Seattle’s Got Talent

Well, we did it.

I left work around 3:40pm, swung by the house to pick up Victoria, then parked and we hoofed it to the Paramount Theater for a taping of “America’s Got Talent”.

It was an adventure, to say the least.  From the moment I opened the car door and our printed out admission blew out of the car and underneath it, stuck to a tire.  I had to get down on all fours to reach it, Dripping wet, we went to get in line.

Yep, a line.  We finally found where to stand just before 5, for a taping scheduled to start at 6. Most fortunate of all, Victoria had noticed in the fine print that  no cell phones, cameras or even iPods were allowed in the theater during the show.  That meant either a) leave ’em in the car, which we did or b) check them in like at a coat-check on the way in.   Because once you got to the entrance, a wand was used to make sure you complied.  They did not want ANY pictures or video sneaking out.  Makes sense.  Gotta protect the franchise.

We finally came in out of the cold and grabbed our seats shortly before 6, setting up camp in the center section, in the back of the lower level.   They had a camera section in the dead-center of the lower level, as well as the judges’ area where the orchestra would usually be for a musical.  Stagehands with headsets kept seats filled up front throughout the evening, so it always looked full.  Even when people got up and left, they’d ask for a party of two or three from those of us at the top, to see if we wanted to move down.  We were placed at some end seats at one point.  Look for me and my yellow shirt standing and applauding or holding up an X.

The warm up guy started telling us what a great audience we were and this was the last of the four shows to be taped in Seattle.  I think they tape four times as much as they need and only the best of the best will make it to the kickoff show of the season this summer.  But “America’s Got Talent” will launch in Seattle on TV.

Of the acts, it was the usual assortment of highs and lows.  There was a singer with a guitar that Piers gave a hard time, but who shined…and a comedian named Jen Seamen who was hilarious.  The acts started at 6:50pm and went until 10.  20 acts in all and I’d say over half of them are on their way to compete in Las Vegas.

It’s interesting how the show is broken up and shot in segments.  They came out and shot close ups of each of the judges hitting their buzzer or talking amongst themselves.  Nick Cannon, the host (Mr. Mariah Carey) comes out to a standing ovation at the beginning, says “Hi, Seattle”, then stayed back stage the rest of the evening except for a couple of brief periods of interaction with contestants.

The judges were also very entertaining and when you think about it, that IS a long day. Remember, there was a 1pm taping that day, assuming they were on hand for make up at 1pm, do two shows and finally walk off the stage at 10pm. It was a little hard to hear the judges at times, you can see how Howie comes off much better when edited, but the banter between the three feels genuine.

Good stuff.  Another life experience in the books, something to look forward to on TV to see how it all turns out and another exhausted Friday, here I come!

Tim Hunter

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