AGT - America's Got Tragedy?

One contestant’s wife died in a plane crash, another’s wife dies of cancer, and tonight the contestant’s parents were killed in front of her. When did this show turn into Queen For A Day?

It’s always been that. Sob stories for sympathy points.

I sure hope that this was “tonight’s contestant had (previously) seen her own parents killed in front of her,” and not “during tonight’s show, the contestant’s parents were killed in front of her.” I mean, TV has gotten more intense and sensationalistic, but that’s a bit much.

I’m a fan of the show but that isn’t wrong. I recall one time a children’s choir got as far as 2nd place in the entire competition despite being very mediocre. However they were inner city kids from troubled backgrounds in Detroit so I’m sure most votes were because they were “inspiring”.

The story is great, yes. I think the program is fantastic. The kids deserved recognition. But it’s a talent competition and while they weren’t awful, they were nowhere near good enough to make it to even the finals let alone almost win.

In the first few rounds of the competition the judges decide who goes through but eventually it all comes down to a vote by the public. So it is literally a popularity contest. The most talented act is not guaranteed to win. On the other hand, I can’t think of an act in recent years that was the #1 pick that I don’t personally feel deserved it.

Helicopter crash, to be specific, she was on the same helicopter that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter. She was mentioned on this board in this post:

Her name was Christina Mauser.

Personally, I question why it’s called AMERICAS got talent. It seems that at least 50% of the acts are not from America, and none of the current judges are (Canada, Germany, Colombia, and UK, AFAICT).

But yes, they do slather on the sad story. Meh, it sells. The one contestant, a singer with only a 2% chance to live (and got the golden buzzer) I remember her saying " You dont have to wait for life to stop being hard to decide to be happy". That’s pretty profound. Almost TOO profound. Was she perhaps fed that line by a team of writers?

Makes me wonder… I’m not saying it’s all fake, but some sad music and some selective video editing could make almost anyones life a sobfest.

This is why I’ve always maintained that the real show doesn’t begin until prelims are done. Occasionally you get a glimpse of something really good that’ll make a strong run, but for the most part it’s maudlin weepfests, “inspiring” tales, and unspeakably godawful acts that will get roughly ten times as much airtime as they should. You’ll never see most of those sob stories again (and I do emphasize most).

Whatever. Honestly, I’ve never cared much about the show since Howard Stern left. I think the powers in charge honestly expected him to be all fart jokes and nasty insults and were caught completely off guard when he took his job seriously and gave intelligent, insightful comments. The right man, just not for reality TV.

A while back on British television, comedian Peter Kay did a complete send-up of all these talent shows called Britain’s Got the Pop Factor… and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice.

At one point this happens:

Maybe not all, but a lot of it seems fake.
To me, the giveaway is in the judges’ chit-chat with the actor before they start singing or whatever, and also in the editing of the judges’ faces during the act.

(disclaimer: I’ve rarely seen a full episode of AGT , I’ve mostly just watched youtube clips of the "10 best ", or worst, or funniest, etc.)

To me , it looks suspiciously planned in advance.
They ask questions they already know the answer to. “Wow, that’s a touching story about your grandma, is she here in the audience today?” .(and the camera is already focusing on her face in the front row)…

And during the act, sometimes the camera stays on the singer, and sometimes the camera cuts to the expressions on the judges faces, all in perfect time with the words. The judges smile right as the singer hits the emotional words saying “I love you” or whatever. Sure, that could be due to editing after the show is over and the audience has left the room. But in too many cases, the judges seem to have their reactions in sync. They probably have not see the whole act in advance, but they do seem to have been told its content before it begins.

It’s called editing. The “auditions” are all taped. It’s only the final rounds that are live. They can edit in the perfect reactions from anywhere or any time in the taped episodes. There is a lot less of that in the live episodes.

Here is a prime example of how AGT has fully embraced the schmaltzy tragedy train.

Michael Winslow of Police Academy fame is a contestant this time. In the first appearance interview he tells Terry he has been out of the limelight because his wife died and he had to step back and take care of his kids.

That’s sort of true. His wife did die. Drug overdose apparently. In 1993. Unless my math is way off his kids have been adults for quite awhile. Not only that but he’s been married and divorced twice since then.

The hard truth is he has always been around. He works clubs. His freaky vocal talent can be impressive but his comedy is horrible.

Yeah, it’s kind of a guilty pleasure and is okay to watch as a summertime variety show but trying to pass it off a some kind of legit talent show is a sham. From the decades old acts (regurgitating object guy) to international professional acts (Korean taekwondo team) to faux “undiscovered” talent (kid singers who already have agents).
An on top of it is the heavy handed editing of canned audience and judge reactions and dubbed in cheering, booing, crickets, etc.

And it’s still pretty shameful how they pay the celebrity judges multi-millions to host the show but can only afford to pay the winner $1million pre-taxed paid out in installments over 30+ years.

I’m also not convinced that the judges were really caught off-guard by “diamonds in the rough” like Susan Boyle or Paul Potts - or any hidden gems who came after them. After so many years in the industry, the judges ought to know perfectly well that an average-looking Joe or Jane from an average-background may turn out to have phenomenal talent - and when the judges are like “wow I expected nothing but I was triple-wowed” - I…don’t buy it.

This year, there is no live crowd and they green-screened them in. It is massively obvious and feels really deceptive to me. They had a very small crew and a few people out in the audience, but the majority is greenscreened in to look like a regular season.

Oh, it’s much worse. They also have a season called “America’s Got Talent Champions” and they did this the last two years. They bring great acts back to compete for the best-of-the-best.

They get $25,000 and a trophy as a prize.

Last time they did it, V Unbeatable won. It’s a dance troupe from India and they had to split the $25,000 between all the troupe. It’s basically a nothing prize.

Note: V. Unbeatable only won that. They never won the big prize in the regular show.

When he introduced himself to the camera backstage, my first thought was “That’s the sound effects guy from Police Academy and Spaceballs. This should be good.” And while his sound effects were fantastic, there weren’t many of them. Not as many as I expected, anyway. And I agree–he is not a very good comedian.

I mainly remember him from the Police Academy cartoon where ironically he wasn’t cast, instead during his “voice sound effects” they would just play the actual sound so you had his movie character’s mouth literally playing stock sound effects from it.

I’m pretty sure what we’re seeing is just the natural endpoint of any reality show that either outlives its usefulness or gets overshadowed by something fresher, the “homogeneity” that I mentioned somewhere in the American Ninja Warrior thread. Remember when we saw amazing, intriguing, or just plain rollicking acts on this show? Prince Poppycock, Kinetic King, the sand painter, those light shows? They decided either they weren’t getting the publicity they wanted or the chances of winning the sole singular unilateral one and only prize were too small to justify the effort. So the only way the show is going to get ratings now is if it embraces formula and appeals the kind of viewers who can watch the same worked-shoot drivel one season after another. Hence the Acceptable Stories, hence the tedious drama, hence the nauseating pretense over the Golden Buzzer (and given the kind of ridiculous expectations the judges place on that, I’d consider it a curse), hence the manufactured personalities, hence the obviously scripted “bickering”. Good gods, I’ve seen Brother Love Show segments that were more believable than Howie Mandell and the young dancers.

One unfortunate result of this is that I’m seeing some acts that might have been funny or brightened up my day a little, but because the narrative was “This act suuuuucks!!”, they got immediately buzzed out and bumrushed. Look, I’m not saying that a geriatric skater or a chicken drummer are going to set the world on fire, but this is the only time we’re going to get to see them! This is the audition round; there’s going to be a bunch of stuff that’s not singing or dancing magic or the “regular” stuff you like! There’s nothing wrong with novelty! For crying out loud, you can’t spare three freaking minutes? :frowning_face:

Hope Michael Winslow works out. I really don’t think he should have a chance to win this, but he can be a good add if used right.

I couldn’t believe that a known comedian and actor was given a shot on AGT. I get that they bring in talent, but this guy was not just known, but was and kind of is legit famous.

They had multiple famous people, especially doing stand-up. Josh Blue, who is still in the show (and I think is great) won Last Comic Standing on NBC back in 2006. He was the first comedian to do his stand-up routine on Ellen, and has done many other similar shows. He was the opening act for Ron White on a CMT television special. He’s already famous and successful.

They also had twin comedians, Randy and Jason Sklar, who have a very long IMDb resume between them. I recognized them immediately when I saw them appear on the show. Newsweek did an article on “where you’ve seen these guys before”:

It has changed from the “amateurs trying to demonstrate their talent to the world” show to the “semi-famous or formerly famous celebrities want attention” show.

And I’m not counting the YouTube stars that have already been on the show for years, since at least to me those folks are nobodies (but I guess I’m an old man).

Yes, I know. I do think Michael Winslow is almost the peak of fame that they have allowed in. Soon we’ll get a fully established band or something. Metallica wins AGT! Jim Gaffigan was runner up!