America's Got Talent is basically the Lost of summer talent competitions: It introduces a mystery, sits on it for a few weeks, then reveals with a cloud of smoke or massive explosion the true logic underneath. I mean there is some talent – performers, judging, etc. – but we can't deny those lingering mysteries, those unanswered questions. What exactly is Richard Alpert? Who built the statue? Why is Nick Cannon hosting this show? With five minutes left in last night's AGT episode, we finally put that last one to rest. It's his wife! Mariah Carey! They desperately wanted to premiere Mariah Carey's new video, “Obsessed,” (where she dresses like Eminem?), and gifting Cannon certainly couldn't have hurt in that endeavor.
Of course, any revelation of this magnitude opens the door to a brand new set of questions: Does Nick still need to host now that his wife's video has premiered? Without access to contracts, we can't say with any certainty whether…wait…Okay, nope, he's sticking around. Unless John Locke can somehow move the show…
So the episode itself: Last night was a fairly run-of-the-mill affair, featuring some highs (Destined 2 Be – embedded below – Matt and Anthony), some lows (Reality), and some classic AGT middles (Mia Boostrom, Kari Callen). After the jump, a look at the more noteworthy talent on display.
Destined 2 Be: Robotic movement never seemed as original as it did with this group of Tennessee dancers. With almost perfect precision the guys stepped and grooved to their soundtrack, missing nary a beat. It's rarely the case on this show, but here, the moves truly spoke for themselves.
Kari Callen: Born with a cleft palate, this middle-aged singer spent her life dreaming of a professional career. She was finally afforded that chance last night when she sang “Somewhere” to a stunned audience and judges panel. Very polished, but not the stunner commercials – and our own talent show conditioning – would have us believe. It's time for these judges to start distinguishing between great moments and great talent. There really is a difference.
Rashida Jolly: This 19-year-old singer/harp player delivered a stand-out version of “Killing Me Softly” free of artifice or ridiculous context. NO SILLY GAMES, just an undeniable talent that everyone in the audience could see. More of this, please!
Matt and Anthony: One plays guitar, the other tap-dances. Somehow they make it work.
Mia Boostrom: Didn't we put an end to this stuff yesterday, guys? After failing to advance past round 2 of last year's competition, 16-year-old Mia Boostrom returned to wow the judges with her months-improved singing. The performance…didn't wow. She sang and played her way through a perfectly acceptable version of “Georgia,” but failed to bring that NEXT LEVEL business. She advanced, as expected, but the knowledge that she won't win taints the whole segment with a lot of “who cares?”
What did you think of last night's episode? Are you as tired of this first round of auditions as I am? Ready to grab your aviators and satchels and head to Vegas? Write away, guys, and come back next week for more America's Got Talent.