Here are five contestants from this past summer who deserved a longer journey on "AGT."
Darci Lynne is a worthy winner for "America's Got Talent" this summer, as her marriage of ventriloquism and full-voice singing is quite an impressive feat. In that regard, she's more than just a talented child who has a pretty good talent. Unfortunately for the show, though, talented kids have begun taking over more and more. Angelica Hale coming in second is absolutely ridiculous, and that's not a knock on her.
"AGT" is a show for a million dollars and a headline act in Vegas. These are the stakes and the goal. Angelica Hale has an amazingly powerful and mature voice for a 10-year old, but should she be headlining a show in Vegas over some of the other finalists? Of course not. And probably most of the people who voted for her would agree. But they're not thinking of the goal when they vote.
The viewers of these kinds of shows are losing their focus. When "American Idol" began, it was about America helping try to find the next big recording star, and it worked in the early seasons. Then it became about the cutest singer, or the one with the most compelling back-story and stars stopped emerging.
Now that these shows try to pull heartstrings, and this one in particular shoves kids down our throats, the audiences have completely changed their motivation. Nobody cares who gets the Vegas show or thinks about the future careers of the contestants. They simply care about who has the saddest story or the deepest dimples. We love them while the show is on and forget about them immediately once the season wraps to move on to our next favorite distraction.
The problem is that this skewed thinking about what a talent show should be about leads to some amazing acts getting the boot way too early in a show's run. Backstories are just that. They're in the past. They shape who we are, but they should have no real bearing on the talent we display when we compete on a show like this.
In honor of those acts who maybe didn't have a story as compelling as their a talent, we've uncovered five contestants from this past summer who deserved a longer journey on "America's Got Talent." America may have gotten it right in the end, but they got it plenty wrong along the way.
Billy & Emily England
While they made it pretty far into the competition, they deserved a spot in the finals. They wouldn't have won because they're adults, but nevertheless this was easily the most heart-stopping act of the entire season. And while skating around in a circle while trying not to slam your sister's head into the floor may sound pretty weird, the England siblings made it magical every single time. We forgot to breathe and we wish they had kept making us breathless deeper into the summer.
It was a rough season for magicians on "AGT" this year, but Eric Jones deserved a chance to advance. While we saw a lot of magic in the earlier rounds, no one was as charming and chill in their delivery than Eric. He oozed confidence in close-up magic that was absolutely mesmerizing to watch. In a show that's supposed to be about putting on an amazing show, we'd pick the magic of Eric Jones over another kid singer any day.
Puddles Pity Party
Like the Englands, this was an act unique unto itself. It was neutered when we got to the bigger productions and Puddles simply sang. That's not what this act is. Darci is more than a singer, and Puddles is, too. It's about the sad clown with a voice of gold. The potential was there for Puddles to be something really weird and special into the finals, but the show didn't know how to make that work. "AGT" is about unique acts you can't find anywhere else, and this is that.
We fell in love with this wacky daredevil the first time we saw his Slim Jim hairstyle, and he blew us away again with each performance. More than just a man who risks his life for other's entertainment, Nock is a performer and a funny one at that. He adds an element of the absurd, like a cross between a clown and a classic daredevil, and it makes it look almost more dangerous as you're not sure if he's purposely stumbling around or it's part of his shtick.
Almost utterly indescribable, Sirqus Alfon proved their own diversity within the act by presenting two completely different types of performances in their too-short run on "AGT." This was the kind of silly act we could see dominating a variety show in Las Vegas -- or Branson at the very least -- and we were really hoping we would get the chance to see what else they had in store.
Unfortunately, America kept it safe this summer and went with lots of singers and kids. There are plenty of singing competitions and dance competitions. This is the place for unique acts and those are the ones we tune in for. A chicken that plays a piano is far more compelling in a variety show than yet another singer. There's another chance to get it right next summer when "AGT" returns for its 13th season.
Think variety, America. Embrace the weird next summer. Do better.