BY TOM GLIATTO
In this talent show's first few weeks of auditions, no contestant has really seemed worthy of the $1 million prize. A girl from Philadelphia sang "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" with hurricane-strength lungs—you expected celebrity judge Brandy to blow away like straw—and someone in a cow uniform breakdanced with synchronized milk shooting from the udders. The girl, Bianca Ryan, 11, was bumped up to the semifinals, as was a clog-dancing team of guys with 'N Sync looks. The cow? No.
In other words, viewers' brain synapses will be switching to "conserve energy" summer mode. But the show is expertly put together by American Idol impresario Simon Cowell, among others. Judge David Hasselhoff, not a phrase I ever thought I'd use, vibrates at the same blurty frequency as Paula Abdul. Piers Morgan is the judge likeliest to slap verbally. His putdown of Leonid the Magnificent, a sword-balancer dressed like a Cirque du Soleil angel, prompted Leonid to weep: "For you, I'm [a] Christmas tree. But for somebody else, I can be a god." He's got a talent for rhetoric.