The Downside of ‘AGT’s Golden Buzzer

Kyle Montplaisir
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The confetti, the fame, the viral moment…the Golden Buzzer is what every AGT act dreams of. Since it is given to only a handful of acts each season, the Golden Buzzer has become synonymous with the most popular, eye-catching, and impressive acts on the show. Plus, it has quite the track record! The last three winners all received a Golden Buzzer in the Auditions. But is there a downside to the Golden Buzzer? The answer is yes. And here’s why!

Too Much Hype & Higher Expectations

The moment that the Golden Buzzer is pressed makes it go viral in itself! Some unsuspecting act is standing on stage, hoping to make their dreams a reality, and all of a sudden, confetti falls and the crowd goes wild. There’s no doubt it’s exciting! And because so many eyes are watching, these acts often end up trending online and being talked about all over. For most, this is as close as you can get to a win right from the start. You know you’re in the top group of acts for the entire season!


But with that comes a huge expectation. Because these acts are seen as the best, they have a lot of hype to live up to. If they can perform under that pressure, the Golden Buzzers immediately rise to the top. This is where you see the winners and finalists emerge from the rest of the acts. But if they can’t replicate the success of their Audition or Judge Cuts, they can be quickly lost in the crowd. One good performance does not necessarily translate to the audience forgiving future weak performances. We’ve even seen this happen this season, last week when Flau’jae was eliminated and this week when Makayla Phillips was in the Dunkin’ Save.

Less Performances Overall

And that takes us to our next point! Acts that receive the Golden Buzzer in the Auditions have less total performances. By the time the live shows come around, that is only the second time those Golden Buzzer acts have performed. This can be an advantage for groups like Zurcaroh or Light Balance, who require more preparation and planning. Plus, their “wow factor” is very memorable and unique.

But for vocal acts, which are the vast majority of Golden Buzzers, this can be a negative. Less performances means less airtime. And for singers, the more opportunities they have to show off different styles and abilities, the better! This season, we’ve seen Glennis Grace rise to the top after each of her performances. She did not receive a Golden Buzzer, which fans were initially unhappy about, but I think it actually worked in her favor. Especially considering she is a well-seasoned artist, she has a lot of talent to showcase!


Long Gaps Between Appearances, Lose Momentum

With less performances overall, there’s always a chance these acts lose their momentum. For instance, Zurcaroh was the Golden Buzzer in the very first episode this season. They have yet to appear in the live rounds, which means they’ll be back next week. After everything, the time between their first performance and this second upcoming one will be one day short of THREE MONTHS. That is insane to me!

But historically, Golden Buzzer acts have done just fine with the long gap between their first two performances. Darci Lynne Farmer last season was in a similar position, receiving the Golden Buzzer in the first episode then not performing again for two and a half months, as was Grace VanderWaal the season before. And you know how those stories ended!

More Criticism

The last downside of the Golden Buzzer is that with more exposure comes more criticism. Since their acts are viewed by so many, the responses (both positive and negative) are greater. People seem to be much harsher toward Golden Buzzer acts too because they are supposed to be seen as the best of the season. Everyone wants to be a critic online! But this is especially true toward these acts. Again, the expectation is so high to receive a Golden Buzzer that the audience often questions if acts were truly “deserving” of the honor.

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