Over and over during the eighth season of America’s Got Talent, the judges boasted that this was the best season they’d ever had.
There certainly is an argument to be made in favor of such, but it would mostly be due to the absolutely deplorable job the judges had gone out of their way to do year after year before then.
This is not a problem that began with the current team of judges (though the current team revels in stupidity unlike any other). Straight from the very beginning, the judges have seemed to be operating under the assumption that it doesn’t matter how bad the acts are since all but the best of them won’t be remembered a year later at all; that, as long as they have a good winner and a few solid runners-up, they can make the rest of the Top 20/40/48/60 as horrible as they want.
Consequently, since the beginning of the America’s Got Talent Examiner, I have done my part to prove them wrong.
The following are the absolute worst of the worst, the acts who don’t even deserve to be called acts, the ones who had as much talent as Howie Mandel has hair.
This is Suck Month.
Here are the rules:
#1: No Season 1 acts.
For Season 1, only sixty-one acts passed the open calls (and only fifty-eight showed up for the semifinals). Under these circumstances, it’s not surprising that some of the acts included in the Top 40 were pretty bad since they were literally scraping the bottom of the barrel to begin with.
There were definitely some acts that called into question just how bad the ones that were rejected could have possibly been, but with so few to choose from at all, it’s not worth it to hold it against them.
#2: No acts that America, to any extent, actually voted for.
Talent, like many things, is in the eye of the beholder, so with respects to anyone who may possibly disagree, any act that made it to the semifinals on America’s vote, or who was eliminated in the first round after being rejected as a judges’ choice, is exempt from consideration.
Don’t get me wrong, some of America’s choices were just as bad as the judges’ (and rest assured, they will be getting their own list later), but these are the acts that only idiots and trollers would dare try to defend. These are the acts that were beyond bad; that should have sufficed as proof, not only that the judges were too incompetent for their jobs, but that they were actually invested in doing their jobs as horribly as possible.
#3: No acts better than a similar act exempted by Rule #2.
If an act, though horrible, was such for the same reason as another act America did vote for but to a lesser degree, it too shall be excluded.
It’s Halloween, and time to haunt the judges with their past idiocy again.
#15: Eric Buss (Season 7)
If they did anything right in Season 8, it was scrapping the Youtube round. Sure, we might not otherwise have discovered Jackie Evancho (arguably the most successful AGT contestant to date), but beyond this, Youtube’s only noteworthy contributions to America’s Got Talent have been some of the most useless acts imaginable.
Eric Buss was a chief example of such. His talent, plain and simple, was building strange crap.
Which, to be fair, does sound amusing on paper, but definitely not in the way it was executed. Buss’s big national performance before millions of people was nothing but a series of trick snake cans being opened.
#14: The Texas State Strutters (Season 3)
For all the ridicule the Olate Dogs and David & Dania endured by this column for their complete void of range, they couldn’t hold a candle in that department to the Texas State Strutters.
Olate Dogs and David & Dania rehashed their old material from one round to the next. In contrast, the Texas State Strutters couldn’t even get through a single ninety-second performance without rehashing it over and over.
Precision leg kicks. That is literally the one and only thing this group had to offer. After only five seconds, America had already seen everything they had to offer.
With a range as narrow as that, did the judges really think America would believe this act had remained fresh after the open calls and Vegas Week?
Mohammad Kashif (Season 2)
If there is any category the judges seem more hellbent on forcing into the live shows over and over again until they finally get results, it’s comically bad dancing.
Mohammad Kashif was their first attempt at such, and if the judges gave even a smidgen of a care about how they were doing their jobs, he should have remained Suck Month’s #1 for all time.
Kashif’s chief defining aspect, of all things, was a tremendous sense of apathy. Just getting the moves right at all for him seemed like too much of a chore for him to be bothered with having any enthusiasm for his act.
If there can only be one requirement for an act to be considered, it should be that they actually give a damn whether or not they advance to the next round or not. Kashif never once gave any such indication.
#12: Ronny B. (Season 3)
Maybe you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Books can be judged by their cover, and as was the case with Ronny B., also by the first line of print on the first page.
In this case, when the judges asked where Ronny B. had danced before, he responded that he predominantly danced at the bus stop. That should have told them everything they needed to know.
Mohammad Kashif may have been completely personality-deprived, but his stiff demeanor at least had the benefit of occasionally making him precise.
Imagine if, instead of being apathetic, Kashif had believed he was a sex machine. That’s basically what Ronny B.’s dancing was like.
#11: Sam B. (Season 6)
On the other hand, what Ronny B. did could at least be recognized as an attempt at dancing.
Sam B., in contrast, had no right even calling himself a dancer. He stomped his feet and fist-pumped, and barely did anything else at all, combining the flaming awfulness of Ronny B. with the ridiculously narrow range of the Texas State Strutters.
This truly is the act that should have cost Howie Mandel his job, both for its inclusion at all, and for how it ultimately played out.
The elephant in the room (apart from Sam B. himself) is that, right before him, the juggler Charles Peachock had received two Xs, one of which came from Mandel who bemoaned the lack of danger in the act (and then blew an air horn into his microphone when people started to disagree).
Then this miserable waste of flesh started stomping up and down the stage, and Mandel couldn’t get enough of it.
#10: Mauricio Herrera (Season 6)
We are now at the point where the acts are so terrible that they can be complimented over each other solely based on things they didn’t do.
Mohammad Kashif, Ronny B. and Sam B. would likely have been just as horrible as singers as they were as dancers. Fortunately, all three of them were wise enough not to make any attempt at such.
Mauricio Herrera did not have their foresight. He genuinely believed it was within his capacity to dance and sing at the same time even though he was terrible at both.
Oh yeah, and he thought he was a steamy sex god on top of all of that. Two years after America’s Got Talent had finally rid itself of David Hasselhoff, Mandel made sure Season 6 include a cheap knock-off Hoff.
Mandel even stated outright that his only motivation in including Herrera was to torment Morgan, promising after his open call performance that, one way or another, Herrera would be delivering a private performance in Morgan’s dressing room.
Fortunately, Herrera never gave Morgan his private show. Presumably, that means at least his humanity is intact. Which is a lot more than can be said for most of the remaining acts on this list.
#9: Pup (Season 5)
Pet acts tend to come in two varieties. Half of them, like Olate Dogs and Echo of Animal Gardens, involve animals who were actually trained.
The other half, like Dave “The Cobra Kid” Weathers, instead involve completely untrained animals that the handler attempts to manipulate into something that remotely resembles a trained animal act.
Pup was one of the latter.
The description of the act alone warranted inclusion: Pup was billed as an accordion-playing dog. But again, this was not a trained dog act. Instead, Pup’s owner tied one end of a rope toy to the accordion and had Pup pull on it while he sang and played guitar.
Much like Sam B., the utter uselessness of the act, and the deliberate incompetence of the judges, was capped off when this act performed live. Pup tugged on the accordion for about five seconds, after which he apparently lost interest, wandered off to a corner of the stage, sat down and waited for the rest of the nightmare to end.
Yet in spite of the act having been completely abandoned by its title performer, Mandel and Osbourne both refused to hit their buzzers and put this act out of its misery.
Though much like the case with Charles Peachock, Osbourne would later buzz Maestro Alexander Bui while Mandel expressed total disgust with Dan Sperry, both of whom advanced to the semifinals.
#8: Gabe Rocks (Season 6)
As a dog that was actually trained, Gabe Rocks should have ranked higher than Pup.
However, just as was the case with Those Funny Little People, Gabe Rocks comes in lower because his owner aspired to be lower. Just like Mandel’s inflatable flunkies, this was an act that apparently recognized all of its shortcomings beforehand, and decided the best way to try to compensate for them was to bank everything on America being hateful, childish and stupid.
Midway through her performance, which consisted of nothing but Gabe performing generic stupid pet tricks, she brought Gabe to a cardboard cutout of Piers Morgan and asked Gabe what he would do if Morgan buzzed them.
Responding to this verbal cue, Gabe lifted his leg at the cutout and urinated on it.
Let me repeat that: This woman trained her dog to pee on the AGT stage.
This act wanted to be bad.
#7: Big Barry (Season 7)
The problem with Howie Mandel is not that he is stupid. He frequently says and does stupid things, but he has proven during the wild card rounds that he is capable of making intelligent decisions when he has to.
The real problem is that he is immature. He is capable of making smart decisions, but he doesn’t want to. Instead, he’s out for his own personal entertainment. And nothing entertains him more than abusing his position and making a mockery of America’s Got Talent.
Big Barry doesn’t even have any right to call himself a singer. Instead, it was 50% talking and 50% wailing.
To loosely quote Sharon Osbourne, his “singing” sounded more like he was straining on the toilet.
No doubt this was why Mandel couldn’t shut up about how much he loved him.
This is Mandel’s greatest inconsistency. He always washing his hands of the acts from his circus of crap as soon as it’s time for a wild card choice (though he did pick three Suck Month acts as wild cards), but it’s the acts that everyone knows are crap that he can never shut up about how much he loves.
Big Barry was one such act, as were many of the acts yet to be named.
#6: Ronith (Season 5)
All of the acts listed before now were terrible, but Ronith set a new standard for how much things could suck on America’s Got Talent. He was a miserable failure even at the things that should have come standard.
Ignore the fact that Ronith thought all it took to be an impressionist was to recite a catch phrase, and instead consider the fact that, half the time, Ronith couldn’t even identify the catch phrase.
Think, for example, of all the catch phrases Ronith could have used while “impersonating” Jim Carrey. Then take a look at what he actually said:
“Hey, hey, I’m the cable guy!”
Big Barry couldn’t sing worth crap, but at least he could remember his lyrics.
Something else completely alien to Ronith was the concept of rehearsing. In Vegas, Ronith performed an improvised skit about an “angry man getting up in the morning,” which concluded prematurely after he went over the time limit.
Ronith went far beyond not having any talent. He also didn’t have an act.
If Ronith accomplished anything, it was sufficing to indicate better than anything else just how horrible of a judge Mandel would be hellbent on being. After completely bombing on the stage, earning both Morgan’s and Osbourne’s Xs and getting booed by the live audience, Mandel, with a defiant scowl, gave Ronith a standing ovation.
#5: Airpocalypse (Season 5)
As useless as Ronith may have been as an impressionist, give him credit: At least he aspired to be a real entertainer.
These three idiots were miserable failures even at fake talent.
And I’m not saying that because they were an air guitar band (though that alone should have spelled doom for their chances). I’m saying that because, even by the standards of air guitar, they were awful.
When they performed live, one of them held out his air guitar like a hot plate out of the oven, they did all of their “shredding” with clenched fists, and as Sharon Osbourne pointed out, their air drummer ran straight through his drum kit at one point.
At a real air guitar contest, any one of those offenses would have resulted in a disqualification. In a contest for the best new acts in the country, on the other hand, the judges couldn’t get enough of it.
Lastly, the trio couldn’t possibly have been more arrogant. This wasn’t a comedy act; these three genuinely believed they were awesome.
The low point for this act (and for the judges for having included them) undoubtedly came during the open calls, when the judges asked what they thought about the criticism that they were not a real rock group.
In response, one of the group members actually told the judges that they had “transcended instruments.” As if the other groups were inferior for not letting a recording of a real band do all the work for them.
#4: Romeo Dance Cheetah (Season 7)
The kindest thing you could say about Airpocalypse would be to call it an experiment; that they thought maybe it’d be fun to see if anyone outside of the usual VoteForTheWorst troller types would actually vote for one.
The experiment was a resounding failure, of course. Yet, two years later, the judges decided to repeat that failure all over again.
It clearly wasn’t a case where they thought “Gee, if only we had an air guitarist who was actually good.” Romeo Dance Cheetah was as bad at air guitar as Airpocalypse, if not worse.
Just like Airpocalypse, his performance was loaded with errors: He constantly forgot whether his air guitar was righty or lefty, did acrobatic stunts that shouldn’t have been possible with a guitar strap on, and as Howard Stern pointed out, looked less like he was air-guitaring and more like he was air-masturbating.
Take Airpocalypse, swap out their description as three fun-loving knuckleheads, and replace it with a discount Tom Green who thinks he’s a sex god. That was Romeo Dance Cheetah.
#3: Horse (Season 7)
Do you remember in the movie Idiocracy, when the garbage landslide deposits the hibernation chamber right in Frito’s living room while he’s watching a program which highlights how stupid humanity has become called “Ow! My Balls!”
Yeah, that wasn’t from five hundred years in the future. It happened one year in the past on America’s Got Talent.
As useless as Airpocalypse and Romeo Dance Cheetah may have been, there was at least a direct relation between the fake talent they were terrible at and a legitimate talent.
Horse, on the other hand, had a “talent” for getting hit in the nuts.
Except that, just like Airpocalypse and Romeo Dance Cheetah, Horse sucked at it. He wasn’t freakishly strong and/or resilient like Brad Byers or Chris Allison. He collapsed after almost every single hit.
He didn’t have a talent for tolerating pain. He was just stupid enough to willingly subject himself to it.
#2: Carol Lugo
Horse, hands down, was the most outrageous act, and also definitely the one that upset the most people with his inclusion.
But there was at least something to his act, and that’s what sets him above these last two.
Sure, unlike the three aforementioned losers, Carol Lugo actually aspired to be in a profession of genuine talent.
At least we think she did. It was hard to tell if she was dancing or having a bad reaction to new medicine. She had no style, no rhythm, not even any indication that she could even hear what music she was dancing to at the time.
Bottom line: When your act would fit right in during the Ivanhoe segment of “Spot the Looney”, something has gone horribly wrong.
#1 Mary Ellen (Season 5)
You saw it coming. And woe to anyone who would even entertain the thought of trying to argue against it.
Even if Tone the Chiefrocca hadn’t escaped inclusion on this list, he wouldn’t have been able to compare to the complete and utter void of even passable qualities in Mary Ellen.
Just like Ronith, Mary Ellen earned her #1 spot by having screwed up in areas that should have come standard:
- Staying under the time limit.
Mary Ellen could do neither of these. She could not sing or play her keyboard worth a darn, but to make matters worse, she always sang the exact same song.
Mandel couldn’t hide behind the usual “you never know what she’s going to do” excuse. He knew exactly what was going to happen.
Worse, Mary Ellen couldn’t even acknowledge the existence of a time limit. During her Las Vegas performance, she was given ninety seconds but performed, by Nick Cannon’s estimate, for ten minutes; over five times the amount of time allotted to her.
Besides not having fallen off the stage, not having taken her clothes off, and not having emptied her bladder onto the stage, what can be said positively of Mary Ellen that cannot be said of everyone else?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Mary Ellen’s flaming awfulness is completely without rival.
Yet, if the last season is any indication, the judges are not going to give up on looking for something worse. Especially Mandel, more than ever now that an act out of his circus of crap finally managed to become a semifinalist.
That’s right America. The next countdown will see your idiot decisions in the spotlight.