America’s Got Talent is an entertainment and reality television show that seeks to uncover the best talent in the country. Anybody is free to audition, whether they are a singing, dancing, comedy or stunt act. Simon Cowell brought this show to the United States after creating Britain’s Got Talent. The first season aired in 2006 and was an instant hit with viewers. This has led to over 15 seasons of the show taking place.

America’s Got Talent has been nominated for multiple awards over the years. It has even won the Best Reality Show at Kids’ Choice Awards in 2017 and 2020. It also won Favorite TV Competition Show at People’s Choice Awards in 2019. 

The popularity of the series in the US means that America’s Got Talent is also broadcasted internationally. Other nations who love this show include the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia.


America’s Got Talent is a national entertainment show that seeks to find the country’s next big talent. The show winner has to successfully pass through various different stages of the competition before being crowned the victor. This starts with the audition stages, which involve performing in front of the judges. The panel decides whether they are good enough to progress. This is followed by the second and third rounds, which consist of more live performances. Some seasons have also featured boot camp episodes. After this step, there are live rounds of the competition, which are aired weekly on television. The final live round is the stage where a winner is chosen after several contestants have been eliminated. 

While the judges are responsible for making decisions on acts at the beginning of the show, the public vote is the only one that will matter by the time the live episodes are taking place. The winner, as chosen by American viewers, will receive a substantial cash prize. In addition, in a move introduced from the third season onwards, the winner will also be awarded a headline show on the Las Vegas Strip.

Cast and characters

From season one to season 15, there have been five different hosts for the show. They have been:

  • Regis Philbin
  • Jerry Springer
  • Nick Cannon
  • Tyra Banks
  • Terry Crews

There are many notable contestants who have gone on to release singles and albums. Big names include:

  • Jackie Evancho
  • Lindsey Stirling
  • The Texas Tenors
  • Grace VanderWaal
  • Landau Eugene Murphy Jr
  • Bianca Ryan
  • Cas Haley
  • Michael Grimm
  • Neal E Boyd

Through seasons one to seven, there were three judges on the panel. From season eight onwards there have been four. Names include:

  • Piers Morgan
  • David Hasselhoff
  • Brandy Norwood
  • Sharon Osbourne
  • Howard Stern
  • Howie Mandel
  • Mel B
  • Heidi Klum
  • Simon Cowell
  • Gabrielle Union
  • Julianne Hough
  • Sofia Vergara

From 2015 to 2020, guest judges have been brought onto the show. These have included:

  • Michael Bublé
  • Piers Morgan
  • Ne-Yo
  • Reba McEntire
  • Louis Tomlinson
  • DJ Khaled
  • Chris Hardwick
  • Olivia Munn
  • Dwyane Wade
  • Jay Leno

Filming locations

Due to the nature of the show, America’s Got Talent has a variety of filming locations across the country. Each season, the live auditions take place in a number of cities. These have included the following locations:

  • Los Angeles
  • New York
  • Chicago 
  • Dallas
  • Atlanta
  • Washington DC
  • Miami
  • Tacoma
  • Boston
  • Houston
  • Orlando
  • Portland
  • Philadelphia
  • Minneapolis 
  • Seattle
  • Denver
  • Tampa
  • Charlotte
  • Austin
  • Anaheim
  • St Louis
  • San Francisco
  • New Orleans
  • San Antonio
  • Baltimore
  • Indianapolis
  • Nashville
  • Richmond
  • Albuquerque
  • Las Vegas
  • Boise
  • Cleveland
  • Jacksonville
  • San Diego
  • Charleston
  • Memphis
  • Cincinnati
  • Savannah
  • Milwaukee
  • Nashville

For the live rounds that are aired weekly on the television network, bigger venues are necessary. These are typically big enough to feature a live audience, too. The live episodes started in Los Angeles before moving to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. Then they moved to Radio City Music Hall in New York. Finally, America’s Got Talent came back to the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.


America’s Got Talent releases a new trailer with each season of the show. This creates excitement for the performances that are going to be aired, whether they are spectacular, mesmerizing or hilariously bad. Around one month before the show begins to air on television, the trailer will be released to begin garnering interest from prospective viewers. 


Simon Cowell received an offer for America’s Got Talent from NBC for the first season. He worked with Freemantle and Syco Entertainment to bring the show to life. Cowell continued to be the executive producer and, unlike Britain’s Got Talent, he did not start off as a judge on the panel. He only appeared on the panel in later seasons. The success of the show has meant that America’s Got Talent has run for 15 seasons and is set for many more.

Episodes and reception

From the beginning of the series, the television ratings have been high and average at around 12 million viewers. In total, there have been 15 seasons of the show. Let’s take a look at some of the seasons in more detail:

Season 1 aired in August 2006, with a cash prize of $1 million for the first winner of the show. The premiere episode attracted over 12 million viewers. The winner of the show was Bianca Ryan, with the runners-up being All That.

Season 2 aired in August 2007 and was also successful with viewers. Terry Fator went on to win the show, with Cas Haley as the runner-up and third place being taken by Butterscotch.

Season 3 arrived on screens in October 2008. The slight delay was due to the 2008 Summer Olympics. Neal E Boyd, who was an opera singer, won this round of America’s Got Talent, while Eli Mattson was the runner-up and Nuttin’ But Stringz was in third place.

Season 4 began in June 2009 and continued the expansion of various cities as audition episode filming locations. The series was won by Kevin Skinner, who was a country singer, with Barbara Padilla being the runner-up. Recycled Percussion won third place.

Season 5 first aired in June 2010. In this season, auditions from YouTube were accepted for the first time. Prize money was up for grabs, as well as a spot on the Las Vegas Strip. Michael Grimm won the series, Jackie Evancho took the runner-up spot and Fighting Gravity earned third place.

Season 6 began in May 2011 and included non-televised auditions for some cities. Landau Eugene Murphy Jr won the series. The runner-up was Silhouettes and third place was awarded to a dance group called Team iLuminate.

Season 7 came to screens in May 2012 and introduced even more cities to the auditions round. Olate Dogs won America’s Got Talent this time, with Tom Cotter in second and third place being given to William Close.

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