Directed by Russell Norman
Country of origin United States
Genre RealityTalent contest
Creative director(s) Brian Friedman
Latest winner Grace VanderWaal
|Created by Simon CowellKen WarwickCécile Frot-Coutaz|
Judges Piers MorganDavid HasselhoffBrandy NorwoodSharon OsbourneHowie MandelHoward SternMel BHeidi KlumSimon Cowell
Theme song America's Got Talent Theme Song
Presented by Regis Philbin, Jerry Springer, Nick Cannon
Cast Simon Cowell, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, Mel B
America's Got Talent (sometimes abbreviated as AGT) is an American reality television series on the NBC television network, and part of the global Got Talent franchise. It is a talent show that features singers, dancers, magicians, comedians, and other performers of all ages competing for the advertised top prize of one million dollars. The show debuted in June 2006 for the summer television season. From season three (2008) onwards, the prize includes the one million dollars, payable in a financial annuity over 40 years, and a chance to headline a show on the Las Vegas Strip. Among its significant features is that it gives 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.
- Series overview
- Timeline of hosts and judges
- Guest judges
- Producers auditions
- Judges auditions
- Golden Buzzer
- Judge cuts
- YouTube auditions
- Live shows
- Season 1 2006
- Season 2 2007
- Season 3 2008
- Season 4 2009
- Season 5 2010
- Season 6 2011
- Season 7 2012
- Season 8 2013
- Season 9 2014
- Season 10 2015
- Season 11 2016
- Season 12 2017
- Americas Got Talent Live
- Holiday Spectacular
- US television ratings
- Top selling albums by former contestants
- Contestants who have competed on other reality shows
- International broadcasts
This incarnation was created by Simon Cowell, and was originally due to be a 2005 British series called Paul O'Grady's Got Talent but was postponed due to O'Grady's acrimonious split with broadcaster ITV (later launching as Britain's Got Talent in 2007). As such, the U.S. version became the first full series of the franchise.
The original judging panel consisted of David Hasselhoff, Brandy Norwood, and Piers Morgan. Sharon Osbourne replaced Norwood in season two (2007), and Howie Mandel replaced Hasselhoff in season five (2010). Howard Stern replaced Morgan in season seven (2012). Mel B replaced Osbourne in season eight (2013), while Heidi Klum joined as a fourth judge. Simon Cowell replaced Stern for season eleven (2016). Regis Philbin was the original host (season one), followed by Jerry Springer for two seasons (2007–2008), followed by Nick Cannon from the fourth season onwards (2009). On August 2, 2016, NBC renewed the series for a twelfth season.
A book was released in 2013 titled, Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent. It describes the seasons, contestants, judges, and production techniques of the show and contains detailed interviews with contestants from all seasons.
Timeline of hosts and judges
A fourth judge was added in season eight.
Beginning in season ten, each of the AGT judges took it in turn to invite a guest judge to join the judging panel for one night. The guest judges had the ability to employ the golden buzzer to bypass the other judges and advance an act to the live shows. The first guest judge, Neil Patrick Harris, appeared at the invitation of Howard Stern in episode eight of season ten, which aired on July 14, 2015. Michael Bublé appeared at the invitation of Heidi Klum in episode nine of season ten, which aired on July 21, 2015. Marlon Wayans appeared at the invitation of Howie Mandel in episode ten of season ten, which aired on July 28, 2015. Piers Morgan appeared at the invitation of Mel B in episode eleven of season ten, which aired on August 4, 2015.
In season eleven, guest judges were invited to the judges cut week for the second year. The guest judges yet again had the ability to employ the golden buzzer to bypass the other judges and advance an act to the live shows. The first guest judge, Ne-Yo, appeared at the invitation of the judging panel on July 12, 2016, followed by Reba McEntire on July 13, 2016, George Lopez on July 19, 2016, and Louis Tomlinson on July 20, 2016.
The general selection process of the show begins with separate producers' auditions held in various cities across the United States, some of which host only the producers' auditions, and some of which also host judges' auditions held in theaters. This round is held several months before the judges' audition. Acts that have made it through the producers' audition then audition in front of the judges and a live audience.
Following the producers' auditions, acts audition in front of (as of 2013) four celebrity judges. These auditions are held in theaters in various cities nationally and are later televised. Judges may individually register their disapproval of an act by pressing a red buzzer, which lights up their corresponding X above the stage. Any performer who receives X's from all judges must stop performing and is immediately eliminated. Since season three (2008), large audiences have also been a factor in the judging process, as their reaction to an act's performance may swing or influence a judge's vote. If an act receives three or more "yes" votes, they advance to the next round of competition. However, in the majority of seasons, several acts do not perform in the second round and are immediately sent home by the judges without a second performance.
Introduced in season nine, the "Golden Buzzer" is placed in the center of the judges' desk and may be used once per season by each judge. In season 9, a judge could press the golden buzzer to save an act from elimination, regardless of the number of X's earned from the other judges. Starting in season 10, any act that received a golden buzzer advanced directly onto the live show; as of season 11, host Nick Cannon was allowed to use the buzzer as well.
From season two (2007) to season eight (2013), Las Vegas Week has been an intermediary televised taped round between the auditions and the live shows. This round takes place in a notable venue on the Las Vegas Strip. Names for this round in previous seasons have included "Las Vegas Callbacks" and "Vegas Verdicts". The Las Vegas round generally consists of acts performing a second time for the judges (except for season four in 2009), who then pick select acts to move on to the live shows. An act eliminated in Las Vegas Week is not completely excluded from the live show competition, as several seasons have featured contestants being brought back from this round as "wild card" acts.
Prior to the inclusion of this round, the judges would have a list containing a number of acts which advanced past the auditions during each live show. The judges would then pick ten acts from that group each week, leaving several acts without the chance to perform.
In season nine (2014), acts went to New York instead of Las Vegas to determine a place in the live shows.
From season five (2010) to season seven (2012), 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. The most successful act of the YouTube auditions was Jackie Evancho, who went on to place second in season five.
Before the inclusion of this round, the show had a separate audition episode in seasons three and four (2008–2009) for contestants who posted videos on MySpace.
During the live shows, a group of acts ranging from only a Top 20 (season two), to as many as 60, compete for viewers' and judges' votes. In the first season, the judges could not end an act's performance, but could either "check" or "X" the performance during their critique. Since season two (2007), judges have been able to end an act's performance early, and the "check" was removed. Generally, acts each perform first in a live round consisting of a series of quarterfinals. In seasons with YouTube auditions, the round of live judging of YouTube finalists takes place then, as part of these quarterfinals. Then there may be additional shows for "Wild Card" acts—acts that one or more of the judges select to be given one more chance for audience vote despite previous elimination. From these shows, the existing group is narrowed through votes by the public and/or the judges (depending on the season). Acts then move on to a semifinal round, and even further rounds (such as a "Top 8" or a "Top 10", depending on the season) through a series of weekly shows, which trim the number of acts down each time based on a public vote. In the majority of seasons, judges have had no vote from the semifinals. All these rounds culminate in a live final, which has consisted of anywhere from four to ten acts throughout the seasons. The act with the most votes is declared the winner, given $1 million, and, since season three (2008), a chance to headline a show on the Las Vegas Strip.
During seasons one through six (2006–11), the live shows were filmed at Stage 36 of CBS Television City in Los Angeles. In season seven (2012), the live shows were held at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. From seasons eight through ten (2013–15), live performances were held at Radio City Music Hall in New York. In season eleven (2016) live shows are being held at the Dolby Theatre.
For seasons five through eight (2010–13), the show also made the winner the headline act of a national tour with runners up following the final show, stopping in 25 cities. For season nine, however (2014), there was no tour; two shows were held in Las Vegas for the winner and some of the runner-up acts. (See #America's Got Talent Live, below.)
Season 1 (2006)
In May 2006, NBC announced the new show. The audition tour took place in June. Auditions were held in the following locations: Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. 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 a million dollars due to concerns of minors playing in Las Vegas, should one become a champion. More than 12 million viewers watched the series premiere (which is more than American Idol got during its premiere 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 & 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.
Season 2 (2007)
After initially announcing in June 2006 that season two would premiere in January 2007 and would air at 8 pm on Sunday nights, with no separate results show, the network changed that, pushing the show back to the summer, where the first season had enjoyed great success. This move kept the show out of direct competition with American Idol, which had a similar premise and was 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 time slot on NBC beginning in January. In March, NBC announced that Philbin would not return as host of the show, and that Jerry Springer would succeed him as host, with Sharon Osbourne (formerly a judge on Cowell's UK show The X Factor) succeeding Brandy Norwood as a judge.
Season 3 (2008)
Season three premiered on June 17, 2008. 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.
Season three differed from the previous two in many ways. Auditions were held in well-known theaters across the nation, and a new title card was introduced, featuring the American flag as background. The X's matched the ones on Britain's Got Talent as did 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. This season also contained several results episodes, but not on a regular basis. 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.
Neal E. Boyd, an opera singer, was named the winner on October 1. Eli Mattson, a singer and pianist, was runner-up.
Season 4 (2009)
Season four premiered on Tuesday, June 23, 2009. It was the first to be broadcast in high definition. Auditions for this season were held in more than nine major cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Miami, Tacoma, Boston, and Houston. Los Angeles auditions kicked off the January 29–31 tour at the Los Angeles Convention Center, followed by the February 7–8 Atlanta auditions. 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 four offered the opportunity for acts to upload their video direct to NBC.com/agt with their registration. This year's host was Nick Cannon. Jerry Springer said that he could not return as host due to other commitments.
The audition process in season four was the same as the previous season, but the 'Las Vegas Callbacks' was renamed 'Vegas Verdicts'. This was the first season since season one where results episodes lasted one hour on a regular basis. The title card this year featured bands of the American flag and stars waving around the America's Got Talent logo.
On September 16, country music singer Kevin Skinner was named the season's winner. The grand prize was $1 million and a 10-week headline show at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The runner-up was Bárbara Padilla, an opera singer.
Season 5 (2010)
For season five, the network had considered moving the show to the fall, after rival series So You Think You Can Dance transferred from the summer to fall season in 2009. NBC ultimately decided to keep Talent a summer show.
Open auditions were held in the winter to early spring of 2010 in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, and Portland (Oregon). Non-televised producers' auditions were also held in Atlanta and Philadelphia. For the first time, online auditions were also held via YouTube.
David Hasselhoff left to host a new television show and was replaced by comedian and game show host Howie Mandel. This made Piers Morgan the only original judge left in the show. The show premiered Tuesday, June 1, 2010, at 8 pm ET. Afterward, Talent resumed the same time slot as the previous season.
On September 15, singer Michael Grimm was named the winner. He won a $1 million prize and a chance to perform at the Caesars Palace Casino and Resort on the Las Vegas Strip, as well as headline the 25-city America's Got Talent Live Tour along with runner-up Jackie Evancho, Fighting Gravity, Prince Poppycock, and the other top ten finalists.
Season 6 (2011)
Season six premiered on Tuesday, May 31, 2011, with a two-hour special. Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne continued as judges after taking jobs on Piers Morgan Tonight and The Talk, respectively. On The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on July 27, 2010, Morgan officially stated that he had signed a three-year contract to stay on Talent.
The show held televised auditions in Los Angeles, New York, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Seattle, and Houston. Non-televised producers' auditions were also held in Denver and Chicago. Previews of auditions were shown during NBC's The Voice premiere on April 26. Online auditions via YouTube were also held for the second time in the show's run, beginning on May 4. Finalists for this audition circuit competed live on August 9.
On Wednesday, September 14, Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., a Frank Sinatra-style singer, was named the winner. Dance group Silhouettes was runner-up.
Season 7 (2012)
Season seven premiered on May 14, 2012. The first round of auditions, which are judged by producers, were held in New York, Washington, D.C., Tampa, Charlotte, Austin, Anaheim, St. Louis, and San Francisco from October 2011 to February 2012. The show began its live theater performances at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark on February 27.
Piers Morgan did not return as a judge for season seven, due to his work hosting CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, and he was replaced by Howard Stern. Since Stern hosts his SiriusXM radio show in New York City, the live rounds of the show were moved to nearby Newark, New Jersey. In December 2011, Simon Cowell, the show's executive producer, announced that the show would be receiving a "top-to-bottom makeover", confirming that there would be new graphics, lighting, theme music, show intro, logo, and a larger live audience at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. On July 2, at the first live performance show of the season, their new location and stage were unveiled in a two-and-a-half-hour live special. A new set was also unveiled with a revised judges' desk and a refreshed design of the "X".
On August 6, Sharon Osbourne announced that she would leave America's Got Talent after the current season, in response to allegations that her son Jack Osbourne was discriminated against by the producers of the upcoming NBC program Stars Earn Stripes.
On September 13, Olate Dogs were announced the winner of the season, becoming the show's first completely non-singing act to win the competition and also the first non-solo act to win. Comedian Tom Cotter finished as the runner-up.
Season 8 (2013)
Season eight of AGT premiered on Tuesday, June 4, 2013. The new season was announced in a promotional video shown during a commercial break for season seven's second live show. Sharon Osbourne initially stated that she would not return for the season, but later said that she was staying with the show "for now." Osbourne confirmed that she would be leaving the show after a feud with NBC on August 6, 2012.
On February 20, 2013, it was announced that one of the Spice Girls members, Mel B (Melanie Brown), would replace Sharon Osbourne as the third judge. Entertainment Weekly also reported at the same time that NBC was looking at a possible fourth judge to be added. On March 3, it was announced that supermodel Heidi Klum would be joining the show as the new fourth judge.
An Audition Cities poll for the season was announced on July 11, 2012. The first batch of Audition Cities were announced as Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland (Oregon), New Orleans, Birmingham, Memphis, Nashville, Savannah, Raleigh, Norfolk, San Antonio, New York, Columbus (Ohio), and Chicago. This season, the auditions traveled to more cities than ever before. America's Got Talent moved its live shows to Radio City Music Hall in New York for season eight. Auditions in front of the judges and an audience began taping on March 4. The show traveled to New Orleans, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Antonio.
On September 18, 2013, martial arts dancer/mime Kenichi Ebina was announced the winner of the season, the first dance act to win the competition. Stand-up comedian Taylor Williamson was the runner-up.
Season 9 (2014)
Season nine premiered on Tuesday, May 27, 2014, at 8 pm ET. The producers' auditions began on October 26, 2013, in Miami. Other audition sites included Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and New York. Contestants could also submit a video of their audition online. Auditions in front of the judges were held February 20–22 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, which also hosted the live shows during season seven. Judges' auditions were held in New York City at Madison Square Garden from April 3 to 6 and in Los Angeles at the Dolby Theatre from April 21 to 26.
The live shows return to Radio City Music Hall on July 29. There was also a new twist in the show, where "Judgment Week" was held in New York City instead of Las Vegas. Judgment Week was originally intended to be held in front of a live studio audience, but after three acts performed, the producers scrapped the live audience concept. This season also came with the announcement of a "Golden Buzzer," which was unveiled on this year's Britain's Got Talent. Each judge could press the buzzer only once to save an act, typically to be used when there was a tie.
For this season, contestants were invited to submit a video of their performance to The Today Show website throughout June, and the top three entrants performed their acts on The Today Show on July 23, 2014. The performer with the most votes, Cornell Bhangra, filled the 48th spot in the quarterfinals.
Season 10 (2015)
Season ten premiered on May 26, 2015. Producer auditions began on November 2, 2014, in Tampa. Other audition sites included Nashville, Richmond (Virginia), New York, Chicago, St. Louis, San Antonio, Albuquerque, San Francisco, Seattle, Boise, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. Online submissions were also accepted.
Howard Stern rumored on his radio show on October 1, 2014, that he might not return, but announced on December 8 that he would return for the upcoming season. Nick Cannon returned for his seventh season as host. On February 9, 2015, Howie Mandel said he would return for season ten and Mel B announced the next day that she would be returning as well. It was revealed on February 11 that Heidi Klum would also be returning.
It was announced on December 4, 2014, that Cris Judd would be named as a dance scout. He previously worked on the show as a choreographer behind the scenes, and on the New Zealand version of Got Talent as a judge.
Auditions in front of the judges began on March 2, 2015, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. They continued at the Manhattan Center in New York City and the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. A special "extreme" audition session was held outside at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, where danger acts performed outside for the judges, who were seated at an outdoor stage.
During NBC's summer press tour, it was announced that America's Got Talent would be making their "Golden Buzzer" more like Britain's Got Talent where the contestant that gets the buzzer will be sent directly to the live shows. An official trailer for the season was released, which showed that Dunkin Donuts was the show's official sponsor for the season, with their cups prominently placed on the judges' desk. Dunkin replaced Snapple, which sponsored the show since season seven.
On June 24, Howard Stern announced on The Howard Stern Show that season ten would be his last season as judge. Stern said, "In all seriousness, I’ve told you, I’m just too f*cking busy…something's got to give… NBC's already asked me what my intentions are for next year, whether or not I’d come back, I kind of have told them I think this is my last season. Not I think, this is my last season".
On September 16, Paul Zerdin was announced the winner of the season, making him the second ventriloquist to win. Comedian Drew Lynch was runner-up, and magician mentalist Oz Pearlman was in Third Place.
Season 11 (2016)
America's Got Talent was renewed for an eleventh season on September 1, 2015. The season will have preliminary open call auditions in Detroit, New York, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, San Jose, San Diego, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Orlando, and Dallas. As in years past, hopeful contestants may also submit auditions online. On September 14, Grace VanderWaal was the overall winner of the series, making her the second child act to win the competition.
On October 22, 2015, it was announced that creator Simon Cowell would replace Howard Stern as a judge for season 11. On January 12, 2016, it was announced that Mel B, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel would all return as judges, with Nick Cannon returning as host. The live shows will also move from New York back to Los Angeles, due to Howard Stern's departure. The live shows will be held at the Dolby Theatre.
Auditions in front of the judges began on March 3, 2016 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California. The season premiered on May 31, 2016.
On September 14, 12-year-old singer-songwriter and ukulele player, Grace VanderWaal was announced as the winner making it the second time that a female act has won the show since Season 1. Magician mentalists The Clairvoyants was runner-up, and magician Jon Dorenbos was in Third Place. Comedian Tape Face was named the most memorable act this season.
Season 12 (2017)
On August 2, 2016, it was announced that host Nick Cannon and all four judges would be returning for season 12.
On October 4, 2016, Simon Cowell signed a contract to remain as a judge through 2019.
On February 13, 2017, Nick Cannon announced he would not return as host for the twelfth season, citing creative differences between him and executives at NBC. The resignation comes in the wake of news that the network considered firing Cannon after he made disparaging remarks about NBC in his recent Showtime comedy special, Stand Up, Don't Shoot. Cannon, however, is technically under contract to host and could potentially be sued by NBC for breach of contract, though this is considered unlikely. NBC executives have not accepted his resignation and is expecting Cannon to return.
America's Got Talent Live
America's Got Talent Live is a show on the Las Vegas Strip that features the winner of each season of America's Got Talent as the main performance.
In 2009, America's Got Talent Live appeared on the Las Vegas Strip appearing Wednesday through Sunday at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, in a limited ten-week run from October through January. It featured the final ten acts which made it to the season four (2009) finale. Jerry Springer emceed, commuting weekly between Stamford, Connecticut, tapings of his self-named show and Las Vegas.
In 2010, on the first live show of season five, the winner headlined America's Got Talent Live from Caesars Palace Casino and Resort on the Las Vegas Strip, which was part of a 25-city tour that featured the season's finalists. Jerry Springer returned as both host of the tour and the headline show.
In 2013, after the success of the 2012 tour, another tour was scheduled, featuring season eight's winner, Kenichi Ebina, and finalists Collins Key, Jimmy Rose, Taylor Williamson, Cami Bradley, The KriStef Brothers, and Tone the Chiefrocca. Tone hosted the tour.
In 2014, America's Got Talent Live announced that performances in Las Vegas on September 26 and 27 would feature Taylor Williamson, the season eight (2013) runner-up, and the top finalists for season nine: Mat Franco, Emily West, Quintavious Johnson, AcroArmy, Emil and Dariel, Miguel Dakota, and Sons of Serendip.
In 2016, four shows were given at the Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas. They featured the top finalists for season 11: Grace VanderWaal, The Clairvoyants and Tape Face.
NBC broadcast the two-hour America's Got Talent Holiday Spectacular on December 19, 2016, hosted by Cannon with performances by Grace VanderWaal, Jackie Evancho, Andra Day, Penn & Teller, Pentatonix, Terry Fator, Mat Franco, Piff the Magic Dragon, Olate Dogs, Professor Splash, Jon Dorenbos and others, and featuring the Season 11 judges, including Klum, who sang a duet with Season 11 finalist Sal Valentinetti. The special drew 9.5 million viewers.
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 11 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.
Top-selling albums by former contestants
Sales numbers and rankings are U.S. sales only.
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.
In Indonesia, the eleventh season has currently been broadcast by NET. since October 22, 2016 every Saturday and Sunday at 10.00 PM WIB. But, since Monday, October 31, in addition to the weekend slot, the show has also been broadcast every Monday to Friday at 5.00 PM WIB as the replacement of the currently concluded TV drama, the second season of Kesempurnaan Cinta, which was concluded on Friday, October 28, 2016.