“Pre-taping is just one of the many clever maneuvers AGT producers employ that go almost undetected by viewers at home,” the book claims.
“Runner-up Cas Haley ([COLOR=blue !important][COLOR=blue !important]season [COLOR=blue !important]2[/COLOR][/COLOR]) remembers one uncomfortable episode that took place backstage during the audition rounds. ‘We were all in the green room, waiting to go out and perform and there was this young girl from Hawaii who was with her mom,’ he says. ‘She went out and auditioned and while she was out there, a producer came back to the holding room and told us, ‘OK, she made it, let’s give her a big hand when she comes back in here.’ So, of course, we all cheered for her when she came through the door and she just burst into tears.[/COLOR]
“‘It turns out she didn’t actually make it, they just told us that so we’d cheer and they’d get reaction out of her. That was the first time I realized I couldn’t trust these people. [The show is] not what people think. It’s all for ratings. That’s what they’re looking for.’”
Where do the acts come from?
“Most of the acts who typically advance to Vegas Week and beyond are personally recruited by AGT talent scouts and producers and never wait in line,” the book alleges.
“Some are discovered on YouTube, others in comedy clubs and performance venues. ‘When I made it to the Top 20, I couldn’t believe I was the only one that really came from an open call audition,’ country singer Julienne Irwin (season 2) said. ‘I was the only one that hadn’t been a professional performer.’”
What kind of agreement do the acts have to sign before appearing?
“You are pretty much signing away your life,” a former contestant said. “It’s almost non-negotiable.”
“In exchange for being seen by millions of viewers each week, everyone must agree that producers can trick, exploit and embarrass them — and even depict their personal stories in a manner that ‘may be factual or fictional’ — and they can’t sue for any reason,” the book writes.
“‘I further understand that my appearance, depiction and portrayal in the program may be disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing…and may expose me to public ridicule, humiliation or condemnation,’ the agreement states.”
Season 5 winner Michael Grimm told the book that he was required to use the show’s delegated management company, which he described as horrible.
“It was a horrible, horrible management company that they set you up with. That it not a good situation. The guy they assigned me to was a green horned rookie,” he said.
“He had no experience in the music business at all. And I do. I have way more work experience than this manager that was assigned to me. I was telling him how this business works. He was learning from me. That is not good.”
The book claims an individual producer works with several acts and while the artist is allowed input, the final decisions are all made by the show.
Who decides on the song, act or routine?
“Each act must work within the parameters of a pre-set budget that the executive producers decide for them,” the book says.
“In some cases contestants are allocated as much as $30,000 to produce a 90 second performance.”
Several comedic acts told the book that they were required to submit their jokes to the producers in advance to make sure they cleared network standards and didn’t clash with the show’s family friendly values.
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