Vegas ripe for ‘Talent’ picking

Face it. Las Vegas and “America’s Got Talent” are codependent. There may be denial, as in all dysfunctional relationships. But talk about enablers …

This week’s news was almost inevitable: “Talent” will spin off into a live show at Planet Hollywood Resort in October, hosted by Jerry Springer (who has witnessed his share of dysfunction).

It merely cements the codependency. Everyone understands part of it. If you get yourself noticed on NBC’s inane but highly rated talent show, you’ll have a future in show business, right? Uh, yeah. Sure. Maybe. Keep reading.

You have to think harder about why “Talent” needs Vegas. Everyone’s looking for the next Susan Boyle, but it’s not always easy to find dowdy singers with beautiful voices who live in a small town and only sing karaoke.

The show needs its chicken catchers. But how deathly an hour of that would be. The amateurs need to be placed amid magicians, jugglers and Polish triplets who fiddle. These working pros don’t sit in their mom’s basement waiting for their big break. And a lot of them are already here.

Magician Nathan Burton and “Boy Britney” female impersonator Derrick Barry already made the most of the exposure even though they fell short of the winner’s circle.

But this relationship is stormy, unpredictable. So far this summer, two of four Las Vegas acts have been eliminated. And they’re the two who could most easily leverage their exposure into a ticketed show.

Vocal group Mosaic, who often shares the Flamingo stage with George Wallace, already did a full show last year, as a benefit for public schools. The violin triplets of Alizma work more on the corporate circuit, but did a full-length set at the G2E Global Gaming Expo last November.

Both were up and out in their first round as Top 40 contestants. “My goal was for them to just stay on their show. The more exposure you get, the better it is,” says Alizma’s manager, Blair Farrington. Alas, the sister act made the “very risky move” of screech — er, singing when they should have stuck to playing.

“Everything is just up in the air at this point,” says ventriloquist Terry Fator, the season two winner who is the show’s big success story to date. “I haven’t seen anything that, to me, I would want to sit and watch for an hour and a half in Las Vegas.”

At least the remaining Las Vegas contestants, teen singer Bri Bernstein and the acrobatic Mario and Jenny, have another potential prize in the live revue. (Of the two, Fator likes Bernstein’s odds, because “once you get somebody like that in there, you end up getting the preteen and tweener vote.”)

As Fator notes, “Any of those acts would work to put in another show” as a variety act. And come October, a lot of them will have a short commute to Planet Hollywood.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

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