Thursday, August 22, 2013

From X-Men to X-Factor, AGT and Other Nonsense

Kenichi Ebina
Regular readers know that I have two "Reality Show" vices: NBC's "America's Got Talent" and SyFy's "Face-Off" (BTW - had "Face-Off" existed in the late 80's/early 90's, I totally would have been a contestant). The new season of "Face-Off" has just started, though AGT is about to go into their semi-finals.

And to be perfectly honest, I'm not digging AGT so much this year. First off, Heidi and Mel are great, but they are no Sharon Osbourne. Say what you will about Mrs. O, but she sure knows how to command an audience and I must admit that I love her brassy style. Heidi and Mel together serve as the Voices of Reason and seem to work well as both comedic 'straight men' to and buffers between Howard and Howie, though I often doubt their judgement (especially Heidi's) when it comes to talent. Klum comes from modelling (and has had her own successful contest show for years), though I have to ask what makes her qualified to judge dancers, singers, acrobats, musicians and variety acts? Former Spice Girl Mel B at least has some experience in the industry, as sketchy as it may be.

Still, it's not the judges that are the problem (at least not their chemistry). It's the acts the judges have put through this season. AGT is quickly becoming a 'Been There; Done That; Bought the T-Shirt and Returned It' show. If I see one more "Shadow Dancing" act, I'm going to throw up. Stop giving standing ovations to acts ripped off from other acts, please. They're boring. And stop giving guys who build Rube Goldberg machines spots instead of far more interesting and talented acts.

I am a fan of Forte, the operatic trio who met online (especially their gorgeous new member) and charismatic & adorable young magician Collins Key. And I would honestly be very pleased if either of them won. But now that they're about to start the Semi-Finals, I have a clear favorite: Japanese stunt dancer Kenichi Ebina. His audition was pretty astounding and he was pushed right through to New York without having to endure the Vegas call-backs. His first New York performance was truly brilliant. Combining prerecorded digital images with an astoundingly precise live performance, Ebina flawlessly immersed himself in a video game. Live. Onstage. Amazing. Watch. Watch Full Screen:

I must agree with all four judges. The man is astounding.

In other reality show news, a sweet and dear friend (K's older sister, actually) shared a clip from "X-Factor Australia" on Facebook today that just took my breath away. Remember the first time you saw Susan Boyle? 14 year old Jai Waetford puts that moment to shame:

I've never seen all the judges on any talent competition show lose their minds like Danni Minogue, Ronan Keating and LMFAO's Redfoo do there. I'm betting the actually talented (and graciously humble) Waetford has young girls all over the world asking "Justin who?" within the next year.

More, anon.

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