Is Simon Cowell Going Too Far With the Second Chances on ‘AGT’?
One thing Simon Cowell has become notorious for on the various reality competitions he judges is interrupting a hopeful’s song and asking them to sing a different one.
We’ve seen this happen a lot on The X Factor and Got Talent. Some viewers find these moments tedious to sit through, not helped by the fact that they’re normally drawn out to add to the “drama” of it all (of which there really isn’t much; reality show producers need to approve any songs that might be used on a show before they can use it, so contestants are most likely aware they might be asked to sing a second one). However, when the initial audition round is over, we’re usually out of the woods and don’t have to worry about seeing it occur again.
At least, that was the case until this season of America’s Got Talent. We saw Simon do his interrupting routine a couple of times during auditions (both contestants ended up making it through to the next round) and thought it was the end of it. But now we’re three episodes into Judge Cuts – aka the bridge between auditions and live shows – and we’ve seen it happen in this round, too…multiple times, in fact. In the second week of Judge Cuts, singer-pianist Joseph O’Brien was granted a do-over by Simon, as was Noah Guthrie in this week’s episode. Both were ultimately sent through to the live shows.
A lot of fans are understandably upset by this. Hearing a second song from a contestant can be helpful for the judges who are on the fence to make the decision of whether or not to give them a shot at the competition during auditions, but Judge Cuts is defined by its “go hard or go home” mentality – only a limited number of acts can move forward, and the judges are quick to criticize anyone they think isn’t “stepping it up”.
So when an act is given a second chance in this phase of the competition, it’s hard not to assume favoritism is at play. Many fans were upset when Hunter Price‘s Judge Cuts performance was buzzed and harshly criticized in the same episode Joseph got his second chance. And there was even more outrage about last night’s episode when Noah advanced after getting a second chance to sing, but Miss Trysh was cut after forgetting the lyrics to her song (despite giving an otherwise good performance) without getting one and Jeffrey Li and Angel Garcia were also both eliminated after giving excellent performances without needing to start over.
And that’s not even pointing out that these “second chances” seem to be exclusive to singers. We haven’t seen Simon or any of the other judges stop a comedian mid-routine and request some jokes about a different topic, or dancers to perform a second number. Variety acts don’t often have the means to have multiple acts prepared, so why are singers being allowed to give more than one performance in the same round?
Bottom line is, interrupting an act for a do-over at this stage in the competition is pretty unfair no matter how you slice it. Like I said, I can kind of understand it during auditions when the judges are just getting to know the acts, but Judge Cuts in crunch time, and the panel should consistently reflect that.
Unfortunately, the Judge Cuts round was taped months ago, so any interruptions that might happen next week are powerless to be stopped. But it’ll be nice to move on to the quarter-finals in two weeks since they’re live and Simon won’t have time to do it with any of the acts at the Dolby, right? Right???