Wednesday, May 16, 2012

America's Got Talent! Or does it?

I'll start by saying that I am as big of a Howard Stern fan as you can be without being part of the wack pack. I have listened to Sirius exclusively for the last 5 years and wondered how I went without Stern and company for the several years prior to that. That being said, my expectations were not extremely high going into his new gig as a judge on America's Got Talent because quite frankly, the show doesn't interest me. On top of that, the incessant discussion of his addition to AGT has made his radio show borderline unlistenable for the last few months. That being said, this Monday night I sat down with my wife to watch the inaugural episode and I must say, I still have no interest in it.

I think the problem with the show is not the judges, the format or even the extremely dull host Nick Cannon. The problem, at least so far, is the talent. Where other shows compete at one talent (DWTS, American Idol, The Voice), America's Got Talent opens its arms for various talents, which seems to then produce very mediocre talent. The real problem with mediocre talent, is that when someone shows up that has even a shred of chops, they laud them with praise as if we were witnessing something special on stage. To conclude the first episode a father and daughter act sang a very average version of James Taylor's "you've got a friend." The judges gave a standing ovation and Howard went as far as to call them "perfection." Really? You would have thought Sonny & Cher had come back and graced the stage. In fact, two episodes in, I haven't seen anything that seems worth the price of admission, let alone worth a million dollars.

When it comes to the judges, the surprise to me is that Howard Stern is not all that interesting. His comments/criticisms often seem too rehearsed and not witty enough. Howie Mandel, who obviously has more experience with this than Stern, seems much more comfortable and therefor funny, in his judging role. The ratings are down from last year by 30%, but this year they decided to go up against Dancing With the Stars, which is not a small endeavor. In fairness, the season is still young and I do expect both Stern and the talent to get better. I plan on giving it at least 5 episodes before hitting my buzzer.