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The ‘AGT’ Judges Discuss What Makes The Show So Successful

Jack Tomas

Jack Tomas

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By every possible rubric of measurement of all the shows we cover AGT is by far the most successful. And I’m not just talking about the ratings, (although those are spectacular). I mean in the sense that it really bleeds into the zeitgeist. But what makes the show work so well. AGT judges Howie Mandel, Mel B, and Heidi Klum think they know why.

The first thing to remember, according to Howie, is that a variety show like AGT is perfect for television. In fact, it is why the TV was invented in the first place. He said,

“America’s Got Talent is the last bastion—and the only bastion—of real variety television. Television was created as another way of projecting vaudeville. All those vaudeville shows, that’s where everybody went before there was TV; in between movies, people went to theaters to see the juggler, and the magician, and the singer. Then, there became shows in America like Ed Sullivan, where everybody would gather around on Sunday night. That’s what made Elvis, Elvis. That’s what made The Beatles, The Beatles. And that is what’s happening with America’s Got Talent.”

This is an important point. AGT is the only place you can come to see this many different types of acts. The fact that they always have new and interesting things is what keeps the show fresh after 13 seasons. Heidi Klum said,


Because it’s variety. Because it has people who are young, old, and everyone in between. Whenever you think you have a talent, you can just show up, if the producers have looked at you previously. We’re there until 1 o’clock in the morning to find everyone, and push them forward so that America can judge them, and I think it’s astonishing to people to see how some people have these amazing talents when they’re sitting at a cash register somewhere, or they’re a lawyer somewhere. Or it’s a mom who has kind of put her thing on hold because she wanted to be there for her family. You hear their stories and you empathize with these people. You can relate to them, and all of a sudden they belt out the most amazing song, or they do the most amazing, crazy thing that you’ve never seen before. So you feel for them, and you vote for them because you fall in love with certain people.”

Ultimately, this is what makes the show so special. The Voice and American Idol are great but do they have human fountains and guys dressed like worms? No.

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