America's Got Talent is an 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 British talent contest Opportunity Knocks, which started as a radio program in 1949 before moving to television in 1956. Among its significant features were that it gave an opportunity to talented amateurs or unknown performers, with the results decided by a public vote.
The format was sold by Simon Cowell after he originally produced the show that was to have been called Paul O'Grady's Got Talent but was postponed from 2005 until 2007, and when it was eventually launched in 2007 it was called, Britain's Got Talent because Paul O'Grady defected from ITV to Channel 4. Unlike the British version, Cowell does not appear as a judge due to the conditions of his American Idol contract.
America's Got Talent began airing season one in the United Kingdom on ITV2 on 22 June 2007, TV3 Ireland on July 2007 and in New Zealand on Prime Television on 9 July 2007.
The third season premiered on June 17, 2008.
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 (the same one heard for passed spins on Press Your Luck
) and a large red X with the judge's name lights up over the stage. A louder buzzer (the same one heard for "strikes" on Family Feud
) indicates the third judge's button was pressed, and the contestant's performance is terminated. Then, the judges deliberate over the act and decide whether they pass over to the live semifinals. In the semifinals, the judges have X's and checks. Acts are divided into 4 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 2 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 3 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 semifinal episodes, the 20 acts will be first split into 2 groups of 10. America will vote and eliminate 5 out of the first group, then 5 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 bootcamp continues, but they are divided into more groups, such as ventriloquists, impersonators, male singers, female singers, opera, instrumental music, bands, and other variety acts. There are forty acts that pass through, instead of twenty. The semifinal process consists of shows on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Ten of the top forty acts perform each of the two nights for two weeks. Four 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 semifinals, the act is allowed to continue, but must end it early.
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.. 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.
- Bianca Ryan (Viewers' choice, July 27): An 11 year old singer...
The runners-up each won a Dodge Caliber
- Taylor Ware (Viewers' choice, July 13): An 11 year old yodelist.
- All That (Judges' choice, August 9): A clogging ensemble.
- * The Millers (Judges' choice, July 12): A musical group consisting of two brothers. Cole, age 20, plays guitar, and L.D., age 12, plays harmonica.
- Celtic Spring (Viewers' choice, August 3): A family Irish step dancing/fiddling act.
- Realis (Judges' choice, July 20): An acrobatics mixed pair performing hand-to-hand balancing and releases.
- At Last (Viewers' choice, July 20): An a cappella act, performing R&B songs with a hip hop beat.
- Rappin' Granny (real name: Vivian Smallwood) (Judges' choice, July 26): A 73 year old rapper.
- The Passing Zone (Judges' choice, August 2): A comedy/juggling act.
- Quick Change (Viewers' choice, August 10): Clothes-changing magic act.
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. In March 2007, NBC announced thar Philbin would not retun as host of the show, and that Jerry Springer will succeed him as host, with Sharon Osbourne (already 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:
- 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.
- The Calypso Tumblers - tumbling act. Top 10 contestant.
- The Duttons - family band. Top 10 contestant.
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. It will also be shown in the United Kingdom on ITV2.
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 last 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, or they have been borrowed for this season. Like last season, the Las Vegas callbacks continue, but there will be forty acts selected to compete in the live rounds, instead of twenty. Another difference from the previous season includes that now there are separate results episodes.
The show took a hiatus for two and a half weeks for the 2008 Summer Olympics, but returned with the live rounds August 26, 2008.
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 rock n' roll 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 NBC
.com. The winner of the Wildcard was Donald Braswell II.
| Returned(Judges Choice)
|width=30% colspan="2" align="right"|Stage:
|colspan="1" bgcolor="CCCCCC" align="Center"|Top 20
|colspan="1" bgcolor="palegoldenrod" align="Center"|Top 10
|colspan="1" bgcolor="965050" align="Center"|Finals
|colspan="1" bgcolor="C48BBB" align="Center"|Results
|align="center" bgcolor="white"|Neal E. Boyd
|align="center" bgcolor="white"|Eli Mattson
|align="center" bgcolor="white"|Nuttin' But Stringz
|align="center" bgcolor="white"|Donald Braswell II
|align="center" bgcolor="white"|Queen Emily
|align="center" bgcolor="white"|Jessica Price
|align="center" bgcolor="white"|Paul Salos
|align="center" bgcolor="white"|Kaitlyn Maher
| align="center" bgcolor="white"|Joseph Hall
|align="center" bgcolor="white"|The Wright Kids
|align="center" bgcolor="gray" rowspan="10"|11-20
|align="center" bgcolor="white"|Jonathan Burkin
|The Taubl Family
|Extreme Dance FX
|The James Gang
has announced that America's Got Talent has been renewed for a fourth season.
The performance shows are rated TV-14
and the results shows are rated TV-PG
Ever since the show first aired in 2006, its ratings have outpaced every other broadcast of the night, and occasionally, of the week. Regular TV audiences often total an average of 10 million a night, giving NBC an average 6.0/10 rating every Tuesday, higher than that of CBS, ABC, and FOX. Total ratings have exceeded by over one million viewers those of FOX's hit reality show, So You Think You Can Dance, which airs on Wednesday. In 2007, the show was the summer's most watched TV program, averaging 12.0 million viewers per night on its second season.
In the third season of Talent, average viewers rose to over 13 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 (to date) was the Myspace auditions with 8.1/13 and 13.85 million viewers.
The judging styles of the judges on Talent
have loosely mirrored those of American Idol
. In the first season, Morgan was usually the first to hit the buzzer, followed by Brandy, and then Hasselhoff. Morgan criticized audition acts he thought to be bad, while Brandy and Hasselhoff usually said yes. In Season 1, the judges sometimes pressed each other's buzzers. In Season 2, when Sharon Osbourne replaced Brandy on the panel, she became the last one to press the buzzer, while Hasselhoff had more occasional outbursts. In Season 3, although the judging panel stayed the same, Morgan pressed his buzzer much earlier than in previous seasons.
Throughout all the seasons of Talent, Morgan has been the most consistent at being the quickest to the buzzer, and more abrasive than the rest of the panel. Unlike Simon Cowell of Idol, he is more harsh toward family acts, as seen with Celtic Spring of Season 1, The Duttons of Season 2, and possibly, The Taubl Family of Season 3. A highly controversial moment in Season 1 occurred when Morgan criticized Quick Change, a clothes changing act, asking them if they were deaf and dumb for not once varying their act. In Seasons 2 and 3, however, none of this has happened. In Season 3, during the live performances, Osbourne usually presses her X faster than Hasselhoff.
America's Got Talent
airs in the United Kingdom
In Canada, America's Got Talent aired on CTV up to Season 2. Season 3 airs on A.
In the Middle East, America's Got Talent airs on MBC4.
In Norway, America's Got Talent's first season aired on TV 2 in January and February 2008, as an introduction to the Norwegian version Norske talenter.
In the Philippines, America's Got Talent airs on ETC 2nd Avenue
In Hong Kong, America's Got Talent airs on TVB Pearl.
In Denmark, America's Got Talent airs on TV 2 Zulu in 2008. The Danish version of the show is called Talent 2008 and airs on DR1 from August 22, 2008.
In Asia, America's Got Talent airs on Star World.
In New Zealand, America's Got Talent airs on Prime Television New Zealand.
In Finland, Talent USA airs on TV4.
In France, Incroyable Talent airs on M6 (television channel).
In Australia, America's Got Talent airs on the Seven Network.
In Latin America, America's Got Talent airs on the Sony Entertainment Television (Latin America).
In Lithuania, America's Got Talent airs on the BTV
In Ireland, America's Got Talents on TV3 Ireland.
In Poland, I Got A Talent on TVN.