Singer Michael Grimm America's Got Talent Finale Review

Was "When a Man Loves a Woman" Enough to Win?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Michael Grimm, the soul singer from Waveland, Mississippi, made it all the way to the grand finale of the fifth season of America's Got Talent. Grimm sang "When a Man Loves a Woman," a song loyal to his soulful style but perhaps slightly underwhelming when performing in a contest for one million dollars. At the end of the initial auditions, I had picked Michael Grimm to win America's Got Talent. Note that this was before the emergence of 10-year-old Jackie Evancho in a special YouTube quarterfinals round.

After seeing these two contestants, Prince Poppycock and Fighting Gravity compete in the Final 4, I personally still feel that Grimm deserves the nod to win America's Got Talent. However, the deck seems to be stacked against him based on the way the finale was produced and scripted. Jackie Evancho is undoubtedly the show's favorite, and the show's favorite has a tendency to win. Thus, while I have my doubts as to a Grimm win now, there is still at least some hope that he can pull out a victory.

Note: Neal Boyd and Kevin Skinner were not really favorites by the time of the finale, but they were strong favorites of the producers earlier on in the competition and carried that early status to go on and win America's Got Talent in their respective seasons.

Certainly, Michael was not exactly thrown under the bus. He got excellent reviews from all three judges and probably would be considered the second favorite of the producers. But for some odd reason, the show is practically begging for a Jackie Evancho win. I just cannot make heads or tails of all this manipulation by Piers Morgan to try to seal a Jackie victory. While plenty of people prefer Prince Poppycock or Fighting Gravity over Michael (and this is a very subjective thing we are talking about due to the varying nature of these contestants' acts), all three fan bases must really be wondering why the producers are having Piers Morgan lie through his teeth to help Jackie Evancho.

Piers Morgan knows a lot about talent, and he knows 100% that that was not a "perfect" performance of "Ave Maria" by Jackie. Anyone with basic music knowledge can hear that her vibrato is far from perfect and is, in fact, rather unnatural at this point in her young career. Jackie should be commended, but this rank bias has potentially infected the voters with even more ignorance of talent than they usually have. The average voter already knows little about talent. Now America's Got Talent decides to lie to the public and make the situation even worse. While Michael Grimm or Prince Poppycock almost certainly should win over Jackie, she is likely to win now due to the rank manipulation perpetrated by AGT.

And I am no Jackie hater here. In fact, I gave her the highest score in the Top 10 among all contestants. Michael Grimm has been my favorite from the beginning, but I felt last week was a slight drop off for him. But from start to finish, including the finale, Grimm has been the consummate professional and delivered solid performances every round. His "When a Man Loves a Woman" arguably did not provide enough high spots for Grimm to show his considerable power. But the tone was absolutely spot on. I will be the first to say I was a bit disappointed even though I believe he was the best on the night. Grimm should have sung "A Little Help From My Friends" if possible. However, it is possible that it is just too hard to properly arrange and perform that song in about 90 to 120 seconds.

All things considered, Michael Grimm did the best on the night and cumulatively throughout the season (just my opinion, of course). Prince Poppycock scaled back too far on the stage theatrics and seemed too much like an average opera singer. Fighting Gravity was good and visually appealing, but one of the team members was clearly visible dragging away one of the props. Mistakes are okay, but that mistake combined with the fact that Fighting Gravity's act loses its magical appeal after seeing it a few times weighs against a win for Fighting Gravity.

In the end, my original prediction for Michael Grimm to win America's Got Talent looks to be in serious jeopardy. The show has figuratively "begged, borrowed and stolen" to get a Jackie Evancho win. Additionally, Fighting Gravity had the premium spot on the night by being able to go last with a variety act sandwiched between them and the other three acts. Even Prince Poppycock, who was buzzed by Piers Morgan (almost undoubtedly part of the scheme to help Jackie), may be the welcome object of backlash voters who are sick and tired of the show's lies and antics to get a Jackie Evancho win. I am happy that, once again, my early favorite has made it to the finale of America's Got Talent. But the tides seem to have turned. Less than 24 hours before the results, it looks like Jackie Evancho will pull off the AGT win.

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