Archive for the ‘Ventriloquists’ Category

The Spoiler Zone: about that AGT winner

September 23, 2017

The Spoiler Zone: about that AGT winner

I want to talk about the winning act on

America’s Got Talent

this year so just in case you haven’t seen it yet, have been able to avoid finding out, and want the joy of discovery while you watch, this is a


My Significant Other and I like to watch reality shows together, and to try to predict who wins or goes home at each opportunity. I’m pretty good at it: one year, for American Idol, I predicted nine of the last ten eliminations…in order…before any of them happened.

When we watched the AGT finale together, I couldn’t do that…because a major entertainment news show had spoiled the winner, right in a headline (leading with the name of the act: “X wins AGT”, or something like that), so that I couldn’t avoid seeing it when reading the news in the morning.

Other outlets were more considerate…I saw things like, “The winner of AGT is…” and then explaining it in the article, meaning I could avoid knowing if I chose (which I had been doing).

I get why media outlets spoil things: you have superior power (knowledge is power), and you can use it to take something away from weaker people, which demonstrates to you how powerful you are.

That’s not why individuals do it; they often do it without thinking about it, with no malintent. Media outlets have thought about whether they want to spoil it or not…they’ve had discussions and made a corporate policy.

It doesn’t give them the scoop any faster, so it doesn’t have to do with that.

There, that should be enough words so you won’t accidentally see the winner. 😉

I’ve been interested in ventriloquists for a very long time.

I had Jimmy Nelson’s “Jokes and Riddles” album (Danny O’Day and Farfel the Dog…and “N-E-S-T-L-E-S…Nestle’s makes the very best…chocolate”).

My favorite moment of all time in television came in an episode (Talk to the Snail) of the Dick Van Dyke Show where Paul Winchell (Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff…and the voice of Tigger) appeared…as a ventriloquist.

Shari Lewis, Senor Wences, Willie Tyler…I knew all of their acts. I even tried to learn ventriloquism myself. While I could (and can) do voices and characters, I never really got good at the physical ventriloquism part.

Darci Lynne Farmer is the best ventriloquist I have ever seen.

While her characters are interesting, and her singing amazing (I would argue that she was the best singer in the competition), it’s the way she bring the characters to life that really astounds me.

I pointed out to my Significant Other how her character could maintain eye contact with Tyra Banks while Darci Lynne was looking somewhere else.

When she won, and was clearly crying out of control, I could swear that her bunny Petunia tried to comfort her.

That is on top of her sense of humor (she walked a great line between being the kid she is and being edgy), her technical proficiency (while Paul Winchell was hilarious, you could always see the work he was doing), and again, that singing!

Yes, she appeared to mess up the lyrics on the final results show, but I get that. First, it was a song she probably didn’t know. Second, this self-professed shy child was being asked to work with an unfamiliar adult in a high stress situation. A ventriloquist normally has an extraordinary amount of control over what is happening on stage, literally controlling every side of the conversation, every nuance and gesture. It wasn’t like that with another ventriloquist and another character sharing the spotlight…it had to be scary.

Had I picked her to win?

She had been my favorite for weeks, and one of my top three to win. The other two were: Light Balance, dancers in the dark who listed high tech neon-style lighting to tell stories and create illusions; and Diavolo, a very different dance act that used amazing giant props and death-defying dives.

One of the ways I judge acts on AGT is to ask myself if the act would make a good poster in the lobby of a casino. Diavolo could have an incredible poster, with a dancer flying towards the viewer and a giant prop in the back with other dancers swarming all over it. Light Balance would have a good poster, but it might not be as clear what was happening. You could tell what Darci Lynne’s act was, but not how good it was.

I should have reminded myself more that the audience picks the winner, not the casinos. Still, I picked finalists pretty well. 🙂 I also believe that Diavolo and Light Balance will both get work from having been on the show…maybe both in Vegas.

Congratulations to Darci (and Petunia, Oscar, and Edna)!

Ventriloquist Central

Darci Lynne at AGT Wikia fansite

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