Talent Recap

What’s Going on with the ‘America’s Got Talent’ Live Shows This Season?

America's Got TalentTrae Patton/NBC

Reading Time: 3 minutes

America’s Got Talent has been pretty sneaky this season hiding which contestants will be performing in the live shows. The first group of 12 was revealed in a since-deleted Instagram post. The show just posted a brand new promo to announce that the live shows will be moving to a two-night format and featured even more acts that are in the Top 36. AGT might also have another surprise up its sleeve in the form of a wildcard, so what’s going on?

‘AGT’ Announces Two-Night Live Shows in New Promo

The first episode of the Quarterfinals begins on August 10. The live results show will take place on August 11. The Tuesday and Wednesday episodes will continue throughout the season until the September 15 finale. Still, fans are left to speculate which acts will be performing live after the Judge Cuts was axed this season.

It seems like a minor social media scheduling mixup is to blame for all of the confusion about next Tuesday’s lineup. This new promo features Northwell Health Nurse Choir, Aidan Bryant, UniCircle Flow, Kabir Singh, World Taekwondo Demonstration Team, Lea Kyle, and Peter Rosalita. The three Golden Buzzer acts featured in the promo are already going to be performing in future live shows.

Where does that leave the other featured acts? Kabir and Peter are part of the first live show lineup that AGT briefly posted. It’s pretty safe to assume Aidan and UniCircle Flow will be performing during the live shows at some point too. Both were standout variety acts that the judges fell in love with.

Is the ‘AGT’ Wildcard Twist Coming Back This Year?

There will only be three episodes of Quarterfinals with 12 acts featured in each. Since Nightbirde withdrew from the competition, the judges will either have to choose another act to replace her or leave the spot open to honor her. Seven lucky acts will be chosen to move forward by America in each Quarterfinals episode.

That would make a total of 21 acts moving on to the Semifinals. According to Gold Derby, the judges will be choosing one wildcard act to make it an even 22 acts. This way, the contestants can be evenly split in half for two episodes of Semifinals performances. We can assume that the judges will be choosing from the batch of contestants that gets eliminated in the Quarterfinals.

Another huge change is that Dunkin’ is no longer partnering with AGT this year. It goes without saying that the Dunkin’ Save will no longer exist. The show could always decide to implement a new kind of live save with their new sponsor, Sonic. This would also force the judges and America to make difficult decisions live to save their favorite act.

A Wildcard Act Has Never Won the Show

Season 15 and Season 16 of AGT are taking very different approaches to the usual format. The wildcard spot was never really mentioned after the Judge Cuts last season. This all changed when singer Thomas Day withdrew from the competition after testing positive for COVID-19. Singing duo Broken Roots was brought in to replace him.

Thomas did not perform in the AGT Quarterfinals and everyone thought he was done with his journey on the show. He was then announced as the wildcard in the Semifinals. It was a twist that confused longtime fans of the show. Fans are of course still not happy that Ashley Marina was never brought back as a wildcard after her unforgettable audition. AGT has crowed 15 incredible winners over the years but a wildcard act has never been one of them.

Dance Town Family was also chosen as the wildcard after they failed to make it past the Quarterfinals last season. What was odd about this was that the wildcard wasn’t really hyped or announced in a special way like it normally is. Wildcard acts can go far in the competition, but everything always comes down to America’s votes.

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