I’ll say right off that I am not a fan of talent competition shows, with their rosy-cheeked overachieving would-be Mariahs and dysfunctional judges panels. But that’s not to say there haven’t been exceptions — one would be ”The Sing Off,” because I’m a sucker for cheesy a capella groups covering classic pop hits, and I like hearing Ben Folds talk about music — it sounds like another language to me, but a soothing one, like Norwegian.

And the other would be ”America’s Got Talent,” because it gives the weirdos somewhere to go, other than armed into America’s shopping malls. In just the first two episodes of this latest season, I’ve already come across:

1) A small child who turns playing cards into deadly weapons, like Bullseye in the old Daredevil comics;

2) Two nerdy white guys pretending to do martial arts, one wearing what looks like a Mexican wrestler’s mask;

3) A 90-plus-year-old man who could pull a car — filled with his elderly friends! — with his teeth;

4) Motorcycles that I’m convinced must have been suspended from wires, because, I mean, come on.

5) A magician who made the missing card appear in his anal cavity — his anal cavity! — before being summarily dismissed by the judges, who didn’t want to find out what the next card was coming out of;

6) Howard Stern. (He’s on every week, but still.)

Monsters & Critics collects some of the best videos if you want to check more out (first week here, second week here), and I’m sure there are a lot more that I missed. ”America’s Got Talent” is one of those shows where you can leave the room to do the dishes or switch back and forth to the ballgame and come back to without feeling like you really missed much of anything — it will be the same honking weirdness that was going on before, just with a different weirdo.

And then as things move along, some quality performers do seep in, notably talented singers who seem entirely out of place, like they just wandered in from Simon Cowell’s seaside patio. If I were the producers I’d eliminate the singers and make it a requirement that every act feature either an animal, a robot, the potential for bodily harm or humans that can do things usually only done in comic books.

And if ”American Idol” were smart, it would do the same thing. I’m talking to you, Kellie Pickler.

Read more Pete at Pete’s Pop Culture, Parenting & Pets Blog.

About the Author

Pete Chianca

Pete Chianca is a humor and music writer and author of Glory Days: Springsteen's Greatest Albums. He lives north of Boston with his wife, two kids and an indeterminate number of dogs and cats. Read more Pete at Pete's Pop Culture, Parenting & Pets Blog.

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