“America’s Got Talent” is easily one of the most popular talent competition shows on television. Unlike other shows, ‘AGT’ welcomed a wide variety of talents to its stage. It was one of many shows in America that took people’s skills to a new level.
Each season, hundreds of people audition for a chance to win the show’s grand prize. Not only does the top contestant win cash, but he/she/they also get the opportunity to headline a show on the Las Vegas strip. On the other hand, those who don’t win, get enough exposure to help their career.
For these reasons, the show is seen as an opportunity for the average American to make their entertainment dreams come true.
The process for auditioning for “AGT” is pretty straightforward. Aspiring contestants either attend an open call audition or submit a recorded performance online. For the former, registration is needed in the city of choice. Contestants are also required to complete the necessary paperwork.
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The website also notes that “Everyone coming to the audition, whether auditioning or not, will need to fill out the proper paperwork and bring a valid photo ID with them to the venue. If a contestant or supporter is under 18 and not coming with their parents or legal guardian, they will not be admitted without completing and bringing additional minor paperwork.”
Auditions begin from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and contestants arrive any time during that window. However, the later a contestant shows up, the longer the lines would probably be. Once there, the number of contestants are called one after the other. Each audition lasts for up to 90 seconds.
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For a video audition submission, it can be done on the audition website. The recording is done for about two minutes and editing is kept at a minimum. It was also possible to submit a video audition and audition in person.
Some Expenses Are Covered
According to “AGT’s” official website, all auditions take place in Los Angeles, California. Travel costs are reimbursed depending on the distance traveled.
“Contestants who live 150 to 300 miles away from the theatre” receive $0.20 a mile for driving expenses or would be reimbursed for a train or bus ticket. Contestants that live more than 300 miles from LA receive a plane ticket.
The show reimburses out-of-town contestants for two nights in a hotel during the audition process. A $25 per night per diem for meals and related expenses are also provided. Travel reimbursement only applies to the performer and does not include the cost for family members unless the contestant is under 18 years of age.
Contestants can bring their snacks, however, a boxed lunch is provided by the show. The food is only for contestants and their guardians. Anyone who plans on bringing additional people would have to bring food for them as well.
People who are not considered local would also be given $25 for each night of their hotel stay to cover the cost of additional meals.
The Winner Takes Home A Whopping Sum
The grand prize for the finale winner of “AGT” is a staggering $1 million. However, Cinema Blend pointed out that the winner does not get the whole money at once.
At the end of each episode, there is a disclaimer that reads, “The prize, which totals $1,000,000 is payable in a financial annuity over forty years, or the contestant may choose to receive the present cash value of such annuity.” It goes on to say, “Contestants are informed of the rules prior to the show and must meet eligibility requirements to receive announced prizes.”
A report from Forbes reveals that “the grand prize winners of “AGT” can expect an annual payout of only $25,000 –- before taxes.”
An immediate payout of the annuity results in a cash value of approximately $300,000, which is significantly less than the promised $1 million grand prize. While the hit reality show provides incredible exposure, it did not in any way make contestants instant millionaires.
Judges Didn’t Always Have Golden Buzzers
The “AGT” Golden Buzzer has become an important part of the show, but it didn’t even exist for the first eight seasons.
According to Zap2it, when it was introduced in season nine, it was used to save an act by overriding a fellow judge’s “no” or breaking a tie. Judges and hosts were only allowed to press it once during the season.
In each year except for its year of inception, the golden buzzer was used in both the auditions and judge cuts to send acts to the quarterfinals.
Contenders who received the buzzer in the auditions bypassed the judge cuts and were sent straight to the live shows.
An American Show Hosted By Non-Americans
It seems strange for a show called America’s Got Talent to be judged by people from outside the United States.
Sofia Vergara, the show’s first Latina judge, was born in Colombia. Heidi Klum, who judged previous seasons and returned for Champions this year, was born in Germany. Howie Mandel hails from Canada. And of course, Simon Cowell is originally from England.
However, these three judges; Vergara, Klum, and Mandel — have U.S. citizenship.
In fact, Vergara shared in 2014 that she got a perfect score on her citizenship test. “You know what? It’s a very emotional moment for me,” Sofia shared. “It took me a lot of time to get my residence even though I was working here for a long time.”