America’s Got Talent fail: first results show runs late, viewers pick sob stories over talent

America’s Got Talent 5 failed in a big way last night during its first results show, running late and cutting off the critical moment, never mind sending through crappy singing acts instead of ones that will actually be interesting to watch. I blame the show for all of this.

First, while Howie Mandel has been an excellent addition, it fell to him to cast his vote. Whether he was milking it or honestly couldn’t decide (although please: those hilarious, charming Future Funk kids were always going to make it), he choked. Nick Cannon kept counting down (30 second! 15!) but Howie couldn’t make a decision. And that’s when my DVR cut off. This is unacceptable whenever it happens, and especially frustrating because they easily could have come in on time.

Meanwhile, the actual results were equally frustrating. The three most popular acts included singing sisters Christina and Ali and shy, sick singer Nathaniel Kenyon, the one with Justin Bieber hair. They seem like very nice people, but they’d be instantly eliminated from American Idol during Hollywood week, if not earlier. They’re just mediocre. Both, however, have been given a lot of screen time and have heartwarming backstories, and I have no doubt a large percentage of the votes were based on that, not their actual quasi-talent.

Fighting Gravity, the most amazing act this season, was also in the top three, thankfully, and deserve the screen time they’ve been given. But they should have been joined by Airpocalypse, the Hot Shot Tap Dancers, or Kung Fu Heroes, all of whom have very Las Vegas-style acts and also will be interesting to watch all season.

Singers have won this show every single season, although one was a ventriloquist singer, and there was also a group of sibling sisters. Still, really? I wish the producers would prevent individual pop singers from auditioning in the future; with executive producer Simon Cowell’s X Factor coming, never mind Idol, there are plenty of venues for singers of all ages to reach our TV screens. Leave summer to people who actually entertain.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.