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AGT Season 4 Wraps Up

September 18, 2009 - Michael Palmer
For the fourth season in a row, viewers have voted for a singing act to win America’s Got Talent. Season 1: Bianca Ryan: An 11 year old singer. Season 2: Terry Fator - Ventriloquist/impressionist/singer from Mesquite, Texas. (Singing with puppets counts!) Season 3: Neal E. Boyd - An opera singer who sells insurance for a living in Sikeston, Missouril. This year’s winner: 4. Chicken farmer and country singer Kevin Skinner won $1 million and his own Las Vegas show.

Despite his final performance being mediocre. He beat opera singer Barbara Padilla, who’s a far better singer. The most Vegas-like performance act, Recycled Percussion, came in third followed by the Texas Tenors and sibling singers Voices of Glory. Padilla would have been an opera repeat. Recycled Percussion was too much like Stomp. Tenors also were too much opera and not enough cute blonde Texans. Voices of Glory just could not match sob stories with Skinner.

In my opinion, the unpretentious, unassuming laid back chicken catcher Kevin Skinner from Kentucky embodied the spirit and intent of America’s Got Talent. He was every man’s man. An unemployed chicken catcher with a family from a small town in the rural Midwest that cries at the drop of a hat. This is a true American success story, from rags to riches, obscurity to fame.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe that he has the talent to pull this off. Who wants to go to Vegas to see karaoke? I don’t see him getting a recording contract from any major labels and after the year’s contract he will face a new reality of obscurity revisited. Unless……

I think there is a different direction for this plain ol’ country boy. While, in my estimation, he does not have the chops to sustain a recording career in Nashville, he most certainly has charm. If he doesn’t give in to the glitz and glamour of Sin City and keeps his simple country virtues, he can easily stay on the mid-level radar of entertainment by broadening his act.

There is the country comedy market of Jeff Foxworthy style humor that could be a good venue for him to get into. He sings at least as well as Larry the Cable Guy. Of course there is also the huge hole left in the movie industry by the death of Ernest (ie. Ernest goes to Vegas).

Do not get me wrong. I was thrilled he got the vote. You may be shocked to find out that I have been known to take the microphone at small country taverns where they murder the stars of the Grand Ole Opry in the name of karaoke. I have heard singers as good and sometimes better than Skinner while listening to the local alcoholic choirs perform.

Which of these inebriated crooners has not dreamt of getting the chance to sing in front of a huge crowd or on television and have them roar their approval? I have had the opportunity to emcee at a huge pep rally and introduce an act to a big crowd. The charged atmosphere is an adrenaline rush.

I mostly enjoy the show for the train wreck talent. The yodeling dominatrice, two Romanian girls called Indiggo singing New York, New York, Tory and Damien rapping while playing on violins called Nuttin' But Strings, Bsty Heart smashing things with her breasts and the male Britney Spears impersonator.

There was and will continue to be controversy about the show and if it is actually reality TV. One of the acts in the semi-finals was Arcadian Broad, a dancer around 12 years old I believe. His last act was a dance act based around High School Musical, he was dressed in a Wildcat's Jersey dancing around. Piers Morgan said he wasn't good enough to get into the finals. Arcadian responded saying "I didn't want to do a High School Musical scene, the producers gave me this hand and..." and he was promptly cut off by Piers. When Nick Cannon came back out to give his numbers, he went off saying "Well, of course the acts get the decision of the acts they perform..."

Was this a glimpse into the dark interior of the Beast or just an attempt to help a young man Hollywood style up his act? Either way, he was clearly not allowed to publicly protest and when the replay ran the next night the comment was edited out.

Season 5 auditions start soon and I expect to see an increase in auditions next season for America’s got talent. I hope to see more variety acts. It gets to be tedious, like a six week quarterfinal round of American Idol, if there are too many singers.


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