‘AGT’ Fans Question Season 18 Format, Will The Judge Cuts Return?

Corey Cesare
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Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara, Simon Cowell, and Terry Crews on 'America's Got Talent'Trae Patton/NBC

Now that America’s Got Talent has confirmed their upcoming season, fans have begun to question the show’s format. As many remember, last season of AGT felt short, since there were less live shows. In 2023, fans are hoping to see the return of the Judge Cuts.

Fans Wonder if Judge Cuts Will Return

On Thursday, March 30, America’s Got Talent announced their upcoming premiere on May 30. Along with the show’s premiere news, they released a statement about the season, as well as when live shows will begin. According to the press release “This season promises to deliver some of the wildest acts to ever grace the AGT stage.”

Then, the network specified that six weeks of live shows will begin on Tuesday, August 22 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. In addition, as per usual, result shows will appear on the Wednesday directly after the live show.

Although this may seem similar to last season at first glance, it’s actually very different from the previous year. In 2022, AGT premiered on May 31, with nine weeks of auditions featuring a judge deliberation section, and one special episode. The live shows then kicked off on August 9, and the finale aired six weeks later on September 14.

It’s already been confirmed that this season the show will premiere on May 31 and live shows will begin on August 22. This means that AGT will have 11 episodes between May 31 and August 22. Unfortunately, the live show round seems to be the same as last year, so even though the format wasn’t the best, fans should expect to see it again.

Are The AGT Judge Cuts Returning?

For those who don’t know, Judge Cuts is typically a long process since the AGT stage sees a lot of contestants. This round typically sees the 70-80 (dependent on the season) acts audition all over again. It used to last around four weeks in the middle of the season. The round was notorious for featuring various guest judges, who often were able to award Guest Judge Golden Buzzers.

This round of the competition was first cut in Season 15 (2020) and replaced with the Judges Deliberations episode. Instead of seeing all the acts again, judges rewatched audition footage and decided which acts would go on from there.

Judge Deliberations were underwhelming for the most part for fans, since they weren’t able to see their favorite acts again. In addition, any performer that got below four yeses would have a hard time moving into the live shows.

With all that being said, a lot can be done with an extra two weeks, but I wouldn’t count on the return of the Judge Cuts. Even with 12 pre recorded episodes before August 22, there may not be time for the Judge Cuts we know and love.

The first roadblock comes from the fact that Independence Day is on a Tuesday. Last season, the show was on the day after, so there was a filler episode. I think it’s safe for fans to expect another episode like season 17’s Simon’s Favorite Golden Buzzers.

With July 4 off the roster, that leaves 11 episodes between the beginning of auditions and live shows. If the format features 9 weeks (episodes) of auditions again, that leaves 2 episodes (given Judge Deliberations aren’t planned).

Could it Happen?

I think the chance of AGT Judge Cuts coming back now is extremely low, purely because they’ve cut the round since 2020. On the flipside, never say never. The show seems to have two weeks extra in their prerecorded format, so they could have a condensed version of the Judge Cut round.

To be honest, instead of bringing back the round for two episodes, I could see them switching it up a bit. The Judge Deliberations have never been a full episode, but they tried it out in AGT All-Stars. For those who may not have tuned into the spin off, there was a week where fans got to relive auditions “from the judges table.”

Maybe in 2023 we’ll see a longer version of the judges discussing who will go on in the competition. I could also see them then having a full episode recap of what happened up to that point.

Nevertheless, time will only tell how the show plans to navigate their extra weeks on air this season. Let me know what you think the format will be in the comments below.

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