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'America's Got Talent': Jackie Evancho loses to Michael Grimm but wins a duet with her idol

September 15, 2010 |  9:55 pm

We don't usually watch infomercials unless Billy Mays or the SlapChop guy are involved but we made an exception Wednesday for the finale of this season's "America's Got Talent."

Stretched agonizingly over two hours, we endured random guest acts (the Goo Goo Dolls are still a thing?) ridiculously lame product placements and a number by the "AGT All-Stars" (read: rejects) to find out that soul singer Michael Grimm squeaked past fan favorite Jackie Evancho to snag the $1-million prize.

But first came the most shameless advertisements -- the finalists' duets. This was a chance for the Final Four to sing with their heroes, as long as their hero was tying to resuscitate a career or had a new disc to shill. Grimm looks up to Jewel?  Seriously?

It has been a long time since we have encountered a production so utterly pointless. NBC's show is constantly being billed as live, as if crazy things could happen at anytime, but all the action is so tightly scripted that it is impossible not to suspect that every possibly spontaneous turn is designed to manipulate. Piers Morgan's buzzing of Prince Poppycock on Tuesday night, for instance. (Poppycock was the first to go on the finale.)

She might not have won, but Jackie did something on the show that no one else did: She was real. She was genuinely excited to meet Sarah Brightman and over the moon at being able to sing with her. Winning a contest is a worthy but abstract goal, especially for a child. Meeting a hero is tangible and it was a pleasure to watch Jackie realize that dream.

In a previous post, Culture Monster poked fun at Jackie copying the "wandering hands mean I'm emoting" technique from the Brightman playbook but they were so sweet together our heart burst to only two sizes too small.

Sensibly skipping the low-sitting triplet passage that marred her earlier performance of the song ("Time To Say Goodbye") Evancho sung circles around her idol. The ensemble bits were mostly awful because, as is usual for sopranos, each had her own ideas regarding pitch. In the end we were so pleased with Jackie, it didn't matter.

While Twitter is ablaze with outrage over the results, in our opinion, America made the right choice. Grimm gets his Vegas show, his grandparents get their new house and Jackie will be free to pursue her career on her own terms.

What left a bad taste in our mouths was the feeling that we were being held hostage by advertisements and promotional spots that took the focus away from the talent. The compelling nature of those less tightly scripted moments made the whole contest seem mawkish and tacky.

What did you think?  Was two hours too long?  Would it have made a difference if the guest acts were actually entertaining or am I just a cranky blogger incapable of appreciating a good thing when I see it?

-- Marcia Adair

Follow me on Twitter @missmussel


JackieChoose one for Jackie Evancho: Stardom now or a real singing career later?

Prince Poppycock takes on Jackie Evancho

Jackie Evancho's voice strikes a chord

Before Jackie Evancho: Remembering Julie Andrews, Beverly Sills and other young vocal prodigies

Hear Jackie Evancho, the 10-year-old with an operatic voice

Comments () | Archives (135)

America got it wrong again

Cranky blogger. The guest acts were good, although to be fair, the Mexican 200 year event on Univision was more entertaining (probably more fireworks in one place than every US city on the 4th of July). The result? Not so good. Leave the mediocre singing to American Idol, Grimm should have placed 4th.

Lame...Jackie was by far the favorite and then loses...goes to show Hollywood's lack of integrity.

Michael Grimm is very talented, but I can't believe America has picked him over Jackie, just unbelievable to me and very sad. Briton did that with Susan Boyle as well, unbelievably sad. And that said I'm sure they will both sell millions of albums like Susan did.

Thank God for TIVO!

I was able to skip through all the needless junk, stop for highlights, and see the winner being announced.

It all could have been done not only in ONE hour, but probably less than 30 minutes. Please never do this again!

America made the right choice! Jackie is amazing and so is Michael, I just favor Michael's style more.
And, yes, the commercials were abundant and annoying .... things drug on and on, two hours was just too long. But, we all still watched anyway, of course.

I sorta kinda maybe a little bit see Jewel as being AN INFLUENCE of Mike, but his hero, through and through? No, probably not. Weird advertisement anyway. Doesn't she have a country tour she could get on or something? Jesus.

Sarah Brightman sucked, Goo Goo Dolls are... the Goo Goo Dolls. No one cares about them. No one HAS cared about them since they were a punk band, and not really anyone cared about them then either.

I thought the gathering of the rejects was pretty hilarious, though.

Also, you wanna talk about manipulative scripted spontaneity, what the hell was up with the random pyrotechnics? Give me a break...

That's all I got.

In responst to the question,"was two hours too long?", my answer is not for me, because I PVR-ed it, and skipped through the pile of rubbish to get to the different results and to watch a couple of performances (including Jackie's). Even though I think Jackie Evancho was better, I do agree it is probably best that a 12 year old doesn't get a show in Vegas. She can release an album and appear on TV hear and there, and continue to be a child. No one should feel bad for her because she will be able to sign with the highest bidder. As for Michael Grimm, having a show in Vegas is perfect for him.

Well, Prince Poppycock was just a little TOO out there for most tastes, and he does have his own career singing in burlesque reviews. Fighting Gravity on the other hand, kind of blew it with their "duet" with Lionel Richie. At one point, he even looked behind and wondered where they were on the set... As far as Jackie Evancho not winning, she has her whole life ahead of her and she will be something to see growing up. Grimm deserved to win because he was the most humble and the most deserving of the 1 million dollar prize. They all get to go on tour so its not really a loss for any of them.

Well let me just respond to your comment regarding AGT. There are losers and there are winners and that is that. The bad thing is that people in your position take the liberty of "voicing" all of America's opinion? Give me a break! You are now an expert on human expression on whos expression was more unique? For example, I can express that Jackie was the cutes brown noser in history! It's a matter of opinion. Michael Grimm has a much better voice then some of our well know singers..sorry Celina Gomez. Jackie is a phenomena, one in a billion. She has many years ahead of her, hope her voice lasts her a good time to make her some money. I think the advice given by her "Idol" was well said. Well Culture Monster, looks like you'll be sucking on a lemon for a while.

I well contact THE OPRAH SHOW to see if they can get Jackie on her show. So close,so close. God bless little Jackie.

Good God, woman, are you new to America? Have you never seen American television before? We have commercials here. Not a big deal. "Finale" shows have done this over-hawking, stringing-out-the-reveal for years. Why not spend your column space writing about the performances, the performers? There are some great stories there. I think you said it best yourself -- you absolutely sound like "a cranky blogger." At best.

Michael Grimm won, not Jackie, so why the videos and pictures of her....where are the videos and pictures of Michael Grimm....the WINNER!

Well, I think Michael Grimm was awesome! I agree with you about Jewel.....
You can tell he is not polished yet by looking at his style and humbleness.

He deserved winning this contest. Jackie will be famous no matter what.
Also she came at the end of the show, she did not go through the whole elimination process.

I also loved Prince P. he is a show and super creative.
In regards to your comments about being scripted, everything is scripted, fake and materialistic in Hollywood...

I utterly agree with the comments in this article. This was a second or third class production. Showing the tasteless, losing acts, and bringing singers on the stage that simply were not up to calibre was just tacky. Two hours was indeed too long. It should have been a tie. Jackie is just to talented to have taken second place. What can I say. Even the MC over performed at times. My husband went to bed half way through. The finale was just not worthy of a ten year old performer to be part of.

I think Prince Poppycok deserved winning!
Jackie has a gorgeous voice but this is America and I don't know if she would put everyone to sleep if you are not culture enough.
I am satisfied with Michael Grimm wining. He looks like a movie star already, he reminds me of a young Bruce Springsteen.

This show is tacky and that is what is cool about it!

Micheal Grimm was by far the better act. Jackie is a good singer but how many people go see opera singer in Vegas?

I enjoyed the show so much that I watched it twice, once on the East coast online cast and then again West coast time. I am a fan of Michael Grimm and I totally agree to the outcome of the show. Michael has a true blues voice and performs brilliantly. Jackie has a beautiful voice and will have a great future but should save her voice for when she is older. .. she could sing so much now that she would loose her voice and that would be a tragedy to her and the world of music. Prince Poppycock could be a big entertainer but really goofed it up when he talked unprofessional to Piers. I think Fighting Gravity will end up here in Las Vegas. I wish them all the best but I do hope this will really put Michael Grimm's career in high gear as he has worked hard for it.

You are a cranky blogger incapable of appreciating a good thing. Sorry but I guess I just didn't watch the same show as you. Thank god we are all human and don't appreciate things the same way.

"Cranky blogger" is your answer. And if you have a problem with the results, why not challenge AGT to produce their numbers. Otherwise just accept the fact that - despite the lopsided (sometimes hysterical) promotion of the other acts, MOST Americans voted for Michael Grimm (myself proudly among them). The choice was really simple: Divinity Fudge, Crepe Suzette Flambe or good ol' apple pie. (And Americans just love good apple pie.) YEAH MICHAEL!!!

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