Last night, I'll admit, I actually watched the finale for America's Got Talent. Yepper, I watched it all the way to the end. Sure, I had better things to do with my time than spend two hours of my evening watching television, but something about last events mesmerized me. Maybe it was the flashy outfits; perhaps it was the anticipation as they whittled down the top ten to the top five and then finally, the top two; or perhaps it was simply my anthropological curiosity that kept me tuned in. Who would American pick? What do mainstream Americans feel is talent, worthy of $1 Million dollars and their own headline show in Las Vegas?
I was with them on the top five; yep, it made sense to me. Then suddenly, I found myself honestly gasping out loud as the top two were announced (I was really getting into the show at this point)! Why was I so shocked that the general public actually selected an opera singer for one the top two spots? They got rid of the only act in the top ten I could literally see headlining in Vegas (Recycled Percussion, in case you were wondering). Honestly, all but one of the top ten seemed like great acts to me...but an opera singer? As I drove in to work today, the answer hit me.......
You see, there was a point in the show last night when a scantily clad, if you can even call what she was wearing "clad", Shakira took to the stage to perform. It was announced that she'd be performing her new single "She Wolf". Now, to the untrained eye, her lip-synching as she bound all over the stage was, in fact, what she was there for. "Ah yes, what a talented little singer that Shakira is," I just imagined people saying all over America as she began her, uhm.....performance? Suddenly the lip-synching to the horrifically overly dumbed-down lyrical contraption called her "hit single" turned into a night at a local strip club! What????? Wait, let me quickly cover my daughter's eyes and grab my dollar bills before you continue young lassie!
Seriously, I'm not making this up! That skimpy leather draped blonde suddenly began to gyrate on top of a speaker....no wait....make that, air-hump the speaker; yes, I believe that's what the kids call it these days....in prime time!!!!!! Holy Ed Sullivan, Batman.....what just happened? I was under the impression that this was a family show? Perhaps my family is the wrong demographic for this experience?
....now, back to my car and the drive into work this morning.....OHHHH I get it...THAT'S why I was so shocked! I was stunned to see the top five, no wait, make that even the top two acts, actually showed true talent; not skin.....not the ability to roll around on the stage or dangle themselves from a cage above a crowd while sporting stilettos and a thong like Britney Spears does in her current Circus concert tour.....no really, these people actually came out and displayed pure, true talent.
As I continued tooling along down Highway 114 listening to my Rosemary Clooney CD (yep, really), I couldn't help but wonder to myself, "WWJD if he saw last night's events?" Nope, not THAT "J", I am referring to John Lennon of course; truly one of the greatest composers and entertainers of our time. John, let me stage a bed-in to protest my feelings of war or write a song that will forever live on epitomizing the level to which all humans should aspire, Lennon.
Could you imagine John, or any of the Beatles for that matter, rolling around on a stage in leather, humping the nearest speaker during a performance? I mean, even Ringo, who made perhaps one of the worst films ever ("Caveman"), would have more dignity than to behave in such an ill manner! When did we go from creating and performing songs that made you think or touched you deeply to accepting songs about hunting down men to have our way with them and strip-club-like dancing as entertainment?
Now don't get me wrong, I'm sooooo not a stick in the mud or your average prude by any stretch of the imagination, but when I sit down with my family to watch something on prime time television, I don't expect to have to race my husband for the remote to change it when a "teen icon" hits the stage to perform. At what point did we allow the sheer greed of the entertainment world to take over and dictate to us what is the new acceptable form of entertainment? At what point did we all decide it was okay for young girls (remember, mine are seven and four-months) to look up to role models, at term I use loosely, who promote sexuality in the raunchiest sense?
Why, just imagine...what if what I witnessed with the top two acts of last night’s finale became the entertainment norm again? What if we went back to celebrating true talent and entertainment that didn't make you cringe? Well, you may say I'm dreamer, but I find it hard to believe that I'm the only one.