The America’s Got Talent season 16 auditions are over after eight weeks of auditions. The big format change this season is the elimination of Judge Cuts.
Howie Mandel told Parade Magazine that Judge Cuts were nixed because “we just wanted to make a more entertaining, less-drawn-out production than we have; the process is basically the same. We talk constantly, even off-camera, and we’re legitimately passionate about who is chosen to go all the way to the live shows. So, the actual process is the same; the location is different.”
The judges, Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Sofia Vergara reportedly cut the acts down from 50 to 36. Apparently Britain’s Got Talent used a similar format last year (ITV cancelled BGT this year due to the pandemic).
And although Simon claimed last season that he liked cutting back the round to one week, because it streamlined the season, the COVID pandemic most likely drove the decision to axe the Judge Cuts.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, cutting out the Judge Cuts round eliminates the need to bring back acts, some of them from far flung places. It just make sense. It’s too bad for fans, who look forward to seeing their favorite acts again before the live rounds.
America’s Got Talent Won’t Reveal Top 36 until August
In lieu of the Judge Cuts this year, AGT tacked on fake looking “deliberations” at the end of the show. A five minute show closer had the gang at Simon’s Malibu mansion “arguing” over which act to send through. Really, the bit served as an excuse to dress up an audition recap clip. It ended with the news that AGT fans will have to wait until after the two week Olympic break to find out who makes the live shows. Meh.
In any case, America’s Got Talent live shows, which begin on August 10, will only air for six weeks. NBC hasn’t officially announced the season 16 finale date, but on Wednesday September 22, the trio of Chicago themed procedurals premiere on the network. Futon Critic shows America’s Got Talent season 16 ending on Wednesday September 15. I’m not going to speculate on the live show format, except to say there will be a 2 hour performance show on Tuesdays, and a 1 hour results show on Wednesday.
For America’s Got Talent 2020, the live shows ran seven weeks. Forty-four contestants competed in 4 weeks of quarterfinals, followed by two weeks of semis and then the finale. Considering the shortened 2021 season, the 36 number probably DOES include the Golden buzzers. So really, AGT probably needed to choose 30 more contestants.
Who will win America’s Got Talent season 16? Probably a Golden Buzzer
Who will the winner be? Well here is a fun fact. The judges began handing out Golden Buzzers starting with Howard Stern’s final season 10 in 2015. Golden Buzzers were awarded to auditioners, and then again by guest judges during the judge cuts. Truncated judge cuts the last two years meant only 5-6 Golden Buzzers.
But here’s the thing. In six seasons that the Golden Buzzer exists in its present form, Only season 13 winner, magician Shin Lim, nabbed the 1 million dollar prize without benefit of the golden prize. Season 10 champ Paul Zerdin nabbed a Judge Cuts Golden Buzzer and then Grace Vanderwaal (S11), Darci Lynne (S12), Kodi Lee (S14) and Brandon Leake (S15) all earned audition Golden Buzzers.
It’s a pretty good bet that the Season 16 winner will be one of the six Golden Buzzers. Therefore….drumroll…here is our FIRST America’s Got Talent season 16 POLL! Pick who YOU believe will win it all. I added a “no Golden Buzzer” choice for fans who have an outside favorite they believe will win. Tell us all about it in comments.
VOTE! Which of the six Golden Buzzer acts do you think will win America’s Got Talent season 16? Or NOT?