Directory:America's Got Talent

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Template:Infobox television America's Got Talent is a British-owned American reality television series on the NBC television network. It is a talent show that features singers, dancers, magicians, comedians and other performers of all ages competing for the advertised top prize of US$1 million. The show debuted in June 2006 for the summer television season. Starting in the third season, the Talent top prize included US$1 million, payable in a financial annuity over forty years (or the present cash value of such annuity), and a show as the headliner on the Las Vegas Strip.

The show concept can be traced back to the American talent contest Major Bowes Amateur Hour, broadcast in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s.Template:Citation needed Among its significant features were that it gave an opportunity to talented amateurs or unknown performers, with the results decided by an audience vote. The format is a popular one and has often been reworked for television in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The current incarnation was created by Simon Cowell, and was originally due to be a 2005 British series called Paul O'Grady's Got Talent[1] but was postponed due to O'Grady's acrimonious split with broadcaster ITV. As such, the American version became the first full series of the Got Talent franchise.

Despite being heavily involved in the show's production, Simon Cowell does not appear as a judge. This is due to the conditions of his American Idol contract. However he does appear as a judge on Britain's Got Talent. America's Got Talent began airing season one in the United Kingdom on ITV1 on 22 June 2007, TV3 Ireland on July 2007 and in New Zealand on Prime Television on 9 July 2007. The third season of Talent premiered on ITV2 beginning 4 June 2009.[2]

Judges and presenters


Years Presenter
2009-present Nick Cannon
Years Judges
2006-present Piers Morgan
2007-present Sharon Osbourne
2010-present Howie Mandel


Years Presenters
2006 Regis Philbin
2007-2008 Jerry Springer
Years Judges
2006 Brandy Norwood
2006-2009 David Hasselhoff

Selection Process

Pre-Audition Process

Beginning with Season 3, before the auditions in front of the judges are held, there are separate untelevised producers' auditions which come to various cities across the United States, some which will host the auditions held in theaters, and some which usually only host the producers' auditions. In Seasons 3-4, this round was held several days before the judges' audition in cities that would also host the televised second round. In Season 5, this round will be held several months before the second audition round. Acts that have made it through the producers' audition will then audition in front of the judges and a live audience.

Season 1 Process

For the audition round, each of the three judges has a button in front of them that they can press when they do not want the act to continue; the button rings an electronic bell and a large red X with the judge's name lights up over the stage. A louder buzzer indicates the third judge's button was pressed, and the contestant's performance is terminated. Then, the judges deliberate over the act and decide if it gets through to the live semi-finals. In the semi-finals, the judges have X's and checks. Acts are divided into four groups of either 14 or 15, and only 10 of those acts in the group perform. They do not have the power to terminate an act in the middle of his/her performance. At the end of the performance, the judges give the act a check for approval, and an X if they did not like the act. At the end of the episode, the judges would pick an act and automatically move them through to the live finale. Then, the viewers at home would vote another act through to the finale, and that act would be announced in a live results show the next day. There was also a fifth wild card episode, where the judges picked ten acts who were previously eliminated and give them one more chance to perform. In the finale, there is no judges' choice, and the voting is entirely handed over to the viewers.

Season 2 Process

The audition process for the second season is very similar to that of the first, except that only a buzzer sounds when the X is pressed. When all the judges X's have been pressed, a lonely blue spotlight centers on the act, indicating they've been struck out. Unlike the previous season, the acts who pass the auditions then attend a Las Vegas bootcamp, where they have a chance to perfect their craft. At this point, acts are divided into two groups, music, and variety. The music acts consist of singers and instrument players. The variety group consists of other acts. The music acts performs first, followed by the variety acts. Each act will perform for three minutes, and their performance will not be terminated, as the judges have no buttons to press. After each group has finished, the judges will split the groups into lines, either a yes line, or a no line. The ones who the judges said yes to will go to the short list of 35 acts. The acts which the judges have said no to will go home. After that, the judges will cut the short list of 35 to 20 final acts.

In the semi-final episodes, the 20 acts will be first split into two groups of 10. America will vote and eliminate five out of the first group, then five out of the second. The remaining 10 will perform head to head in the next round, where the field will be narrowed each week until there are four, which the viewing audience at home votes on. In the second season, the judges may terminate a performance any time they want with an X. The checks are eliminated from the game and the judges may only have comments. There is no judges' choice in this season, as the voting is entirely handed over to the viewers.

Season 3 Process

Season 3 is similar to Season 2 in the audition process, except that the auditions are held in large theaters across the nation, there are three more audition episodes, and two more audition sites. The Las Vegas boot camp continues, but they are divided into more groups, such as ventriloquists, male singers, female singers, opera, instrumental music, bands, and other variety acts. There are forty acts that pass through, instead of twenty. The semi-final process consists of shows on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Ten of the top forty acts perform each of the two nights for two weeks. five are eliminated each week by public vote. However, the contestants that come in fifth and sixth place must face the judges' decision. The panel will eliminate the act they wish not to put through. Afterward, the Top 20 is formed from the Top 40.

Following the Top 20, the American viewing audience will eliminate ten acts from this group, creating a Top 10. The Top 10 then perform and a Top 5 is formed after the American viewing audience votes. Afterward, The Top Five perform and a finale episode concludes the season the next week. In Season 3, when all three judges pressed their X's to terminate a performance in the semi-finals, the act is allowed to continue, but must end early.

Season 4 Process

Season 4 carries over Season 3's audition process. Out of the over 160 acts that passed through the preliminary auditions, 48 went on to perform in the live shows. This season, the callbacks were renamed " The Vegas Verdicts". Unlike previous seasons, the acts were not given a chance to perform a second time, unless prompted by the judges to as a challenge. The judges re-watched audition tapes and created a Top 40 based on the acts' preliminary performances, similar to the format used on sister show Britain's Got Talent. However, it was revealed during the first performance show that the judges, when prompted by executive producer Simon Cowell, called back eight acts that they previously had cut. This brought the total number of acts up to 48. Last season, the acts who passed through were divided into four groups, who performed over the course of two weeks with the acts who passed through from the previous night being announced before the next group of acts' performances. This year, each group in the Top 48 will be divided into four groups of 12, but only one group performs per week, as a separate results show for the group will air the next day. This season will be the first to feature results episodes lasting one hour on a weekly basis since Season 1.

During the performances episodes, if all three judges buzz an act, the act is forced to end, unlike last season, where it could continue on for a short time. In the results episodes, five best acts from each group of twelve proceed to the semi-finals - four acts are determined solely by viewers' votes, the judges decide between acts with the fifth and sixth highest viewers' vote totals. The twelve acts are presented to the audience in groups of two or three (usually similar acts - e.g. dancers, children - are put together) and then the host announces which of them move forward and which of them have been eliminated. The final group are acts in the fifth and sixth places and the judges pick one of them by majority voting. At no time is the audience made aware of how many viewers' votes each act received.

In the semi-finals, the twenty acts who passed through the quarter-finals are divided into groups of 10. One of these groups perform each week, with a performance episode followed by the results the following day. Only four acts were supposed to pass through to the finals each week. Three are determined solely by viewers' votes, but the fourth and fifth place acts must face the judges' decision. However, in one case, the judges passed through both performers, as they could not make a decision. In the other case, the top five acts were passed through. Instead of previous seasons, where the finals contain four or five acts, this season the finale will contain ten acts.

Season 1 (2006)

Template:Main In June 2006, NBC announced the new show. The audition tour took place in June. Auditions were held in the following locations: Los Angeles, California, New York City, New York, Chicago, Illinois, and Atlanta, Georgia. Some early ads for the show implied that the winning act would also headline a show at a casino, possibly in Las Vegas; however, this was replaced with $1,000,000 due to concerns of minors playing in Las Vegas, should one become a champion. More than 12 million viewers watched the season premiere (which is more than American Idol got during its premiere back in 2002). The two-hour broadcast was the night's most-watched program on U.S. television and the highest-rated among viewers aged 18 to 49 (the prime-time audience that matters most to advertisers), Nielsen Media Research reported.[3]. On the season finale, there was an unaired segment that was scheduled to appear after Aly and AJ. The segment featured Tom Green dressing in a parrot costume, and squawking with a live parrot, to communicate telepathically. Green then proceeded to fly up above the audience, shooting confetti streamers out of his costume onto the crowd below.

In season one, the show was hosted by Regis Philbin and judged by actor David Hasselhoff, singer Brandy, and journalist Piers Morgan.


Other finalists

Top Three

The runners-up each won a Dodge Caliber

  • The Millers (Judges' choice): A musical group consisting of two brothers. Cole, age 20, plays guitar, and L.D., age 12, plays harmonica
  • All That (Judges' choice): A clogging ensemble

Top Five

  • Taylor Ware (Viewers' choice): An 11-year-old yodeller
  • Celtic Spring (Viewers' choice): A family Irish step dancing/fiddling act


Season 1 Elimination Chart

In the final round, the judges were still allowed to judge, but only the audience can decide the winners. Italics indicate that the act received three checks from the judges.

Season 1 finals
Contestant Chosen by Celebrity coach Result
(August 17, 2006)
1. At Last Viewers (Semi-finals part 2) Chaka Khan Bottom 5
2. David & Dania - Quick Change Viewers (Wild Card) Steve Valentine Bottom 5
3. Rappin' Granny Judges (Semi-finals part 3) Master P Bottom 5
4. Bianca Ryan Viewers (Semi-finals part 3) Yolanda Adams Winner
5. All That Judges (Wild Card) Dave Scott (R&B choreographer) Top 3 (runner-up)
6. Taylor Ware Viewers (Semi-finals part 1) Tom McBryde (country music arranger) Top 5
7. Jon & Owen - The Passing Zone Judges (Semi-finals part 4) Penn & Teller Bottom 5
8. Celtic Spring Viewers (Semi-finals part 4) Tara Barry (Riverdance lead dancer) Top 5
9. Realis Judges (Semi-finals part 2) Gene Lubas (Cirque du Soleil choreographer) Bottom 5
10. The Millers Judges (Semi-finals part 1) John Popper Top 3 (runner-up)

Season 2 (2007)


File:America's Got Talent.jpg
Logo of America's Got Talent used during Seasons 2 and 3

After initially announcing in May 2006 that the second season of America's Got Talent would debut in January 2007 at 8 PM on Sunday nights, with no separate results show, the network has changed its mind and pushed the show back to the summer, where the first season had great success. This move will keep the show out of direct competition with American Idol, which has a similar premise and is more popular. In AGT's place, another reality-based talent show, Grease: You're The One That I Want, began airing on Sunday nights in the same timeslot on NBC beginning in January.[4] In March 2007, NBC announced that Philbin would not return as host of the show, and that Jerry Springer would succeed him as host,[5] with Sharon Osbourne (formerly a judge on Cowell's UK show The X Factor) succeeding Brandy as a judge. This means the show, ironically, has two British judges and one American one.

The second season has no results show, replaced by results on the performance show night instead; in addition, each Tuesday broadcast was repeated (along with The Singing Bee episode that followed the 90-minute editions of AGT) by NBC the following Saturday.

The finale of the season was shown Tuesday, August 21, 2007, and the results are shown below:


Other finalists

Final Four

Final Eight

  • Jason Pritchett - singer/guitar player from Independence, Missouri, Top 8 contestant
  • The Glamazons - group of plus-sized female burlesque singers, Top 8 contestant
  • Robert Hatcher - singer from Cincinnati, Ohio, Top 8 contestant
  • Sideswipe - Martial Arts group; made an appearance in Season 1, Top 8 contestant

Top Ten

  • The Calypso Tumblers - tumbling act, Top 10 contestant
  • The Duttons - family band, Top 10 contestant

Season 3 (2008)


NBC announced in August 2007 that the network had renewed the show for a third season. Auditions took place in Charlotte, Nashville, Orlando, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago from January to April. A televised MySpace audition also took place. Sharon Osbourne, Piers Morgan and David Hasselhoff returned as judges. Jerry Springer also returned as host. The show premiered on June 17, 2008.

Unlike Season 2, Talent became a substantially larger reality competition in Season 3, with seven weeks of auditions, compared to the four weeks of auditions in the previous seasons. Also, the auditions are held in well-known theaters across the nation, unlike the previous year. A substantial change is the new title card, which features the American flag as background. The X's match the ones on Britain's Got Talent as does the judges table. Like the previous season, the Las Vegas callbacks continued, but there were forty acts selected to compete in the live rounds, instead of twenty. Another difference from the previous season included separate results show episodes.

The show took a hiatus for two and a half weeks for the 2008 Summer Olympics, but returned with the live rounds on August 26, 2008.


Other Finalists

Final Five

  • Eli Mattson- A pianist and singer. Finished in second place
  • Nuttin' But Stringz - A hip-hop classical fusion act. Finished in third place
  • Donald Braswell - An opera singer. Won wild card, finished in fourth place
  • Queen Emily - A soul singer. Finished in fifth place

Top 10 Contestants

  • Paul Salos - A Frank Sinatra impersonator
  • Kaitlyn Maher - A four-year-old singer
  • The Wright Kids - A bluegrass group consisting of three children
  • Jessica Price - A pop/folk singer
  • Joseph Hall - A 'young' Elvis impersonator

Las Vegas Wildcard

A member of the Russian Bar Trio, one of the top forty final acts, was injured, resulting in the withdrawal of the act from the competition. The judges selected eight acts that the American viewing public decided on at The winner of the Wildcard was Donald Braswell II.

Season 3 Elimination Chart

Winner Runner-Up Eliminated Judge's Choice
Stage: Top 20 Top 10 Finals
Week: 9/11 9/18 10/1
Place Contestant Result
3 Nuttin' But Stringz SAFE SAFE ELIM
4 Donald Braswell II SAFE SAFE ELIM
5 Queen Emily SAFE SAFE ELIM
6-10 Jessica Price JC ELIM
Paul Salos SAFE ELIM
Kaitlyn Maher SAFE ELIM
Joseph Hall JC ELIM
The Wright Kids SAFE ELIM
11-20 Jonathan Burkin ELIM JC
Tapping Dads ELIM
Sarah Lenore ELIM
The Taubl Family ELIM
SickStep ELIM
Extreme Dance FX ELIM
The Cadence ELIM
The James Gang ELIM
Daniel Jens ELIM JC
ZOOperstars! ELIM

Season 4 (2009)


NBC announced that America's Got Talent was renewed for a fourth season. Auditions this year were held in more than 9 major cities including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, Atlanta, Miami, Seattle/ Tacoma, Boston and Houston. Los Angeles Auditions kicked off the tour January 29-31 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, followed by Atlanta auditions February 7-8. New York and Miami auditions were held during March. Tacoma auditions were held April 25 and 26. In addition to live auditions and the ability to send in a home audition tape, Season 4 offered the opportunity for acts to upload their video direct at with their registration. This year's host is Nick Cannon, who replaced Jerry Springer. Springer says he cannot host due to other commitments.[6] All Season 3 judges have announced they are returning for the fourth season.[7] The fourth season premiered on Tuesday, June 23.

Season 4 of America's Got Talent borrowed the audition process from Season 3, but renamed the 'Las Vegas Callbacks' to 'Vegas Verdicts'. This was the first season since Season 1 where results episodes last one hour on a regular basis. The title card this year features bands of the American flag and stars waving around the America's Got Talent logo.

At the end of Las Vegas Week, Simon Cowell, the executive producer of Talent, called the judges by phone while they were flying back to Los Angeles, stating that he was unhappy with some of the eliminations the judges made. Cowell stated that this season had a lot of talent and presented the judges with eight acts he thought America should see again. As a result, two wild card acts performed each week along with the ten already scheduled to perform, expanding the Top 40 to the Top 48.

On September 16, 2009, Kevin Skinner was named the winner of America's Got Talent for season 4. His grand prize was one million dollars and a headline show at the Planet Hollywood Casino and Resort on the Las Vegas Strip.

Finals, Elimination Chart

Here is the chart for the finals of the fourth season of America's Got Talent.

Key   Winner   Runner-Up   Finished in Third Place   Finished in Fourth Place   Finished in Fifth Place
Finals, September 14-16, 2009
Order Contestant Performance Description Result
(September 16, 2009)
1 Voices of Glory Sibling singers; sang "Greatest Love of All" by Whitney Houston 5th Place
2 Hairo Torres Contortionist dancer; danced to "Puttin' on the Ritz" by Rufus Wainwright and "Closer" by Ne-Yo Eliminated
3 Lawrence Beamen Bass singer; sang "You're the First, the Last, My Everything" by Barry White Eliminated
4 Bárbara Padilla Opera singer; sang "O Mio Babbino Caro" by Giacomo Puccini Runner-Up
5 Fab Five Sister cloggers; danced to "Circus" by Britney Spears Eliminated
6 Texas Tenors Country–classical singers; sang "My Way" by Frank Sinatra 4th Place
7 Drew Stevyns Singer (and guitarist); sang "I'll Stand By You" by The Pretenders Eliminated
8 Grandma Lee Stand-up comedienne; performed a varied routine, picking on her children, her (fictional) ex-husband, Piers Morgan and Simon Cowell Eliminated
9 Kevin Skinner Country singer; sang "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith Winner
10 Template:Nowrap Junkyard percussionists; played "Wipe Out" by The Surfaris 3rd Place

Season 5 (2010)

NBC has announced that the show has been renewed for a fifth season. There is speculation that NBC could consider moving the show to the fall, after rival series So You Think You Can Dance transferred from the summer to fall season in 2009.[8]

The first round of auditions in front of the producers was held October 17-18, 2009 at McCormick Place in Chicago, October 25-26, 2009 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, and October 31-November 1, 2009 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. There will also be auditions in New Jersey, but the date and audition city are still unknown.[9]

David Hasselhoff will not be participating in the 2010 season as he was released from the show in January 2010, following the announcement that he will host a new television show in the works. [10] Comedian and Deal or No Deal host Howie Mandel will replace Hasselhoff as judge.[11]

America's Got Talent Live

America's Got Talent Live will be a show on the Las Vegas Strip airing Wednesday through Sunday at the Planet Hollywood Casino and Resort in Las Vegas. It is expected to feature the final ten acts which made it to the Season 4 Finale. It is confirmed that the former host of Talent, Jerry Springer, will emcee.[12]


The performance shows are rated TV-14 and the results shows are rated TV-PG.

Season 1 Ratings

When the show first aired in 2006, its ratings outpaced every other broadcast of the night and of the week. Regular TV audiences averaged 10 million viewers a night, giving NBC an average 6.0/10 rating every Tuesday that summer, higher than that of CBS, ABC, and Fox. Total ratings exceeded, by over one million viewers, those of Fox's hit reality show, So You Think You Can Dance.

Season 2 Ratings

In 2007, the show was the summer's most watched TV program, averaging 12.0 million viewers per night on its second seasonTemplate:Citation needed.

Season 3 Ratings

In the third season of Talent, average viewers rose to over 12.5 million, and its rating to around a 7.9/13, Nielsen Media Research reported, again making it the number one show for summer of 2008. The highest rated episode of the third season was the MySpace auditions with 8.1/13 and 13.61 million viewers. However, the Season 3 finale drew only 12.55 million viewers, dropping it below Criminal Minds (with 14.5 million viewers the same night) and CSI: NY (at 14.67 million viewers).[13]

Season 4 Ratings

In the summer of 2009, ratings for Talent were Number 1 in both overall viewers and the 18-49 key demographic, making it the number one show for the summer season of that year. The most watched episode of AGT was the finale of Season 4, with 15.5 million viewers. During its first live shows of the fourth season, Talent had one of its highest ratings in the 18-49 key demographic to date, a 3.6/11, only topped by an audition episode earlier the same season, where it posted a 3.7/11.[14] During the first weeks of the fall season, a results show of Talent performed well against the season premiere of So You Think You Can Dance and the highly promoted world premiere of Glee, posting the most viewers of the night, with 9.7 million viewers, compared to only 6.5 million viewers for Dance and 7.1 million viewers for Glee. On the two night Season 4 finale, AGT received its highest viewing audience in all four seasons, with an average of 13.84 million viewers and an 8.5/13 rating/share over its two hour broadcast for the performances show. In the second hour leading into the premiere of The Jay Leno Show, Talent jumped to over 14.9 million viewers and a 9.1/14 rating/share, making it the second-highest rated broadcast after The Jay Leno Show since the American Idol finale in May 2009. The season 4 finale of AGT was the highest rated episode in the entire series of the show, where it averaged 15.5 million viewers and a 3.5/10 rating/share in the 18-49 demographic, higher than FOX's Glee, which averaged only 6.7 million viewers and a 3.1/8, and So You Think You Can Dance, which had 5.7 million viewers and a 2.5/7. On average, Season 4 of Talent has had the highest viewership in the entire series.

Top selling albums

These albums were sold after America's Got Talent. The sales numbers are American sales only.

Former contestant
Total sales
Debut album Second album Third album
1. Bianca Ryan
(Season 1, Winner)
Bianca Ryan
(November 14, 2006)

Peak: #57
Christmas Everyday!
(December 5, 2007)

Peak: n/a
The True Meaning of Christmas
(November 3, 2009)
Music Forever

Peak: n/a
2. Cas Haley
(Season 2, Runner-Up)
Cas Haley
(February 14, 2008)

Peak: #8
3. Neal E. Boyd
(Season 3, Winner)
My American Dream
(June 23, 2009)

Peak: #195

See also


External links