America's Got Talent (abbreviated AGT) 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 and is returning for a sixteenth season this summer.
Among its significant features are that it gives opportunities to talented amateurs or unknown performers, with the results decided by an audience vote.
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, 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, Cowell did not appear as a judge, due to the conditions of his contract with Fox Network, until the eleventh season.
America's Got Talent allow contestants of all ages and of all talents to give minutes-long performances in front of a set of judges. At the end of each performance, the judges evaluate those performances. Each earlier rounds each season, judges decide which acts move forward and which acts are eliminated. In later rounds, contestants perform live, after which American viewers can vote for the acts they want to see moving forward.
During the auditions, the judges vote at the end of each round whether to send an act to the next round with a "Yes" or a "No." In seasons with three judges (1 - 7), two "Yes" votes send an act to the next round. In seasons with four judges (8 - present), three "Yes" votes send an act to the next round.
During the live shows in Season 1, the "Yes" votes took the form of a check, while the "No" votes took the form of a post-performance buzzer. In subsequent seasons, the judges simply verbalize their votes after each act's performance.
Each judge can press their Buzzer during a performance if they disapprove of an act or want the performance to end. Four buzzes automatically ends the performance, or in the case of Judge Cuts, not only ends the performance but automatically eliminates the act from further competition.
Any eliminated act that receives a Wild Card returns to the competition. The format was adjusted in Season 11, where the judges choose two acts from those eliminated in Judge Cuts to return to the competition in the Quarterfinals (a third act was automatically passed through to even out the numbers), and one from the eliminated quarterfinalists to return for the Semifinals.
In season 1, Judges' Choice appears in the live shows. Introduced in Season 3, the Judges' Choice appears in live show results episodes (excluding the season finale). The judges can vote to send one of two acts, acts with the least amount of votes to be eligible for the next round, to the next round.
Starting in Season 9, the Judges' Choice is contested between the two remaining acts that did not win the Instant Save. In a 3-judge panel, a two-vote majority is needed for an act to advance to the next round while a three-vote majority is needed in a 4-judge panel. In the case of a 2-2 tie in the 4-judge configuration, the tie is broken by reverting to the public vote from the night before, with the act that receives more votes than their opponent advancing.
The Judges' Choice was also used in Champions 2. In this instance, the acts that finished in 3rd, 4th and 5th place in the audience vote would face the judges in the Preliminary episodes, and the acts finishing in 6th and 7th place in the Semifinal. At least 2 votes were needed for an act to advance, the other acts were eliminated from the competition.
Introduced in Season 9, the Golden Buzzer can be pressed by each judges only once per season. In Season 9, the Golden Buzzer sent the act receiving the Golden Buzzer to the next round regardless of the other judges' votes; its main purpose was to break ties. In Season 10, the Golden Buzzer was upgraded to send an act straight to the live shows.
Each judge during the auditions starting in Season 10 had the opportunity to press the Golden Buzzer for an act they thought stood out for them, which would send that act to the live shows. In Judge Cuts, each guest judge was also given a Golden Buzzer for the same reason. Starting in Season 11, the show's host was also given the power to use one during the audition phase.
Introduced in Season 9 during the Semifinals, the Instant Save appears in live show results episodes (excluding the season finale). American voters can vote to save one of three acts, acts with the least amount of votes among top vote-getters, to the next round. The remaining two acts participate in the Judges' Choice.
In Season 10 , the format was reconfigured. In the Quarterfinals, the three acts that finished in 6th, 7th and 8th place in the public vote went on to contest for the Instant Save, while in the Semifinals it was the three acts that finished in 4th, 5th and 6th place.
In Season 9, the Instant Save was named the Snapple Save, while from Season 10 onwards, it was named the Dunkin' Save.
Season 1 premiered on June 21, 2006, with Piers Morgan, Brandy Norwood, and David Hasselhoff as judges. Regis Philbin served as host. The season consisted of 15 episodes and at least 83 acts. The season concluded on August 17, 2006, with Bianca Ryan as the winner.
|All That||Clogging Group||2nd/3rd Place|
|The Millers||Singer/Guitarist and Harmonicist||2nd/3rd Place|
|Celtic Spring||Violin/Irish Dance Group||4th/5th Place|
|Taylor Ware||Singer/Yodeler||4th/5th Place|
|At Last||Vocal Group||Top 10|
|David & Dania - Quick Change||Quick Change Act||Top 10|
|Jon & Owen - The Passing Zone||Comedy Juggler Duo||Top 10|
|Rappin' Granny||Rapper||Top 10|
|Realis||Acrobatic Dance Duo||Top 10|
Season 2 premiered on June 5, 2007, with Piers Morgan and David Hasselhoff returning as judges. Sharon Osbourne debuted as a judge and Jerry Springer debuted as host. The season consisted of 12 episodes and at least 107 acts. The season introduced the Vegas Round to the competition. The season concluded on August 21, 2007, with Terry Fator as the winner.
|Terry Fator||Ventriloquist/Singing Impressionist||Winner|
|Cas Haley||Singer/Guitarist||2nd Place|
|Julienne Irwin||Singer||4th Place|
|Jason Pritchett||Singer/Guitarist||Top 8|
|Robert Hatcher||Singer||Top 8|
|Sideswipe||Martial Arts Dance Group||Top 8|
|The Glamazons||Burlesque Vocal Group||Top 8|
|Calypso Tumblers||Tumblers/Acrobatic Group||Top 10|
|The Duttons||Family Country Band||Top 10|
Season 3 premiered on June 17, 2008, with Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne, and David Hasselhoff all returning as judges. Jerry Springer returned as host. The season consisted of 20 episodes and at least 169 acts. The season introduced the Quarterfinals to the competition. The season concluded on October 1, 2008, with Neal E. Boyd as the winner.
|Neal E. Boyd||Opera Singer||Winner|
|Eli Mattson||Singer/Pianist||2nd Place|
|Nuttin' But Stringz||Hip-Hop Violin Duo||3rd Place|
|Donald Braswell||Opera Singer||4th Place|
|Queen Emily||Singer||5th Place|
|Jessica Price||Singer/Guitarist||Top 10|
|Joseph Hall||Elvis Impersonator||Top 10|
|Kaitlyn Maher||Singer||Top 10|
|Paul Salos||Frank Sinatra Impersonator||Top 10|
|The Wright Kids||Bluegrass Band||Top 10|
Season 4 premiered on June 23, 2009, with Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne, and David Hasselhoff all returning as judges. Nick Cannon debuted as host. The season consisted of 26 episodes and at least 173 acts. The season concluded on September 16, 2009, with Kevin Skinner as the winner.
|Kevin Skinner||Country Singer/Guitarist||Winner|
|Barbara Padilla||Opera Singer||2nd Place|
|Recycled Percussion||Percussion Group||3rd Place|
|The Texas Tenors||Vocal Trio||4th Place|
|Voices of Glory||Vocal Trio||5th Place|
|Drew Stevyns||Singer/Guitarist||Top 10|
|Fab Five||Clogging Group||Top 10|
|Grandma Lee||Stand-up Comedienne||Top 10|
|Hairo Torres||Contortionist Breakdancer||Top 10|
|Lawrence Beamen||Bass Singer||Top 10|
Season 5 premiered on June 1, 2010, with Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne returning as judges. Howie Mandel debuted as a judge. Nick Cannon returned as host. The season consisted of 32 episodes and at least 180 acts. The season introduced YouTube Week to the competition. The season concluded on September 15, 2010, with Michael Grimm as the winner.
|Jackie Evancho||Opera Singer||2nd Place|
|Fighting Gravity||Blacklight Dance Group||3rd Place|
|Prince Poppycock||Opera Singer||4th Place|
|Anna and Patryk||Ballroom Dancer Duo||Top 10|
|Christina & Ali||Vocal Duo||Top 10|
|Jeremy Vanschoonhoven||Stunt Biker||Top 10|
|Michael Grasso||Magician||Top 10|
|Studio One Young Beast Society||Dance Group||Top 10|
|Taylor Mathews||Singer/Guitarist||Top 10|
Season 6 premiered on May 31, 2011, with Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne, and Howie Mandel all returning as judges. Nick Cannon returned as host. The season consisted of 32 episodes and at least 173 acts. The season concluded on September 14, 2011, with Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. as the winner.
|Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.||Singer||Winner|
|Silhouettes||Shadow Dance Group||2nd Place|
|Team iLuminate||Light-up Suit Dance Group||3rd Place|
|Anna Graceman||Singer/Pianist||Top 10|
|Landon Swank||Magician||Top 10|
|Lys Agnès||Opera Singer||Top 10|
|Miami All Stars||Dance Group||Top 10|
|Smage Bros. Riding Shows||Stunt Motorbike Team||Top 10|
|West Springfield Dance Team||Dance Group||Top 10|
Season 7 premiered on May 14, 2012, with Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel returning as judges. Howard Stern debuted as a judge. Nick Cannon returned as host. The season consisted of 31 episodes and at least 182 acts. The season concluded on September 13, 2012, with the Olate Dogs as the winner.
|Olate Dogs||Dog Act||Winner|
|Tom Cotter||Sand-up Comedian||2nd Place|
|William Close||Earth Harpist||3rd Place|
|David Garibaldi and His CMYK's||Painting Dance Group||4th Place|
|Joe Castillo||Sand Artist||5th Place|
|The Untouchables||Dance Group||6th Place|
Season 8 premiered on June 4, 2013, with Howard Stern and Howie Mandel returning as judges. Heidi Klum and Mel B debuted as judges. The season was the first to feature four judges instead of three. Nick Cannon returned as host. The season consisted of 27 episodes and at least 140 acts. The season concluded on September 18, 2013, with Kenichi Ebina as the winner.
|Taylor Williamson||Stand-up Comedian||2nd Place|
|Jimmy Rose||Country Singer/Guitarist||3rd Place|
|Forte||Opera Trio||4th Place|
|Collins Key||Magician||5th Place|
|Cami Bradley||Singer/Pianist||6th Place|
|Branden James||Opera Singer||Top 12|
|Catapult Entertainment||Shadow Dance Group||Top 12|
|Chicago Boyz||Acrobat Team||Top 12|
|D'Angelo and Amanda||Ballroom Dancer Duo||Top 12|
|Innovative Force||Acrobatic Dance Group||Top 12|
|KriStef Brothers||Hand Balancer Duo||Top 12|
Season 9 premiered on May 26, 2014, with Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B, and Howie Mandel all returning as judges. Nick Cannon returned as host. The season consisted of 24 episodes and at least 135 acts. The season concluded on September 17, 2014, with Mat Franco as the winner.
|Emily West||Singer||2nd Place|
|AcroArmy||Acrobatic Group||3rd Place|
|Sons of Serendip||Band||4th Place|
|Quintavious Johnson||Singer||5th Place|
|Miguel Dakota||Singer/Guitarist||6th Place|
|Blue Journey||Shadow Dance Duo||Top 12|
|Christian Stoinev||Hand Balancer||Top 12|
|David and Leeman||Magicians||Top 12|
|Emil and Dariel||Rock Cellists||Top 12|
|Mara Justine||Singer||Top 12|
|Mike Super||Mystifier||Top 12|
Season 10 premiered on May 26, 2015, with Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B, and Howie Mandel all returning as judges. Nick Cannon returned as host. The season consisted of 23 episodes and at least 164 acts. The season concluded on September 16, 2015, with Paul Zerdin as the winner.
|Drew Lynch||Stand-up Comedian||2nd Place|
|Oz Pearlman||Mentalist||3rd Place|
|The Professional Regurgitator||Regurgitator||4th Place|
|The CraigLewis Band||R&B Vocal Duo||5th Place|
|Benton Blount||Country Singer/Guitarist||Top 10|
|Derek Hughes||Magician/Comedian||Top 10|
|Gary Vider||Stand-up Comedian||Top 10|
|Piff the Magic Dragon||Magician/Comedian||Top 10|
|Uzeyer Novruzov||Ladder Acrobat||Top 10|
Season 11 premiered on May 31, 2016, with Heidi Klum, Mel B, and Howie Mandel returning as judges. Simon Cowell debuted as a judge. Nick Cannon returned as host. The season consisted of 22 episodes and at least 148 acts. The season concluded on September 14, 2016, with Grace VanderWaal as the winner.
|The Clairvoyants||Mentalist Duo||2nd Place|
|Jon Dorenbos||Magician||3rd Place|
|Brian Justin Crum||Pop Singer||4th Place|
|Sal Valentinetti||Jazz Singer||5th Place|
|Laura Bretan||Opera Singer||Top 10|
|Linkin' Bridge||Vocal Group||Top 10|
|Sofie Dossi||Contortionist/Aerialist||Top 10|
|Tape Face||Mime||Top 10|
|Viktor Kee||Juggler||Top 10|
Season 12 premiered on May 30, 2017, with Heidi Klum, Mel B, Howie Mandel, and Simon Cowell all returning as judges. Tyra Banks debuted as host. The season consisted of 22 episodes and at least 126 acts. The season concluded on September 20, 2017, with Darci Lynne as the winner.
|Darci Lynne||Singing Ventriloquist||Winner|
|Angelica Hale||Singer||2nd Place|
|Light Balance||Light-Up Dance Crew||3rd Place|
|Mandy Harvey||Singer/Ukuleist||4th Place|
|Sara and Hero||Dog Act||5th Place|
|Chase Goehring||Singer/Guitarist||Top 10|
|Diavolo||Acrobatic Dance Group||Top 10|
|Evie Clair||Singer/Pianist||Top 10|
|Preacher Lawson||Stand-up Comedian||Top 10|
Season 13 premiered on May 29, 2018, with Heidi Klum, Mel B, Howie Mandel, and Simon Cowell all returning as judges. Tyra Banks returned as host. The season concluded on September 19, 2018, with Shin Lim as the winner.
|Zurcaroh||Acrobatic Group||2nd Place|
|Brian King Joseph||Electric Violinist||3rd Place|
|Samuel J. Comroe||Stand-up Comedian||4th Place|
|Michael Ketterer||Singer||5th Place|
|Courtney Hadwin||Singer/Dancer||Top 10|
|Daniel Emmet||Opera Singer||Top 10|
|Duo Transcend||Trapeze Duo||Top 10|
|Glennis Grace||Singer||Top 10|
|Vicki Barbolak||Stand-up Comedienne||Top 10|
Season 14 premiered on May 28, 2019, with Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell returning as judges. Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough debuted as judges. Terry Crews debuted as the main series' host after hosting America's Got Talent: The Champions. The season concluded on September 18, 2019, with Kodi Lee as the winner.
|Kodi Lee||Singer and Pianist||Winner|
|Detroit Youth Choir||Choir||2nd Place|
|Ryan Niemiller||Stand-Up Comedian||3rd Place|
|V.Unbeatable||Acrobatic Dance Group||4th Place|
|Voices of Service||Vocal Group||5th Place|
|Benicio Bryant||Singer||Top 10|
|Emanne Beasha||Opera Singer||Top 10|
|Light Balance Kids||Light-Up Dance Crew||Top 10|
|Ndlovu Youth Choir||Choir||Top 10|
|Tyler Butler-Figueroa||Violinist||Top 10|
Season 15 premiered on May 26, 2020, with Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell returning as judges. Heidi Klum returned to the panel for the first time in the regular series since Season 13, while Sofia Vergara debuted as a judge. Terry Crews returned as host. The season concluded on September 23, 2020, with Brandon Leake as the winner.
|Brandon Leake||Spoken Word Poet||Winner|
|Broken Roots||Singing Duo||2nd Place|
|Cristina Rae||Singer||3rd Place|
|Roberta Battaglia||Singer||4th Place|
|Alan Silva||Aerialist||5th Place|
|Archie Williams||Singer||Top 10|
|BAD Salsa||Salsa Duo||Top 10|
|Bello Sisters||Acrobatic Trio||Top 10|
|Daneliya Tuleshova||Singer||Top 10|
|Kenadi Dodds||Singer/Guitarist/Pianist||Top 10|