america's got talent

America’s Got Talent: History, Analysis, Picks and Odds

This year marks Season 13 of NBC’s America’s Got Talent, one of the most popular reality shows currently on television. If you haven’t seen this talent competition that is a summer ratings blockbuster, it’s a combination of Star Search, The Voice and, at times, The Gong Show if you remember that one (there’s a reboot of that show on ABC right now).  

Now, of course, betting on a talent competition is a little different compared to betting on a sporting event. After all, you might be placing your bet on who you think is the better competitor, but better doesn’t equal most popular and America might vote for the cute dog act, even though you think the powerhouse singer is the better act. Also, you do not have any statistics from previous years to look back on, and you can’t compare this season to the last because the competition is different every year.

That’s okay, we’ll do our best to take you through everything you need to know about America’s Got Talent so that you have a better idea of where to place your bets.

What is America’s Got Talent all about?

America’s Got Talent, which was created by the famous – and former – American Idol judge Simon Cowell, debuted in 2006 and has consistently ranked at the top of the weekly television ratings since it started. It has also won “Favorite Reality Show” and “Favorite TV Competition Show” at the Kids’ Choice Awards and the People’s Choice Awards since 2011.

According to an article in Ad Age, the show is a ratings bonanza during the summer, a time that used to be dominated by reruns. Anthony Crupi, the author of the trade journal article, wrote: “Now in its 13th season, NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” remains the solstice’s ratings champ, beating all comers with an average draw of 11.6 million viewers and a 2.2 rating in the target demo, good for some 2.8 million adults 18 to 49. No other show comes anywhere near “America’s Got Talent” in the summer ratings race; trailing the million-dollar competition series are CBS’s “Big Brother,” ABC’s “The Bachelorette” and “Talent” lead-out “World of Dance,” all of which are now averaging a 1.4 in adults under 50.”

Everything from dog acts, magicians, singers, comedians, ventriloquists, dance troupes and other freaks, geeks and mega talents audition with the hope of moving on to the next round. The contestant auditions in front of four judges. Each judge can press a buzzer that “X’s” them during the audition if they aren’t pleased with the performance. If the act gets through the audition without getting four “X’s”, they stand before the judges for criticism and either a “yes” or a “no” vote. If the act receives three yeses, they move on to the next round and do it all over again.

If an act stands out as one of the favorites among the judges, a judge may press the “Golden Buzzer” which immediately drops golden confetti on the competitor and moves them directly to the live shows. There are only five Golden Buzzers – one for each judge and one for its host Tyra Banks. If there are guest judges, they will get a Golden Buzzer too. Once the judges use their individual Golden Buzzers it cannot be used again.

Once the contestants get to the live shows, America votes on who to send through to the next round. The last contestant standing with the most votes will win the million dollar prize and the show in Las Vegas.

America’s Got Talent Judges and Host

Since the show started in 2006, there have been several judges, including Piers Morgan, David Hasselhoff, Brandy Norwood, Sharon Osbourne, and Howard Stern. The current panel of judges are comedian Howie Mandel, singer Mel B, model Heidi Klum and producer Simon Cowell.

America’s Got Talent is currently hosted by Tyra Banks, but previous hosts were Regis Philbin, Jerry Springer and Nick Cannon.

The prize and the previous winners

What’s up for grabs? A one million dollar prize and a show in Las Vegas.

Let’s look back at the America’s Got Talent winners of seasons past:
Season One: Bianca Taylor Ryan – 11-year-old singer
Season Two: Terry Fator – ventriloquist
Season Three: Neal Boyd – pop opera singer (he recently passed away)
Season Four: Kevin Skinner, country music artist
Season Five: Michael Grimm, musician
Season Six: Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., jazz singer
Season Seven: Olate Dogs
Season Eight: Kenichi Ebina, Japanese performance artist
Season Nine: Mat Franco, magician
Season Ten: Paul Zerdin, ventriloquist
Season Eleven: Grace VanderWaal, 12-year-old singer
Season Twelve: Darci Lynne Farmer, 10-year-old ventriloquist

So far, as you can see, no dance troupes have won. Many winners have been singers and there have been three ventriloquists, but only one animal act. So who is competing this year? Let’s take a look:

Daniel Emmet (wildcard) – opera singer
Courtney Hadwin – singer
Sacred Riana – creepiest magician ever
We Three – family band
Aaron Crow – mentalist
Shin Lim – magician
Glennis Grace – singer
Michael Ketterer – singer
Zurcaroh – Dance troupe
Flau’jae – 14-year-old rapper
Vicki Barbolak – comedian
Brian King Joseph – violinist
Makayla Phillips – singer
Human Fountains – novelty act
UDI Dance – dance troupe
Angel City Chorale – chorus
Savitsky Cats – cat performance
Us the Duo – singing duo
Christina Wells – singer
Rob Lake – illusionist
Samuel J. Comroe – comedian
Noah Guthrie – singer
Duo Transcend – high wire act
Amanda Mena – singer
Hans – entertainer
The Future Kingz – dance troupe
Junior New System – male dance troupe
Mochi – Diabolo artist
Da RepubliK – Dance troupe
Lord Nil – Escape artist
Quin and Misha – dancers
Front Pictures – projection artists
Joseph O’Brien – singer
PAC Dance Team
Yumbo Dump – sound effects duo

Who will win this year’s America’s Got Talent competition? There are many talented acts to choose from. Courtney Hadwin, Daniel Emmet and Brian King Joseph are the frontrunners at this point as well as Duo Transcend, Us the Duo and Samuel J. Comroe.

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