Tim Poe had one of the most stirring backstories in the history of America’s Got Talent. According to him, he was serving in the military in Afghanistan when hit by a rocket-propelled grenade that caused a brain injury and stuttering problem.
Looks like ole’ Timmy boy pretty much made up the whole story except the part about being in Afghanistan, which is true. Tim Poe wanted a compelling backstory, and he came up with a real good one. His country vocals were decent but probably would not have been good enough to win without a compelling story to back it up.
America’s Got Talent never should have put this guy on the stage to tell his hard-luck backstory without at least seeing some kind of military and/or medical records.
Simon Cowell is worth countless millions of dollars. Yet, he can’t hire one person to confirm the authenticity of people’s backstories. Heck, he even seems to encourage the embellishment of backstories to prop up a contestant.
For example, X Factor’s Stacy Francis was treated like some poor single mom. Then, someone found out she was actually divorved and receiving substantial child support from a professional dentist.
Do I think Cowell and America’s Got Talent wanted Tim Poe to make up this story? Definitely not. Even Cowell knows a fake story from a military veteran crosses the line. But the sheer lack of vetting or story confirmation is laughable.
Can we really blame Tim Poe for his fraudulent miliary hero story? Yes, we can. However, this situation is not helped by the fact that producers like Simon Cowell clearly encourage embellishing backstories for ratings purposes.
What is amazing, though, is that Poe thought he could actually get away with this. His ex-wife said he was in a band long before the alleged RPG incident. The military can easily look at his records, and his fellow service members would all know it if he suffered a grenade attack that caused a brain injury. There’s no way he is getting away with it unless no one asks any questions to anybody. Amazing.
America’s Got Talent and other reality-TV singing contests need to stop encouraging these embellished backstories and personally confirm the authenticity of a story like Tim Poe’s, which was probably powerful enough to get to the Top 10 even if he sang the ABC song.