Why Does ‘AGT’ Reuse Audience Footage?

Corey Cesare
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Sofia Vergara hits her Golden Buzzer on 'America's Got Talent'Photo by Trae Patton/NBC

Since America’s Got Talent‘s fourth episode of auditions, fans took to Twitter to discuss the show’s reuse of audience footage. If there’s a live audience during the audition episodes, why does the series need to use old footage?


Why Does America’s Got Talent Reuse Audience Footage?

On June 22, a fan shared a side by side comparison of audience footage to the AGT subreddit. The two images feature a woman in the audience for both Kieran Rhodes (2022) and Chris Kläfford (2019) auditions. The person in the photo is taking in the special moment with her fists against her chin.

Without investigating closely, it’s obvious that this is the same footage. The person looks exactly the same and the audience members behind her are also exactly the same. Since the double use of this clip is super obvious, the fan questioned the reason on Reddit.

“They use all kinds of sleight-of-hand,” a user responded. “There are numerous cuts where the audience is heard cheering but when they show the judges, you can see the audience members sitting quietly behind them.”


While some would consider this movie magic, others would consider it cheap, since there’s thousands of fans in the audience. Instead, I argue that this style provokes a certain emotion for the at-home viewer. In short, the video editor (storyteller in this instance) is reusing the footage to help portray the story’s emotion. It’s extremely possible that the live audience didn’t show emotion as vividly as the person used in the final cut.

Since America’s Got Talent, like any televised talent show, is a form of entertainment, they have to keep the show interesting. Showing the audience getting into the heartfelt performance draws the at-home viewer in. Even though Kieran’s song is outstanding, I’d argue that it wouldn’t have been as entertaining without the specific reaction.

Do Other Talent Shows Reuse Audience Footage?

The act of using footage isn’t new in reality television, The Masked Singer is seen using this format regularly. A Reddit user responded in the thread, stating that it’s normal for the show’s crew to get footage of audience reactions. They explained that The Masked Singer’s crew gets tons of those shots. This is why The Masked Singer was able to use cutaways while they were prohibited from having live audience.


This isn’t the first instance of an AGT fan noticing audience members. The internet has grown to love elderly twins, Helene and Harriet in the audience. Their popularity among the fandom even landed them a surprise visit from the judges and host in 2020. Even though Helene and Harriet are seen regularly in the audience, fans don’t get sick of them, or their reactions.

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