America's Got Talent WHAATTT?!?

You make me lol.

Are you seriously trying to compare 'Fantastic Fig' to David Blaine? Also, I don't know what you mean by the 'average' person. Actually, maybe you're right. David Blaine is so un-entertaining that he has had multiple specials on television displaying his dull presence and magic tricks that are extremely easy for the 'above average' person to figure out.

Everyone has their own opinion I guess. At least Fantastic Fig didn't try and eat the camera after his horrendous performance. Now if you'll excuse me, "It's time to dance"...

By average person, I meant lay person, since the average person has very little, if any, knowledge of sleight of hand. And I wasn't comparing Fantastic Fig and David Blaine. I was using Blaine as an example of someone who isn't a magician's magician. He's only effective with lay people. I was trying to make the point that from a lay person's point of view, Fig's sleight of hand skills are no better or worse than Blaine's. Everyone keeps analyzing his performance from the viewpoint of a magician. But he's not performing to magicians, is he? I was also pointing out that I'd rather watch Fig perform than watch Blaine perform. Blaine has never fooled me, and his personality isn't entertaining. Fig won't fool me either, but at least I'll be a little entertained by his bizarre actions.

I find this rather funny. You criticized Fig because he used a memorized stack. The Si Stebbins stack is commonly used, so I don't see the problem with any sort of stacked deck. You also said he won't make it past another round. Well, he's not trying to, so I don't see your point. Again, stop taking his act so seriously. It's also funny that you said it isn't a big deal to fool a lay person. I quote you on this, " Also, yes, he fooled the judges... bravo. Do you find it hard to fool a lay audience?" And yet you praise David Blaine, a magician who can only fool a lay audience. Well aren't we contradicting ourselves.

Point is, Blaine and Fig are very similar from a lay person's perspective, in terms of skill level. Blaine probably performs harder hitting effects, but that has nothing to do with difficulty. From my point of view as a magician, none of the effects that either of them perform are going to truly amaze me. So what matters are the other aspects of a performance, like presentation. I like Fig's presentation better, so I'd rather watch him.
 
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Feb 4, 2008
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Okay first, I am not a Fig hater, I chuckled at his act and found it entertaining. That said, bottom line I agree with most of the people who were not happy with it. For those bewildered by why he is getting so much criticism, let me break it down as succinct as I can. As magicians we have every right to to criticize one and other when we see a peer perform in a way that we think cheapens our art. In cases like that it really doesn't matter that the audience is entertained. The point is that magicians have spent years....decades! trying to shed the image of a socially awkward, creepy uncle, who pulls coins out of ears. Love him or hate him Fig goes a long way to bringing back that image.

Quite frankly I think he is but a small problem on that show. I am also not very impressed with the stage magic I see either. In that case it is less about reviving old images of stage magic and more about lacking the creativity to do something different with stage magic. I mean, trained dancing girls, glittery boxes, and up tempo rock instrumentals? Come on! David Copperfield, Franz Hararri, the Pendragons, and many more were doing that stuff back in the 80s and 90s. Now if Copperfield still performs his show like that I have no beef with that(no one would expect Dai Vernon to pick up cardistry if he were still alive today,) but it is high time stage magicians started to reevaluate that image. Stage magic will never be fully free from the bonds of fancy boxes but that doesn't mean they can't put a little time into updating their presentation.
 
Dec 18, 2007
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Northampton, MA - USA
Alrighty, so I was thinking about how Craig Browning said we were convincing ourselves that this guy is good. Well, I think I changed my mind about this guy and have now sided with Craig on this matter. Reason being that, I honestly have not ever really watched professional magicians and wouldn't know a good act from a bad act. I'm thinking that this is actually one of the reasons why everyone here is convincing themselves that this guy is a good entertainer. They don't know the difference between what's good and bad! I know I don't! Great, the purple leprechaun is getting out there and performing. Great, he's not another stupid crap magic geek only performing for his webcam. However, now that I think about it has this guy really put enough time and effort into his act for us to actually praise it? I think if he had, he wouldn't be flashing so much and he might have more entertaining patter and a better routine. I think the only thing I can really give him props for are his semi-creative outfit and the cat, but since when did your appearance dictate how good of a magician you are? Also to be honest, you can get about the same amount of creativity by watching a hippie on drugs. Therefore, I have decided to try and watch some more professional acts now and see what I can learn and what the differences are between pro acts and acts like the ones you see on America's Got Talent. If anyone has suggestions on acts for me to watch and could point me in the right direction it would be much appreciated.

This is what a good act (actually, AWESOME) looks like. . .

[video=youtube;pJN1iMOfgAc]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJN1iMOfgAc[/video]

When it comes to the whole playing card thing, you might want to look at this. . .

[video=youtube;TNV0K5U6Uro]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNV0K5U6Uro[/video]
 
This is what a good act (actually, AWESOME) looks like. . .

[video=youtube;pJN1iMOfgAc]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJN1iMOfgAc[/video]

When it comes to the whole playing card thing, you might want to look at this. . .

[video=youtube;TNV0K5U6Uro]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNV0K5U6Uro[/video]

So after watching these videos it seems the biggest difference for me is that there is a reason for every action in both videos. Whereas the America's Got Talent acts seem to be all over the place without any real reason. Any thoughts on this anyone?
 
Jan 5, 2010
658
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Alabama
By average person, I meant lay person, since the average person has very little, if any, knowledge of sleight of hand. And I wasn't comparing Fantastic Fig and David Blaine. I was using Blaine as an example of someone who isn't a magician's magician. He's only effective with lay people. I was trying to make the point that from a lay person's point of view, Fig's sleight of hand skills are no better or worse than Blaine's. Everyone keeps analyzing his performance from the viewpoint of a magician. But he's not performing to magicians, is he? I was also pointing out that I'd rather watch Fig perform than watch Blaine perform. Blaine has never fooled me, and his personality isn't entertaining. Fig won't fool me either, but at least I'll be a little entertained by his bizarre actions.

I find this rather funny. You criticized Fig because he used a memorized stack. The Si Stebbins stack is commonly used, so I don't see the problem with any sort of stacked deck. You also said he won't make it past another round. Well, he's not trying to, so I don't see your point. Again, stop taking his act so seriously. It's also funny that you said it isn't a big deal to fool a lay person. I quote you on this, " Also, yes, he fooled the judges... bravo. Do you find it hard to fool a lay audience?" And yet you praise David Blaine, a magician who can only fool a lay audience. Well aren't we contradicting ourselves.

Point is, Blaine and Fig are very similar from a lay person's perspective, in terms of skill level. Blaine probably performs harder hitting effects, but that has nothing to do with difficulty. From my point of view as a magician, none of the effects that either of them perform are going to truly amaze me. So what matters are the other aspects of a performance, like presentation. I like Fig's presentation better, so I'd rather watch him.

I don't find David as just a "Layperson's" magician. You must really know a lot of effects, and read a lot of material to know how every one of his effects are done. I would agree with you, that his effects are simple and hard hitting.. with his first 2 specials. After those he really stepped up his material that was chosen.

Next point: I find nothing wrong with a memorized stack. Now how you PRESENT the memorized stack is different. I'm sure everyone that uses the Stebbins stack only uses it to perform the effect Fig did. Oh wait, no they don't, because they actually want to do more than just FOOL a lay audience.

Also, I like how you took that quote of me out of context. What I was saying is that we shouldn't just want to fool an audience. We want to illicit a FEELING or EMOTION.

I showed the clip to some friends of mine (AKA a lay audience) and they thought it was ridiculous. They didn't even care about the card trick, because they were so put off by the performer.

Why would anyone want to be a 'Magician's Magician'?


"So what matters are the other aspects of a performance, like presentation. I like Fig's presentation better, so I'd rather watch him."

Like I said, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Just don't try and back up your 'opinion' with faulty logic, or by using bad 'examples'. If you would have said Criss Angel now, maybe you'd have a valid argument.
 

RealityOne

Moderator
Nov 1, 2009
3,577
3,848
New Jersey
So after watching these videos it seems the biggest difference for me is that there is a reason for every action in both videos. Whereas the America's Got Talent acts seem to be all over the place without any real reason. Any thoughts on this anyone?

Exactly. In acting it is called motivation - - in that the actor knows why he or she is doing what they are doing. In magic, it is encompassed in the term justification -- every action has a reason. Compare Kalin & Ginger's presentation of the Wakeling Sawing in Half to the videos Craig posted earlier and notice the difference. Anyone can do a trick, few can present it as magic.

[video=youtube;a9gosUhbNKY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9gosUhbNKY"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9gosUhbNKY[/video]

EDIT: As to the original post, compare that performance to anything by Juan Tamariz. Yes, Juan is older. Yes, he wears a purple hat. Yes, he has longer white hair. AND YES, Juan's character and presentation blow away almost every other magician in the world.
 
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Jan 1, 2009
2,249
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Back in Time
Eh I think the thing many people here are forgetting to consider is that with a show like Americas Got talent or any other ___Got talent show is that each act that appears on the show as pretty much very little control over how much time they have to perform and due to the way the show is made, no matter how good of a card magician or entertainer you are. These things can be heavily edited to make you look good or bad.


I didn't really see anything wrong per say with the guys act and clothing. The problem was that he choose to do a card trick for a large audience and really that was his major mistake. Everything else just made the guy look like the butt of everybody's jokes.
 
Sep 3, 2007
28
0
East Coast
I don't really have much to add here but the thing that always ticks me off about AGT well, one of the millions of things, is how they always say " we only have room for one magician " or this type of act, however there always seems to be plenty of room for bad singers and dancers etc... I stopped caring the minute they axed Kevin James a few years back.
 
I don't find David as just a "Layperson's" magician. You must really know a lot of effects, and read a lot of material to know how every one of his effects are done. I would agree with you, that his effects are simple and hard hitting.. with his first 2 specials. After those he really stepped up his material that was chosen.

Next point: I find nothing wrong with a memorized stack. Now how you PRESENT the memorized stack is different. I'm sure everyone that uses the Stebbins stack only uses it to perform the effect Fig did. Oh wait, no they don't, because they actually want to do more than just FOOL a lay audience.

Also, I like how you took that quote of me out of context. What I was saying is that we shouldn't just want to fool an audience. We want to illicit a FEELING or EMOTION.

I showed the clip to some friends of mine (AKA a lay audience) and they thought it was ridiculous. They didn't even care about the card trick, because they were so put off by the performer.

Why would anyone want to be a 'Magician's Magician'?


"So what matters are the other aspects of a performance, like presentation. I like Fig's presentation better, so I'd rather watch him."

Like I said, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Just don't try and back up your 'opinion' with faulty logic, or by using bad 'examples'. If you would have said Criss Angel now, maybe you'd have a valid argument.

Why would anyone want to be a magician's magician? Because, if you're capable of fooling and creating awe for other magicians who have an extensive knowledge of sleight of hand, imagine what you can do with a lay audience. Any effect capable of baffling an experienced magician has to be pretty damn good.

I haven't seen every single effect that David Blaine has done. Even though I have seen a lot of his material, I bet there's at least something he's performed that could fool me. But I don't think it's a big deal for him to fool me only once or twice. There are magicians out there who fool me again, and again, and again. Their sleight of hand is so amazing, I rarely figure out much at all. Even if Blaine did fool me, I guarantee he won't make me feel anything beyond curiosity. While his presentation is very effective for lay people, I find it very bland. I'd rather watch Michael Vincent perform and figure out everything he's doing, than watch Blaine perform and not figure out a single thing.

I better understand now what you meant about fooling a lay audience. There are effects that haven't fooled me, but have sparked lots of good emotion. You're right about that. But I don't see how I took the comment about the memorized stack out of context. It was a pretty one-dimensional remark. "Apparently all you need is a memorized stack these days." There's nothing in that comment that has anything to do with presenting an effect.
 
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Dec 18, 2007
1,610
13
61
Northampton, MA - USA
I don't really have much to add here but the thing that always ticks me off about AGT well, one of the millions of things, is how they always say " we only have room for one magician " or this type of act, however there always seems to be plenty of room for bad singers and dancers etc... I stopped caring the minute they axed Kevin James a few years back.

You have to understand that the acts reach a point in the competition where they must make some business choices, much of which rob you from your freedom of scheduling for a few years; they essentially "own" you by contact and take a large cut from your gigs, recording deals, etc. Those that aren't willing to accept said fate "loose" on the show and leave gracefully without the public really knowing the truth as to why. Terry Fator is probable one of the only acts to know an exceptional sense of post AGT freedom so soon after the program

The other argument when it comes to Kevin, is that he started off with his super strong stuff and then scaled down. There is a problem with this view however; once you make it into the finals the producers of AGT have say in the material they want to see you do and frequently, changes are made at the last minute which can throw one off their game plan.

There's a whole lot more to this type of program than most ever consider, starting with the fact that the producers tied to the shows plan on profiting off of the participants and as such, the deck does get stacked a bit.
 
Im going to be honest,

I would prefer that to the guy we currently have almost in the Grand Final for Australia's Got Talent.

A bloke by the name of 'Cosentino' who is, to put it kindly, a Criss Angel Clone with very minimal flair.

Suggested last week he does things Harry Houdini would not dare to do. This is, after doing a Water Torture routine.
 
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