“America’s Got Talent” — the least interesting of America’s reality-talent competitions — just got interesting.
The announcement was made this morning that Howard Stern has joined the cast of the show as a judge next season, which instantly makes it more intriguing than it has ever been before. Stern is a major talent, one of America’s best interviewers and a brilliant funnyman, and his involvement could actually make “America’s Got Talent” worth watching.
The problem is it’s still “America’s Got Talent,” a bottom-feeding variety show populated by hacky comics, plate spinners, ventriloquists and other cheeseball acts. In six seasons the show has produced exactly one person you can name — scary kid classical singer Jackie Evancho — and a whole lot of people that have failed to set the world on fire. Maybe America doesn’t have that much talent after all?
It’s tough to gauge how Stern will fit in with the show. As much as he likes to fancy himself a tastemaker and a discoverer of talent, his strength is conversation, and he’s not likely to be given 90-minute talk segments on the show. And the cheery nature of “America’s Got Talent” could suppress his edge, and if he’s forced to blindly support whatever swill is being presented as “talent” on the show, it will undercut his other main attribute, his ability to tell the truth. It would be sad to see him become a shill.
Perhaps the best case scenario for the show is a mutiny situation, where Stern turns against the show and bombs on it for being a hackfest. But still, of COURSE it’s a hackfest, and the only person that might be news to is Stern.
Regardless, we’ll be watching, which is the whole point. Advantage “America’s Got Talent,” for now.