Warning! The following contains spoilers for the January 13 episode of America's Got Talent: The Champions. Read at your own risk!
Another night of America's Got Talent: The Champions Season 2 has come and gone, and a new batch of former competitors have advanced to the latter rounds of the competition. As is often the case in this champion-based spinoff, some fan favorites were sent packing, and I can't help but think one advanced finalist got pushed ahead simply due to a high profile cameo in his act. Did Marc Spellman truly move forward on his own merits, or was it the Shin Lim cameo that did most of the heavy lifting?
To understand the complaint, readers really need to witness Marc Spellman's act for America's Got Talent: The Champions. Check out the act, the cameo, and hop back down for why I think this advancement may not have been as deserving as some of the other acts in the night.
The fact that Shin Lim was hiding under the mask as Magician X was quite a surprise, and Marc Spellman's appearance behind the judges as the actual Magician X certainly added to the fun in the act. With that said, it seems obvious that while the magic was impressive, Spellman was not on stage for the entirety of his act. The trick only worked if it was Shin Lim the whole time, so the former America's Got Talent champion was essentially running the act.
Marc Spellman was later voted through to the semi-finals by America's Got Talent: The Champions super fans. While I can appreciate the act, the reveal, and the work required to pull it all off, these fans literally voted through a man who did not perform his act on stage. It feels like a shot to the gut to every performer who had to put themselves out there, while Spellman sat on the sidelines and waited for the curtain call to make himself known.
Of course, it's not like Shin Lim choreographed the trick or the illusion, so credit to Marc Spellman for developing a truly surprising magic act worthy of America's Got Talent: The Champions. It was a somewhat fitting homage considering Spellman performed under his actual name in Season 12 of Britains Got Talent and finished as a semi-finalist, and later returned in Season 13 under the then-mysterious Magician X. Spellman's identity wasn't known until the finals, when he unmasked himself to everyone during the final performance. He ended up finishing second, so it's no surprise he'd bring back a similar gimmick for America's Got Talent: The Champions.
I can't blame the super fans, as America's Got Talent has to be an incredibly difficult show to judge. It's a competition where folks are frequently asked to compare apples to oranges, and sometimes the sheer impressiveness of one act can overshadow the talent and skill needed to pull off another. Spellman may have gotten an advancement without taking the stage this round, but he'll have to prove himself again to show he's worthy of America's Got Talent: The Champions' finals.
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