AGT 8/2 Recap: Striptease and the Masochism Tango—It’s a Family Show!
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On this week’s episode, one of the performers sings Tom Lehrer’s “Masochism Tango,” an appropriate musical selection considering that NBC is again suffering us with another unrelenting, two-hour onslaught of AMERICA’S GOT TALENT. What started out as a bit of fun, midsummer fluff has now become a near torturous, twice weekly endurance test. Well, we here at FORT watch it so you don’t have to. That is, unless, you are a masochist, in which case, the safe word is “Penguin.” Let the beatings begin!
To Strip or Not To Strip
Finally, it’s the last of the semi-final rounds for AMERICA’S GOT TALENT. Only two more slots for the finale are available, barring those who will advance via the recently added wild card round. By now we’re all familiar with the judges, but as always our host Regis Philbin introduces us to our illustrious panel: David Hasselhoff (who inscrutably screams “Who’s your little whozit?” when he first appears), Brandy (this week sporting Bettie Page sausage roll bangs), and Piers Morgan (looking exactly the same). Unlike “American Idol”, where the judges play at fighting each other but seem to actually get along well enough off-camera, one gets the sense that these three really do not like each other. Increasingly over the past few weeks, Brandy looks as if being in between these two men is physically nauseating her. Well, welcome to our world, Brandy.
Reeg presents tonight’s crop of hopefuls: Desperation Squad, Ivan Cassel, Aaron Burr, King Charles Unicycle Troupe, Lilia Stepanova, Daniel Callen, Celtic Spring, Michelle L’amour, Dave Smith the One Man Side Show, The Passing Zone, George Kelley, Quick Change, Conrad Wright, and Sean & John. Which of these 14 acts will make it onstage tonight? Reeg likes to say “We only have time for ten,” which is a blatant bloody lie. There would be plenty of time for all of them, if you knock off some time from those pointless clip packages and the creepy flirting between Reeg and the Big Hasselhoff. Come to think of it, is Reeg the Hoff’s “little whozit?” Penguin! Penguin, I say!
Determining the show’s ten acts is not easy on the judges, Reeg informs us. Wah, poor judges! C’mon, it’s not like you work in a coal mine. Well, knowing that the judges have to sit through all these acts for even longer than we have to does make me sympathize with them a little more. But that’s why they get paid the big bucks!
Apparently, agreeing on this week’s line-up was even more difficult than usual, however. An ornery Brandy rails against Piers’ and David’s judgment by saying, “I thought some of the people you guys put through was not so good.” Well, I think your grammar is not so good, Miss Brandy; I guess that’s what happens when one foregoes education for a career in show biz.
There is a great deal of controversy over one act in particular. If you recall, in a past episode, burlesque dancer Michelle L’amour got Brandy’s dander up with her Snow White striptease. Not surprisingly, the Y chromosome contingent want her on the show, but Brandy vehemently opposes having Michelle on again, for supposedly moral reasons. Piers says why not put her on at the end of the show, “when there’s no family issue, it’s just entertainment.” Brandy, surprisingly priggish, says she can’t support that, because it’s “not what the show is about”. The show is no longer about entertainment? No wonder I’ve felt like biting my wrists from sheer boredom. Piers adds Michelle to the schedule, and Brandy walks off angrily, disavowing herself of any responsibility. Cheers, Piers, for winning one for the lads. He warns the audience, “If you’re easily shocked, go to bed early. If you’re not, hang around.” Talk about a tease! I guess we know of at least one act that’s going through tonight.
Before proceeding with the performances, we learn a little more about the upcoming Wild Card episode. According to Piers, the next four acts with the highest votes from the public tonight will automatically go through to the Wild Card show, then each judge gets two personal picks, making it ten acts who will be given another chance at a spot in the finale. Huh? It sounds suspiciously like they’re not sure how it’s going to work yet themselves, as they’re making it up as they go along. Uh yeah, a Wild Card round, that’s the ticket!
Opening the last of the semi-finals is The Passing Zone. This comedic juggling duo consists of John and Owen, two fellows who met at a juggling conference 18 years ago and have been handling one another’s balls ever since (heh heh, sorry couldn’t resist the obvious joke). They promise that tonight they will turn around the Hoff’s notorious aversion to jugglers by performing “the biggest, most exciting juggling stunt we do, and we’re the only people in the world who do it.”
And just what is this “ginormous” stunt? John and Owen claim to go “where no juggler has gone before.” No, not “Hasselhoff’s house,” as they quip in their banter; but they are going to uncharted territory. They will be juggling people. Reveal three audience volunteers in NASA astronaut uniforms (well, perhaps for licensing reasons, they have taken the N out to make it “ASA”), dangling from the center of the stage on bungee harnesses. John and Owen don’t so much juggle them as swing them back and forth, but this does take a good sense of timing to avoid swinging them into each other. The act also progresses to John and Owen throwing big inflated globes in between the hapless hangers, and then eventually unfurling a flag
The big spectacle arouses cheers in the audience, but looks to be even more fun for the volunteers involved than for the audience watching them, if the smiles on their faces are to be judged.
The Hoff must be on some sweet Darvocet because not only does he say he has just gotten out of “I Hate Jugglers Anonymous” and he thinks this act was “fantastic”; he also declares dramatically that “You have restored my faith in jugglers.” The Hoff enthusiastically checks them. Brandy says she’s not sure if they’re worth a million, but she enjoyed them enough to throw them a check. Piers is pleased that John and Owen took his advice and came out more sharply dressed; more importantly, he enjoyed their creativity, humor, and freshness and without hesitation gives this juggling act a hearty check. Meanwhile, the volunteers are still dangling helplessly in the background, like ducks in the window of a Chinese restaurant. Um, hello? Can somebody help these people down?
Celtic Spring is the name by which the Wood Family from Ojai, California perform their unique blend of Riverdance meets the Corrs meets the Partidge Family meets Dr. Funke’s 100 Percent Natural Good Time Family Band Solution. Celtic Spring is also a name which comes dangerously close to being sued by a famous deodorant soap company, you know, the kind that makes you want to bathe in a waterfall after whittling at your bar with a knife.
This gaggle of eight traditional Irish dancers and magicians are ready for this second round with new costumes and a fighting spirit. They perform “Farewell to Erin” with great energy and spirit, with the main core of 5 children doing traditional celtic clodhopping and fiddling at the same time (I can hardly walk and chew bubble gum), while their parents and littlest brother provide some background instrumentation and dance.
Brandy doesn’t deny the group’s talent, but says she finds them “mechanical”; passive aggressively, she doesn’t vote, however, and instead passes the moment on to Piers. Not afraid to take the heat, Piers says that just as he felt the Miller Brothers should split up, he feels the main five of Celtic Spring should “sack your mum, dad, and little brother.” The members of Celtic Spring defend their “backup” players, saying “We’re all a family...They’re the heartbeat of the band.” But Piers taunts them by asking if they really want to win that million. How Mephistophelian of him! The youngest children look upset, and the smallest daughter weeps openly. Good going, Piers. Children crying, now that’s entertainment! David and Brandy give checks; Piers sticks ‘em with a nasty red X.
Tappin’ the Hoff
Next up: Sean and John, the “tapping twins.” They’ve been dancing together for 14 years now, since they were the tender age of 6. Sean said that he was initially embarrassed about the dancing, until he saw how John was able to score chicks with his incredible dancing ability. Oh yeah, it’s all about getting chicks!
The two brothers tap away effortlessly, in sync, and throw in a few other impressive moves, like splits, leaps, and spins to make your head swim. Piers declares, “Well done!” and gives them a check. The Hoff says, “My crotch hurts after watching you do that jump. Does your crotch hurt?” Hearing the word “crotch” come out of David Hasselhoff’s mouth (not just once but twice!) is rather like walking into your parent’s bedroom in the middle of—well, let’s not speak of this again. [twitch] Hoff finds them “awesome” and throws them a check. Brandy agrees for unanimous checkage, complimenting them by saying, “You made tap cool.”
Shoot That Poison Arrow
Lilia Stepanova is the pretty 19 year old contortionist from Las Vegas who shot cupid’s arrow straight into the heart of many a viewer (male in particular) with her unique bendy archer’s act. From a family of circus performers, Lilia had a natural talent for the stage since she was but a wee lass. Even so, she was nervous to perform for our judges, Piers in particular, and so was pleasantly surprised when he had nothing but positive things to say about her the first time round.
For the semi-final, Lilia has on a more colorful costume, but again balances upside down on a platform and uses her feet to shoot an arrow into the bullseye of a target across the stage from her. She also shows off a few more of her slinky contortionist moves that reveal her to have the flexibility of a Twizzler. Even if she doesn’t win the million dollars, she will likely be asked out for a million dates (and only half of those from the male judges).
With a heartily approving check, the Hoff announces, “We’re all going to Vegas after the show.” See? What did I tell you. With another check, Brandy tells Lilia that she’s so talented, she doesn’t even need to change her act, she could just do the same thing over and over and still be a hit every time. Piers thinks what Lilia does is “incredible,” however he does ask what else she can do, as he believes that the winner of the million has to have an act that lasts longer than 2 minutes. That’s what she said when the bed broke! Lilia promises she has more she can do, and Piers bestows her with one more check.
Hurts So Good
Regis announces the next act will be David Smith, a.k.a. “The One Man Side Show.” Why are two people (one of whom is a woman) coming up if it’s a “One Man Side Show”? I’m just saying, give credit where credit is due. David was the 6’6” guy who did the “Bend Me, Shape Me” song with his feet behind his head last time we saw him. What could he possibly do to follow up that act?
How about “The Masochism Tango”? David enlists the help of his female assistant/dance partner to perform several dangerous stunts all while he sings Tom Lehrer’s funny song about the pleasure of pain live. While I’m not saying this is the best act by half, Ashlee Simpson can’t even sing live while she does a hoe-down, so David at least has that. But there’s more: David and his partner eat fire, dance a bit, whip each other, dance some more, lie down on a bed of nails while she walks on him in fetish heels and breaks a concrete block on his chest, dance some more, then walk barefoot on broken glass. Then dance!
I wonder how this kinky little dance number managed to avoid moral criticism from the prudish Brandy. S&M in the family hour…I’d think a stripper would actually be more wholesome than this! Brandy actually gives David a check, even after she says she didn’t like this act as much as the first time. Piers calls David “an acquired taste” that he has not acquired, and X’s him out. The Hoff appears flustered by the performance, saying he enjoyed it, yet giving him an X, also declaring the act was more suited to the “Hollywood Dungeon.” I wonder what dungeons the Hoff has been hanging around lately. Maybe that hand injury wasn’t an accident after all, and perhaps Mistress Reeg (replete with pink corset) has been punishing him too severely.
Don’t Go Changing to Try and Please Me
David & Dania mesmerized the audience the first time around with their truly amazing Quick Change magic act. Not only do they work together onstage, this year they also celebrated their 10th anniversary. David says the best thing about working with one you love is being with them 24/7. He also says, the worst thing about working with one you love is being with them 24/7. Har har. At least can’t harp on her that she takes too long to get dressed.
Ironically, the people with the word “change” in their name remained almost entirely unchanged the second time around. The act was virtually identical to the first performance, same costumes and change order. They only omitted David’s costume change, and Dania’s final dress is in appropriately themed American Flag red, white, and blue. Still, the act is just as impressive even on a second viewing; I still have no idea how they do what they do, especially the way she can change into an entirely different ball gown from under a shower of glitter.
Piers imagines every man in America wishes their woman could “change a dress that fast” (great, now he’s stealing my schtick). But seriously, Piers says that while he finds their act “flawless” and their act keeps him guessing even after multiple viewings, he found their performance today a bit like “Groundhog Day”—just too much of the same. Still, Piers gives them a check for wowing new audiences every time. The Hoff compares them favorably to top acts “on any stage, anywhere in the world” and says they continue to “awe” him even without changing a thing. Check from the Hoff. Brandy says that although she thinks they’re the best at what they do, she suggests they change the outfits and hair for variety, before allowing Piers to press her check button.
George in Progress
George Kelley is a Pavarotti-influenced singer who is also an eerie John Stamos lookalike. Based on his last performance, he was talked up as being the next Andrea Bocelli. Alas, he chooses this time to sing a popular song in English, “You Raise Me Up,” and it’s just not suited to his type of voice. He’s off and squeaky quite a number of times.
Brandy feels that his performance had more mystery and passion the first time, but still gives him a check. Piers reckons George has a “romantic” look that every woman dreams she’ll find driving her gondola in Venice. He also declares George “the best adult singer” they’ve had in this competition, and bestows upon him the lucky check. The Hoff thinks he’s “got it all” but doesn’t think there was enough passion this time around; still, despite the criticism, George gets three checks.
Take Off Your KITT
Michelle L’amour, the Burlesque dancer who was the source of much controversy and consternation amongst the judges earlier, has been sitting in the audience suspiciously overdressed the whole show. At last her name is called, and the raven haired beauty from Shy-town (who is far from shy) says the “art of the tease” (which she also teaches in classes) is about “giving a little bit but keeping some back for yourself.” Michelle hopes she can remain in Piers’s good graces, and maybe win over the Brandy, but the main person she hopes will pay attention to her act tonight is The Big Hasselhoff himself…and we’re about to learn why.
Michelle comes out in a mechanic’s coverall, leaning against none other than the Hoff’s old costar—no, not Pam Anderson, but KITT, the talking T-top car. The Hoff looks surprised and delighted to be reunited with his old buddy, as Michelle proceeds to do her dance to a special, rockin’ remix of the “Knight Rider” theme song. Michelle shimmies, shakes, does splits, and wears progressively less and less, concluding by taking her top off (although she cleverly conceals her naughty bits with a well-placed boa) and flinging the bra directly at Brandy.
Michelle good-naturedly tells Brandy that she can keep the top if she likes, to which Brandy cattily replies, “This is not the right size, okay?” before slapping her with a big red X. Piers and The Hoff both poke at the bra and giggle like schoolgirls, while Brandy keeps heaping insult on top of injury, telling Michelle “that’s not talent” and “maybe across the street, but not here.” That’s not cool to say, burlesque in actuality is light years away from your standard stripper—it’s really a classy tradition, not just a hustle for money.
“I’m going to go across the street,” the Hoff replies breathlessly, obviously no stranger to getting hustled (he even assumes lap dance position in his panel chair), before saying he’s always wondered what happened to KITT all these years. The Hoff bangs the check button with a smile of such pure and unadulterated joy, the kind one only sees on children or idiots. Piers mentions that his sons are in the audience so he has to watch what he says; still he tells Michelle, “When I found out you were a secret Hasselhoff groupie, something inside me died…You and I could have had a great future together,” then he X’s her out. How rude! From what I saw of his reaction during the performance, Piers looked very entertained during Michelle’s segment; it doesn’t seem fair to give her an X just because her dance was dedicated to the Hoff. What was she supposed to do, fan dance with copies of The Daily Mirror?
Balls Everywhere, Or Why This Show Should Have Just Ended After Michelle L’amour
The King Charles Troupe are a unicycle troupe that has been described as “Harlem Globe Trotters on Wheels.” They like to work with children in hopes of inspiring them to stay healthy and motivated. Wow, I thought we already saw this act the other week—Oh sorry, that was Harlem Globe Trotters on trampolines, only younger, tighter, and at least able to make all their shots.
The King Charles Troupe turns out to be a disaster. They aren’t able to make all their baskets (the acrodunkers were better in terms of accuracy, energy, and just plain organization). Their act is simply a mess, guys riding around on unicycles with no clear form or purpose, only part of the time making successful dunks.
“That was it?” Brandy asks, angrily Xing them, “That was the sloppiest thing I have ever seen on AMERICA’S GOT TALENT.” Piers deems them “absolutely terrible” saying “it all went horribly wrong tonight, you dropped everything, balls everywhere, no one knew what the hell was going on…” and yet he perversely gives them a check! The Hoff also curiously says their act tonight was “like a train wreck” yet gives them a check as well. What?!! I think everyone’s just tired and wants this episode to be over all ready. But wait, there’s more…
Reeks of Desperation
Desperation Squad is a self-proclaimed “Loser Band” from California, which is a total and utter waste of time. Their song tonight, called “Band” basically consists of the lead singer repeating the word “band” about a bajillion times, and going up to molest the judges’ buzzers. It ends with the singer in a dirty panda mask, but it’s not exactly a Flaming Lips concert.
The Hoff appears to inadvertently hits his check button. Brandy (looking like she is ready to quit this show) says she wants America to know she was not responsible for this act performing tonight, then X’s them. Piers admits he was mistaken when he declared the band from last week the loudest and most annoying in the world; it’s really this band. X marks the spot (where I throw up because I’ve had it for the night).
The Hoff says the singers tonight were horrible, so Piers challenges the Hoff to sing on Thursday. The Hoff is tempted by the challenge, but Brandy wants him to agree to be judged by her and Piers, which makes him hesitate. I think more may have been said, but I was too busy screaming bloody horror over the prospect of the Hoff singing live on national television to hear anything further.
All right all ready, just put us all out of our misery and tell us who the judges chose!. It was tough decision, blah de blah, but tonight the judges felt it was Passing Zone and their human juggling who should pass through to the finale. Who else will be joining the jugglers in the million dollar finale? Will Hasselhoff sing? I have a funny feeling we’ll find out on Thursday night’s results show, whether we like it or not. (Although the smart choice would be to read MotherSister's recap which is sure to be far less painless.)
Penguin! snowflakegirl@fansofrealitytv. com
Last edited by SnowflakeGirl; 08-03-2006 at 10:34 AM.
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