By Tom Comi
Pop quiz: What does Las Vegas headliner Terry Fator have in common with no-names like Bianca Ryan, Neal E. Boyd, Kevin Skinner and Michael Grimm?
The difference is that only Fator (an accomplished ventriloquist) has come close to becoming a household name, and that’s only for those households who have visited the Mirage hotel and casino in Sin City. And so it goes for the talent show that portends to find the country’s hidden gems and turn them into stars. As you can see, much more often then not, the winners fade away shortly after they are declared the winners.
So it is with that caveat that we preview the two-hour 6th season premiere tonight at 8pm ET. This show is much more about being entertained than it is about finding the next Beyonce or David Copperfield. But what fun would it be if blowhard Piers Morgan didn’t actually believe he was a national talent scout, right?
The funny thing about this guilty pleasure is it is becoming more known for its staff changes than who wins from year to year. Despite only airing five seasons, we’ve already had three hosts in Regis Philbin, Jerry Springer and now Nick Cannon. Sitting at the judges table have been the since-departed Brandy Norwood and David Hasselhoff, and current arbiters Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel.
My point here is that the show can still be fun regardless of who ends up winning and how much they flounder after doing so. Case in point: I loved singer Michael Grimm and was rooting for him to win Season 5. But many more people remember the runner-ups from last season, like young opera starlet Jackie Evancho, the incredible glow-in-the-dark routine of Fighting Gravity or the over-the-top singing of singer Prince Poppycock.
So starting tonight I will once again be joined by my wife and kids as we take the journey with aspiring stars from around this great country. And we’ll do so for the pure enjoyment of the show rather than deluding ourselves into thinking it’s about anything more. We’ll leave that fallacy up to NBC and Piers Morgan.
Credit: Trae Patton/NBC