It’s been almost a week since the finale of the most recent season of NBC’s America’s Got Talent, where singer Michael Grimm walked away with the top prize.
We haven’t covered AGT much for a few reasons, but the main one is that the show has a terrible reputation of treating us magicians like redneck freaks of nature. We’ve read too many horror stories about inaccurate editing, miscasting and more — magicians seemed doomed for failure and mockery.
Until this year.
Four magicians — Murray SawChuck, Michael Grasso, Dan Sperry and Antonio Restivo — made it to the show’s final 12 competitors. Though none of them made the “final four,” they each represented well and gave the show some of its more memorable moments (lookin’ at you, Sperry… we love you for what you did to Howie).
Criss Angel was featured on the show, and none other than David Copperfield performed during the show’s finale. The tricks were much bigger (lookin’ at you, Murray’s train) and the stories were touching and heartwarming. Even judge Howie Mandel trumpeted AGT for featuring magicians.
But did magic really get better represented during this season?
Sperry was called out on the carpet for a performance that failed to “convince” one of the judges (whether Piers committed exposure is another debate). Restivo was also called out for a lack of variety. Grasso was brought back as a wild card, then eliminated after being called “the king of magic” (voters voted him off the show). And Murray’s largest-ever trick was treated with a collective “meh,” aside from Sharon’s glowing praise, and reduced to an homage to Copperfield.
Bizzaro made the point on his blog that a variety act will never win AGT, because magicians’ true talents are hidden, and therefore, unappreciated compared to a singer or juggler. Judges constantly talked about what made magic acts succeed this year were how they brought bigger and bigger illusions. Compare that to how singers prepare a simple song, and Bizzaro sounds like he makes a good point.
So should magicians keep trying to be on this show? Is the exposure and publicity worth competing at what would seem to be an unfair advantage? Or should magicians concentrate their efforts in venues where they know their art will be presented respectfully? The floor is yours: Leave your comment here, post your POV on our social networks, or join the ultimate debate in the forum.