With the advent of internet forums and social media, spoilers tend to get out about any TV show that’s pre-taped. Even with non-disclosure agreements signed by those in attendance, people will often break the rules.
A lot of this went on with America’s Got Talent: The Champions. The show was filmed back in the fall, but some fans have known the episode outcomes for months due to leaks from those who were lucky enough to attend the live tapings. And when it came to the finals, things pretty much exploded in the AGT fandom.
The First Leak
Shortly after the Champions finale was filmed back in October, a photo of host Terry Crews standing onstage with Darci Lynne and Shin Lim surfaced online, with the poster having claimed they attended the results taping and that they were the top two acts (they did not specify who the winner was).
Almost immediately, fans started claiming the image was photoshopped or altered in some other way, with some even claiming it HAD to be fake because they were wearing the same outfits they wore when they won their respective original seasons (which they clearly weren’t) and because they were standing on the same sides of the host they stood on for their initial victory.
The Fake Spoilers
Very soon after the image of the final two was leaked, many other people online (mainly on Reddit and especially the AGT Wiki) claimed that they went to the taping and knew the winner. The majority of these people claimed Darci Lynne had won, which we now know were simply guesses which turned out to be wrong. Some people took it even further and listed all 12 final placements when only the top 5 were revealed with the rest of the acts being eliminated in no particular order. As soon as that portion of the episode started to play out on TV, all of those “spoilers” were proven false.
The Real Spoilers
While many of the “sources” turned out to be phony, there ended up being some real ones as well as some clues that hinted Shin Lim was the one who was victorious. His performance in the finals last week was aired late in the show (the order of acts shown on TV for Champions was shifted from the order they actually performed in on the day of for every episode) and didn’t seem to be edited down at all like some of the others, including Darci’s.
The Ellen Show has also had Shin on their schedule for this week every since it came out. It’s pretty much common-practice to have the winner of AGT on fellow NBC program Ellen, but they could have done things similar to the live seasons and have Shin labelled as “AGT Champions winner” on the list or something in order to make the winner less obvious.
But the most obvious of these was a video that gained traction online last week when it was re-uploaded by a third party who wasn’t personally at the taping. The clip – which seemed to be recorded on a smartphone – showed Terry’s announcement of Shin as the winner and Shin’s subsequent fall to the floor. The footage was removed from YouTube by an affiliate of Shin’s a few days later.
The Conspiracy Theories
Despite this newfound evidence, some of the people who said Darci was the winner remained adamant in their claims, even going so far as to say they filmed multiple endings at multiple tapings to throw everyone off.
Many Darci fans (and Shin haters) quickly latched onto this conspiracy theory and refused to believe she lost to Shin until the episode actually aired.
Adding to this idea was the fact that the show claimed the “50 states” who selected five of the finalists during the first round also determined the final placements for the end of the season, but every single person who went to the taping for episode six reported they were given a sheet of the acts and phone numbers to text in order to vote for their favorite to win. So a companion theory that two different voting methods were utilized and only the producer-selected superfans would actually have a say in who won also developed.
The Truth of It All
It seems that the studio audience really did vote during episode six and any mention of the “50 states” in the last two episodes referred to them. (Note how they didn’t make any reference to the demographics of which areas of the country voted for which acts on the map like they did back in the first five episodes.) As for multiple taped endings, there doesn’t seem to be any concrete proof to back that theory up. Sometimes people like to egg other fans on with false stories to get them on edge, and they usually succeed in doing so – well, until the truth eventually prevails.