America's Got Talent is Back to Launch New Sensations!
Tune In To NBC on Tuesday and Wednesday Nights, Starting August 23 at 8:00PM!
By: Ava Reed
"America's Got Talent" currently ranks as the leading entertainment show on television. Now in its 11th season, AGT is experiencing the most-watched season in five years, with an average of 13.4 million viewers tuning in each week. AGT remains the favorite pick among unscripted talent shows on the air. The popular show has been on hiatus since the Olympics began and returns August 23 for a final 12 showdown.
Creator Simon Cowell is also known for unscripted performances as a judge on AGT. The record company executive, television host, and documentary producer is widely recognized for his discovery of artists such as One Direction, Little Mix, Fifth Harmony, and Ella Henderson, among others.
Judge Melanie Brown ("Mel B.") is best known to audiences as a member of the Spice Girls. As a musician, actress, author, television star, and entrepreneur, Brown uses her artistic talents to critique contestants performing on talent shows worldwide.
Together, Cowell and Brown (along with fellow judges Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel) appear each week on AGT to find the next breakout star worthy of a million-dollar prize and a chance to become the headline act in a Las Vegas show.
But what makes AGT so great, and why is competitive pressure a good thing for performers? Simon and Mel chatted with reporters recently to share their insight. Here are a few of the highlights.
Q. How do you judge acts that are so different from each other?
A. (Cowell) "There is no way any judge in the world can be an expert on everything - and we're judging everything from dogs to jugglers to singers. I mean, there's no logic to it. But I think that's what makes the show fun. There are no kinds of rules and no scoring system you could possibly use when you're judging some of these crazy acts."
A. (Brown). "Yes, I basically judge on if I am entertained or not. No matter what their act is, whether it's a danger act, a singer, or something that's just really abstract that I've never seen before, if I'm entertained, I say to myself, 'I would pay to see that act in Vegas!'. Then I am going to vote YES all day long."
Q. Are there some key indicators that you look for when evaluating the success of the act being a long-term success?
A. (Brown) "I don't. I just react to what I'm seeing there and then. I don't care what they're going to do next. All I know is that I'm in the moment and thoroughly entertained."
A. (Cowell) "I agree. I think in this day and age, it's almost impossible to predict that kind of stuff, because so many factors have to happen after the show. If you look at One Direction, I don't think any of us when we first worked with them could have possibly predicted what was going to happen next. It's got to be in them that they are going to push and fight for a successful career afterwards."
Q. Do you think that there is a disadvantage to doing live shows?
A. (Brown): "They're not just doing the show because they are talented and somebody told them to do it. They're actually on the show to really, really win and be a serious competitor. That raises up the stakes and raises up the ante, especially with the live shows, because with live shows anything can happen."
Q. What do singers have to do to stand out from the crowd?
A. (Brown) "You have to be really clever with your song choices. If you're going to choose a popular song, which will always go down well, you have to put your own twist on it. "
A. (Cowell) "There was a pattern when we first started these shows where there was a kind of formula for what people should or shouldn't do. I think now, it's all about showing people who you are and if you've got the confidence in who you are, you stick with it."
Q. What are you excited to see and why?
A. (Cowell) "I think there's going to be a lot of surprises because America's taking over the show for the first time. So, we've completely lost control of it. I'm fascinated to see what they're going to do with it."
A. (Brown) "I'm excited to see the kids, because I do feel like this season the kids have just popped out of nowhere with such confidence."
For more on "America's Got Talent" visit http://www.nbc.com/americas-got-talent