America’s Got Talent – No Pity Party Please!

no-pityI love America’s Got Talent.  Watching it puts a smile on my face.  But what I’ve noticed is that some of the contestants LOVE to tell a hard luck story which, in my mind, is a plea for a pity vote.  This is not unique to AGT.  American Idol is a far worse offender of this practice.  I’m not even sure whose idea it is – the producers, the network, the contestants themselves.

Here’s a perfect example.  Last week, opera singer, Branden James, was interviewed before his performance and laments that he was raised in a conservative household.  When I heard that, I knew exactly what was coming next …. he is openly gay and his mother doesn’t accept his homosexuality and opera allows him to be himself, blah, blah, blah.  Woe is me! I’m a victim! Please vote for me!

Well, he went on stage, sung the aria from Puccini’s Turandot, my favorite by the way, Nessun Dorma, and it was okay as far as I was concerned.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard Luciano Pavarotti sing Nessun Dorma without crying – that’s how moving I find the song, particularly since I’ve seen the opera several times.  Anyway, Mr. James was able to hit all the notes but his rendition did not even give me goose bumps, but that’s just me.

What ticks me off is his complaining how his lifestyle isn’t accepted by his family.  Well, his mother was in the audience and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a prouder or happier mother, especially when he hit the high C.  So what does this guy want?

What does having sex with men have to do with your ability to sing?  Are we supposed to vote for this guy because he’s gay?  If you tell me you suffered from throat cancer a few years ago and you can now sing like Andrea Bocelli, I’ll listen to you.  If you tell me you lost your legs in a car accident and you’re still an amazing gymnast with prosthetic legs, I’ll be impressed.  But the fact that you sleep with men has absolutely nothing to do with your ability to sing.  So why do I have to know that?  I’ve yet to see any contestant saying they have sex with the opposite sex.  So why do we need to know this about Branden James?

Am I supposed to think worse of your mother because she doesn’t accept your lifestyle?  Or should I think more of you because you’re gay?  You come off as a crybaby.   She looked like a very happy lady in the audience and you should be grateful she was there to support you.

So just shut up and sing.  And while you’re at it, I’ll have some cheese with your whine.

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
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  • Darren Perkins

    Who cares?

  • Ron F

    Having never seen the show, I do not know if he was responding to a question or if he just volunteered the information. In addition, I have no idea what portion of the interview it took. Was it a passing comment or was it the primary focus of the interview. In addition, since I assume the producers cut the interview, maybe it was just a small portion of a much longer interview and this is the portion that the producers chose to show. Did the show spend more time on the interview with this contestant or does the show give background information on all of the contestants. Not being gay and not having grown up in a household with parents who disapproved of my lifestyle, I have no idea how this would affect someone. I have seen, and do not understand totally, that people carry around a lot of baggage from their childhoods. I remember seeing something that a student wrote 25 years after graduating from high school that she was just learning how to cope with being raised by alcoholic parents. It seemed odd to me that someone would be writing about that 20 – 25 years after leaving the house but I was not raised by alcoholic parents. If I watched Americas Got Talent, I probably would not want to hear the history of all of the contestants and would prefer that the show focus on their talents. But then again I do not watch Americas Got Talent.

  • Roger Ward

    I suspect the principal blame this kind of TMI rests with the producers. Either they are trying to heighten interest in the show by letting the audience know something about the contestants (manipulative but understandable) …. or they are trying to advance the liberal agenda of endorsing an alternative lifestyle (manipulative and cynical.) Either way, the producers are attempting to influence the outcome of the competition. Welcome to Hollywood!

  • chief98110

    OMG! He is upset that his mom doesn’t approve of his lifestyle? What
    does he want from her? To be tucked in bed at night with his partner? I
    saw the performance and how proud she was after; I wish my mother had
    shown me that kind of support.