Last week I took a look at the long-standing debate as to whether or not America’s Got Talent contestants should be allowed to compete on multiple iterations of the show. Having people who have participated in previous reality programs is one thing. But people who have already achieved a certain level of mainstream success? That’s an entirely different beast.
Only three episodes of America’s Got Talent Season 13 have aired, and we’ve already seen two acts that are fairly well known in the music industry.
The more well-known of the two would probably be Noah Guthrie, whose audition was aired during last week’s episode. His segment did not shy away from the fact that he acted on Glee, and framed his participation on AGT as a sort of comeback after not being able to continue the momentum for his career once the show ended.
The other act that many viewers recognized was Us The Duo, featured on the June 5 episode. The married couple is best known for being signed to Republic Records after becoming popular on the platform Vine, and having a song on the soundtrack of the movie The Book of Life (which was actually the song they auditioned with). However, unlike with Noah, their previous success in the entertainment industry was not even touched upon during their AGT audition segment (though some viewers did recognize the song from the movie and put two and two together).
Whether you enjoy seeing performers you may be familiar with on AGT or not, if the show is going to have acts of this calibre on I wish they’d just be consistently open with the audience about it. I was happy that they mentioned Noah’s time on Glee right away, but disappointed they didn’t mention anything Us The Duo had done. There is a stigma surrounding contestants with previous notoriety, and forcing one act to experience it while exempting another doesn’t seem fair. Either bring up the elephant in the room with everyone or ignore it entirely, switching between methods is just…strange.
Having contestants this well known on AGT is a fairly uncommon thing, and both of these acts being on now almost like an experiment of sorts. The closest example to this sort of scenario we’ve seen in recent memory was last season’s Bello Nock, who was only really well-known in the circus world. However, a lot of people knew about that and it seemed to be a driving force behind his elimination in the first round of live shows. (And he actually fell into the Us The Duo category, with his notoriety being swept under the rug!)
As much as I’m sure many of us would love to produce AGT, we as fans are unable to control how the acts are chosen and edited. However, we will have the all-important power of our vote later on in the season. If one or both of Noah and Us The Duo makes it to the live shows, I think it will be very telling to see how the audience reacts to them. They’re much more well-known in the mainstream entertainment world than Bello, but that also means they probably have a lot more fans ready to vote. I think if these acts do well we could potentially see more contestants on their level of fame in the future, and it will be interesting to see if it leads to a shift in the overall direction of AGT.