Why ‘America’s Got Talent’ Ditched the Judge Cuts in Season 16

Corey Cesare
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America's Got Talent JudgesNBC

With America’s Got Talent auditions rapidly coming to an end, fans are getting excited for the upcoming judge cuts. Well, don’t get too excited. Judge cuts will not be returning to the America’s Got Talent stage.


In case you aren’t sure what judge cuts are in the world of AGT, they were considered to be the middle ground between the auditions and the live shows in which all of the acts that were given a ‘yes’ once again hit the stage. This round gives the judges the opportunity to either push contestants through to the live shows, or eliminate them from the show entirely. Basically, this is a second round of auditions for everyone.

To give some context, this is typically a long process since the AGT stage sees a lot of people. This round typically sees the 70-80 (dependent on the season) acts audition all over again. It typically lasts around four weeks in the middle of the season, and the show doesn’t always air all of the acts that are moving forward.

In season 15, the cuts were shortened to one episode. They were also in a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In season 16, judge cuts will be entirely eliminated.


“The series skips this stage while still offering a peek at the judges’ process of selecting acts moving forward,” said Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell in a TV Insider interview.

It’s no surprise this format change is occurring. Cowell has admitted to not being a fan of the round as it seems to come with a drop in energy. Now fans are curious what will happen instead of the middle round?


Some of Your Favorite Acts Might be Eliminated Without you Knowing

NBC announced that fans will not be receiving a Judges Cuts episode like last season. Fans should instead expect to see an eighth audition episode on July 20. This episode will feature both auditions and judge deliberations on who will move forward.


It should be interesting to see how NBC will piece together clips to show the process. Will they briefly show each act standing on stage so we can hear the judge’s opinions? Or will NBC just zoom through act names and simply state ‘going to the live shows’ or ‘eliminated’? You would think this would be a long process to show all of the acts again in a short amount of time. Only time will tell as the premiere of this episode comes closer.

Hopefully NBC does this in a format where fans will not have to guess if their favorite acts are still going to the live shows or not.

The AGT mobile app has a section in the side column for the acts of the show. Right now, once clicked, this section reads “Come back after all the audition episodes and you will see acts here.”

Thanks to the AGT mobile app, fans will know if their favorite acts are going to the live shows. We can only hope that this section will be live once the episode on July 20 concludes, or sooner.

The skipped weeks will give the show’s normal 8 p.m. time slot to the Tokyo Olympics from July 23 – August 8. Afterward, fans will head right to the live shows.

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