“America’s Got Talent” revealed its 60 live show finalists on Wednesday night, helping earn the show a ratings win over CBS’ “Big Brother,” which, with 5.5 million viewers, drew about half of the reality competition show’s numbers.
Like past seasons, “AGT” presents its contestants as undiscovered talent looking for a break into show business.
Also like past seasons, all is not as it seems with some of the acts.
In Season 7, several acts with professional resumes went deep into the competition, including singer Tim Hockenberry and comedian Tom Cotter.
While it stands to reason that people with as much talent as it takes to get on a show like “America’s Got Talent” have had to have professional training and experience, this viewer finds NBC’s methods dishonest.
It’s unclear why the show fails to acknowledge that many of its contestants are far from undiscovered and are nowhere near up-and-coming. Presumably, it’s to draw in more viewers.
“The Voice,” another of the network’s reality competition shows, acknowledges – albeit very briefly – that its singers have pro experience, so why doesn’t “AGT”?
In this reviewer’s ongoing effort to keep fellow “America’s Got Talent” viewers informed, here’s a quick rundown of the first live-show acts that are far from up-and-comers.
After all, the voting is in our hands now, why shouldn’t we know who’s actually amateurish and who’s not?
Opera singer Branden James wowed judges at his audition and during Vegas Week, but they’re not the only ones he’s impressed with his vocal ability.
According to the singer’s website, James has performed with several major American symphony orchestras, such as the symphonies of Seattle and Indianapolis, and the professional companies of Chataqua Opera, Los Angels Opera, and Mobile Opera.
James also performed at The Vatican at a celebration for Pope Benedict XVI’s birthday in 2007.
He’s also been pretty active professionally this year, including a current gig as the lead tenor at The New York, New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and scheduled appearances at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago.
Kevin Downey Jr.
Prior to his current bookings at the Tropicana Hotel and Casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, Downey headlined small comedy venues throughout the country.
He’s also got a list of upcoming appearances scheduled into next month.
The Salt Lake City-based rock band has opened for a variety of bigger-name bands, including The Charlie Daniels Band, Black Stone Cherry, Royal Bliss, and Quiet Riot.
The group also won a national battle of the bands competition in 2012, affording it the opportunity of playing alongside Godsmack and Staind at the Rockstar Energy Uproar Festival.
Appearances at several Hard Rock Hotel and Casino openings throughout the world have helped make the band well known and followed throughout the country.
Alexanderia the Great
She may be a housewife by day, but she’s also a small-time celebrity in her own right.
The middle-aged escape artist has appeared on several TV programs, including NBC’s “Today” show and the “CBS Evening News.”
She’s also performed at a variety of national shows, including the International Brotherhood of Magicians Convention.
While she might not be a bona fide superstar, she is certainly not a newcomer to show biz.
Whether their pro chops influence your vote or not, the fact remains that “America’s Got Talent” presents its performers in a light that’s not entirely truthful.
The only reason these four acts are singled out is because they openly display their accomplishments and experience on their websites.
There may be others in next week’s group with pro experience, so if you’re aware of any, please share.
As for the judges, one would expect Mr. Bluntly Honest – aka Howard Stern – to call out the fact that many of the acts he’s judged are seasoned professionals. How about it, Howard?
“America’s Got Talent” airs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on KSL 5 in Provo.