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February 4, 2015 at 10:43am

O grant us thy boons, Howard Stern

Audition for "America's Got Talent" at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center Monday, Feb. 9. Photo courtesy of NBC.com

I suppose it's possible you're one of those Washington weirdos who applies his or her summers to the pursuit of such ostentatious pastimes as going outside. If so, this article won't mean jack to you. My wife and I, however, are allergic to direct sunlight, plus we reserve our remaining ATP molecules of organic energy for the ordeal of digesting meatball sandwiches. We spend our summer months parked on the couch, basking in the cool blue light of an O-class supergiant star we like to call ... our TV.

It seems strange that two adults of not inconsiderable intelligence should feel they're on a first name basis with the likes of Sharon Osbourne, Howard Stern, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum or Scary Spice. (The latter seems more of a name than "Mel B.") Thanks to terms as judges on NBC's America's Got Talent, the Teutonically bland Heidi Klum, Melanie Brown's Yorkshire-accented "uh have to sayyy" and Howie Mandel's relentless trolling for Twitter followers seem as familiar as Mariner baseball. Are we on the same wavelength, you and I? Will you feel me when I lament the year our nation expended its fickle affections on that Kentuckian "singer" whose name none of us now remember? (It was Kevin Skinner in season four. No, he was never seen again.) Are you even now wondering how that sweet little Jackie Evancho is holding up in her big-ticket limelight? Exactly. One of us.

It's ironic this show puts its skilled contestants' fates in the hands of people who clearly have nothing in the way of talent to speak of; namely, us. Time and again, Met-worthy vocalists get shunted aside in favor of that tousle-haired boy who looks cute in a hat, because squillions of teenagers are superheating their phones in a rush to call in votes. The Midwest's inexplicable fondness for softcore-racist ventriloquism comes into frequent play, as does our hereditary preference for symmetrically attractive people on TV. But that's how the tele-cookie crumbles, my friends, and it gives folks like you, by whom I mean good-looking people who can tell a few jokes or warble karaoke on camera, a shot at celebrity. That's right, you, Gentle Reader, could join the ranks of Jackie Evancho, Kevin what's-his-name, and that guy who had abs and could juggle his Chihuahua. The only catch is: first you have to audition.

Luckily, the producers of AGT make that process so easy, why, a Kentucky chicken farmer could do it. All you have to do is take the day off work (no disappointment there), drive to the Greater Tacoma Convention Center and hang out all day with other frustrated narcissists. Your spotlight awaits! Try not to make us Puget Sounders look bad. My wife and I hate to feel sorry for people as we gorge on our summer nachos.

AMERICA'S GOT TALENT SEASON 10 AUDITIONS, 8 a.m. Monday, Feb. 9, Tacoma Convention Center, 1500 Broadway, Tacoma, free, 253.830.6601

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