America’s Got Talent is a reality television show that helps talented performers come into the spotlight and finally get noticed by the world.
Now, the show claims that they are dedicated to finding the best talent in the country, but are they really? Over the years, there have been a lot of reality shows that deal in friendly competitions between performers, and like all those shows, AGT had come under fire due to people coming forward and admitting some stuff producers would rather keep on the DL.
Between lawsuits, tampering with votes, changing acts, and many other allegations, the show has lost its “we want to help rising stars” appeal and now comes off as being fake and rigged.
Here are 17 dark secrets the execs would rather keep hidden away.
17 One Former Contestant Accused The Show Of Sabotaging Singers
A former contestant on the show accused showrunners of manipulating singers when it came to their performances.
According to cheatsheet.com, Murray Sawchuck from Season 5 had this to say: “I know numerous friends on the show who would rehearse perfectly with full monitors, then when they go to do their lives performances, the monitors would drop off so they can no longer hear themselves and in turn it would sing off key.
16 The Show Was Sued For Wrongful Death
AGT is being sued in the wrong death of Maureen Allen, an elderly woman that suffered injuries when she was thrown from her wheelchair after hitting a large power cord AGT had draped over a wheelchair ramp at a nearby building.
According to cheatsheet.com, Maureen underwent eight different surgeries to fix her injuries, which later left her on life support and eventually she passed away.
15 A Lot Of The Contestants That Go Far In The Show Never Had To Audition
Supposedly, when it comes to reality television, the shows don’t actually recruit all their cast, even though they advertise they are hosting auditions.
According to cheatsheet.com, Julienne Irwin, a country singer from Season 2, revealed that during her time on the show, there was only one person in the Top 20 who wasn’t a professional performer and had to audition to get on the show.
14 Some Of The Contestants Have Appeared On Different Versions Of The Show
Not only does AGT recruit professional performers, but also a lot of the contestants have already done other international branches of the show.
According to cheatsheet.com, one good example would be Sacred Riana. Riana performed not only in Season 13 of AGT, but also was in Season 3 of Asia’s Got Talent.
13 One Producer Was Sued After He Supposedly “Traumatized” Someone’s Daughter
During an audition in New York, a couple brought their daughter with them as they performed multiple songs for their audition.
According to cheatsheet.com, the couple claimed a producer approached their daughter behind their backs and told her to “act embarrassed and annoyed by her parent’s performance. To top it off, they also claimed Tyra Banks physically manipulated and verbally abused their daughter while making fun of their performance.
12 One Contestant Opened Up About How Producers Lie To Get Emotional Reactions From The Audience
One contestant claimed that producers lied so they could get one contestant crying on camera.
According to cheatsheet.com, he claimed that he was in the green room with other contestants watching a young girl audition when a producer came in and told them that she made it. When she entered the room, they all applauded her. Sadly, the producer had lied, and she didn’t actually make the cut.
11 A Contestant Was Caught Lying About His Backstory
Reality shows love to show contestants with moving backstories in order to draw in the audience.
According to cheatsheet.com, Timothy Poe, a contestant on Season 7 of the show, claimed that not only was he injured by an IED explosion in Iraq, but also by a grenade in Afghanistan. It was later learned though that picture they used of him in uniform, wasn’t actually him.
10 All The Votes Are Tallied By A Third Party Company
Like other reality contestant shows, AGT allows the audience and viewers at home vote on what performers they like the most. Then, the one with the lowest vote is sent home.
According to diply.com, AGT doesn’t actually tally those votes. Instead, a company called Telescope, Inc. tally them. They also do other reality shows such as American Idol.
9 All Jokes Are Pre-Screened
Many comedians that perform on the show are actually not allowed to perform some of their material when they finally appear on stage.
According to nickiswift.com, many comedians came forward for Inside AGT and talked about how they must submit their jokes first to the producers so they can review them. All materials must pass the networks standards first, as well as make sure they have friendly family values.
8 Contestants Don’t Have The Final Decision On What They Do For Their Act
Just like the prescreening of jokes, all other performers are also required to test out their performance in front of producers first.
According to nickiswift.com, Special Head, a performer in Season 8, stated that producers decided when it's time to kick off a contestant and because some of the contestants are performers the crowd love, they must manipulate their performances to make them lose.
7 Some Contestants Are Forced To Endure Grueling Schedules
Becoming a performer takes a lot of dedication, some acts more than others.
According to nickiswift.com, Damien Escobar, a performer on Season 4, had this to say about their boot-camp like schedule: “They kept us in this holding area for up to 19 hours until it was our time to rehearse. We'd get about four hours of sleep and be up at 5:00 AM to do it all over again."
6 The Audience Is Coached By Plants When It Comes To How They React
A user by the name of “whipchick” documented her time during the AGT auditioning stage by commenting on how the audience was filled with “plants.”
According to nickiswift.com, these plants prompt the audience on when to boo and cheer during a performers act. In fact, some of the audience are told while in line for their tickets that if someone jumps up or makes an X, they must do the same thing.
5 Producers Can Use Any Means Necessary To Pick The Winners They Want
When a performer is selected to perform on the show, they must sign a contract that states producers: “reserve the right to determine the winner by any means they choose.”
According to nickiswift.com, a Season 10 employee did come forward though and explain that the votes are not rigged. They are real and that producers do have favorites that they prep stuff in advance in case they make it to the finals.
4 Editing Is Allowed To Change The Acts
A YouTuber by the name of CaptainDillusion made a heavy argument about how its easy for producers to add in CGI and creative editing when a performance isn’t live.
According to nickiswift.com, Kayvon Zand proved this by admitting during Judge cuts he received three X’s but couldn’t hear over the music. The show later edited the footage to make him look as if he was reacting to the buzzers though.
3 Judges Votes Don’t Always Matter
Although the judges give the thumbs up on who goes through to the next round, it’s the producers who have the final say.
According to nickiswift.com, Kayvon Zand, a contestant in Season 10, talked about how he received three yes votes from the judge, but later received an email stating that he would have to wait to go to the next round until he got a yes from them.
2 Show Runners Can Change An Act Into Something It’s Not
Kayvon Zand, a contestant in Season 10, penned a blog post for The Huffington Post talking about how he was displayed as a “freak” on the show.
According to nickiswift.com, Zand admitted that he felt producers tricked him into believe his performance would be portrayed in a positive way but ended up being just an act the audience could mock.
1 The Prize Is Paid Out Over A 40 Year Time
Winning AGT comes with a lot of different perks such as: paid studio time, a live act, and even a big cash prize.
According to insider.com though, that cash prize is not given to them all at once. In fact, Forbes reported that the million-dollar sum is paid out in taxed $25,0oo installments over a 40 year period.
Sources: cheatsheet.com, nickiswift.com, insider.com