Thursday, September 18, 2014

NBC's "America's Got Talent": the winner

Well, that's another season of NBC's summer smash hit, "America's Got Talent," in the books. Who won? Was the winner deserving?


"America's Got Talent" has, over the years, gotten a reputation as catering ultimately to singers who were too old school (or just too old, or in a few instances, too young) to compete on "American Idol." Consider the winners over the years:

Season 1: 11 year old singer
Season 2: ventroliquist; runner-up was a singer
Season 3: opera singer; runner-up was a singer
Season 4: country singer
Season 5: folksy singer (this was when I started watching)
Season 6: lounge singer
Season 7: dog show(!); runner-up was NOT a singer
Season 8: dancer/mime; runner-up was NOT a singer

Out of 8 previous seasons, there were six with at least one singer among the final 2. though the last two broke the trend. It may be that now there is NBC's other smash reality TV hit, "The Voice," to attract some of the singers who don't fit into "American Idol"'s cookie cutter template.

Anyway, the six finalists of this season's "America's Got Talent" included magician Mat Franco, dance troupe AcroArmy, and four singing acts. With those numbers, it's not surprising that a singer was in the final 2. That singer was Emily West, who was a very deserving runner-up and far and away the best singer this season on the show (or any other season, as far as I can remember). In fact, had she won, it wouldn't have been ridiculous - unlike the season the dog show won....

Interestingly, Emily West was featured four years ago in an episode of "The Celebrity Apprentice," where the competition was to make-over a relatively unknown recording artist. Cyndi Lauper's team took on West and won. Things came full circle when Lauper appeared on stage at the season finale/results show and co-sang "True Colors" with West.

If Emily West didn't win, then who did? For the first time ever, a magician did! Franco was really, really good. With liberal use of TiVo, I think I've figured out how he must have been able to do some of his tricks, but sometimes I still can't see where he did the switches or palms. And then there are the tricks where I can't even tell conceptually how he did it. So he had great tricks, and he had a charming, earnest presence on stage. I'm glad he won.

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