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America's Got Talent

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

America's Got Talent
America's Got Talent 2015 logo.png
Talent contest
Created by
Directed byRussell Norman[1]
Creative director(s)Brian Friedman
Presented by
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons14
No. of episodes330
Executive producer(s)
Running time60–120 minutes
Production company(s)Fremantle USA
Syco Entertainment
Original networkNBC
Picture format
Original releaseJune 21, 2006 (2006-06-21) –
Related showsAmerica's Got Talent: The Champions
External links
Official website

America's Got Talent (often abbreviated as AGT) is a televised American talent show competition, and is part of the global Got Talent franchise created by Simon Cowell. The program is produced by Fremantle USA and Syco Entertainment, distributed by the former, and broadcast on the NBC television network, premiering on June 21, 2006, after plans for a British edition in 2005 were suspended following a dispute within the British broadcaster ITV; production would later resume in 2007.[2] Each season is mainly run during the network's summer schedule, and has featured various hosts over the course of the program's history - its current host is Terry Crews.

The program attracts a variety of participants, from across the United States and abroad, to take part and who possess some form of talents, with acts ranging from singing, dancing, comedy, magic, stunts, variety, and other genres. Each participant who auditions attempts to secure a place in the live episodes of a season by impressing a panel of judges - the current line-up consists of Cowell,[3] Howie Mandel, Julianne Hough, and Gabrielle Union. Those that make it into the live episodes compete against each other for both the judges' and public's vote in order to reach the live final, where the winner receives a large cash prize, primarily paid over a period of time, and, since the third season, a chance to headline a show on the Las Vegas Strip.

Since its premiere, America's Got Talent has helped to unearth new talent and kickstart/boost the careers of various performers who took part in the competition, while the show itself has been a rating success for NBC, drawing in on average around 10 million viewers per season. In 2013, a book was entitled Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent, was released, providing a description of the seasons, contestants, judges, and production techniques of the show, along with detailed interviews with contestants from all seasons, up to the date of the book's publication.[4] The program has run for a total of thirteen seasons, and spawned a spin-off competition entitled America's Got Talent: The Champions, consisting of notable contestants from the U.S. and other international versions of the franchise, which premiered on NBC on January 7, 2019.[5]


Simon Cowell, creator of America's Got Talent and the Got Talent franchise, is primarily a judge on the British international version of the franchise. He has operated as a judge on AGT since May 2016.
Simon Cowell, creator of America's Got Talent and the Got Talent franchise, is primarily a judge on the British international version of the franchise. He has operated as a judge on AGT since May 2016.


The general selection process of each season is begun by the production team with open auditions held in various cities across the United States. Dubbed "Producers' Auditions", they are held months before the main stage of auditions are held.[6] Those that make it through the initial stage, become participants in the "Judges' Auditions", which are held in select cities across the country, and attended by the judges. Each participant is held offstage and awaits their turn to perform before the judges, whereupon they are given 90 seconds to demonstrate their act, with a live audience present for all performances. At the end of a performance, the judges give constructive criticism and feedback about what they saw, whereupon they each give a vote - a participant who receives a majority vote approving their performance, moves on to the next stage, otherwise they are eliminated from the program at that stage. Each judge is given a buzzer, and may use it during a performance if they are unimpressed, hate what is being performed, or feel the act is a waste of their time; if a participant is buzzed by all judges, their performance is automatically over. Many acts that move on may be cut by producers and may forfeit due to the limited slots available for the second performance. Filming for each season always takes place when the Judges' Auditions are taking place, with the show's presenter standing in the wings of each venue's stage to interview and give personal commentary on a participant's performance.

The YouTube audition of Jackie Evancho for Season Five of America's Got Talent in 2010 was a critical turning point towards Evancho becoming the youngest solo artist ever to go platinum in the U.S.[7][8]
The YouTube audition of Jackie Evancho for Season Five of America's Got Talent in 2010 was a critical turning point towards Evancho becoming the youngest solo artist ever to go platinum in the U.S.[7][8]

From the fifth to seventh seasons, acts who did not attend live auditions could instead submit a taped audition online via YouTube. Acts from the online auditions were then selected to compete in front of the judges and a live audience during the "live shows" part of the season, prior to the semi-finals. Before the inclusion of this round, the show had a separate audition episode in Seasons 3 and 4 (2008–2009) for contestants who posted videos on MySpace.[9]

In the ninth season, the show added a new format to the auditions in the form of the "Golden Buzzer", which began to make appearances within the Got Talent franchise, since it was first introduced on Germany's Got Talent. During auditions, each judge is allowed to use the Golden Buzzer to send an act automatically into the live shows, regardless of the opinion of the other judges; when it was initially used, the buzzer simply saved an act from elimination. The only rule to the buzzer was that a judge could use it only once per season; the host was later allowed to use the Golden Buzzer for an act from the eleventh season.

Second Round

Starting from the second season, auditions undergo a second stage to secure a place in the live rounds of the competition, though the format for this changed over the course of the program's history. When the stage was first created it was designed with a "bootcamp" format, under the title of "Las Vegas Callbacks" - under the format, participants who made it through the preliminary auditions could undergo training to perfect their act, whereupon they would be set into a specific group of participants before performing a second time before the judges, who could use their buzzers to terminate a performance at any time. Those that fail to secure a place in this stage would be eliminated from that season's competition.

Between the fourth and ninth season, the format was changed to match that used in Britain's Got Talent - participants who made it through the preliminary auditions had their audition footage reviewed by the judges, who set each one into a specific group, and were not required to perform again, unless the judges requested this. Acts which they liked would be allocated spaces in the live rounds, with the remainder eliminated from that season's competition; all would be brought back to learn of the results of the judges' deliberations. The format was entitled "Vegas Verdicts" and held on the Las Vegas Strip; for the final seasons of its usage, it was re-dubbed "Judgement Week" and conducted within New York.[10]

From the tenth season, the stage's format was changed to its current arrangement, under the title of "Judges' Cuts". Under the format's rules, participants that passed the preliminary auditions undergo a second stage of auditions before the judges at a fixed venue. However, their performance would not only be judged by the panel, but also by a special guest judge, with all participants divided up into four groups each group would be judged by their own guest judge. Like the auditions, this stage allowed the use of the Golden Buzzer, but only for the guest judges, who could use it for the act they liked the most, but could not use it again upon the buzzer being used; the judges can still use their red buzzers at any time to end a performance, though no such buzzer is provided for the guest judges.

Live Rounds

Participants who pass their auditions and secure a place in the live rounds of the competitions - including those who received the Golden Buzzer, after the format's introduction and subsequent amendment to match its use in other Got Talent editions - are divided into groups and compete against each other to secure a place within the live final of the competition, with the number of acts reaching this stage varying over the course of the program's history. Live episodes of the competition are held within a set venue, though this has varied over time - currently, live episodes are broadcast from Los Angeles - with each season's broadcast schedule for such episodes allocating them to being aired weekly on the network, which differs to the broadcast schedule for other international editions; for example, Britain's Got Talent broadcasts its live episodes within the space of a single week. The structure of the live rounds by this stage of the competition has varied, but is more commonly arranged as quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final itself - earlier seasons varied, sometimes having the finals split into separate rounds.

The format of the live rounds, for the quarter-finals and semi-finals, sees each participant conducts a new performance of their act before the judges and the viewers within a "performance" episode. In this episode, the judges can still give out feedback and comments about a participant's performance, and be able to use their buzzers, with the performance terminated if all the buzzers are used. After the episode is broadcast, the network provides the public a set period of time to vote for their act, with the results of these held in a separate "results" episode - when it is broadcast has varied, though it more commonly occurs after an interval of day after the live "performance" episode. Participants are then informed of the results, with those receiving the highest votes (i.e. Top 4) advancing to the next stage. For the two acts that receive the mid-range of votes for all participants, they undergo a vote by the judges to determine who joins those who advanced; when the program brought in the format of using four judges, a tie-break on this vote results in the act with the higher amount of public votes moving on. The Judges' vote was not a common format element in earlier seasons - in the first season, the judges did not decide on who moved on, instead voting for acts they liked or disliked, while in the second season, they could not vote on acts at all, instead only being able to buzz them.

For some acts that are eliminated, there is still a chance for advancement by being appointed as that round's "Wildcard". Until the tenth season, this format varied in how it would work - in some seasons, the judges could each individually select an act, or more than one, to move on to the next stage or compete within a special Wildcard round; in other seasons, the Wildcard acts were selected from amongst the auditions and competed in a special round. Since the tenth season, the format is more structured and works in a similar manner to that of the format used by Britain's Got Talent, in that the judges and the public can each chose the acts they want to see move on as a Wildcard act - although the judges are refrained to choosing a quarter-finalist as a Wildcard act, the public may vote online for an act within each quarter-final and semi-final to move on into the next stage; the latter format is aptly named after the sponsor for the show in that respective season.

Those that make it into the season's final compete against each other to secure the most votes from the public, with the number of finalists varying between seasons - later seasons allow each finalist more than one performance and sometimes being joined by a previous winner or notable participant from a previous season. The winning act that achieves the most votes is crowned the winner and receives a cash prize - although stipulated as $1 million per the program's advertising, in reality winners can choose to either take it as a lump sum, or as a financial annuity of this amount that is paid out over forty years at around $25,000 per year, with both options liable to taxation.[11] From 2008, the program also includes an additional prize of headlining a show - except from between 2010 and 2013, where the winning finalist headlined a national tour,[12][13] the show they headline mainly takes place within Las Vegas.[14]

Judges and hosts

Terry Crews became the host in 2019, following his involvement in AGT: The Champions in January
Howie Mandel is the longest serving judge on America's Got Talent, since joining in June 2010
Nick Cannon is the longest-serving host of the series, hosting eight seasons between 2009 and 2016
Season Host (per Seasons) Judges (in order of appearance in Seasons)
1 Regis Philbin Piers Morgan David Hasselhoff Brandy Norwood N/A
2 Jerry Springer Sharon Osbourne
4 Nick Cannon
5 Howie Mandel
7 Howard Stern
8 Mel B Heidi Klum
11 Simon Cowell
12 Tyra Banks
14 Terry Crews Gabrielle Union Julianne Hough

In its first season, the judging panel consisted originally of David Hasselhoff, Brandy Norwood, and Piers Morgan, with the program hosted by Regis Philbin. Prior to the start of the second season, Norwood was forced to step down due to a legal matter she was caught up in,[15][16] leading to her being replaced by Sharon Osbourne,[17] while Philbin was replaced by Jerry Springer as the show's host.[18] Further changes were made to the panel and show's host in later seasons, as a direct result of each respective member having a need to focus on other TV commitments - Springer was forced to leave after the third season, and was replaced by Nick Cannon for the fourth season;[19] Hasselhoff left the show after the fourth season, and so was replaced by Howie Mandel for the fifth season as a direct result;[citation needed] Morgan left after the sixth season, leading to his replacement by Howard Stern for the seventh season.

In August 2012, Osbourne left the program following a dispute with NBC.[20][21] While the network replaced her with former Spice Girls member Mel B in February 2013,[22] the production staff decided to expand the number of judges in the panel to four - such a format change had already been occurring in other international versions of the competition, such as on Britain's Got Talent two years prior. In March 2013, supermodel Heidi Klum was announced as joining the panel for the eighth season, confirming reports that the show would include a fourth judge into its format.[23] In October 2015, Stern was replaced by Simon Cowell for the eleventh season.[3] After his eighth year hosting America's Got Talent, Cannon announced plans to retire from the show due to comments he made about the network;[24] despite being under contract to continue his hosting duties, NBC eventually replaced him with Tyra Banks for the twelfth season.

On February 11, 2019, NBC announced a change to the program's host and its judging panel following the conclusion of the thirteenth season – Banks had decided to move on to other projects, leading to her being replaced by Terry Crews, who was already working with the network as host of America's Got Talent: The Champions; both Klum and Mel B decided to leave America's Got Talent due to other commitments that year, leading to actress Gabrielle Union and dancer Julianne Hough replacing them, and joining alongside Mandel and Cowell within the judging panel.[25]

Guest judges

In 2015, guest judges were introduced into the program as part of the revamp of the format's bootcamp stage. The following lists the guest judges who appeared within the program for the "Judges' Cuts", per season and in order of their appearance by week:

Season Guest judges in judges cuts (in order of appearance)
1 2 3 4
10 Neil Patrick Harris Michael Bublé Marlon Wayans Piers Morgan
11 Ne-Yo Reba McEntire George Lopez Louis Tomlinson
12 Chris Hardwick DJ Khaled Laverne Cox Seal
13 Ken Jeong Olivia Munn Martina McBride Chris Hardwick
14 Jay Leno Brad Paisley Dwyane Wade Ellie Kemper

Season synopses

Season Premiere Finale Winner Runner-up Third place
1 June 21, 2006 August 17, 2006 Bianca Ryan All That / The Millers 1 N/A
2 June 5, 2007 August 21, 2007 Terry Fator Cas Haley Butterscotch
3 June 17, 2008 October 1, 2008 Neal E. Boyd Eli Mattson Nuttin' But Stringz
4 June 23, 2009 September 16, 2009 Kevin Skinner Bárbara Padilla Recycled Percussion
5 June 1, 2010 September 15, 2010 Michael Grimm Jackie Evancho Fighting Gravity
6 May 31, 2011 September 14, 2011 Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. Silhouettes Team iLuminate
7 May 14, 2012 September 13, 2012 Olate Dogs Tom Cotter William Close
8 June 4, 2013 September 18, 2013 Kenichi Ebina Taylor Williamson Jimmy Rose
9 May 27, 2014 September 17, 2014 Mat Franco Emily West AcroArmy
10 May 26, 2015 September 16, 2015 Paul Zerdin Drew Lynch Oz Pearlman
11 May 31, 2016 September 14, 2016 Grace VanderWaal The Clairvoyants Jon Dorenbos
12 May 30, 2017 September 20, 2017 Darci Lynne Farmer Angelica Hale Light Balance
13 May 29, 2018 September 19, 2018 Shin Lim Zurcaroh Brian King Joseph
14 May 28, 2019 September 18, 2019 TBA TBA TBA
  • ^1 Although both acts were runner-ups, neither were defined in terms of 2nd and 3rd place during the broadcast of the final's result for this season.

Season 1 (2006)

The first season was announced in May 2006, and aired later that year between June 21 to August 17. Auditions took place in June within Los Angeles, where the live-round episodes were also broadcast from, New York, and Chicago. Initial advertisements for America's Got Talent implied that the winning act would headline a show in Las Vegas, but this was later dropped in favour of a cash prize of $1 million due to concerns surrounding the possibility of awarding such a prize to a minor. Episodes were broadcast from June 21 to August 17, and were hosted by Regis Philbin, with the judging panel consisting of actor David Hasselhoff, singer Brandy Norwood, and journalist Piers Morgan.

More than 12 million viewers watched the program's premiere episode, a far greater viewing figure than had been achieved by the premiere of American Idol in 2002, becoming one of the most-watched program on U.S. television and the highest-rated among viewers aged 18 to 49, at that time.[26] This season was won by singer Bianca Ryan, with clogging group All That and musical group The Millers being the runners-up; neither act were defined in the results in terms of who was placed 2nd, and who was placed in 3rd.

Season 2 (2007)

The second season was aired during 2007, between June 5 to August 21. When it was initially announced, NBC intended for it to be aired in January of that year on Sunday nights, without separate episodes for results. However, due to concerns it would be put in direct competition with American Idol, which had a similar premise and was more popular, America's Got Talent was assigned to the Summer schedule used for the first season, with the slot appointed to another reality-based talent show, Grease: You're The One That I Want, as a direct result.[27] Auditions for this season involved the same cities as had been previously used, but with the inclusion of Dallas as part of its schedule.

The second season saw the use of the Judge's vote being suspended for this season only, meaning acts advanced purely on viewer votes, while results episodes were given a shorter timeslot than the one-hour period used for these episodes in the first season, and aired a week after a performance episode. This season was the first to involve a new stage of auditions, referred to as the "bootcamp stage" - a period of callback episodes filmed in Las Vegas, aimed at streamlining successful participants from the first round of auditions towards a rounded figure of semi-finalists for the live rounds. In March 2007, NBC announced that Philbin would not be returning as host of the program, and thus revealed that Jerry Springer would succeed him in this role.[28] The following month, Norwood was forced to leave her role as a judge on America's Got Talent due to a legal case being made against her, and was thus replaced by Sharon Osbourne, having previously worked as a judge on Cowell's UK show The X Factor.

This season was won by singing impressionist and ventriloquist Terry Fator, with singer/guitarist Cas Haley coming in second, and singer Butterscotch placing third.

Season 3 (2008)

The third season was aired during 2008, between June 17 to October 1; because of the 2008 Summer Olympics, the program was forced to suspend its broadcast between August 7–26 to avoid conflicting with live broadcasts of the sporting event. Auditions took place between January to April across the same cities from the previous season, but also included a stop within Atlanta. Unlike the previous season, the Las Vegas callback episodes doubled the number of semi-finalists involved in the live rounds to around forty acts, instead of twenty, while the Judges' votes, reinstated for this season, were mainly focused on breaking a tie-break between the 5th and 6th popular acts voted for by the public, within the quarterfinals and semi-finals. Apart from amendments to the program's format, the production staff also implemented cosmetic changes - the X's used by the judges and their table were redesigned to match those used in Britain's Got Talent, while the program introduced a new title card in this season.

This season was won by opera singer Neal E. Boyd, with singer and pianist Eli Mattson coming in second, and violinists Nuttin' But Stringz placing third.

Season 4 (2009)

The fourth season was aired during 2009, between June 23 to September 19, and was the first to be broadcast in high definition. Auditions were held between January to April, with a change in cities used - while the program returned to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta, it also held auditions within Washington, D.C., Miami, Tacoma, Boston, and Houston. Alongside live auditions and home audition tapes, participants were given the opportunity to register their auditions through uploading a video direct to the program's website. This season saw results episodes being reinstated back to their original broadcast schedule in the first season, including being allocated one-hour timeslots, while the "Las Vegas Callbacks" were redubbed as "Vegas Verdicts" by the production team in this season. In addition, the winning act not only received a cash prize at the end of the competition, but was also given their own, 10-week headline show at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Springer left the program following the conclusion of the previous season, owing to other TV commitments he had, leading him to be replaced as the program's host by Nick Cannon in February.[29] This season was won by country music singer Kevin Skinner, with opera singer Bárbara Padilla coming in second,[30] and percussionists Recycled Percussion placing third.

Season 5 (2010)

The fifth season was aired during 2010, between June 1 to September 15;[31] NBC initially considered moving the program to its 2009 Fall schedule, to match that of the move made by rival series So You Think You Can Dance,[32] but decided against this action. Audition were held between January to April; televised auditions took place within Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, and Portland (Oregon), while non-televised auditions held by the program's producers were held in Atlanta and Philadelphia. This season was the first in the program's history to accept registration through online auditions via YouTube, and adopt a format on its live episodes that would be standard for future seasons, until production began on the eighth season.

As Hasselhoff had signed himself up as the host of a new television program prior to filming of this season beginning,[33] his role as judge was taken over by comedian and game show host Howie Mandel.[34] Along with the cash prize, the winning act was also given a performance at the Caesars Palace Casino and Resort on the Las Vegas Strip and made the headline act of the America's Got Talent Live Tour that year, alongside the runner-up, 3rd place, and the other top ten finalists.[12][13] This season was won by singer/musician Michael Grimm, with classical singer Jackie Evancho coming in second, and performance group Fighting Gravity placing third.

Season 6 (2011)

The sixth season was aired during 2011, between May 31 to September 14. Auditions took place in Winter - early Spring of that year - televised auditions within Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Houston, Minneapolis, and Seattle; and non-televised auditions in Denver and Chicago. Auditions made via YouTube were conducted on May 4. No changes were made to the program nor did it face any major disruptions. This season was won by singer Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., with dance group Silhouettes coming in second, and dance group Team iLuminate placing third.

Season 7 (2012)

The seventh season was aired during 2012, between May 14 to September 13. Auditions were held between October 2011 to February 2012, within the cities of New York, Washington, D.C., Tampa, Charlotte, Austin, Anaheim, St. Louis, and San Francisco.[35] In December 2011, Cowell announced that the program would undergo a major revamp that would see it receive new graphics, including a new logo, new lighting mechanics, and a new set of title credits and theme music. In addition, live episodes were broadcast from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark - the change in location not only meant that the live-round studio set was revamped, including a revised judges' desk design that bore similarities to that used on Britain's Got Talent, but that the audience attending these rounds was much larger than in previous seasons.[36]

Morgan was forced to quit America's Got Talent after the sixth season, despite stating that he had signed a three-year contract to stay on the program on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on July 27, 2010,[37] because of his TV commitments with hosting CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight.[38] As a result, he was replaced by radio personality Howard Stern - because Stern hosted his SiriusXM radio show in New York, his involvement in America's Got Talent that year directly contributed to the production team using the Performing Arts Center in Newark for broadcasting the live episodes, in order to ensure his work schedule for that year was not disrupted.[39] This season was won by dog tricks act Olate Dogs, with comedian Tom Cotter coming in second, and musician William Close placing third.

Season 8 (2013)

The eighth season was aired during 2013, between June 4 to September 18.[40] A series of polls took place from July 2012, aimed at determining which major cities in the United States would be used for televised auditions in 2013, whereupon filming in the chosen cities - New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Antonio - took place during Spring of that year. The format for audition episodes was changed to be similar to that used for such episodes on Britain's Got Talent, in that each episode would be split into two or three parts, each part consisting of a selection of record auditions from one of the visited cities. Alongside this change, the production team moved broadcasts of live episodes out of Newark, and focused them within Radio City Music Hall in New York.[41]

Sharon Osbourne left America's Got Talent after the seventh season, after announcing her decision to do so on August 6, 2012, following a dispute between herself and NBC in regards to the treatment of her son Jack Osbourne by producers for a new NBC program at the time.[42][43] Her departure led to her being replaced by Mel B (Melanie Brown) of the Spice Girls.[44] Apart from the change of judges, the program also looked towards expanding the panel with a fourth judge, and eventually confirmed that supermodel Heidi Klum would be joining the panel in that role.[45] This season was won by martial arts dancer/mime Kenichi Ebina, becoming the first foreign act to win America's Got Talent, with stand-up comedian Taylor Williamson coming in second, and singer/guitarist Jimmy Rose placed third.

Season 9 (2014)

The ninth season was aired during 2014, between May 27 to September 17.[46] Preliminary auditions (or "Producer's auditions) were held in late 2013 within Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Baltimore, Denver, Indianapolis, New York, and Los Angeles.[47] Televised auditions (or "Judges'" auditions) were filmed during early 2014, between February to April, within Newark, New York, and Los Angeles.[48] This season included a special audition via the website of The Today Show, in which participants could submit a video on the website, and if they were the top three of this selection, they would perform their act on the program on July 23, 2014, with the winner securing a spot in the quarterfinal of this season's America's Got Talent.

A few changes were made to the program's format in this season. Firstly, the "bootcamp" rounds discontinued filming in Las Vegas in favour of New York, and renamed "Judgement Week"; this change also intended for the use of a live studio audience, but this idea was scrapped by the producers.[10] Secondly, the "Golden Buzzer" was introduced - a format that had begun to appear within the Got Talent franchise since it was first introduced on Germany's Got Talent in 2012, and which had recently been introduced into Britain's Got Talent earlier that year - although its use was mainly for saving an act from elimination.[49] The final change involved the inclusion of a special vote entitled the "Snapple Vote", a reference to the program's sponsor during that season - viewers could vote online for one of three acts in either the semi-finals (if they finished in 5th, 6th, or 7th place per the public vote), or in the "Top 12" round (if they finished in 4th, 5th or 6th place per the public vote), with the act getting the most votes moving on to the next stage, whilst the remaining two faced a judges' vote for survival.

This season was won by magician Mat Franco, with singer Emily West coming second, and acrobatic troupe AcroArmy placing third.

Season 10 (2015)

The tenth season was aired during 2015, between May 26 to September 16. Producer auditions took place between late 2014 to early 2015 within Tampa, Nashville, Richmond, New York, Chicago, St. Louis, San Antonio, Albuquerque, San Francisco, Seattle, Boise, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.[50] Filming of Judges' auditions took place during Spring-early Summer 2015, between March and June within Newark, New York, and Los Angeles,[41][51] with a special "extreme" audition session held within Pomona, California, performed on an outdoor stage, for participants with acts considered too dangerous to be conducted within an indoor studio set.

This season saw the Golden Buzzer format, introduced in the previous season, being amended to match that on Britain's Got Talent, in that its use would send a participant directly into the live rounds, although the host was not allowed to use it per the revised format.[52] In addition, the Bootcamp round was revamped with a new format and renamed as "Judges Cut", in which they were held over four weeks rather than one, consisted of around a total of 80 acts shortlisted from the auditions with around 20 per week, and featured the involvement of a guest judge for each of these episodes, who, alongside the judges, could use the Golden Buzzer for an act they wished to see in the live rounds. Neil Patrick Harris, Michael Bublé, Piers Morgan, and Marlon Wayans, became the first guest judges for the new format in this season.[53][54] The "Snapple Vote", introduced in the previous season, was renamed the "Dunkin' Save" to coincide with the program's new sponsor that season, with its format expanded to cover quarter-finalists who finished in 6th, 7th, or 8th place per public vote alongside the semi-finalists who finished in 4th, 5th, or 6th place per public vote.

This season was won by ventriloquist Paul Zerdin, with comedian Drew Lynch coming in second, and magician mentalist Oz Pearlman placing third.

Season 11 (2016)

The eleventh season was aired during 2016, between May 31 to September 16.[55] Open auditions were held between late 2015 to early 2016, within Detroit, New York, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, San Jose, San Diego, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Orlando, and Dallas.[56] Filming of the judges' auditions took place in March 2016, prior to the premiere episode of the season, and were exclusively conducted within the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles.[57] The season premiered on May 31, 2016.[55] During the previous season on June 24, 2015, Howard Stern announced his departure from America's Got Talent on his TV program,[58] leading to Simon Cowell announcing in October 22 later that year that he would be replacing him for eleventh season;[3] on October 4, 2016, Cowell signed a contract that would keep him as a judge on America's Got Talent until 2019.[59] Stern's departure led to the production team moving the live-round broadcasts back to Los Angeles,[60] and filmed at the Dolby Theatre.[61] Apart from this change, the Golden Buzzer format was amended so that the host Cannon could now use it during auditions.[62]

The guest judges who featured in the Judges' Cut for the eleventh season consisted of George Lopez, Reba McEntire, Ne-Yo, and Louis Tomlinson.[63] This season was won by singer-songwriter and musician Grace VanderWaal, with magician mentalist duo The Clairvoyants coming in second, and magician Jon Dorenbos placing third.

Season 12 (2017)

The twelfth season was aired during 2017, between May 30 to September 20.[64] Open auditions were held in late 2016 to early 2017, within Chicago, Austin, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, San Diego, New York, Charleston, Memphis, and Los Angeles,[65] with filming of the Judges' audition conducted in March 2017 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles. On February 13, 2017, Nick Cannon resigned from hosting America's Got Talent, following a dispute between himself and NBC concerning remarks he had made during his Showtime comedy special Stand Up, Don't Shoot.[66] As a result, despite Cannon being under contract, the network were forced to find a replacement, and chose supermodel Tyra Banks as his successor.[67]

This season is notable for the death of American physician Brandon Rogers, who died in an automobile accident on June 11, 2017, shortly after securing his place on America's Got Talent during the audition's stage. Rogers became involved in the program, following his involvement with American R&B vocal group Boyz II Men earlier that year, after the group had seen footage of him singing on YouTube. In the wake of his death, production staff chose to postpone his audition, before eventually deciding to air it on during the final audition episode of the season on July 11, as a tribute to his memory.[68]

The guest judges who featured in the Judges' Cut for the twelfth season consisted of Chris Hardwick, DJ Khaled, Laverne Cox and Seal.[69][70][71] This season was won by singer ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer, with singer Angelica Hale coming in second, and Ukrainian dance act Light Balance placing third.

Season 13 (2018)

The thirteenth season was aired during 2018, between May 29 to September 19.[72][5] Open auditions were held in late 2017 to early 2018, within Orlando, Cincinnati, Savannah, Milwaukee, Houston, Las Vegas, New York, Nashville, and Los Angeles,[73] with the Judges' auditions filmed in March 2018 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles.[74] A minor change was made to the format of the Judges Cuts in terms of the number of participants in this stage from the auditions being reduced to 72, with around 18 performing each week. The guest judges who featured in the Judges' Cut for the thirteenth season consisted of Ken Jeong, Olivia Munn, Martina McBride, and Chris Hardwick. This season was won by magician Shin Lim, with acrobatic group Zurcaroh coming in second, and violinist Brian King Joseph placing third.

Season 14 (2019)

The fourteenth season began broadcasting on May 28, 2019. Following the previous season, Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum and Mel B, all opted to leave the program — Banks announced her resignation in December 2018,[75] while Klum and Mel B announced their respective departures two months later.[76] In response to this, production staff sought out their replacements in February 2019 — Terry Crews was appointed as Banks' successor, following his role on the program's spin-off The Champions, while both Julianne Hough and Gabrielle Union were appointed as new judges for the upcoming season.[76] Both auditions and filming began on March 3, 2019.[77][78] The guest judges who will feature in Judge Cuts for the fourteenth season will consist of Jay Leno, Brad Paisley, Ellie Kemper, and Dwyane Wade.[79]


America's Got Talent Live

In 2009, production staff opted for creating a post-show made up of the best finalists from that year's competition, and conducted over a ten-week run between October to January at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Entitled America's Got Talent Live, it featured performances by season four winner Kevin Skinner, and by ten of the finalists from that season, and was hosted by Jerry Springer in between taping for his self-named show in Stamford, Connecticut.[80] The show proved a success and was renewed for 2010 with Springer remaining as host and featuring the finalists of the fifth season, but was remade into a 25-city tour that began at the Caesars Palace Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, and concluding at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center in Orlando.[81]

The live show was put into hiatus following its 2010 run, and resumed in 2012 with a new host and performances from the finalists of the seventh season, including Olate Dogs, Spencer Horsman, Joe Castillo, Lightwire Theater, David Garibaldi and his CMYK's, Jarrett and Raja, and Tom Cotter. In 2013, another tour was scheduled consisting of the best acts from the eighth season, including Kenichi Ebina, and finalists Collins Key, Jimmy Rose, Taylor Williamson, Cami Bradley, The KriStef Brothers, and Tone the Chiefrocca.[82] In 2014, a new tour was scheduled, consisting of performances from top finalists of the ninth season - Mat Franco, Emily West, Quintavious Johnson, AcroArmy, Emil and Dariel, Miguel Dakota, and Sons of Serendip - as well as from season eight's runner-up Taylor Williamson.[14]

In 2015, America's Got Talent Live discontinued operating as a live tour, instead functioning as a series of shows at the Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas, with performances from the top acts from the tenth season, including winner Paul Zerdin, runner-up Drew Lynch, and fan favorite Piff the Magic Dragon. In 2016, four more shows were scheduled at the same venue, and featured performances from the top acts of the eleventh season's final, including Grace VanderWaal, The Clairvoyants, and Tape Face.[83] In 2017, another four shows were scheduled at the same venue, and featured performances by the top acts of the twelfth season's final, including Darci Lynne, Angelica Hale, Light Balance, and Preacher Lawson.[84] In 2018, three new shows were scheduled at a new venue in Las Vegas, and featured the top acts from the thirteenth season, including Shin Lim, Samuel J. Comroe, Courtney Hadwin, Vicki Barbolak, and Duo Transcend.

Holiday Specials

In 2016, NBC commissioned a festive two-hour special of the program, entitled America's Got Talent Holiday Spectacular. Broadcast at the Dolby Theatre on December 19, 2016, the special was hosted by Nick Cannon and featured a mixture of performances by acts that had participated across the program's history and several special guests - amongst those involved were Grace VanderWaal, Jackie Evancho, Andra Day, Penn & Teller, Pentatonix, Terry Fator, Mat Franco, Piff the Magic Dragon, Olate Dogs, Professor Splash, and Jon Dorenbos - as well as the judges who had participated in the eleventh season.[85] The special proved a ratings hit, achieving around 9.5 million viewers during its broadcast.[86]

In 2018, NBC commissioned a second special centered around Darci Lynne Farmer, the winner of the twelfth season. Entitled Darci Lynne: My Hometown Christmas, it was hosted by Farmer, involved Lonnie Chavis from This Is Us as the special's announcer, and broadcast at the Alex Theatre on December 11, 2018. The special featured a special sketch involving Farmer and that season's judges - Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Mel B - a series of duets involving Farmer with Lindsey Stirling, Toby Keith, and Kristin Chenoweth respectively, and guest performances by Pentatonix and Hunter Hayes.

America's Got Talent: The Champions

In January 2019, NBC premiered an all-star spin-off competition, America's Got Talent: The Champions, which featured notable acts and winners from AGT and the overall international franchise, competing against each other for a chance to be dubbed a "world champion". The competition was won by season 13 winner Shin Lim.[87]

Top-selling albums by former contestants

In the wake of their performances on America's Got Talent, within their respective season, several notable singers who made it to the final went on to release singles and/or albums in later years. The following lists these particular participants, including their overall result in their respective season, the albums/singles they released, and both the sales figures for these works and their ranking within the United States:

Rank Former contestant Total US sales Albums
1 Jackie Evancho
(season 5, runner-up)
2 Lindsey Stirling
(season 5 quarterfinalist)
3 The Texas Tenors
(season 4, 4th place)
  • The Texas Tenors (album)|Country Roots, Classical Sound: Remastered Special Edition (2011) No. 1 Classical Catalog Albums chart[101]
  • O Night Divine (2013) No. 13 Classical Albums chart[102]
  • You Should Dream (2013) No. 111; No. 5 Classical Albums Chart[103]
  • First 5 Years Live (2014) No. 1 Classical Catalog Albums Chart[101]
  • Rise (2017) No. 22; No. 1 Classical Albums Chart[104]
  • A Collection of Broadway & American Classics (2018) No. 1 Classical Albums Chart
4 Grace VanderWaal
(season 11 winner)
5 Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.
(season 6 winner)
  • That's Life (2011) No. 34[107]
  • Christmas Made for Two (2013) did not chart
6 Bianca Ryan
(season 1 winner)
  • Bianca Ryan (2006) No. 57
  • Christmas Everyday (2007) did not chart
  • The True Meaning of Christmas (2009) did not chart
7 Cas Haley
(season 2 runner-up)
  • Cas Haley (2008) No. 8
  • Connection (2010) did not chart
  • La Si Dah (2013) did not chart
8 Michael Grimm
(season 5 winner)
  • Michael Grimm Live (2007) did not chart
  • I Am Michael Grimm (2009) did not chart
  • Leave Your Hat On (2010) No. 101
  • Michael Grimm (2011) No. 13
9 Neal E. Boyd
(season 3 winner)


U.S. television ratings

Since the show began, its ratings have been very high, ranging from 9 million viewers to as many as 16 million viewers, generally averaging around 12 million viewers. The show has also ranked high in the 18–49 demographic, usually rating anywhere from as low as 1.6 to as high as 4.6 throughout its run. Audition shows and performance shows rate higher on average than results shows.

Although the show's ratings have been high, the network usually keeps the show's run limited to before the official start of the next television season in the third week of September with some reductions or expansions depending on Olympic years, where finale ratings are usually lower due to returning programming on other networks.

The highest rated season in overall viewers to date is season four (2009). The most-watched episode has been the finale of season five (2010), with 16.41 million viewers. The series premiere and an episode featuring the first part of Las Vegas Week in season six (2011) have each tied for highest rating among adults 18–49, both having a 4.6 rating.

Season Premiered Ended TV season Timeslot (ET) Season
Date Viewers
(in millions)
Date Viewers
(in millions)
1 June 21, 2006 12.41 Final Performances: August 16, 2006 2005–06 Wednesday 8:00 pm 1
Season Finale: August 17, 2006 12.05 Thursday 9:00 pm 1
2 June 5, 2007 12.93 Final Performances: August 20, 2007 2006–07 Tuesday 8:00 pm 1
Season Finale: August 21, 2007 13.87
3 June 17, 2008 12.80 Final Performances: September 30, 2008 10.23 2007–08 Tuesday 9:00 pm (June 17 – August 5)
Tuesday 8:00 pm (after August 26)
Season Finale: October 1, 2008 12.55 Wednesday 9:00 pm
(after August 27)
4[113][114][115] June 23, 2009 11.30 Final Performances: September 15, 2009 13.84 2008–09 Tuesday 9:00 pm 1
Season Finale: September 16, 2009 15.53 Wednesday 9:00 pm 1
5[116][117] June 1, 2010 12.35 Final Performances: September 14, 2010 14.60 2009–10 Tuesday 9:00 pm 1
Season Finale: September 15, 2010 16.41 Wednesday 9:00 pm 1
6[118][119][120] May 31, 2011 15.28 Final Performances: September 13, 2011 13.67 2010–11 Tuesday 8:00 pm (May 31 – July 5)
Tuesday 9:00 pm (after July 5)
12.65 1
Season Finale: September 14, 2011 14.37 Wednesday 9:00 pm
(after June 22)
11.49[121] 1
7[122][123][124] May 14, 2012 10.48 Final Performances: September 12, 2012 11.05 2011-12 Monday 8:00 pm (May 14 – July 3)
Tuesday 8:00 pm (after July 3)
10.48[125] 1
Season Finale: September 13, 2012 10.59 Tuesday 9:00 pm (May 14 – July 3)
Wednesday 9:00 pm (after July 3)
10.58[121] 1
8[126][127][128] June 4, 2013 12.41 Final Performances: September 17, 2013 11.19 2012–13 Tuesday 8:00 pm 11.22[129] 1
Season Finale: September 18, 2013 11.49 Wednesday 8:00 pm
(after July 10)
10.34[130] 1
9[131][132][133] May 27, 2014 12.00 Final Performances: September 16, 2014 11.46 2013–14 Tuesday 8:00 pm (May 27 – July 15)
Tuesday 9:00 pm (after July 22)
10.31[134] 1
Season Finale: September 17, 2014 12.21 Wednesday 9:00 pm
(after July 23)
10.37[135] 1
10[136][137][138] May 26, 2015 11.09 Final Performances: September 15, 2015 11.33 2014–15 Tuesday 8:00 pm 10.70[139] 1
Season Finale: September 16, 2015 9.54 Wednesday 8:00 pm
(after August 12)
9.07[140] 1
11[141][142][143] May 31, 2016 11.67 Final Performances: September 13, 2016 13.97 2015–16 Tuesday 8:00 pm 11.71[144] 1
Season Finale: September 14, 2016 14.41 Wednesday 8:00 pm
(after July 5)
10.97[145] 1
12[146][147][148] May 30, 2017 12.37 Final Performances: September 19, 2017 14.70 2016–17 Tuesday 8:00 pm 12.90[149] 1
Season Finale: September 20, 2017 15.64 Wednesday 8:00 pm
(after August 9)
12.00[150] 1
13[151][152][153] May 29, 2018 12.16 Final Performances: September 18, 2018 12.99 2017–18 Tuesday 8:00 pm 11.43[154] 1
Season Finale: September 19, 2018 12.88 Wednesday 8:00 pm
(after August 15)
10.39[154] 1
14[155] May 28, 2019 9.75 Final Performances: September 17, 2019 TBA 2018–19 Tuesday 8:00 pm 11.42 1
Season Finale: September 18, 2019 TBA Wednesday 8:00 pm 10.38 1

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Result Ref.
2011 People's Choice Awards Favorite Competition Show Nominated [156]
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Reality Show [157]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Hairstyling For A Multi-Camera Series Or Special [158]
2012 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Reality Show [159]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer TV Show [160]
Choice Male TV Personality: Nick Cannon [161]
2013 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Reality Show [162]
2014 People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Competition Show [163]
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Reality Show [164]
2015 People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Competition Show [165]
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Talent Competition Show [166]
2016 People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Competition Show Won [167]
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Talent Competition Show Nominated [168]
2017 Critics' Choice Awards Best Reality Series - Competition
People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Competition Show [167]
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Reality Show Won
2018 Critics' Choice Awards Best Reality Series - Competition Nominated
2019 Kids' Choice Awards Best Reality Show Won
Favorite TV Judges: Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Mel B, Howie Mandel
Favorite TV Host: Tyra Banks Nominated

Contestants who have competed on other reality shows

Many acts which have competed on America's Got Talent but were ultimately eliminated before the final round have either previously competed on or went on to compete in a number of other reality shows, most notably American Idol and America's Best Dance Crew.

American Idol

The following America's Got Talent (AGT) contestants also appeared on American Idol (AI):

Year Contestant AI
Year Outcome
1 2006 Jessica Sanchez 11 2012 Runner-up
3 2008 Holli Harden 9 2010 Appeared
4 2009 Thia Megia 10 2011 Finished in the Top 11
4, 9 2009, 2014 Kelli Glover 1 2002 Appeared
6 2011 Shevonne Phillidor 15 2016 Appeared
9 2014 Nick Fradiani, member of Beach Avenue 14 2015 Winner
10 2015 Jenna Renae 15 2016 Top 24
11 2016 Sal Valentinetti 14 2015 Appeared
America's Best Dance Crew

The following America's Got Talent (AGT) contestants also appeared on America's Best Dance Crew (ABDC):

Year Contestant ABDC
Year Outcome
2 2007 Jabbawockeez 1 2008 Champions
3 2008 Extreme Dance FX 5 2010 Competed as Blended Projekt
3, 4 2008, 2009 SQ Entertainment 1 2008 Runner-up
4 2009 BreakSk8 1 2008 Finished in fourth place
4 2009 FootworKINGz 6 2011 Competed
5 2010 Rated Next Generation (RNG) 7 2012 Finished in Top Four
5 2010 Strikers All-Stars 3 2009 Finished in Top Four
7 2012 787 Crew 6 2011 Competed
9 2014 Flight Crew Jump Rope 5 2010 Finished in fifth place, and competed as Saltare
Other shows

The following America's Got Talent (AGT) contestants also appeared on these other shows:

Year Contestant Show Season Year Network Outcome
1 2006 Tonya Kay, member of Trey Knight's Stilt World Who Wants to Be a Superhero? 1 2006 SyFy 5th Place
2 2007 Tammie Brown RuPaul's Drag Race 1 2009 Logo 8th Place
2 2007 Tika "Sweetie" Rainn Flavor of Love 1 2006 VH1 8th Place
3 2008 Derrick Barry RuPaul's Drag Race 8 2016 Logo 5th Place
5 2010 Justin Hopkins The Voice 2 2012 NBC Advanced to Battle Rounds
5 2010 Murray SawChuck Celebracadabra 1 2008 VH1 Appeared
5 2010 Alice Tan Ridley 30 Seconds to Fame Pilot 2002 Fox Winner
6 2011 Dani Shay The Glee Project 2 2012 Oxygen Appeared
7 2012 Trisha Paytas Who Wants to Be a Superhero? 2 2007 SyFy 7th Place
7 2012 Horse American Ninja Warrior 4 2012 G4 and NBC Competed
7 2012 Bria Kelly The Voice 6 2014 NBC Advanced to Top 10 on Team Usher
7 2012 Academy of Villains Fake Off 2 2015 TruTV Winners
7 2012 Lightwire Theatre Fake Off 1 2014 TruTV Winners
7, 8 2012, 2013 D'Angelo and Amanda Live to Dance 1 2011 CBS Winners
7 2015 Ben Blaque Britain's Got Talent 10 2010 ITV Advanced to the semi-finals
8 2015 Alexandr Magala Britain's Got Talent 10 2010 ITV 9th place
8 2013 Kennedy Davenport RuPaul's Drag Race 7 2015 Logo 4th Place
8 2013 Tummy Talk The Gong Show 1 2017 ABC Appeared
8 2013 Angela Hoover First Impressions 1 2016 USA Network Appeared
8 2013 KriStef Brothers Fake Off 1 2014 TruTV 7th Place
8 2013 Taylor Williamson Last Comic Standing 7 2010 NBC Semifinalist
9 2014 Adrian Romoff Child Genius 2 2016 Lifetime Winner
10 2015 Leroy Patterson Solitary 2 2007 Fox Reality 7th Place
10 2015 Myq Kaplan Last Comic Standing 7 2010 NBC Finalist
10 2015 Freelusion Dance Company Fake Off 1 2014 TruTV Fourth place, appeared as Freelusion USA
10 2015 Piff the Magic Dragon Penn & Teller: Fool Us 1 2011
ITV (U.K.)
The CW (U.S.)
10 2015 Stevie Starr Britain's Got Talent 4 2010 ITV Advanced to the semi-finals[169]
11 2016 Cory Kahaney Last Comic Standing 1 2003 NBC Finalist
11 2016 Laura Bretan Romania's Got Talent 6 2016 Pro TV Winner[170]
13 2018 The Sacred Riana Asia's Got Talent 2 2017 AXN Asia Winner[171]
13 2018 Yumbo Dump Asia's Got Talent 2 2017 AXN Asia Semifinalist[172]

International broadcasts

In Indonesia, the eleventh season has currently been broadcast by NET. since October 22, 2016 every Saturday and Sunday at 10 pm WIB.[173] But, since Monday, October 31, in addition to the weekend slot, the show has also been broadcast every Monday to Friday at 5 pm WIB as the replacement of the currently concluded TV drama, the second season of Kesempurnaan Cinta [id], which was concluded on Friday, October 28, 2016.[174]

In the United Kingdom, TruTV, along with simulcasts on the Local Television Limited network, show America's Got Talent, with TruTV showing it from the tenth season.

In Singapore, the show was broadcast on Mediacorp Channel 5 for the 5th, 7th, 8th, 12th, 13th and the 14th seasons of America's Got Talent.

The thirteenth season of the show will air on AXN Asia, together with the twelfth series of Britain's Got Talent.

In the Philippines, the show was being broadcast on ABS-CBN from 2008 to 2010. When the network premiered Pilipinas Got Talent in 2010, the show was now being aired on Studio 23 until January 2014, the time Studio 23 rebranded to ABS-CBN Sports+Action (now branding as ABS-CBN S+A). In 2011, the show aired on The Game Channel until its closure in 2015. Currently, it is being aired on AXN Philippines and on RTL CBS Entertainment (now Blue Ant Entertainment).

See also


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External links

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