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America's Got Talent: Bring on Top Twenty Week!

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I didn’t think it was possible. For the last few weeks it’s been two episodes a week. And this week, the challenge to watch just got harder. That’s right, three nights a week. That’s six hours of America’s Got Talent in three days. Do you have the endurance to tough out “Top Twenty Week?” I have my arsenal of cookies and energy drinks; I’m up for the challenge. Now let’s see if I can even make it through hour four.

In the first hour this week, the final five of the top twenty were revealed. Nuttin’ But Stringz, Kaitlyn Maher, Eli Mattson, Donald Braswell, and (after much Hoffian tension), the Tapping Dads. Again, Kaitlyn Maher? Seriously? She sings great for a four-year-old, but she’s four years old. Other than that, it was pretty obvious who was going to make it. Finally we’re getting down to some real talent. Now for the fight to the final ten.

Here’s a fun fact. Did you know that nearly every contestant gets sparks flying at the end of their performance? I believe the unnecessary pyrotechnics on America’s Got Talent (such as the waterfall of sparks behind Queen Emily) are the source of our energy crisis.

Starting off the second hour were the Wright Kids (see clip below). There had to be no one cooler than six-year-old Levi, who, decked out in a leather jacket and black jeans, rocked the stand up bass the size of his body, and even managed to spin it around a few times. It almost made me ignore that most of the music was coming from offstage, and you couldn’t even hear their instruments. Almost. ZOOperstars! brought in vocals and shiny vests to their act, and I have to say I was pretty happy for the appearances of Monkey Mantle and Whale Gretzky. But I have to agree with Piers, I have no idea what they’re still doing in this competition.

At this point, I’ve given up on the actual talent portions and havegone into appreciating the details. The talent is fairly predictable.It’ll either been an emotional performance, or a ridiculous one. Andthe talent will be judged one way or another. The trick to being ableto endure this show all week (which I know you will) is to find thestrange things. Like the way Neal E. Boyd looked up to the camera as itpanned away ever so innocently. Or the way Jerry begs the audience tovote with such a sense of urgency. Or how Sharon accidentally X-ed outJessica Price before she even started singing. (See her performance below.) Okay, maybe that wasn’ta detail, but it was a pretty ridiculous moment. Or my local newscommercial: “Coming up at 10, a local dancer has to perform to provehe’s not a terrorist.” These are the things that keep me watching everyweek. Or at this point, every night.

Terry Fator came back at the end to tell us that on October 17th,the winner will be performing at the MGM Grand hotel. So who is alreadybooking their tickets to Vegas? Who did you vote for? I, for one, donot vote. I, clearly, report this with emotionally reservedobjectivity. I’m the Wolf Blitzer of network talent shows.

We have a gallery of interviews and photos featuring 15 of the top 20. We’ll be adding the last five later this afternoon, so check back.

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