We’re nearing the end of Simon Cowell’s third year as a judge on America’s Got Talent and if there’s one thing we’ve learned, Simon Cowell is a powerful man and can change fates with a snap of his finger
How Simon Started Changing AGT Format
Simon always produced the show since its very first season, but joined the panel 10 years later in Season 11. And that’s when we started to see some shifts in the decisions coming from the judges’s table. And it pretty much all boils down to this: what Simon wants, Simon gets.
First of all, we all know Simon is a record producer and one of his goals with all of these shows is to find new music stars. When he started judging on AGT, we started seeing an increased number of singers and other musical acts making it to the live shows. Since he joined the panel, the show has gotten way more selective when picking variety acts to advance and some very strong ones have been cut, meanwhile a lot of average-sounding singers have been given a free pass.
But going beyond that, Simon does seem to be way more lenient with these acts and willing to give them second, third, even fourth chances to succeed, often stopping an act in the middle of their audition and ask them to sing a song more to his liking.
Ahem ahem Ansley Burns, very recently.
Simon Cowell Controls Wildcards On AGT
Even when the other judges aren’t really feeling it, he often makes sure they get through anyway. And even when that doesn’t happen, it still does; in both Seasons 13 and 14 two singers Simon has seen “potential” in and made to sing another song – Daniel Emmett and Ansley Burns – have been eliminated during Judge Cuts, brought back for the live shows as wildcards and gone on to be “saved” on results night.
Simon Has a History of Saving Dog Acts
But if there’s one thing Simon loves more than singers, it’s dogs, and he’s found plenty of ways for them to stick around for as possible too. Take Sarah & Hero back in Season 12, who were going to be eliminated during auditions via a split judges’s table…until Simon got up onstage and refused to leave until someone changed their vote to let them through. (Okay, we can’t be too mad at him for this considering Sarah & Hero went on to become one of the most iconic AGT duos, but he didn’t seem too happy when Mel B pulled the same thing on him the same season but for Dancing Pumpkin Man.)
Which brings us to our current situation with the Season 14 semi-finals wildcard.
AGT Season 14 Wild Card is Lukas & Falco
They announced Wednesday night that it would be another dog act, Lukas & Falco, which has Simon written all over it. He didn’t even vote for them during their Judges’s Choice vote, but it looks like he’s decided to have his cake and eat it too by bringing them back anyway.
There’s one other thing that’s become apparent with Simon at the judges’s table: he doesn’t understand magic acts. He’s under the impression that stage magicians who incorporate big props and witty banter into their performances are the only “valid” form of illusion acts for AGT and that there isn’t a place for sleeker and more visual-based forms of magic.
Simon Was Wrong About Shin Lim And We are Glad Lim Stuck To His Originality
He especially seems to have a vendetta against card magic. Last season he told Shin Lim he needed to do more than just that in order to have a shot at winning and making it in Vegas. Shin ended up minimally appeasing him by playing the piano to introduce one of his acts, but it was his card magic the audience fell in love with. Of course, he ended up taking the win home in Season 13, also winning Champions (with just his card tricks and no frills on the side) and has since gotten a Vegas residency.
Simon Is Biased And Shakes People’s Confidence
Despite all this, Simon continued to push this anti-close-up-magic narrative onto Eric Chien in Season 14, and this time he managed to convince both the viewers and possibly Eric himself that it wasn’t enough. I think he really shook Eric’s confidence and had a negative effect on his performances, and its a shame he didn’t appreciate the skills of a highly-praised individual in the magic community because of a bias that had already been proven wrong.
The bottom line is, Simon has a lot of power over the audience, who usually take what he says very seriously and allow his words to significantly influence their votes. And being a producer on top of that? He might be a little too powerful in the AGT world.
Let’s hope he remembers that with great power comes great responsibility.