If anyone is going on America's Got Talent next year, here's a routine for you to use on your first appearance.
Your introductory video plays. You're overweight, your hair is a mess, you have thick glasses. A blotted cranberry sauce stain runs across your shirt.
"My parents always said I'm a dreamer," you say in voice-over. "I know I'm not a hollywood pretty-boy fancy-guy. But don't judge a book by its cover." Your words are slurred. Not like a drunk, but like someone who was kicked in the head by a donkey.
We see a clip of you stumbling down the sidewalk, waving to an elderly woman on her porch. "Hi, Miss Lucy!" Under your left arm is a picture of a dog, and in your left hand is a small urn.
Again in voice-over: "I carry my dog Roscoe everywhere I go. If you look up 'friend' in the dictionary, you'll find old Roscoe. He died in 2012 and I'm still putting the pieces back together. And I think part of that journey means finally following my dream."
You step out on stage. You exchange some uncomfortable small-talk with Simon. Your shirt has a couple more stains on it. You set the urn and the picture of Roscoe on the floor. "So what is this dream you want to follow?" Simon asks.
"I want to sing opera," you say.
The crowd titters. Simon gives a look to the other judges. There's a close-up of a girl in the crowd covering her laughter and pointing at you. Inspirational orchestra music swells in the background. "Yeah, I get it," you say. "I know I may not look the part. Maybe you think I'm a dreamer, like my parents do. But the one thing you have to remember is this..."
The orchestral soundtrack hits a crescendo, then falls away to silence.
"In the end... dreams come true," you say. Some in the audience applaud. Howie and Simon glance at each other as if to say, "Let's see what the kid's got."
The entire theater falls silent as you step up to the mic and begin to sing. It comes out like this:
In quick succession, three of the judges give you the red X. The last holdout, Heidi Klum, gives you the X once it's clear you've changed the words to the second verse to suggest that you were masturbating in the tub.
Nick Cannon joins you on stage. "Is that good or bad?" you ask. "Did I win. I won?" you scream, your eyes getting big.
"No, no," Nick says. "You've been eliminated."
"Eliminated through to the next round?"
"What? No." Nick says. "Your journey is over."
"Oh... I see. I see. Simon, can I ask you a question? And don't pull any punches. How would you describe my performance in one word."
"In one word?" Simon asks. "Ghastly."
"Fair enough. Fair enough. I get it. I'm not Mr. Handsome. I'm not some... Carson Daly or something so I'm not good enough for the show. This is so predictable. Who X'd me first? Who did it? Who was so threatened by me?"
"I did," Simon says.
"Right, you couldn't handle it. Mr. Big Shot is afraid of my star power. And then you were next, right, Mel B? Because you just follow what Simon does. Then Howie. And then, last of all, Heidi. Ok. Cool. Cool cool cool. So predictable," you say in disgust.
"In fact," your slurring stops and your voice transforms to adopt a refined British accent, "I predicted it all earlier today."
You unzip your fat suit and step out of it wearing tuxedo pants and a dress shirt. Nick Cannon hands you your jacket. You remove your glasses and pull off your grungy wig to reveal a slicked back head of hair. And then you peel off your fake bushy mustache, uncovering a tight well-groomed mustache underneath. You straighten your ascot. The audience is flipping their shit.
You're the picture of sophistication. You look like the guy from the cover of the John Booth book, "Extending Magic Beyond Credibility."
Nick puts his hand on yours before you can light your cigarette. "We can't smoke here?" you ask, incredulously.
"As I was saying, so predictable. First Simon, then Mel, then Howie, then Heidi. Please, lift your Dunkin' Donuts cups and show the cameras what's underneath."
Under each cup is a number 1-4, with each person holding the number of the position in which they eliminated you.
The audience applauds this unexpected effect.
"Not only that," you say, unbuttoning your right cuff and rolling up your sleeve. "Simon, you could have described my performance in any one of a thousand different ways, but you chose one word in particular." You pick up the dog's urn from the ground, dump some ashes into your left hand, then smear them along your right forearm. A word appears in ash:
The audience roars. Simon turns to Mel B and mouths a big, "Wow!"
Nick Cannon quiets the crowd. "Okay judges. Now that you've seen the complete act, have you changed your mind about sending him through to the next round?" The judges convene and you are sent through unanimously.
The crowd cheers. Nick asks you if you have anything left to say.
"Not really," you say. "I already said it earlier. In the end, dreams come true."
The place goes wild for your hacky platitude. Music swells.