Season 15 of America's Got Talent premiered on May 26, 2020. Terry Crews returned as host, while Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel returned as judges along with Heidi Klum who had to miss out on Season 14 due to being busy with other projects. New judge Sofia Vergara joined the panel after it was announced that Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough would not be returning as judges, after much controversy. Simon Cowell broke his back mid season bringing back the 3 judge panel like from seasons 1-7 making the panel from quarterfinals and on Howie Mandel, Sofia Vergara and Heidi Klum.
This season was also notably impacted by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the show to input many changes, including a revised Judge Cuts format, a top 44 Quarterfinals, and the use of social distancing both on and off set.
|Howie Mandel||Heidi Klum||Sofia Vergara||Simon Cowell|
Unlike previous seasons, there were no guest judges during the Judge Cuts.
Due to Heidi becoming ill, Eric Stonestreet acted as a guest judge in Episodes 1505 and 1506. Likewise, due to Simon recovering from a serious back injury, Kelly Clarkson acted as a guest judge in Episodes 1509 and 1510. Kenan Thompson did the same in Episodes 1511 and 1512.
|Eric Stonestreet||Kelly Clarkson||Kenan Thompson|
Main article: Season 15 Episodes
Main article: Season 15 Acts
Main article: Season 15 Auditions
Each act that performed in front of the judges was given 90 seconds to demonstrate their talents for the judges. If an act received at least three "Yes" votes from the judges, they were accepted to the next round. Otherwise, they were eliminated from the competition.
Main article: Season 15 Judge Cuts
Due to the COVID-19 filming shutdown, the Season 15 Judge Cuts were reconfigured into one episode. There were no guest judges.
60 acts were chosen from all of the accepted acts from auditions. 10 acts performed one more time for 5 spots in the next round, while some other acts were put through automatically. In total, 39 acts advanced to the Quarterfinals to join the five Golden Buzzer acts from auditions, and 21 acts were eliminated.
|1. Simon and Maria||Salsa Duo||Moved On|
|2. Craig Reid||Hula Hoop Act||Eliminated|
|3. Max Major||Magician||Moved On|
|4. Shaquira McGrath||Singer||Moved On|
|5. Ty Barnett||Stand-Up Comedian||Eliminated|
|6. Brothers Gage||Harmonica Duo||Eliminated|
|7. Nolan Neal||Singer/Guitarist||Moved On|
|8. Ryan Tricks||Magician||Eliminated|
|9. The Ninja Twins||Dance Duo||Eliminated|
|10. Jonathan Goodwin||Daredevil||Moved On|
Main article: Season 15 Quarterfinals
The Quarterfinals round has been re-adjusted.
From the 44 Quarterfinalists, 11 acts performed each week over 4 weeks. Each week, 5 acts moved on to the Semifinals.
The contestants that came in fourth, fifth, and sixth place in America's Vote fought for votes online in the Dunkin' Save. The act who received the most votes earned a spot in the Semifinals. The judges voted between the two remaining acts the last spot of the week in the Semifinals.
In weeks 3 and 4 due to there only being 3 judges, a 2-vote majority was needed to advance in the Judges' Choice, which had not been used since Season 7.
|Judges' Choice Vote|
NOTE: Due to injury, Simon Cowell was unable to judge during Week 1. He was replaced by Kelly Clarkson.
|1. Pork Chop Revue||Pig Act||Eliminated|
|2. Feng E||Ukulelist||Eliminated (JC)|
|3. Shaquira McGrath||Singer||Moved On|
|4. Simon and Maria||Salsa Duo||Eliminated|
|5. Frenchie Babyy||Contortionist Dancer||Eliminated|
|6. Bello & Annaliese Nock||Daredevil Duo||Eliminated|
|7. Roberta Battaglia||Singer||Moved On|
|8. Michael Yo||Stand-Up Comedian||Eliminated|
|9. Double Dragon||Singing Duo||Moved On (JC)|
|10. Brett Loudermilk||Sword Swallower||Moved On (DS)|
|11. Archie Williams||Singer||Moved On|
Kenan Thompson replaced Simon for this week.
|1. Kelvin Dukes||Singer||Eliminated|
|2. The Shape||Dance Group||Eliminated|
|3. Kameron Ross||Singer||Eliminated|
|4. BAD Salsa||Salsa Duo||Moved On|
|5. Vincent Marcus||Impressionist||Eliminated|
|6. Alexis Brownley & The Puppy Pals||Dog Act||Eliminated (JC)|
|7. BONAVEGA||Novelty Singer||Eliminated|
|8. Spyros Bros||Diabolo Duo||Moved On (DS)|
|9. Daneliya Tuleshova||Singer||Moved On|
|10. Jonathan Goodwin||Daredevil||Moved On (JC)|
|11. Voices of Our City Choir||Choir||Moved On|
Howie, Heidi and Sofia would carry on as a trio for the remainder of the Quarterfinals.
|1. Dance Town Family||Dance Group||Eliminated (WC)|
|2. Nolan Neal||Singer and Guitarist||Eliminated (JC)|
|3. Usama Siddiquee||Stand-Up Comedian||Eliminated|
|4. W.A.F.F.L.E. Crew||Dance Group||Moved On (DS)|
|5. Annie Jones||Singer||Eliminated|
|6. Malik DOPE||Drummer||Moved On (JC)|
|7. Max Major||Magician||Moved On|
|8. Bonebreakers||Contortionist Dance Group||Eliminated|
|9. Sheldon Riley||Singer||Eliminated|
|10. Alan Silva||Aerialist||Moved On|
|11. Cristina Rae||Singer||Moved On|
|1. CA Wildcats||Cheerleading Group||Eliminated|
|2. Kenadi Dodds||Singer||Moved On|
|3. Lightwave Theatre Company||Multimedia Puppet Act||Eliminated|
|4. Resound||Vocal Trio||Eliminated (JC)|
|5. Divas & Drummers of Compton||Dance and Percussion Group||Eliminated|
|6. Celina||Singer||Moved On (DS)|
|7. Noah Epps||Dancer||Eliminated|
|8. Alex Hooper||Comedian||Eliminated|
|9. Broken Roots||Singing Duo||Moved On|
|10. Bello Sisters||Acrobatic Trio||Moved On (JC)|
|11. Brandon Leake||Spoken Word Poet||Moved On|
Main article: Season 15 Semifinals
From the 22 Semifinalists, 11 acts performed each week over two weeks. Each week, 5 acts moved onto the Finals.
The contestants that came in fourth, fifth, and sixth place in America's Vote fought for votes online in the Dunkin' Save. The act who received the most votes earned a spot in the Finals. The judges voted between the two remaining acts the last spot of the week in the Finals.
|Judges' Choice Vote|
|1. Double Dragon||Singing Duo||Eliminated|
|2. Dance Town Family||Dance Group||Eliminated|
|3. Broken Roots||Singing Duo||Moved On|
|4. Spyros Bros||Diabolo Duo||Eliminated|
|5. Thomas Day||Singer||Eliminated|
|6. Alan Silva||Aerialist||Moved On (DS)|
|7. Shaquira McGrath||Singer||Eliminated|
|8. Brandon Leake||Spoken Word Poet||Moved On|
|9. Malik DOPE||Drummer||Eliminated (JC)|
|10. Archie Williams||Singer||Moved On (JC)|
|11. Roberta Battaglia||Singer||Moved On|
|1. W.A.F.F.L.E. Crew||Dance Group||Eliminated|
|2. Kenadi Dodds||Singer/Guitarist||Moved On (DS)|
|3. Max Major||Magician||Eliminated (JC)|
|4. Bello Sisters||Acrobatic Trio||Moved On|
|6. Jonathan Goodwin||Daredevil||Eliminated|
|7. Cristina Rae||Singer||Moved On|
|8. BAD Salsa||Salsa Duo||Moved On (JC)|
|9. Voices of Our City Choir||Choir||Eliminated|
|10. Brett Loudermilk||Sword Swallower||Eliminated|
|11. Daneliya Tuleshova||Singer||Moved On|
Main article: Season 15 Finals
|1. Roberta Battaglia||Singer||4th Place|
|2. BAD Salsa||Salsa Duo||Top 10|
|3. Kenadi Dodds||Singer/Guitarist/Pianist||Top 10|
|4. Brandon Leake||Spoken Word Poet||Winner|
|5. Broken Roots||Singing Duo||2nd Place|
|6. Bello Sisters||Acrobatic Trio||Top 10|
|7. Archie Williams||Singer||Top 10|
|8. Daneliya Tuleshova||Singer||Top 10|
|9. Alan Silva||Aerialist||5th Place|
|10. Cristina Rae||Singer||3rd Place|
Changes from Seasons 10-14
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many aspects of the show were changed:
- There were seven audition episodes instead of six, like Season 10.
- Later auditions did not feature an audience and were eventually moved online.
- The Judge Cuts consisted of one episode rather than four.
- Due to Judge Cuts only consisting of one episode instead of four, there were no guest judges during the Judge Cuts. However, this season still featured guest judges in the form of stand-ins for certain judges (Eric Stonestreet for Heidi Klum; Kelly Clarkson and Kenan Thompson for Simon Cowell)
- Similar to the Vegas Round of Seasons 2-8 and Judgement Week of Season 9, many acts were sent through to the live shows without having to perform in the Judge Cuts.
- Aside from Broken Roots, who replaced Thomas Day after he withdrew, there were no standard Judge Cuts wildcards.
- Only 10 acts were sent to the Judge Cuts rather than 80 acts with 20 per episode. Only 5 acts of those 10 were sent to the live shows.
- The live shows were held at Universal Studios Hollywood instead of the Dolby Theatre. Acts that were unable to make the trip to California due to COVID-19 travel restrictions performed remotely via satellite from their place of origin.
- Feng E performed from Tapei, Taiwan.
- BAD Salsa performed from Kolkata, India for their Quarterfinals and Semifinals performances. They were able to make the trip to Los Angeles for the Finals.
- Dance Town Family performed from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
- Sheldon Riley performed from Sydney, Australia.
- CA Wildcats performed from Plano, Texas.
- Lightwave Theatre Company performed from Romania.
- Bello Sisters performed from Germany. Youngest sister Joline was unable to be present for the live judges' comments and results due to German laws regarding minors. Therefore, it is assumed their performances were pre-recorded so all three sisters could perform together.
- Some group acts had to wear masks during their live show performances. Groups like this included:
- There was no Golden Buzzer in the Judge Cuts.
- For the first time since Season 10, an act that had advanced to the live shows withdrew prior to the Quarterfinals.
- 44 acts performed in the Quarterfinals as opposed to 36. 11 acts performed in each Quarterfinals episode as opposed to 12.
- There were 4 weeks of Quarterfinals rounds as opposed to 3.
- In each Quarterfinals round, 5 acts moved on to the Semifinals instead of 7.
- Instead of a Dunkin' Lounge, there was a Dunkin' Coffee Chat, where Terry had a conversation with one act at a time, rather than having everyone in the same room.
- Cars were awarded as prizes to the winner and the runner-up.
- Two Wild Cards from the eliminated quarterfinalists returned for the Semifinals instead of just one.
- This was the first season Simon did not buzz any acts in the live shows, due to his absence from recovering his back injury.
- This is the only season where a judge leaves the panel mid season.
- The Red Buzzers were almost never used during the live shows, with only one performance being buzzed (intentionally). This is tied for the least amount of buzzers ever in the lives with Season 9.
- This is the first season since Season 7 to have the panel consist of 3 judges for the most part (Simon was only present for the auditions and the Judge Cuts episode)