First off: the editors have learned nothing. Somewhere, there's a class being held in How To Make Rejectees Look Worse Than The People Who Advanced, and no one from NBC wants to pay the tuition money. The envelope handouts have always wound up feeling as if half of them were assigned by dart toss: for that, we're still on status quo. It doesn't help to not have figured out the panel's priorities: Natasha has very little discrimination in her laughter, while Andy mostly uses contestants to set up his own jokes.
Spending two hours in Los Angeles makes it feel like we're on track for a very short audition season. Is it possible that we're going to spend another two in Manhattan, then move to the semifinals? Of course it is, because two stops may be all NBC was willing to budget for. (We might presume the contestants are paying their own travel expenses. And hotel rooms. And possibly donating the prize money.) If so, it's a good thing in one aspect: endless audition episodes lose any fun they might have had in a hurry... but at the same time, some people can't scramble cross-country: you'll miss a lot of talent this way. Not that finding any was the top priority to begin with, but you know: principles. Not that NBC has any.
It's too early to truly judge Craig in his role as host: all anyone gets to do at this stage is walk the line, conduct bad interviews, and take up space. Basic Seacrestia. (His interaction with contestants was why I thought Tiffany Haddish was going to advance: she walked all over him.) Regardless, early results do not feel encouraging.
I'm surprised we got a political comedian, but it'll be fun to see people rally (for and against) if he reaches the voting stage. How many 'How dare he!' pages can we get from a three-minute set? Let's find out! And the mandatory deadpanner has some skill, while Ms. Kilmartin likes her shadows deep... but after the casting fiascos we've had before, you never know if someone's getting through on talent or on quota.
Not feeling hopeful yet. Already getting nervous. LCS has arguably been the primer in how to destroy a promising series and while there may not be any meat left on the bones, there's still marrow...
It's clearly not going to be The Year Of The Unusual Ethnic Background.