TV talent competitions are generally regarded as the lowest shared experience of human society. It's easy to think you're better than someone who texts in their vote to American Idol
, because you are. That person is going to die alone, and it will only make Adam Lambert stronger.
But if you get over yourself, these shows have the most genuine hilarity on TV. Watching desperate people volunteer to suck... it's the greatest gift they can give us. True, unstaged failure is a joy for every part of the human mind. I've selected the 10 best from the premiere shows: X-Factor
, America's Got Talent
, Britain's Got Talent
, American Idol
and American Inventor
What makes a great failure? Aside from a terrible performance, each audition has to tell a story. A story of delusion... of irrational dreams that slowly, slowly get crushed as the judging panel's criticism eats through their fantasy world. It only sounds tragic on paper--when done properly, it's like a comedy dream.
10. Dave Allen
Britain's Got Talent
One of the things I love about America's/Britain's Got Talent
is that they only allow magicians on if they're terrible. And if the casting directors screw up and let a good magician on stage, the judges just fucking hate wizards anyway. If he knew this, he didn't care, because magician Dave Allen comes to them with one trick: Duck to the Future. It's a cannon with flames that shoots ducks through time. Which should be a big help for people trying to finally check off that last box on their scavenger hunt.
The trick fails in three ways: First, magic is supposed to make you wonder how it's done. If a duck impossibly teleports across a room, I'm going to guess I'm dealing with a duck look-alike, not a violation of spacetime. So if Dave Allen came to me looking for credit for his duck shopping skills... kudos, asshole. You picked out two ducks that look like ducks. I would have been more impressed you hadn't.
Second... Duck to the Future
? Is that a pun? You can't change the first letter AND the vowel sound in a pun. You might as well call it Magical to the Duck Trick-uture. Plus, what's wrong with Quack to the Future? That only took me 15 seconds to come up with, and I'm not even a homo. Did this guy decide to kill ducks on stage after he lost his job as a birthday card writer?
Third, he straight-up blows it. In what must be the easiest trick ever conceived, he puts the duck into a box under a cannon, sets off a crappy bomb, then clumsily knocks the lock off the box. So by the time he walks across to the duck look-alike, the first one escapes, unimpressively still in the proper dimension. I never thought I'd say this, but I hope he's having sex with these ducks, just so all of this isn't a huge waste of their time.
To add insult to failure, it cuts to crowd shots of black people laughing at him. As a cultured reader, you of course know that black people calmly remaining near you is the international sign that you're a shitty, shitty sorcerer. And I don't even know what you call it if one of them is so unterrified that he then picks his nose.
YouTube - Prepare your soul for Duck Cannon
9. Ankar Judge
is a singing competition in the U.K. that allows nutbars of all ages to try out. One of those nutbars is Ankar Judge, part-time singer and full-size World's Shortest Man. He, in his own words, is as good as Michael Jackson, Daniel Bedingfield and George Michael. And there's one thing you can count on when someone says something like that--it's never not true.
Ankar performs "What About Us?" the song Michael Jackson wrote to make "Heal the World" sound more death metal. God rest Michael's soul, his song "What About Us?" would have to grow 50 mustaches just to be considered tough enough for a breast pump commercial.
Ankar Judge spent years studying the sounds of two-year-olds dropping their ice cream, and has incorporated this into his music flawlessly. He sounds like a chipmunk's vagina blowing its nose, and 80 percent of the lyrics is whine. Then, without warning or reason, he starts muttering to himself and jogs backwards to throw himself into the