" this article. America's got Talent premieres this tuesday! cmon, the HOFF!!