Is it Fair for Established Performers to Audition for Talent Shows?

Samantha Agate
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One familiar name on the America’s Got Talent Season 16 audition list has raised questions about fairness when it comes to trying out for the show. Actor and voiceover artist Michael Winslow has appeared in numerous films like Gremlins, Space Balls, and the Police Academy franchise. Based on an ambiguous Instagram post, it appears that Winslow recently auditioned for Season 16 despite his established success.

Actor Michael Winslow Auditions for ‘America’s Got Talent’ Season 16 Raising Many Questions

Windslow was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 1987. He did come from humble beginnings as a homeless performer when he first moved to Los Angeles. After finding fame and paving the way for voiceover artists for more than 40 years, many are wondering why he decided to audition for America’s Got Talent.

Winslow has close to 70 acting credits on IMBD. He has served as the voiceover artist for numerous advertisements, commercials, and video games. The 62-year-old has also done a podcast called The NoizeCast in 2019. It goes without saying that he has had more accomplished throughout his career than the average talent show contestant. We don’t know if the producers invited him to audition or if he applied.

Acts Auditioning for Talent Shows That Have Already Made It Big

He’s not the only famous face on this season. Winslow’s fellow Season 16 America’s Got Talent competitors Beyond Belief Dance Company have auditioned for the show before. They also have their own Netflix Show, making them early standouts in the competition. The group is led by popular drag queen Alyssa Edwards who has a massive following from competing on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Actress Mama Char will also be making an appearance on this season of America’s Got Talent. She is an author and has several acting credits including The Downside of Bliss and Hashtag Blessed: The Movie. Storm Large who competed on the show Rock Star: Supernova and appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show is taking her singing talents to America’s Got Talent. Storm has been touring with multiple bands and put out her own original songs before writing a memoir in her extensive career. Her 28,000 Instagram followers will be rooting for her this season.

People who are trying to break into the entertainment industry might not stand a chance against someone who has already found fame and a huge fanbase. These acts all seem like performers who might not necessarily need to be on a show like this to find success. However, the $1 million prize is definitely enticing. Getting their own Las Vegas show is the icing on the cake for those who have not found international fame or won a Grammy just yet.

Other Talent Shows Have Brought On Experienced Performers Over the Seasons

America’s Got Talent isn’t the only show that has highlighted already established performers. Before winning Season 20 of The Voice this year, Cam Anthony found fame from appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The Voice has always been very welcoming towards artists who once had record deals. Past contestants belonged to popular music acts or even had hit songs. Season 20’s Pete Mroz already had a few albums out and a connection to Blake Shelton when he competed this year.

Cupid, who sings the party song “Cupid’s Shuffle,” auditioned for Season 3 of The Voice. None of the coaches turned for him, but it seemed like he was there to help re-launch his singing career. Jordan Pruitt who toured with the Jonas Brothers auditioned for the same season as Cupid. Jermaine Paul and Cassadee Pope were already established artists before winning the show in back-to-back seasons. Jermaine was nominated for a Grammy prior to his audition. Cassadee was the lead singer of the popular band Hey Monday.

On Season 19 of American Idol, former America’s Got Talent singer Madison Watkins made it all the way to the live shows. Prior to coming onto the show this year, Madison had several singles and EP’s out much like the other contestants. She had one of the biggest social media followings coming onto the show. Fellow Season 19 contestant Alanis Sophia once had a record deal and also had a huge global fanbase.

Is it Fair to Bring These Established Performers onto Talent Shows?

Talent shows try to take everything a person has done and weave it into a possible storyline. Most of the time, people with longer resumes are still seeking their ultimate dream. We’ll probably never see an Oscar winner auditioning for shows like America’s Got Talent or American Idol. We could always potentially see people that have been in the background of Oscar-nominated films or sung with music legends audition instead.

These established performers can have an edge up when it comes time for voting if they make it that far. Obviously, there is a reason why they have not been able to reach their full potential yet. They still need people like Simon Cowell or Katy Perry to give them guidance and steer them on the right path of taking the next step in their careers.

In recent seasons of America’s Got Talent, there are quite a few acts that have outwardly said the show invited them to come audition. Other acts applied online the old-fashioned way. Talent shows are all about creating buzz. Enlisting acts that already have strong fanbases helps do that. Producers may think it is fair to approach contestants this way, but fans may not always agree on that.

Do you think it is fair for established performers to audition for talent shows?

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