Is An Impressive Resume An Advantage or Disadvantage on ‘AGT’?

Julia Delbel
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Trae Patton, NBC

 


America’s Got Talent is known as a show people go on in hopes of getting their “big break” but many viewers have noticed some familiar faces among Season 13′s lineup of contestants.

One of the biggest topics of discussion surrounding the current season of AGT is the level of fame contestants have experienced prior to participating in the competition. Earlier in the season we touched on how some of this year’s hopefuls previously competed on other reality shows or even had record deals. But as more and more of the acts have been revealed, it’s become clear this doesn’t apply to just the odd contestant here and there: it’s become the norm.

We’ve already seen some considerable backlash toward former Glee star Noah Guthrie and viral hit Us The Duo (which has only grown stronger and now that we know the latter will be competing in the live shows) but now we have even more acts in this vein, most notably Glennis Grace. The singer, who was compared to Whitney Houston during her audition, has experienced quite a bit of success in her home country. She represented the Netherlands in Eurovision 2005, has released several albums of music, and topped the Dutch singles chart with one of her cover recordings. Several other Season 13 acts are also quite well known in their own homelands, mostly for reality shows such as Amanda Mena as the winner of La Voz Kids Season 2, and Courtney Hadwin as runner-up on The Voice Kids UK.


In the past I’d be apt to say the average home audience member would have no idea about any of this and it wouldn’t affect the standings of these contestants in the competition, but since there’s been an increase in the number of acts with previous fame – especially this season – I’ve noticed more and more “casual” viewers catching wind of this trend – and most of them aren’t too pleased by it.

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I have to wonder how this might have an effect on how voting plays out once we get to the live shows in a few weeks. Last season we saw daredevil Bello Nock get eliminated in the quarter-finals after an absolutely stellar performance, and based on the social media comments about his performance I think the lack of support may have been because stories of his extensive circus career had picked up wind over the course of the season.

If people were that turned off by a professional from a somewhat obscure performance art participating on AGT, I can only imagine what the reaction might be to those from more mainstream avenues. But I also think it’s possible that having a lot of semi-famous acts this season rather than just a few might be beneficial to those with more on their resume, as it’ll even the playing field in that regard.

Of course, if some acts get “outed” while others manage to keep their careers under wraps, we could be in for another Bello situation come the live shows. There are a lot of ways this could go, but no matter what it’ll certainly be interesting to see whose pasts come to light and whose manage to slip under the cracks, and if any of this proves to have an influence on viewers.

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