YouTube doesn’t have talent based on AGT’s momentum-killing episode

America’s Got Talent 5 aired a special YouTube-themed episode last night that essentially took the show back to the audition rounds, which was not a good idea.

Most of the acts, as you might suspect, sucked. Some of them were so bad it seemed like a joke, from the awkwardly angry stand-up comedian to the guy who inexplicably danced on an inexplicable L-shaped set piece. Even the ones that weren’t bad, like the 12-year-old jump-roping kid or the 16-year-old classical pianist, didn’t seem up to the level of talent and entertainment that we expect at this point in the competition.

The act that gets the most votes will join everyone else in the semi-final round, and probably be voted out right away, because they haven’t had a chance to grow from small to big, Vegas-worthy act. Alas, the winner from last night will probably be another fucking singer, in this case a 10-year-old kid with an incredibly creepy ability to sing opera like she’s 50. But this show needs to stop with the singers–and, while we’re at it, the sad stories.

The episode was worth it, though, for one moment thanks to shock illusionist Dan Sperry, who ended his act with some interaction with Howie Mandel that left both him and Sharon Osbourne fleeing the judges’ table. Watch:

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

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.