For several years now America’s Got Talent has been one of my guilty summer pleasures. I’ve never gotten caught up in the American Idol craze because I tend to think so much of contemporary pop music is crap and let’s face it, most of the show is gay guys in their 20’s singing badly. It just doesn’t appeal to me, although Kelly Clarkson does have a few toe tappers that I like well enough. Anyway, America’s Got Talent is much more interesting because they offer a wide variety of acts. Anyone doing pretty much anything is welcome.

The first year was really pretty fantastic as almost a freakshow and even the judges weren’t sure what they were looking for. Bobby Badfingers stuck out to me in that season because he was a dude who snapped his fingers really fast, it was different. Large chunks of the show has always been a train wreck, but sometimes you see something neat that you’ve never seen before. In the subsequent years they’ve found their groove in that they’re basically looking for a Las Vegas style show act. This came about likely as a result of the ventriloquist who won two years ago becoming a headline act in Vegas. Of course for reasons I can’t explain, two horrible singing acts have won the other versions of the show, one a 12 year old little girl and the other a fat dude who sang opera. Their total combined record sales are just slightly below mine. But that’s a rant for another day.

Ah, but what is the point of all this? Last night on the show they had a piano player named Jeffrey Ou. While Ou’s performance in the first round of the competition didn’t really register with me much, I was intrigued to see what he could provide on this our first real chance to see his act. His gimmick is that he’s a rather nerdy looking guy who does frantic piano playing.

So he comes out, playing Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major in a very slow traditional style. He plays maybe 50 seconds of this before dancers come out, rip his shirt off and he begins playing Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. The only problem with this is, as the dancers came out, one of them kicked his piano microphone cord out (unbeknownst to Ou) and the rest of his song you can’t hear his piano playing.

Afterwards the judges admit that they couldn’t hear the second half of his act (which actually translated to the majority of his act since only the intro was audible) but still somehow managed to find the “credibility” to tell him that they didn’t like it. That’s right, they actually said they didn’t care for his Elton John piano playing… Even though they couldn’t hear it. Essentially sealing Ou’s fate to be voted off the show.

Now don’t get me wrong, the field last night was pretty tough. I have no knowledge if Ou would have gotten voted through on his piano playing because all the other acts were so good last night. What I do know though is that the judges and America, didn’t get a chance to accurately evaluate him. Jeffrey Ou played his heart out and if NBC is foolish enough to let him be voted off for what amounted to a technical error it’d be a real miscarriage of justice.

Imagine if a singer’s microphone had went dead. There is no way they would have allowed it to continue. Instead they rather haphazardly said we were just supposed to judge him based on his first minute or so. The set up to his act. If he was a comedian it’d been the same as if he was telling the set up to a joke but then the microphone cut off before the punchline. How can you judge half an act? It was more like 1/3 of the act!

It’s ridiculous and if NBC doesn’t at least give Jeffrey Ou an extra spot into the next round they will have completely screwed the poor guy.

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