Season 15 of America's Got Talent premiered on May 26, 2020. Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell returned as judges, along with Terry Crews as host. Sofia Vergara also joined the panel. [1] 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.

Judging Panel

Howie Mandel Heidi Klum Sofia Vergara Simon Cowell
Howiemandel15.png Heidiklum15.png Sofiavergara15.png Simoncowell15.png

Guest Judges

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
Ericstonestreet.png Kellyclarkson.png Kenanthompson.png

Host

Terry Crews
Terry.JPG

Episodes

Main article: Season 15 Episodes

Acts

Main article: Season 15 Acts

Auditions

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.

Due to Klum becoming ill, there were some acts in episodes 1505, 1506, and 1507 that only needed to receive at least two "yes" votes from the judges.

Judge Cuts

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.

Name Act Howie Heidi Sofia Simon Result
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

Quarterfinals

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.

Symbol Meaning
Ovation.png Standing Ovation
X.png Buzzer
Check.png Judges' Choice Vote

Week 1

NOTE: Due to injury, Simon Cowell was unable to judge during Week 1. He was replaced by Kelly Clarkson.

Name Act Howie Heidi Sofia Kelly Result
1. Pork Chop Revue Pig Act Eliminated
2. Feng E Ukulelist Ovation.png Check.png Eliminated (JC)
3. Shaquira McGrath Singer Ovation.png Ovation.png Moved On
4. Simon and Maria Salsa Duo Eliminated
5. Frenchie Babyy Contortionist Dancer Eliminated
6. Bello & Annaliese Nock Daredevil Duo Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Eliminated
7. Roberta Battaglia Singer Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Moved On
8. Michael Yo Stand-Up Comedian Eliminated
9. Double Dragon Singing Duo Check.png Check.png Check.png Moved On (JC)
10. Brett Loudermilk Sword Swallower Ovation.png Moved On (DS)
11. Archie Williams Singer Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Moved On

Week 2

Kenan Thompson replaced Simon for this week.

Name Act Howie Heidi Sofia Kenan Result
1. Kelvin Dukes Singer Eliminated
2. The Shape Dance Group Eliminated
3. Kameron Ross Singer Eliminated
4. BAD Salsa Salsa Duo Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Moved On
5. Vincent Marcus Impressionist Eliminated
6. Alexis Brownley & The Puppy Pals Dog Act Check.png Check.png Eliminated (JC)
7. BONAVEGA Novelty Singer Ovation.png Eliminated
8. Spyros Bros Diabolo Duo Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Moved On (DS)
9. Daneliya Tuleshova Singer Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Moved On
10. Jonathan Goodwin Daredevil Ovation.png Ovation.pngCheck.png Ovation.pngCheck.png Moved On (JC)
11. Voices of Our City Choir Choir Ovation.png Moved On

Week 3

Howie, Heidi and Sofia would carry on as a trio for the remainder of the Quarterfinals.

Name Act Heidi Howie Sofia Result
1. Dance Town Family Dance Group Ovation.png Ovation.png Eliminated (WC)
2. Nolan Neal Singer and Guitarist Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.pngCheck.png Eliminated (JC)
3. Usama Siddiquee Stand-Up Comedian Eliminated
4. W.A.F.F.L.E. Crew Dance Group Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Moved On (DS)
5. Annie Jones Singer Eliminated
6. Malik DOPE Drummer Check.png Check.png Moved On (JC)
7. Max Major Magician Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Moved On
8. Bonebreakers Contortionist Dance Group Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Eliminated
9. Sheldon Riley Singer Eliminated
10. Alan Silva Aerialist Ovation.png Moved On
11. Cristina Rae Singer Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Moved On

Week 4

Name Act Heidi Howie Sofia Result
1. CA Wildcats Cheerleading Group Ovation.png Eliminated
2. Kenadi Dodds Singer Moved On
3. Lightwave Theatre Company Multimedia Puppet Act X.png Eliminated
4. Resound Vocal Trio Ovation.pngCheck.png 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 Ovation.png Eliminated
9. Broken Roots Singing Duo Moved On
10. Bello Sisters Acrobatic Trio Check.png Check.png Moved On (JC)
11. Brandon Leake Spoken Word Poet Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Moved On

Semifinals

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.

Symbol Meaning
Ovation.png Standing Ovation
X.png Buzzer
Check.png Judges' Choice Vote

Week 1

Name Act Heidi Howie Sofia Result
1. Double Dragon Singing Duo Ovation.png Ovation.png 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 Ovation.png Ovation.png Eliminated
6. Alan Silva Aerialist Moved On (DS)
7. Shaquira McGrath Singer Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Eliminated
8. Brandon Leake Spoken Word Poet Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Moved On
9. Malik DOPE Drummer Ovation.png Ovation.pngCheck.png Ovation.png Eliminated (JC)
10. Archie Williams Singer Ovation.pngCheck.png Ovation.png Ovation.pngCheck.png Moved On (JC)
11. Roberta Battaglia Singer Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Moved On

Week 2

Name Act Heidi Howie Sofia Result
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 Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Moved On
5. Celina Singer Eliminated
6. Jonathan Goodwin Daredevil Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Eliminated
7. Cristina Rae Singer Ovation.png Moved On
8. BAD Salsa Salsa Duo Ovation.png Ovation.pngCheck.png Ovation.pngCheck.png Moved On (JC)
9. Voices of Our City Choir Choir Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Eliminated
10. Brett Loudermilk Sword Swallower Eliminated
11. Daneliya Tuleshova Singer Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Moved On

Finals

Main article: Season 15 Finals

Name Act Heidi Howie Sofia Result
1. Roberta Battaglia Singer Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png 4th Place
2. BAD Salsa Salsa Duo Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Top 10
3. Kenadi Dodds Singer/Guitarist/Pianist Ovation.png Ovation.png Top 10
4. Brandon Leake Spoken Word Poet Ovation.png Winner
5. Broken Roots Singing Duo 2nd Place
6. Bello Sisters Acrobatic Trio Top 10
7. Archie Williams Singer Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Top 10
8. Daneliya Tuleshova Singer Ovation.png Ovation.png Ovation.png Top 10
9. Alan Silva Aerialist 5th Place
10. Cristina Rae Singer Ovation.png Ovation.png 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.

Trivia

  • 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)
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