The nationally televised talent competition known as "America's Got Talent" named its first group of four semifinalists on Tuesday evening, a day after they competed live on stage for America's votes. Of the 48 acts that had made their way east from Las Vegas, twelve performed on Monday evening and listened to the judges critiques. At the end of the show, eight of the acts were hoping judge Howard Stern was wrong in his prediction of which entertainers would move on.
After reviewing the last act of the evening, performance painters David Garibaldi and his CMYK's, Stern made the bold prediction that the painters, the Scott Brothers, Shanice and Maurice Hayes, and Edon would make it through to the Semifinals.
The painters had impressed the judges -- Stern, Sharon Osbourne, and Howie Mandel -- with their routine. To the soundtrack of the Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black," the quintet had danced and ran around the stage, slinging paint strategically onto an oval surface. It ended with Garibaldi himself spraying black paint over what looked like a bunch of colorful streaks of paint. But a flip of the "canvas" revealed that the dancing painters had rendered a portrait of Mick Jagger in reverse, the black paint acting as a dark backdrop for the rest of the colorful splashes to represent the visage of the famous Rolling Stones frontman's visage.
The Scott Brothers had performed a creative and fun synchronized dance number where they nearly seamlessly mirrored each other's moves or became a performance extension of each other to complete a maneuver. Their timing was impeccable and the judges loved it.
Shanice and Maurice Hayes once again proved they were a singing father-daughter duo to be reckoned with. Singing Faith Hill's "There You'll Be," the singers received a standing ovation from Mandel, who had voiced worries during Vegas Week that the daughter was being held back by the father.
Stern and his judge colleagues were all praise for the 14-year-old Edon, a yarmulke-wearing pianist with a clear vocal style. He performed David Guetta's "Titanium."
Unfortunately for the other eight contestants, Stern had been right on the money with his predictions. But Stern had covered that as well. He had suggested calling Vegas and placing bets on his predictions.
But were his predictions that difficult to make? Were the four standout acts that obvious? Or did America simply follow Stern's lead in voting? Given such prescience, perhaps his self-applied appellation "America's judge" might not be such an egotistical title after all...
One thing is certain: If the brash radio and television personality continues to make such predictions -- and continues to get those forecasts correct -- NBC might quickly be fielding allegations of a "fixed" contest. Not that some don't believe it already, for such is the curse of any sort of contest, that the only way to explain certain outcomes is to label the event "fixed," or controlled, beforehand by some prevailing force.
In the next three weeks, another twelve acts will be moved forward in the competition. If the rest of the Quarterfinals are as predictable as the first episode, will the ratings for the show suffer? In its seventh season, "America's Got Talent" saw a large decline in viewership on the results show. Taking hits like that is what got the Fox dance competition "So You Think You Can Dance," now in its ninth season, pared down to just live competition shows this season, the results of the voting to be announced at the beginning of each subsequent week's episode.
And there is certain to be another Stern prediction to come true as well in the forthcoming week. He will undoubtedly be proven correct in the second round of the Quarterfinals when Big Barry, the diminutive pop standard singer that somehow made it through Vegas Week even though it is apparent he has little singing talent, does not receive enough votes to move forward into the Semifinals. In an argument with his fellow judges, Stern openly stated that Big Barry should never have been allowed to get past Las Vegas.
Stern is most likely irked most by the vote he cast to "appease" his fellow judges in the audition round that allowed Big Barry to get to Las Vegas in the first place...
The first "America's Got Talent" Quarterfinals results show also featured the talented Cirque de Soleil's newest creation, Zarkana, and the latest single from Black-Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am.
Part two of the Quarterfinals will air on NBC at 8:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, July 10, where twelve more acts will vie to see who America wants to see in the Semifinals.
(photo credit: Bill Norton, Creative Commons)