Try to corral dozens and dozens of middle schoolers. Go ahead, try. I'll wait.
Not easy. It's even more difficult when they're all hyped up with nerves because they're going to be performing in a talent show. In fact, it's far more difficult in that scenario, particularly when it's clear that no auditions were required. It's kinda cute when a kid in third grade tries to sing or dance with no discernible talent. It's much less cute when the "kid" is no longer a kid.
That's not to say there weren't some good acts mingled among the 37. Let me repeat that number. 37! And when the show starts 10 minutes late and the jazz combo comes out and plays for 22 minutes, you know it's going to be a very long night.
A talent show of middle schoolers with no auditions which has an opening act of 22 minutes -- 22! -- ends up nearly three hours long. Three excruciatingly long hours, culminating with me ultimately telling everyone to shut the f#$k up.
No, I wanted to say that, and worse, but I didn't because, you know, they're all just such precious tweens and young teens.
The highlights of the evening, besides watching Daughter dance a solo and sing a duet, included:
- Being enlisted by the people running the talent show -- I only showed up to help backstage -- to gather everyone's CDs and ipods with their music on them starting exactly 27 minutes before showtime. They waited that long before thinking it might be a good idea to have the music in advance.
- Finally blocking the stage door to prevent performers from coming and going throughout the show and having a teenage girl a full head taller than me stomp her foot in anger.
- Stomping my foot right back at her when she came to apologize a few minutes later.
- Watching the neighborhood thugs waiting for the perfect moment to steal the cash boxes in order to stop that from happening.
- Saying "shut up" about 142 times to the performers coming and going throughout the show while other acts performed.
- Being asked by the principal to go on stage to get the jazz combo to stop, and thankfully stepping onto the wings at the precise moment they finally stopped playing.
I'd post some videos of the really bad performers, but then I'd truly have to admit to being a bully. Trust me, some were really, really, really bad. I will say this about the overflow audience: at least they were kind. There wasn't a Chuck Barris in the crowd.