From the parking to the live production I just have to say AGT's presentation or lack of it, is one hot mess. You say well it's free what do you want? Free? well sorta. You ultimately pay in other ways.
First we got there and started scouting the parking lots for what was suppose to be free parking. After many locations and much conversation with non English speaking lot attendants, no free parking. The one lot we did find that acknowledged free parking for AGT was reserved for the show executives only, nothing for us lowly audience members. It seems like if you know the seating capacity for a theater is you could somehow figure out, it will take this many lots to cover our audience's vehicles. Not the case. We had to pay a 10 dollar parking fee because the lots knew AGT was there and took advantage of the people that needed a place to park. Normally at 5 pm in downtown LA these lots are rolling up, business is done for the day. They should go home. Normally these lots are $2-$3. Not when AGT is there and does not cover it's audience. Our $10 howdie dooo doo and fuck you. Strike 1
Our little group got disoriented and split in two, I know three of us and we couldn't keep it together from the car to the theater, in our defense though we were
lost because we mis-over-used mind altering substances for medicinal purposes only. The security guard let our buddy use his phone so he could call us and meet up in line. We get there, find our buddy.
The line goes around the block to get in but it moves often and in spurts, getting into the show goes pretty smooth and uneventful. The staff are polite and friendly even when an occasional wildebeest goes off reservation. Nice animal herding without resorting to prods, spurs or any of the usual cattle drive techniques.
Then the uglyness rears it's deformed head, we get to our seats in the balcony and low and behold you can see the stage mostly good, but you can't see any of the judges, they are below and totally out of sight beneath the balcony floor. We look for the video feed that should be set up so the people in the balcony can see the judges from their obstructed position. Imagine our surprise and disbelief when we realized there was no way to see the judges and AGT didn't see fit to supply the entire balcony with a video feed of the judges. The heart of the show "the judges" are not visible to more than a third of the audience. An overSIGHT? arr,, arrr or just incompetence? Makes no difference the result is unacceptable either way. Strike 2
My friend Rick scopes out the Lincoln Boxes, stage right, overlooking the entire theater, practically hovering over the stage looking right down on the judges. There are 5 or 6 seats not taken so he makes a b line for them. He blows past the security guy in the yellow jacket like he belongs there, the next thing I see is he's chatting up two ladies in the box. I hit my stride and head for the boxes where Rick is chatting two women. Next thing I know there is some guy next to me as I'm heading for the seats saying, "you gonna try to get in there?" I respond, "fuck yes, my friend is already in." When we get there Mr yellow jacket trys to stop me asking if I have a wrist bracelet, I blow clean past him saying nothing, I have a dream. The guy trying to get into the boxes with me stops and talks to Mr yellow jacket. Unfortunate decision on his part, he's ejected. Mr yellow jacket tells us since we don't have wrist bands if anyone comes that does have bands we're outta there. At this point he's got a better chance of having a period than getting us out.
The other people in box are the family members of the performers. Bitchin!
Hit the link
We were sitting in the middle raised box stage right where the golden curtains part.
There's a warm up guy doing his thing and they are shooting cut away's and audience reaction shots. The audience is getting crazy and the warm up guy is digging it satisfied he's getting what they will need for editing later.
The first set is 5 or 6 skate board ramps. We think it's going to be BMX bikes or something like that. To watch the stage crew set up the ramps you'd think brain surgery persistence and rocket science calculations were needed to make the ramps work. 10 to 15 people all milling around the stage and 4 are really involved with the task at hand. Typical Hollywood union overtime mentality. After a good deal of time and effort these geniuses finally have a functional set to use.
The judges are introduced one by one they come through the doors at the back of house and run up the aisle until they reach the judges table. When Howard is announced the roar is substantially louder than Sharon and Howie's was. To be expected, it's his first year and he's fresh, his fans are fresh and this is a first for all involved Howard's fans are overwhelming and infamous. After they all sit a guy runs up and squirts Purell into all their hands they scrub up like good little OCD'ers. These three's complexes are giving their neurosises symptoms of inadequacy.
1st item on the agenda now that we've gotten our seating situation in hand is an act of kids riding on razor scooters over skateboard ramps doing air tricks. They do O.K. but would I go somewhere to see it? No, absolutely not. If they were doing it at the beach in front of me I'd watch for 2 minutes and go back to my business. The judges voted them through. Howard had reservations thinking it was a one trick pony. It is. These guys would have to have anti gravity Razors and ride them inverted on fire to make scooters even remotely cool.
During the judging of the first act you couldn't help but notice you could not hear the judges at all. Not only were the judges inaudible but the interviews before and after the acts performed were unintelligible as well.
We were sitting right in front of a 14 foot flying array of speakers and we could not hear the show. It was not just us but everyone in the booth was going, "what'd he say?", or "what did she say?" the audio was horrendous. We knew people in the balcony and on the floor and when we left they all said, what the fuck I couldn't understand a word. It's like they just say fuck the live audience as long as the TV feed is acceptable. How can an audience react to the judges if they can't hear what they are saying. The people caught a drift of what the judges were saying and they reacted to what they thought the judges general demeanor was indicating. The tone of the show is off when no one can tell what's going on. It's not like you have to sacrifice the live sound for the TV sound. You can achieve both simultaneously so everyone is in on the joke. I work on 2 or 3 live shows a week and we pull it off without any problem at all. I thought these network guys were the bomb as it turns out they just drop bombs as far as I can tell. Sucked!
They had plenty of lights to utilize but they didn't do anything with them. A flat wash, throw it up it'll do. uninspired and disappointing. I guess it's understandable that they don't want to spend any time or effort on lighting. Why bother.Too much of a hassle.
Second act was a pathetic magician goof on magic. It was so poorly executed you couldn't tell if it was a real or effect. He depended on talking through his act and you couldn't understand anything he said because of the horrible audio so the entire thing just died a nasty natural death. He managed to get a hold of Howie's ring and when he went to return it to Howie it was going through his pierced nipple.
Howie reached over with his tongue and extricated the nipple bound ring with one fell swoop. After Howie blew his cookies he gave the fake magician the ring to keep.
Third act was a medium level singer, pretty girl next door, extremely easy song, took no risks. Forgettable. If she was on Idol this year she'd have been bumped already if she made it to Hollywood at all.
Forth act was a African fellow named disco 27 in a leopard Snuggy he dances disco style to be more exact disco 27 style. He rips off the leopard Snuggy and proceeds to dance in a loin cloth. Fear is something will fall out. Un-watchable.
Fifth act, a guy, a Mylar guitar. Nuff said....
Sixth act two contortionists writhe on the stage putting themselves into obscene positions with complementary interlocking body parts.
Seventh act male dance troupe with one trick.We saw it NEXT!!!
Eighth act 3 female acrobats do a spinning chandelere thing from the top of the stage another girl and guy hang from the bottom of the chandelere while other acrobats run across the stage doing flips and what not.
When Howard ask what it all meant the choreographer said
peace love and inspiration. I saw none of that but he promised more of the same in the future. Sometimes it's better to say nothing, Next!!
After 8 acts that you could not understand one word of, it was time for a break. The judges took a break and we did a jail break. Get us the fuck outta here. Strike 3
Howard as a judge is firm but fair. He's encouraging while being realistic. Howard's problems are not going to stem from the talent search but rather the incompetence of his production team. I thought I was going to go and be blown away by how well this crack team puts down a show. Truth is their live show was total shit followed by splatters of diarrhea.
That being said, if you made it this far into this diatribe you are quite a trooper. My over all experience was great. The problems I had with the production could in no way hinder being at Howards first day as a reality show judge. It was a once in a life time shot at seeing Howard Stern embark on a totally new untested venture. I want to thank AGT and it's staff for the opportunity to witness something truely unique. The real show was immersed inside of the show it's self and there was simply no way to diminish that one of a king experience.
Thanx again, highly recommended even with the warts.