Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Votes on America's Got Talent

So, a vice I've got is I'm a dedicated watcher of America's Got Talent. This season especially has brought out some outstanding talent. It's tough to pick among some of the very best, but here's my list for what order the finalists should be in:

11. Wait, Wait, Number 11?!!? I thought there were only 10 finalists! Indeed there are, but I had to put a vote in for Nick Cannon. He has really shined as much more talented than Jerry Springer at hosting a show like this. He can't win, but way to go, Nick!

10. Hairo Torres. They say Hairo is the best at what he does. Indeed, but there's a good reason no one else does it. He's fascinating to watch, much like a train wreck, but not very entertaining. He's easily shown-up by the club dancers around him, each of whom should be a finalist if Hairo is. In the "it's an honor just to be nominated" category, it was indeed an honor for him. He should take the honor and go home.

9. The Voices of Glory. I was fretting when the Fab Five and VoG were the last two on the first round. I cheered when they both went through. I really like them. However, there are a lot of singers in the final (6). Compared to the other singers, the two boys in this trio (especially 13-year old Avery Cole) really don't have the chops. 9-year-old Nadia is wonderful, but not good enough to pull this trio to $1 Million.

8. Drew Stevyns. I had been pretty much ignoring Drew as he went along, as he's a rather nondescript pop-style singer. He really gave a great performance of George Michael's Careless Whisper ("Guilty feet have got no rhythm"). However, his performance was all in the singing. That song has some great guitar riffs, and he just played rhythm (ironically) behind his singing. He doesn't really have the guitar chops to present himself as a singer-songwriter or solo pop artist. Drew belongs as the lead singer in a great cover band, not as a Vegas act all on his own.

7. Grandma Lee. Her first performance was hilarious, and her comic timing was perfect. On each successive performance, her material has gotten weaker and repetitive. Also, as the stakes have gotten higher she's clearly gotten more nervous, and her timing has failed. Piers thinks shes funnier than she is, but that's not surprising, he's British. Unless she seriously steps it up for the final with all new material and impeccable timing, it's time for Grandma to have a guest appearance on Jay Leno's new show, and then go home.

6. Texas Tenors. These guys are individually decent singers. Put them together with a very large dose of cheese (to quote Piers), and they're a very entertaining act. I'd be happy to see them at the Birchmere at some point. But one night at the Birchmere is not a standing show in Vegas. They've made a name for themselves, and if they keep refining their act, they've got a career to look forward to, just not as winners of AGT.

5. Lawrence Beamen. A very nice man with a very nice voice. Listening to him is nice. Nice is not necessarily interesting. His talent and performance merit a decent finish, and maybe a single on some Simon Cowell anthology album, but not the big prize.

4. Fab Five. Okay, this is the first one on the list that I wouldn't mind being wrong about if they win. Their back story is great, and they are on the cusp of being the Next Big Thing. I liked the firefighter skit, but the majorette piece -- Riverdance meets Bring in Da Noise Bring in Da Funk meets Toni Basil. It's not clear they've got enough variety to do an entire Vegas show, but they keep pleasing and surprising, so if they find a way to keep delivering, more power to them!

3. Barbara Padilla. Oh, man, did I want to to put her at #1! I cried from the beginning to the end of her Ave Maria. The opera world is tough, though. I don't really have the expertise to know how good she is. I think Cristina Nassif is awesome, and no one's really heard of her. If Barbara is as good as I think, she'll have a great opera career, regardless of whether she wins AGT.

2. Recycled Percussion. Okay, I admit, I don't really like them very much. But, much as with Eminem, I can admire their talent. Plus, it takes a great deal of creativity to make music (that can be appreciated) by hitting an old van with a sledgehammer. If they hire some additional creative writers/choreographers, they could be the next Blue Man Group. They are very Vegas, and know how to structure a performance. I'll never go see them, but they would certainly be deserving winners.

1. Kevin Skinner. I don't think I can be happy if Kevin doesn't win. He just draws the audience into his world, and makes you love it. When he sang "You were always on my mind," I felt like I had never heard the song before, because it was so gentle and sincere. I'm ready to buy his album, and buy tickets for his next performance at Nissan Pavillion. He's already won in my mind, and I hope he gets the $1 Million to go with it.