Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Society • Prince Poppycock’s Popoffs Puffs Cool Million plus Star Status

It was a self-inflicted crash that took with it a million dollars and a shot at stardom. And it proved that even though ‘America’s Got Talent,’ it will mean nothing if you alienate your audience. And it shows clearly why we need to get back to having a little more class and some manners.

On Tuesday night (9/14/10), the four finalists for the international talent show were to give their last best-effort performance in the hopes of snagging the biggest prize on televsion, a million dollars plus a starring role in a Las Vegas show. One of those contestants was ” Prince Poppycock” whom the judges had already declared a winner who could indeed headline a Vegas show. Audience reaction to his initial appearances seemed to back that up with their enthusiastic response while his mother cheered him on from the sidelines.  He had clearly become an audience favorite with his rather strange but fascinating presentation.

The four finalists had gone through their auditions, the long performance-elimination process, then to the Final Ten.  And now the finale, The Final Four.  The competition was stiff,  with the incredible Fighting Gravity troup with a colorful black light presentation,  Michael Grim, a very likeable singer from Mississippi with a soul and blues style,. and the 10 year old singing sensation, Jackie Evancho, a phenomenal little girl with a trained operatic voice that astonished every audience she appeared before.

Then there was His Gayness, Prince Poppycock, whom the judges considered, “a great performer” who was sure to go to the top. Poppycock, John Quale in real life,  wears white facial makeup with huge eyelashes, rouge, a lipsticked tiny mouth,  powdered baroque bouffant wig and wearing high-heel boots. This writer agrees that he was a good performer who could be fun to watch with his flamboyance, operatic singing voice, humorous approach, all put together with good presentation and timing. He had a strong stage presence that stood out.  But not a great performer since it can be uncomfortable to many, seeing a man flit about the stage and dance like a woman who has been misplaced in a man’s body.

As he performed, the buzzer sounded. His face tightened up with contempt as he continued. When his minute-and-a-half spot ended, Talent Judge Piers Morgan said [to] him that he was disappointed in his performance, and that he (Poppycock) had made a mistake in taking himself seriously [when] his charm was in his flamboyance and humor.This was not your best performance, it was dull,  Morgan essentially said.

It was valid constructive criticism.  Before Piers got the words out, Poppycock, with his mouth prissed and tightened sneered, “Well that certainly figures, your face looks like you are sucking on a lemon.” The cutting comments continued and got worse.

In an instant everything that the performer had accomplished changed. He lost his support which had been solid, and those who would have voted for him, cast their votes for one of the other performers instead, and that included thousands of LGBT people who wanted nothing more than for Poppycock to take the top entertainment spot where he would have been continually spotlighted and considered a star, which they felt would reflect on them.  It was over then and there. And this fact is proved by the sudden dramatic drop in votes for Poppycock immediately after his crude popoffs to Piers that was literally heard around the world..

The next night, Wednesday, the final four came for the grand finale where the eliminations would begin. The first one to be eliminated was Prince Poppycock who had been right on the edge of stardom and the million bucks before his hissy-fit tantrums cost him all of his support. He did not take the news well and proceeded to suggest that the judge, Piers Morgan, was a horse’s bottom. He should have been kicked off the stage the moment that he started the insults and disrespect the night before. Such rudeness should never be tolerated.  Manners should be conisdered essential. Indeed, it is too bad that the gender confused performer will still do the tour with the ten finalists.

It is to be noted that the real entertainers were gracious when criticized. The outstanding Fighting Gravity team put everything they had into their performance. When, they were criticized the night before for losing the illusion at one brief point in their act, they listened respectfully and received the criticism humbly. The same with the other performers.

A cocky arrogant entertainer can never attain stardom. He loses all bonding with his audience. A performer must be likeable, which is the very reason people watch entertainers. They want to see somebody they can like, enjoy and feel safe with.  It is not a joy to watch a misfit lash out at someone with personal vindictive over what they consider a ‘slight’.  It is sad that Prince Poppycock lost his throne through his lack of class. The audience lost not only its affection for him, but its fascination with him, all due to his own misconduct. He self-destructed.  Yes, it is sad, but it gives a powerful lesson to be learned.


And what is especially interesting to observe, is that perhaps the public has reached the maximum of the pendulum swing and now want to see a restoration of manners, a return of respect and decency and a basic return to our values as human beings and as a country. With this telling episode of America’s Got Talent, all signs point to this swing back as becoming a probability as evryone has had enough of crassness. And as we see this change becoming more evident, we will be able to say, Prince Poppycock…..we THANK you!

Watch for Part 2 of this story;  “Back On The Road To Manners? We hope so.”

Rev. Austn Miles began his ministry as a chaplain to the world of show business, dealing with all in the performing arts..

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