Before we get going, here's a semi-spoiler alert: William Close and his earth harp did not win "America's Got Talent." I held off trying to predict winners the whole time I've been doing this and last night, I got a little confident, told everybody Close was a shoe-in and look what happens. I got it wrong.
Moving on: At what point does a results show stop being a results show? How far into the episode must you get before you're privy to well, you know, some results? In the season finale of 'America's Got Talent' it was almost 90 minutes into a two-hour show before any sort of elimination kicked in.
Oh yeah, if you forgot, here's the six 'AGT' contestant that are left: The Untouchables, William Close, Tom Cotter, David Garibaldi and his CMYK's, joe Castillo, and Olate Dogs. Before the results are revealed however, the results show was an exercise in time-killing, full of live bands, montages that lovingly looked back at the season, and live performances that paired the final six with musicians.
The first pairing was David Garibaldi and his CMYK's with Flo-Rida, who performed "I Cry," as Garibaldi fistpumped across the stage, creating aportrait of Flo-Rida. After that, Ne-Yo performed 'Let Me Love You' and desperately asked viewers to buy his album. Look, I know this is 'AGT,' a summer replacement reality show that I think way too hard about, but the contestants are living, breathing content and that's pretty strange.
Yes, the one of them wins a million bucks, and they get to perform in Vegas, but they perform in the 'AGT' Vegas show, which is a slightly absurd situation: You compete on a show to get the chance to headline that same show's show in Vegas? It was depressingly clear that these result shows are just an excuse for some synergy between the music industry and the NBC network.
Next was William Close who performed along with One Republic, who sang their hit, 'Feel Again.' The whole thing felt a little beneath Close who has this vaguely distinguished vibe, but he went along with it. In the pre-performance video, Howard said this of Close about the first he saw him, "We found a winner, we can go home." That's what I thought too Stern.
Following Close and One Republic was Frankie J, a Latin pop star some label is trying to move into the American market. He performed with both Olate Dogs and the Untouchables. Then, Burton Crane, the rapping old dude in a pimp suit from earlier this season was paired with Nick Cannon and legendary Bay Area rapper E-40.
Yes, E-40. That probably doesn't mean too much to most of the viewers, but it's a little mindboggling. See, E-40 is cult weirdo rapper who has been around for more than twenty years. When Lil Jon ruled the radio a half-decade ago, he had a hit with "Tell Me When To Go," but that was just a mainstream peak in one of the most accomplished rap careers, well ever.
I'm trying to think of a rock n'roll analogue. Like imagine if say, the Flaming Lips or maybe even like, Lou Reed wandered into a reality show, unannounced. It's that bizarre.
I've mostly skipped over those little interstitial montages, but there was one where Howie Mandel played a practical joke on Howard Stern that's too good to ignore. Basically, Howie hides Big Barry, Stern's most-loathed contestant, in a giant duffle bag, and then tells Howard he got him a gift. Howard opens up the bag only to discover the tiny little creep in there, singing. A genuinely funny moment.
Then, the Blue Man Group performed a smarmy dance song that was basically about how dance songs are stupid because that's what the Blue Man Group does. Then, Tom Cotter came out and roasted the judges, weakly at first, until Joan Rivers came out and destroyed the judges, showing Cotter how to do it, right.
So, Cotter returned with some zingers, saying Howie looked like "a gay pirate," calling Howard the lovechild of "Big Bird and Joey Ramone," and praising Sharon for being able to speak both English and "Ozzy."
A few more montages I don't even remember led into Joe Castillo doing his sand art while the PS22 Chorus performed a cover of Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory." Then, the evening first batch of results were revealed. Three of the six were eliminated: The Untouchables, Joe Castillo, and David Garibaldi and his CMYK's.
That left Tom Cotter, William Close, and Olate Dogs. But before that happened Justin Bieber and Green Day had to perform, and we had to sit through a montage of clips of Nick Cannon.
The Nick Cannon clip party was introduced by Howard, who noted Nick's "compassion" with the guests and it seemed sincere, despite it really just being a segue. For real, Nick's kind of the only human being of the four, and it's always up to him to be on the side of the contestants and occasionally, referee the arguing judges.
And finally, the winner. William Close is announced as the first non-winner, which was a shock. The audience booed and I have to admit, I booed my television as well. The other way to look at it though, is that at this point, it's a bit of a popularity contest and Close is less appealing than a handsome comedian and oh-my-God-doggies!
And dogs doing tricks and dancing and wearing tuxedoes is going to beat a comedian, no matter how funny. So yes, Olate Dogs are the winners of this year's season of 'America's Got Talent.'
Because everything is a tease for something else, the victory was quick, and then the credits rolled, because you'll need to tune into "The Today Show" tomorrow morning for post-victory interview with Olate Dogs. It never ends.