Allow me to take a break from the debate over Hillary Clinton’s alleged parkinson’s disease and Donald Trump’s taxes to focus on something truly important (tongue in cheek): the controversy surrounding the winner of America’s Got Talent.
For those of you who don’t watch the popular NBC summer show, it’s a glorified talent contest spotlighting the truly gifted and the truly stupid. This year’s five finalists included singer Sal Valentinetti and Brian Justin Crum, magician and former football player, Jon Dorenbos, a pair of mentalists calling themselves The Clairvoyants, and twelve year old singer/ukulele player, Grace VanderWaal. All were remarkably talented; three acts were eliminated, narrowing the competition down to The Clairvoyants and little Grace VanderWaal. The winner? The little girl.
Needless to say, the internet is on fire this morning with commentary from fellow armchair critics. VanderWaal’s supporters cite her voice, ukulele skill, and the fact that she penned her own songs as proof she deserved the win; her detractors (myself among them) can’t believe a little girl with a whispery, unusual, not quite developed voice beat a slick, highly polished act like The Clairvoyants. If I’m shocked, imagine how The Clairvoyants feel this morning!
VanderWaal is definitely talented. It’s a rare twelve year old who can compose her own music and lyrics and confidently perform on a stage before thousands of people. Her songs were good; her lyrics poignant. The moment she opened her mouth, everybody knew little old ladies and pre-teens across the country would fall in love with her. She is squeaky clean, charmingly innocent, sweet. All things considered, however, in my humble opinion, she is not a million dollar act. I certainly would not pay my hard earned money to buy a ticket to see her show in Las Vegas, and I don’t think I could bring myself to listen to more than one of her songs at a time. That being said, I wouldn’t pay to see The Clairvoyants either, but if I had to choose the act that I believed would fill seats in Las Vegas, I would definitely choose the mentalists over VanderWaal any day.
That being said, I agree with Simon Cowell’s prediction that little Grace VanderWaal is the next Taylor Swift. VanderWaal a diamond in the rough, or more specifically, a fortune in the making. Though her talent pales in comparison to her fellow America’s Got Talent contenders, VanderWaal is a marketing guru’s dream. Like an unused chunk of clay, Grace VanderWaal can be molded into whatever Simon Cowell and his cronies want her to be, and surely that’s a giant dollar sign.
While I’m raining on America’s Got Talent’s 2016 parade of colorful performers, let me throw this out there: what was that on Nick Cannon’s head? Was he auditioning for a role in the Broadway production of Aladdin, practicing to be a snake charmer, or was his jeweled turban part of the divorce settlement with Mariah Carey? Cannon is known for his sparkling shoes and trendy suits, but his choice of headgear for the 2016 finale was equally as baffling as this year’s chosen winner.