As I mentioned elsewhere, I’m kinda forced to watch this unless I want to eat dinner alone for several months a year. Basically, there are three problems: 1. the host 2. the judges 3. the acts. Yeah, I can see why is something like 30 on Metacritic right now.
Tyra Banks…ugh. UUUUGGGGHHHHH. Folks, it has happened. I have found a reality TV show host more irritating than Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila. Every goddam second she opens her mouth is like a drill to my skull. She oozes enough smarm to choke an elephant. She sounds like she’s taunting half the time. Swear to god, when she said “gold-den buz-zerrrr!”, I wanted to punch her. Remember how much flack Ryan Seacrest got in his first season of American Idol? Banks makes him look like a Supreme Court justice. Come back, Nick Cannon, all is forgiven!
As for our distinguished pretentious blowhards who wouldn’t know a million-dollar act from their…you know what, reality TV’s slow mutation into Judgemania is its own thread, so I’ll just run them down. There’s Howie Mandell, the grizzled veteran (I think he’s the only person remaining from the first season) who’s long since given up any pretense of giving a damn or making any effort and just spews out tepid drivel and collects his paychecks. There’s Mel B and Heidi Klum, who fluctuate between screaming, hysterical laughter, screaming, mindless cheerleading, screaming, overemoting, and MORE FREAKING SCREAMING. There may be a subtle difference in their styles, but damned if I can find anything. And then of course there’s the ever-dependable font of concentrated industrial-grade BS that’s Simon Cowell. It’s really something else. Cowell’s the only person I’ve ever seen who manages to be a dirtbag punk and a snotty elitist. There’s no rhyme or reason to his “critiques”, all he ever does is troll and push buttons and drop more radioactive pellets in the punchbowl. Well, okay, he did expand his repertoire a bit on AGT; now he grossly abuses his power by demanding that certain contestants give him what he wants, on some occasions forcing them to come up with something different on the spot. And of course, interspersed between their witless blathering that passes for judgment there are healthy doses of infantile bickering and walking over each other. I found this schoolyard crap unbearable when I was in the damn schoolyard.
As for the other 10% of the show (going from memory, because there’s no way in hell I’m subjecting my eyes and ears to this a second time): A couple boring comedians. Cats doing whatever it’s possible to actually make cats do. A young woman with long hair doing vaguely creepy stuff. A pretty good dance troupe. A pretty good acrobat duo. And of course, lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of singers, all doing the same safe, tepid, banal, flavorless, predictable, vanilla mush you’ve heard on 500 other reality shows. (Seriously, a man doing Whitney Houston??) Oh yeah, those absolutely disgusting spitters. Of the remaining contestants, I’d say there are, very generous estimate, three that could get so much as a ten-minute segment on a variety show, much less a full-length full-price Vegas act.
Yumbo Dump deserves special attention. Every season, it seems, there’s this one entrant that’s so obviously no good, so obviously out of place, so obviously completely in over its head, so utterly blown away by even the dismal competition around it, that gets free ride after free ride and is shielded with more fervor and fanaticism than the goddam Queen of England. Remember “bee dubba oh tee wai”? I’ve seen (and heard :() Yumbo Dump, and it is a kiddie birthday novelty act AT BEST. The idea that it could be even a street performance in Vegas is beyond laughable. And yet we had to have them through prelims, and we had to have them in quarters, and we had to see each and every performance in full (complete with utterly impotent buzzers to drive up the sympathy votes, of course), and we had to have a pathetic attempt at a meme (yo, DDR did “feel so good”, and a lot better) and the brain-dead crowd bleating right along. I have to wonder, once they leave the protective cocoon of reality TV, where everyone loves everything and everything is awesome and you’re perfect just the way you are, what they’re going to do with their lives? When the first person says “You suck!”…then the second, then the fifth, then the two-thousandth, will they be able to take it? And get real jobs?
Anyway, yeah, I admit it.