's Simon Cowell
produced this big, flashy talent competition, which looked a lot like Idol except that there was no age limit and the competition was open to all types of performers. Early contestants, in fact, ranged from an eight-year-old stand-up comic, to a rappin' granny and a 65-year-old male stripper. Others included a classical harpist, Bobby Badfingers (who snapped to fast music), jugglers, dog acts and an acrobatic basketball team. At times it looked like The Gong Show, with two fat ladies doing a lounge act and a juggler who kept dropping things, but most of the acts (some of whom were professionals) were pretty good. The judges were stereotypical for this kind of show: sweet Brandy with her words of encouragement, sarcastic Englishman Piers with his caustic put-downs, and loosey-goosey David. At first the judges made the decisions, but beginning in week four the judges and viewers at home each voted one performer on to the next round. The first season winner of the $1 million grand prize was 11-year-old singer Bianca Ryan, whose R&B-flavored performances wowed the audience. Her first CD was released a few months later on - surprise! - Simon Cowell's label.