I've never seen a full episode of the NBC-TV talent show, "America's Got Talent." I've seen some clips on the internet, but truthfully, I get that show mixed up with "The X Factor" and sometimes with a cable-access variety show. So, why, you ask me, why, Marianne, would you get tickets to go to a taping of "America's Got Talent" as it swings by Seattle? BECAUSE I COULD, is the answer. When I got the email from the Paramount that AGT would be coming there for 2 days/4 tapings, and that audience tickets were free, I thought, HMM, well, that might be an interesting experience, why not? Then I wrote my nice photo editor at Seattle Weekly and said, you want I should shoot this, ya? She wrote back and said, oh ya ya do dat, and I said OK I WILL. But she couldn't find anyone associated with AGT to ask for a photo pass or access, so we agreed that I would shoot the crazy/interesting acts that would be standing in line to audition for the show.

Well, no, I wouldn't, because as it turned out, the general Seattle AGT audition call was already held a few weeks ago in Tacoma, and the acts for the taping whittled down and already chosen. D'OH, we said, my editor and I. I brought my camera tonight anyway, but there were no lunatics in sight in the very, very long line to get into the Paramount at the 6PM taping -- just a whole lot of people getting intermittently battered by wind and rain, which is nothing visually remarkable in this town. So nothing for SW, because AGT had a strict policy: NO CAMERAS, NO CELL PHONE, NO WAY.

AGT had some other audience requirements as well, which you may find interesting:

DRESS: NICE, UPSCALE ATTIRE IS REQUIRED!!! BRIGHT COLORS ARE APPRECIATED!! Attire: PLEASE DRESS UP!!!! DRESS CODE IN EFFECT! Please dress upscale attire as if you were going to a nice restaurant. When you look great, the show looks great. No shorts, hats, or jeans. Absolutely no white attire or clothing with logos or writing will be allowed into the studio. You must adhere to the dress code. IF YOU DO NOT FOLLOW THE DRESS CODE YOU WILL BE TURNED AWAY.

Unfortunately for me, there was no rule against being a GIANT DRUNKEN ASSHOLE. Oh, man. I had the luck to sit next to three rotund boors, who continued to drink during the show taping (why, Paramount, why?) and did nothing but inappropriately chat, swear, scream, bump into people, yell out the name of one of the stage managers, talk when the three show judges were talking, and just generally made me pissed off and uncomfortable. AGT encourages a LOT of audience participation with cheering and booing and standing up and sitting down and making all kinds of gestures -- it's kind of like a cross between "American Idol" and "The Jerry Springer Show." But HELL. These guys were as annoying as a bulging hemorrhoid and twice as ugly. One of the guys had a shaved head and from the back he had a quad-roll of scalp/neck fat that looked like a litter of Shar-Pei puppies were camped out there. I swear they must have drove in from Short Bus, WA. for the taping.

So, MC Nick Cannon came out. Girls like him. Judges Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne, and Howie Mandel came out, and everyone liked them. They said stuff to the mostly-mediocre acts that came out that seemed as spontaneous as a recitation of the phone book. A B-boy dance act from Gilbert, AZ. came out first with giant white no-lace hi-tops and mullets. A girl from L.A. did pretty good impressions of other humorous females. A Swedish woman from Bellevue sang like Whitney Houston, but whiter. A magician crawled into a balloon for a card trick. A group of girls from Moses Lake, WA. tapped and clogged their way through a strange dance act. The Costa Rican Tom Jones appeared. People cheered and booed more. The audience fluffer, the guy who keeps the audience "up" between acts, had high schoolers dance and beat box poorly for us while the stage was cleared for the next act. This is my artistic representation of the stage, which I feel is about as high-quality as the show and my nearby seatmates:

After about two hours in, with about two hours left to go, I was alternately falling asleep and wanting to strangle those dudes by me, except there would be no way I could actually GET MY HANDS AROUND THEIR FAT NECKS. So, I left and got a nice dinner instead.

The End.