I admit it, I’m a reality TV junkie.

Apparently I am not the only one, with the number of new reality shows hitting the air. My guess is they not only get good ratings but are cheap to produce, even with $100,000 and $1 million prizes.
If the first episode of this season’s “America’s Got Talent” is any indication of what is to come, then I would highly recommend it to non-reality show junkies. I looks to be a very entertaining season. Choices will be hard to make because there are several outstanding acts that have already graced the stage.

“Nuttin but stringz” are two bothers from Queens who want to “ … bring the violin to the forefront of music.” They have melded classical violin music with hip hop in such a way that I haven’t seen before. The brothers, now in their early twenties started at 10 years old.

“Do you think you can win?” asked judge David Hasselhoff.

“I don’t think I can lose,” said one of the brothers.

Sharon Osbourne, another judge, feels they will be responsible for, “ … a lot of young kids going for violin lessons.”

That is their goal.

There was one other very unusual musical performance by Jonathan Arons, 32, from New York City. The simplest description would be “disco trombone.” My guess is he was a member of a college “dance” band, but took it to a whole other level as he played and danced to Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls.”

“Your barking mad,” said Hasselhoff, taking a phrase from judges Osbourne and Piers Morgan.

There are always singers, but they would be hard to compare to the two standouts Tuesday.

Four year old Kaitlyn Maher walked on stage with beautiful brown hair and big doe eyes and stole everyone’s heart singing “Somewhere out there.”

Before stepping on stage she said to host Jerry Springer, “I hope they really like my singing.”

A lot of times when you see someone that young, your first thoughts are of “stage parents” pushing the kids to do it. That may be why Osbourne asked her, “Do you like to sing?”

Kaitlyn says singing is her favorite thing to do. She has been singing since the age 1. Unafraid and very comfortable on stage, she sang without missing a word, the entire song.

“You may be the best 4-year-old singer in the world,” said Morgan, known to be quite blunt in criticsim.

She kept the same sweet innocent smile when told she was going to Vegas, and didn’t scamper off the stage until they told her to. Backstage she asked Springer,” Could you hear out here?”

Neil E. Boyd has been singing opera since he was 8. His brother brought home a cassette of the “three tenors” for a report he had to do. “I never let him bring it back,” said Boyd.

People were on their feet cheering and clapping after just a few bars flowed from his lips. Osbourne and Hasselhoff were also on theirs. Boyd had tears streaming down his cheeks at the response. He was so humble and claimed he was doing it for his mother. Hasselhoff seemed especially touched by the performance. “He absolutely took his heart and his story, and channeled it into his song and it went right through me with chills into my heart.”

“America’s Got Talent” is reminiscent of the Original Amateur Hour with Ted Mack from days gone by.

If you are younger than a baby boomer, that may not ring a bell.  The variety show that started on radio in 1935 with Maj. Edward Bowes as host. (That was before my time). The show later moved to television with Mack. Continuing on until 1970, the acts varied greatly. Singing, dancing, magic, acrobatic, ventriloquist and even hula-hoop acts could be seen each week. There are many great stars that got their start on the “Amateur Hour” such as Sinatra, Pat Boone, Ann-Margaret, Connie Francis and Gladys Knight to name a few.

Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys got his first break on an “Amateur Hour” revival in 1992.

One act that should have been on the “Amateur Hour” years ago instead of last week on NBC was Mary Bly, “ … not to be confused with Mary J. Blige,” she said. An 80-year-old retired waitress that looked like an elderly Shirley Temple or a stand in for Bette Davis in “What ever happened to Baby Jane” tapped her way onto the stage. After being buzzed by all three judges and Hasselhoff said no to Vegas, she started tapping, leaving the stage without hearing the other judges comments. They did call her back. Afterwards, she said, “I don’t care what they say, I’m just gonna rub it off and keep doing what I’m doing.”

The crowd turned mean on a few of the acts. Springer called them, “ … the fourth and most brutal judge.”

It was like the Colosseum and throwing the acts to the lions. “They’re out for blood,” said Osbourne.

One act that started out with boos and buzzers actually won the crowd and the judges over and is off to Vegas. Romanian twins dressed like ‘80s Madonnas sang “New York, New York” in deep horrific voices. The voices didn’t improve, so I am not sure what turned the crowd in their favor. They came to New York to become “big stars.”

Osbourne agreed, “It is the land of opportunity, look what it’s done for me.”

The bad can be just as entertaining as the good in a funny sort of way.

If you want to see what you missed, most of the performances can be found on You Tube. Most of them have been given five-star ratings by You Tube members.

“America’s Got Talent” airs on NBC at 8 p.m. Tuesdays. You know where I’ll be.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.