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Prince Poppycock takes on Jackie Evancho and tries opera on 'America's Got Talent'

September 15, 2010 |  9:00 am

We've been talking a lot on Culture Monster about Jackie Evancho, the 10-year-old who sings opera and is a fan favorite on NBC's "America's Got Talent." But with the competition nearly over, another performer seemed to be making a bid for our attention: Prince Poppycock.

Fun for the mouth to say and a scream to watch. Tuesday night in the "America's Got Talent" finals, he was at nearly equal odds with Michael Grimm for least likely to take home the $1 million.

PoppycockCulture Monster was very much looking forward to his next opera sendup and pushed away the niggling worries brought on by the set and his costume choice.  When it became apparent that "Nessun Dorma" from Puccini's opera "Turandot" was on the menu, we were filled with anxiety. (Many Culture Monster readers had hoped young Jackie would have sung that. She choose "Ave Maria.")

This aria requires a powerful voice and an earnest outpouring of emotion, neither of which are Poppycock's strengths.  His voice is light and agile -- perfect for Mozart or Rossini -- and winking your way through the final aria of a Romantic opera is just asking for trouble.

As it turned out, Tuesday night wasn't a shining moment for Poppycock, who has performed on Los Angeles stages. Trouble with the in-ear monitors aside, it was his repertoire choice that killed his chances.

Judge Piers Morgan disliked it so much that he buzzed during Poppycock's performance. While we wouldn't be entirely surprised to discover this was an attempt to inspire outraged supporters into voting, he did have a fair point. Poppycock does many things extremely well but there aren't many women who would accept a Louis XVI fop as a serious romantic lead, even in opera. What makes the character great is that it's a sendup of an opera singer's vanity and the decadence of the art form. In "Nessun Dorma," the fun was gone.

We wonder if Poppycock should be confined to the winking cheekiness of his previous performances or is it OK for him to explore more serious repertoire?

After the winner is announced Wednesday night, return to Culture Monster later to discuss the results.

-- Marcia Adair

Follow me on Twitter @missmussel

Photo: Prince Poppycock performs at the Cavern Club celebrity theater in the Casita Del Campos restaurant on April 7, 2009.  Credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times

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