The thing about America’s Most Talented Kid is that it airs on Friday nights. Now, we’re not big swinging partiers, but we do occasionally get out of the house, and on those occasions, it’s sometimes Friday. And y’all know how hard it is to catch up once you’ve missed something, right? Of course you do. Therefore, this recap covers an America’s Most Talented Kid episode long, long ago (three weeks) in a galaxy far, far away (Los Angeles). It’s episode four.
Host Mario Lopez introduces the rotating guest judges for this episode: Lisa Ling and Vivica A. Fox. Every time I see Lisa Ling, I am reminded of the capri pants commercials she did for Old Navy. Vivica is wearing a large flower in her hair. It’s huge, but sets off her eyes nicely. When Mario gets to Lance, he says that Lance is equally as talented as the other two. I’m not even sure what their talents are, but I’m pretty sure the rest of America feels the same way about Lance, so I’ll let it slide. Mario asks Lance what’s up with his management company, and instead of telling the truth – which would be “nothing” – he explains that he develops the talent of young kids. Mario cuts him off to explain the rules, and ends by saying that being young “doesn’t keep [these kids] from giving star performances.”
Brad: Or from grabbing their crotches.
The first contestant is seven, and his stage name is ‘Lil C. He has a big, bouncy afro, and his talent is dancing. No, really. It’s an actual talent! It’s like he has absolutely no bones in his entire body (obligatory Justin Timberlake reference), and he can do back flips and stuff.
Brad: Except I have to compare him to ‘Lil Max$o, and he’s not rapping.
What he does do is dance to a snippet of “No Parking on the Dance Floor” which may be the best early-80s song that no one talks about. Lance is so impressed with ‘Lil C that he raises both eyebrows at the same time and mouths the word, “Wow.” ‘Lil C will be hard to beat.
I got some hate mail this week for saying mean things about little kids. That’s not going to stop me from saying the next performer copped her hair (huge blond pigtails), mascara (spider eyes), and lipstick (too red) from Jon Benet Ramsey and her pageant-kid ilk. Her name is Madelaine, and she’s five. She performs a cutesy song in matching pants-and-top that would have been called a “bathing outfit” in a novel written by Fitzgerald. Besides looking like Barbie’s baby sister (not Skipper, the younger one), she has no talent. I worry that her hair is too heavy for her head, and also pray she has a normal childhood.
The third contestant is Evan, six. His talent is wearing those tennis shoes that are also roller skates while yo-yoing to “Walk Like An Egyptian.” Brad remarks that he’s like a Smother’s Brother. Evan’s dad sits behind him on the stage and grins very largely. It’s sort of sweet, until I realize that he is wearing a golf shirt that advertises a pro shop in their hometown. The smile is obviously just part of the billboard. Or, maybe, it’s just that it was the only teal shirt dad owned. Because when Evan joins them, it becomes apparent that they are dressed exactly alike, except Evan doesn’t have all the patches and logos. Hey! Maybe that would work. You can advertise on these kids the way Penzoil does on racecars.
‘Lil C advances to the finals, and Mario moseys on over to the judges. Lisa Ling is worthless. I can’t believe I ever bought pants because of her. Vivica says that the talent and dedication brought tears to her eyes. Lance skips the kids completely, and asks Mario what he thinks of his hot co-judges. Mario gives Lance a smile with extra dimples to let him know he’s beautiful, too.
The ‘tween category is kicked off by the reincarnation of My So-Called Life‘s Ricky Vasquez. Seriously. If Ricky were to sing a love song to Lance while gyrating his hips in black leather pants, it would look and sound pretty much exactly like Morgan, age 12. Remember when Brian dumped Delia to go to the dance with Angela, and so Delia ended up dancing with Ricky? And all the kids made a circle around them, and Ricky rubbed his hands all over his chest? God. I loved that episode. “What is love/Baby don’t hurt me/Don’t hurt me/No more.” Morgan’s scores are just okay.
The second performer is Brityn, 10. She has the biggest smile I have ever seen, ever, and that’s the nicest thing I can say about her.
Brad: I’m disturbed.
Amanda: How do you adequately describe this, without being cruel?
She has a pear-shaped body (no breasts, yet) and her mother dressed her in a tight blue fringed outfit with a crop top. Brityn’s poor little belly strives to escape through the uncovered two inches. She shimmies, and makes funny, over-exaggerated faces. Her head is perfectly round, and she has no chin. A little snippet of “Dance Machine” comes on during her routine, and Lance sings along gleefully.
Brad: She was good.
Amanda: She was, yes.
Brad: It was just really hard to watch.
The judges love Brityn, and give her nearly perfect scores. Next is 11-year-old Lateefah. She is very serious about her singing, but even when she over-emotes, she seems strangely unmoving after Brityn and her sparkling teeth. Brad, on an anti-Brityn kick, throws his support to Lateefah. Her dad sings along in the audience, and looks like he might be holding his breath. If there’s one thing you can always count on from this show, it’s the dads who sit in the audience so proud they’re almost bursting at the seams. Lateefah hits her last note, and it’s a dealbreaker – sharp, with too much vibrato. Lance plasters an encouraging look on his face, while Mario tells Lateefah she gave him chills. The judges are very chatty tonight, and Lance shows Vivica how to do long division. Brityn wins, and Brad gets a little bent out of shape.
Brad: No way! My god. Whatever.
The judges have a gushfest about how much they love Brityn. Mario reveals that she danced with a hairline fracture in her foot. They all chant a variation on “She wanted it!” and talk about her smile. Mario tells Lance that he must know what it’s like to be young and “want it” (heh) so Lance tells the story about how he had a similar injury when *NSYNC went on Saturday Night Live, and how he had to be very careful where he put his foot down. I have that performance on tape, and when they perform “This I Promise You,” Lance does in fact wobble a little. That “No Refund” skit is pretty much the best thing ever. And JC had those little cuffed jeans for the “Bye Bye Bye” performance…and Justin had his big ‘fro. *sigh* Those were the days. On America’s Most Talented Kid, Lisa and Vivica give Lance a sugary “Awww!”
The first teenager is Zachary, 14. I think he might have a little mustache. His hair is dull brown, styled in a grown-out bowl cut. His voice must have changed sometime between the audition and now, because he’s just awful, even by this show’s standards.
Brad: Oh for fuck’s sake. Who told this kid he can sing?
Amanda: Is that a mustache?
Brad: I wonder what he sounded like before?
Amanda: See it there? It’s very faint, but kind of brown?
Brad: He’s really terrible.
Zachary gets the mute treatment. When he’s done, Mario hints to Zach’s mom that maybe something isn’t quite right with her son’s voice. She tells him that he’s had to adjust to some big changes lately, and basically admits that he didn’t used to suck. His scores are pretty dismal. On the way to commercial, we get to see the final two competitors. One of them looks just like Cheyenne from episode three – “Another saucy minor,” Brad says.
When we come back from commercial, 13-year-old Agape is the first contestant. She’s another piano prodigy, and thus Brad feels it is unfair for her to be on the show. Unlike little Arju, from episode two, Agape is a brilliant piano player. Agape’s mother tells Mario that the name “Agape” means “love.” Mario says, chuckling, “Well, how appropriate!” Huh? Agape’s score is nearly perfect, destroying the measly score of poor, voice-changing Zachary.
The final contestant is Aubrey, 15. She has the peasant blouse, blond hair, and tight jeans of Cheyenne, but not the talent. She performs a Michelle Branch song, and it’s just okay. I find myself wishing she were better. I mean, she can play the guitar and sing at the same time! That’s talent! Alas, she does not beat Agape, who smiles at the camera in a very Zen way when her win is announced. All the winners join Mario onstage, along with Lance and his typical unbuttoned cuffs. ‘Lil C busts some moves to the closing credits, and then shyly gives Agape a hug. I predict that, ten years from now, he’ll be in a rap video, riding around in the back of a Benz with some booty girls, shaking it in slow motion.
Next week: The wildcard shows! Which of the losers will eek out wins to get into the finals?