It feels like it’s week 182 of America’s Got Talent, the show that drags on even longer than its inexplicably long pauses. Last week I timed how long Nick Cannon waited between saying he was going to announce a result and actually doing it: 42 seconds of dead air. This is a show with no respect for its viewers, and that seems evident in the selection of one of its semi-finalists: a group that was a runner-up in season one.
You wouldn’t know that All That, the eight-person clogging dance group, appeared on season one. Their NBC bio doesn’t mention it, nor did the show. They were even saved back then in the wild card round by the judges–just like they were this season. What a coincidence!
The show has had 100 percent turnover with its judges and host since season one, but it’s impossible to believe that no producers nor network executives noticed that they have an act that almost won the damn show. It’s like bringing back Justin Guarini on American Idol and never mentioning that he placed second, although that’s quite unfair to Justin, since people actually remember him.
During the auditions, some did recognize the group. For example, a Yahoo writer called it an “embarrassing gaffe” that their previous participation was ignored during the audition rounds, and About.com pointed out their return and that another group that made it to the semi-finals, Donovan and Rebecca, also appeared on Britain’s Got Talent.
Last night, after they danced with flaming feet and in water, Howard Stern said All That’s changes to their act “paid off,” though he added, “there’s an old song, Crosby Stills and Nash, ‘Deja Vu,’–we’ve been here before. With you guys, sometimes we feel like we’ve been there before.” That has more truth in it than Howard may even know.
All That member Mike explains in a comment left on the YouTube video of their audition that “we ARE the same group that was on season 1. However, only 4 of the current guys on the show did season 1. Since then, we have added several guys to the group and have expanded the way we present it to you! … We haven’t broken any rules.”
I asked NBC for a comment about what, if any, rules apply (since the group has new members, perhaps the rules consider it a new group), and also why this hasn’t been mentioned on the show. I have yet to hear back, but will update if I do.
Recycling contestants is nothing new, even on network competition shows, which are increasingly bringing back contestants until they finally win (ahem, Survivor and Big Brother). The difference is that they at least cop to–and even promote!–their shenanigans.
Update: Commenters remind me that the sand artist is a knock-off of the amazing winner of Ukraine’s Got Talent, and the goth opera singer is reminiscent of one on Britain’s Got Talent.