Keith Apicary on ‘AGT’: “It’s Kind Of Sad For Real People Who Show Up Thinking This is a Real Thing”

Corey Cesare
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Keith Apicary AGTTrae Patton/NBC

Keith Apicary, whose real name is Nathan Barnatt, was eliminated from America’s Got Talent after making it all the way to the quarterfinals. After the elimination, he shared some behind the scenes information about AGT and their contract system that will really surprise fans.


After news broke that Barnatt was no longer in the competition, he immediately shared details on his AGT experience behind closed doors. He posted to his Instagram story, sharing that America might not be the ones voting. Instead, he suggests that contestants who did not sign AGT‘s final contract are primarily the ones getting “voted” off.

“My agent wouldn’t let me sign it cause they’d own like everything I ever make,” Barnatt said.

Barnatt claims that the fan voting system may not be accurate as the Instant Save doesn’t include all time zones, and he was not allowed to see exactly how many votes he received after the show.


Barnatt Says ‘America’s Got Talent’ Wanted to Change His Act

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“The routine I did last wasn’t what I wanted to do,” he said.

Barnatt was invited onto the show after the AGT team saw a YouTube video of him from 2012. The video currently has over 6 million views. Unfortunately, he is not the only contestant that already had a large fanbase before the show began. It seems like the producers of America’s Got Talent worked hard to get some professional acts on this season.

Barnatt was very open about the fact that AGT producers sought him out. He went into AGT hoping to tell a story about acceptance. Although his character looks a certain way, he’s still talented and people love him the way he is. But, he spoke about how producers wanted Keith to wear different, nicer clothes in his original audition.


“They wanted me to wear like really shiny flashy clothes, almost like Keith’s gone Hollywood and he’s wearing a fancy outfit with big glittery sneakers and stuff,” Barnatt said.

He fought their ideas and disagreed on multiple creative elements of the act. He says they also changed his dances, his stage presence, and even took the punch line out of his last act on the show.

“Everyone Who Didn’t Sign the Contract is Getting Voted Off”

When the producers reached out to him about coming on the show, they did not pose it as him being an audition gag act. Instead, they gave him hope that he actually could win the competition. He says that this hope fueled him throughout the competition and disputes. Once he made it to the live shows, they gave him a contract that he had to sign.

“The contracts are really bad. I’ve been a working actor for a long time, I have an agent and a lawyer,” Barnatt said. “I’ve signed some pretty bad contracts…This one was apparently one of the worst ever and they would own everything I have done in the past and will do in the future as Keith or dancing related-wise. My agent is like no you can’t do this let’s try to work it out with a different deal.”

Barnatt said America’s Got Talent was willing to amend the contract of a comedian this season, but would not reply to him or his team when asking for amendments. Barnatt’s not the only act that he says got voted out after refusing to sign the contract. He claims The Curtis Family, Storm Large, and Klek Entos did not sign contracts.

Klek Entos, however, responded by saying: “If I was not selected in the semi-final, it is certainly not because of contracts that I signed or not, it is more simply because I screwed up on my opening and was worse than I should have [been]. Simon Cowell buzzed and was absolutely right to do so. Even though I was the victim of a technical problem for which I am not responsible, at this level of excellence, it is not forgiven. I was not up to the task, nothing to do with signed contracts or not.”

To them, it seems like they were voted off because they did not sign the contract giving AGT the rights to their entire act. He then told us that as a contestant, you never find out exactly how many people voted for you. As someone who already has a big online fanbase, he knew people were voting for him. So, he was a bit confused when he got the boot.

Did AGT Censor Keith Apicary’s Back Story?

During his time on the show, Barnatt’s girlfriend was very sick and ended up passing away. She was alive during his audition, and he texted her before and after the audition. He even said he cried at the end of his audition because he wished she was there. A couple of weeks later she passed away, and their last messages were related to Keith on the AGT stage.

“They want it [a sob story] for certain people, that they are dictating. I don’t get to have that even though it’s a very compelling story and it’s real,” he said.

Once he hit the live shows, he cried because it was so hard to pick himself up to go on the stage. He knew she would be there with him if she hadn’t passed away.

“I told them, can I like mention this stuff? Can Keith say I lost the love of my life and this is really hard for me but I really want to make people happy and keep dancing,” Barnatt said. “They were like no you can’t mention that Keith can’t have a girlfriend, Keith can’t do this, and it’s like ugh ok, so it’s like they control everything.”

Barnatt said that of everything that happened on AGT, he was most upset when they wouldn’t even let him mention her on stage.

While we don’t know the exact circumstances of Keith Apicary’s end on the show, his talent was one that will be unforgettable. Barnatt ensured that this isn’t the last we’ll see of Keith.

A representative for America’s Got Talent did not respond to our requests for comment.

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