Monday, August 19, 2013

It’s like Susan Boyle all over again, sort of

For those of you who don’t live in the U.S., we have a television program here called America’s Got Talent. A program in the U.K. called Britain’s Got Talent came first, but many other countries have their own version now, so I’m fairly sure you have some idea of what I’m talking about no matter where you live. For example, here’s Armenia’s Got Talent (3:44) and here’s Georgia’s Got Talent (3:33) -- that’s the former Soviet Georgia, not the one with all the peaches -- and I just want to state for the record that (a) it doesn’t take much to entertain some nations and (b) Armenia’s program doesn’t even seem to have a buzzer. But I digress.

This summer a certain segment of our country (the segment watching America’s Got Talent) is going bonkers over three young operatic tenors who named their singing group Forte (pronounced FOR-tay). (Editor’s note. In Italian, Forte means LOUD, and the full name of the musical instrument you probably call a piano is actually the pianoforte, which in Italian means SOFTLOUD. That is neither here nor there, but I thought I’d throw it in for good measure even though you may think I’m digressing again. Actually, it’s all right to digress inside a note, especially if you’re the editor.--RWP)

It’s a pretty safe bet that the segment of the country that is going bonkers over Forte is not the same segment of the country that is going bonkers over Duck Dynasty. The former formerly went bonkers over Downton Abbey and the latter formerly went bonkers over Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo and The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Some days I fear for my country.
I think I’m digressing again.

Originally, Forte consisted of a Puerto Rican, a South Korean, and a New Yorker. Here’s their audition round song, “Pie Jesu” from John Rutter’s “Requiem” (6:12).

Forte was praised to high heaven and passed the audition round.

Acts that pass the audition round go to “Vegas Week” which is held (click here) in Las Vegas.

According to the Puerto Rican third of Forte, the Korean third of Forte unexpectedly “dropped out” shortly before “Vegas Week.” I read later that the Korean third had a problem with renewing his visa. My theory is that his student visa had expired and a team of ICE agents came swooping down on him after he was brash enough to appear sans visa on a nationally televised talent search. (ICE are the U.S.’s Immigration & Customs Enforcement people.) I could be wrong, of course. The Puerto Rican third of Forte doesn’t need a visa because Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. The jury is still out concerning New York.

The Puerto Rican third and the New York third of Forte were able to find a suitable replacement for the missing third of their act and proceeded to Las Vegas for “Vegas Week.” The judges on America’s Got Talent had absolutely no problem with this turn of events.

During “Vegas Week” the new version of Forte performed Andrea Bocelli’s “The Prayer” (1:50) and wowed the audience again, enough to make it to the “Quarter Finals” at New York City’s famed Radio City Music Hall

At the “Quarter Finals” at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, Forte sang “Somewhere” from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story (5:12), wowing everyone but the British judge.

Only time will tell how far Forte will progress this season on America’s Got Talent.

Stay tuned.

Things could be worse. You could be watching an Armenian woman twirl hula hoops without a buzzer handy.

Update: I seem to have confused [Country Name]’s Got Talent with The X-Factor. A thousand pardons! The buzzers are on the latter only. [Country Name]’s Got Talent doesn’t have buzzers. I’ll try to pay closer attention in the future.


  1. Wonder if they'll ever have "Canton's Got Talent" on television? You'll have to get practising with your maracas. For your stage suit may I suggest a heavily sequinned waistcoat to catch the studio lights? White satin trousers and cowboy boots with silver spurs would also be nice touches. Spray tan?

  2. Talent Agent Pudding, never you mind about my maracas, but I'm flattered that you thought about them all the same. The costume you suggested seems more suited for Las Vegas than Canton, where I would risk being pursued by a crowd carrying torches and pitchforks if I showed up looking like that.

  3. Thanks for the laugh!

    I would like to clarify my likes--I like Forte, Duck Dynasty, and Downton Abbey. Don't like Honey Boo Boo or Real Housewives. What does that make me?

  4. Hi, Flyaway! In my humble opinion, that would make you a Baptist who's been tampered with. Except I don't know many Baptists who have been to Bora Bora. So I might be wrong.

  5. Well I'm a huge Downton Abbey fan but don't watch the talent shows at all.Not my cup of tea as it were and I think the promos show the best bits anyhow so i'm satisfied with that.
    That said I watched the last Youtube clip and thought those fellows were terrific. Reminded me of Il Divo and look how successful they are.
    PS. Love Susan Boyle too!!!

  6. Helsie, always good to hear from the Australian delegation. Yes, I thought of Il Divo too.