Now that America’s Got Talent is over for 2013, it’s time for more Star Search memories…

Like a lot of other people, I was tuned in to NBC on Wednesday night, waiting to find out who won America’s Got Talent. I was kind of rooting for Cami Bradley and Taylor Williamson, though I have to admit that everyone who was a finalist deserved to win. Season 8 of AGT was remarkably good, though there weren’t as many hilarious auditions as there have been in prior years. I will admit to not being as into America’s Got Talent or other talent shows as I once was into Star Search, a show that was famously hosted by Ed McMahon and ran for years. I wrote about that show several months ago and that post gets a lot of hits. That tells me that readers are as interested in Star Search and the stars it spawned as I am.

Like America’s Got Talent, Star Search offered a platform for a variety of talents. Unlike America’s Got Talent, which pretty much allows anyone who can make a show of their talent come on the stage, Star Search had categories. In the early days, there were singers, comedians, actors, spokesmodels, dancers, and bands. As time went on, the acting category went away, and the singers and dancers were divided by age. If memory serves, the spokesmodels were all pretty much women, though they might have tried a male spokesmodel category at some point. I think the spokesmodels were supposed to be “presenters”, not so much actual models. I do remember them having cheesy photo shoots, though, as they introduced the commercial breaks and interacted with Ed McMahon.

Here’s a pretty funny video of spokesmodels Laura Ballad and Theresa Ring. Theresa Ring was one of the more successful contestants. I wonder what Tyra Banks would think of this photo shoot set to “Walk Like An Egyptian” by The Bangles… I apologize for the out of sync video.

Here’s 4 Boys and a Babe from Mesa, Arizona dancing to Buster Pointdexter’s “Hot Hot Hot”. I remember they were very successful on this show and even twenty years later, I remember where they were from. I wonder what they’re doing today…

Here, 4 Boys and a Babe are back on Star Search doing an exhibition.

Jarrod Spector was six years old when he became a big winner on Star Search. I remember getting a little tired of his big show tune schtick because he won for weeks on end. Then he came up against Countess Vaughn, who later starred on the show 227 with Marla Gibbs.

Gotta say, vocally speaking, Countess Vaughn pretty much kicks Jarrod Spector’s ass in this video…

Of course, one of the earliest future stars on Star Search was Sinbad, who later got a recurring gig on NBC’s A Different World, a spin off of The Cosby Show, as well as a successful stand up career. I couldn’t find any Sinbad Star Search clips, but I did find one of him guesting on a talk show.

Right after he got his knees replaced, no less…

Even Dave Chapelle was on Star Search. I found this out today, because by 1993, when he made his first appearance, I had quit watching the show as often.

He was just 19 years old and was the youngest comedian in Star Search’s history at the time! I believe this is the first time I’ve heard Dave Chappelle do such a clean routine.

Drew Carey made his first appearance in 1988. Who would have thought back then that Drew would one day be hosting The Price Is Right?

Drew Carey is the ultimate party guest… leading to his cameo appearance in the first incarnation of The Sims.

Man, I miss this game… even though my Sims’ parties were never good enough to rate a Drew Carey appearance.

Star Search was such a cultural phenomenon in the 80s and 90s that it was even written into an episode of the hit ABC sitcom Full House!

Looks like it was a tie between real life comedian Steve Oedekirk and “Joey Gladstone” as portrayed by Dave Coulier, the same guy to whom former Star Search competitor Alanis Morrisette allegedly dedicated her hit song, “You Oughta Know”… or was that just a nasty rumor?

Yikes! Alanis was just 14 years old in this clip from her Star Search days. And this clip was from Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show… Guess what? Rosie was also a Star Search contestant back in the day!

Here’s Rosie O’Donnell appearing on Star Search after she was cast on Gimme A Break as the late Nell Carter’s neighbor in New York City. I’ll be damned. She’s pretty funny in this clip.

People love America’s Got Talent and the $1 million prize is bigger than the $100,000 prize Star Search was offering. But in all honesty, aside from Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent, have there been as many stars spawned from the Got Talent franchise? Time will tell. For now, it’s fun to watch these old clips of a classic talent show.