Rudy Coby, YouTube Show ~ America_s Got Talent 2012 - Video Dailymotion.png

We saw the following tweet from magician Daniel Martin today:

Watching certain acts on AGT is a lot like going to an art museum & running past the paintings…90sec doesn’t work!

It’s something we’ve heard a lot. Now certainly, there have been successful magic on America’s Got Talent, but will there ever be magic that could be considered “art” if you have to jam it into 90 seconds?

My thoughts: it is no secret to many observers that the easiest way to get though to AGT is to tape as many magical pops together as humanly possible and end with a big finish. Many times behind the judges.

You could make that artistic. Kevin James certainly did. But it is a risk.

But should a magician ever go the distance to win, it will be because they cracked that exact code.

Discuss below…

  • Musical_racket

    many of magics best routines are designed for a 5-10 minute act. One magician who preformed encourages everyone to get a great 3 minute routine if they are interested in working on TV. but 90 seconds makes the performer rush to cram amazing magic in under a 2 minut. absurd. my routines rarely stay under 3 and I do close up.

    Maybe I should try the multiplying bottles in that time. whileI am at it, I’ll tenkei a dove

  • Diamondcutmagic

    Magic is hard. Magic on TV is Harder. Magic on LIVE TV is the Hardest.

    I was booked on the Chicago news to do an four spots, 20 second teaser, 45 seconds, 8 seconds, and a Two and a Half minute segment to do one big ‘finale’ AND promote the show. Below is the longer segment:

    What I did is I tried to use the disadvantages to my advantage. I was able to talk with the camera man before each segment, and the news anchor went out of the room so she would be surprised. I broke down what was going to happen, and for one of the shorter segments, showed him how the effect was done so he understood why he had to stay at a certain angle.

    The problem with AGT is producers are sabotaging these acts with producers in the audience booing, forcing the acts to make last minute changes, etc… Once the judges criticized a music group for changing their clothing style, and one just mentioned before Nick Cannon pulled the mic away that their AGT consultant told them to wear those costumes.

    I was lucky to do a local TV spot where I was given every chance to succeed. It’s totally at the producers whim of who they choose to make look good or bad.

  • Snow

    Why not 90 seconds? Surely there are many to choose from that can be condensed to fit? I think in many cases, acts are extended to justify the admission price; trying to fill the night and make it worth the viewers dollar for entertainment exchanged. But, really, I think it’s better to put more into the act and speed things up. Cram it in. People get antsy and impatient with their attention if something is clearly being extended for no good reason. In a previous post, I said I liked Copperfields’ Snow performance. I liked it not because I was impressed with how that was done. Silly easy. What I and likely everyone else enjoyed about it was the story and the presentation of it. So, unless an affect deserves that kind of time and attention to give it depth and mood, then it’s too long attention deficited opinion ;) . I think people prefer fast magic if it’s not theatrical enough to justify the time.

  • HAL

     I think it’s the quality of the illusion, and the skill of the performer. It’s not the actual time, but how it relates to your reaction to the trick. “Flying” and “Portal” (for example) are over 10 minutes, but seem to go by fast because they’re so well done and hold your attention. On the other hand, “Puppet Boy” is 90 seconds, and seems like eternity. The good magicians are good performing for 2 hours or 30 seconds…same as singers, musicians, comedians, etc.

  • Mjlauckwriting

    Can you do a magic trick on TV in 90 seconds? Uh… yeah. You can do a magic trick on TV in 9 seconds. you can’t necessarily create magical theater in 90 seconds, though, and that is the real problem. Establishing a character and/or story in 90 seconds, even if you aren’t going full on Victorian era magical play, can be a problem in 90 seconds, too.
    To be fair, this isn’t a problem limited to magicians on TV variety shows. Comedians have similar challenges.. they can tell a joke in 90 seconds, no problem, but can they establish their character and/or build a narrative that establishes a pattern of comedic points in 90 seconds?
    I think the best strategy for a competition series might be to start with fast paced visual magic and use off stage time camera time to build and establish a character so that as you go on you can attempt the more artistic, character reliant and theatrical magic. Another option is to have a performing persona that can be visually summarized easily through costuming… Dan Sperry or John Pyka”s Big Daddy Cool are examples of character for whom this could work. The problem is that you run the risk of coming across as one dimensional or a caricature instead of a fully developed character!

  • Bizzaro Galore

    Try doing it in 30 seconds (Anyone remember THAT show?). 90 seconds is actually plenty of time to do something and make it flashy and entertaining. Puck’s performance was pretty much that. Will everyone like it? Hell no. You can’t please everyone.

  • K.d. Younger

    AGT is a show for sheeple. The judges are dictating what is talent and what isn’t – just as same as Simon Cowell’s atrocity to the music industry – AMERICAN IDOL – stamp die cutting of what is an entertainer – or, in this case, what is a magician. (Or variety act artist.) There are many amazing acts that get the crap beat out of them due to what the judges state as their opinion. The sheeple watch the show to hear the judges opinion and see how they respond to the acts…and then make the informed decision based upon what they have heard. The first season winner, Terry Fator, actually did deserve his place. As for following years…singers, dancers…but variety artists? Amazing magicians, jugglers, physical comedians and skilled clown artists? Not really. all they get is 90 seconds of exposure and then trotted away.

    Puck’s handling of the Bogounia Ultimate Hank system was well done. I enjoy and admire both Puck and Sean’s amazing creation. But, Puck and his image fall into what those judges and our society tend to see and accept as the contemporary performance magician. And, with no discredit to that style, there is very limited artistry in such a performance in such a short amount of time. Sadly, attention span is something else that has vanished over the years…along with originality in style and presentation.

  • tomasiepants

    Yeah, I think everyone knows it’s fixed. They just don’t care. Just like politics… people KNOW there’s corruption, but never say/do anything.