Pop Goes The News – The winner of Season 13 of America’s Got Talent will be crowned on Sept. 19. Here are some things to know before you tune in:
None of the judges are from America
The America’s Got Talent judging panel this season consisted of UK-born Simon Cowell and Mel B as well as Germany’s Heidi Klum and Canada’s Howie Mandel.
Only six of the finalists are from America
Four of this season’s finalists are from other countries: Magician Shin Lim was born in Canada; singer Courtney Hadwin is from the UK; singer Glennis Grace is from the Netherlands; and acrobatic group Zucaroh is from Austria (and its leader hails from Brazil).
The winner does not exactly win $1 million
Host Tyra Banks and the judges repeatedly refer to the grand prize of $1 million “and a headline show in Las Vegas.” In fact, the winner receives a 40-year annuity worth $1 million, which works out to $25,000 per year, before taxes. The winner can choose instead to take a lump sum, which ends up being less than $200,000 after taxes.
The “headline show in Las Vegas” is, in fact, nothing more than the closing slot in the AGT live show running at the Paris Theater at Planet Hollywood from Nov. 2 to 4.
This is not an amateur talent show
The AGT judges like to act as though they are discovering new talent – and the video packages that air before performances tend to paint the competitors as inexperienced newbies. In fact, many of the acts are professionals – and some have been cast for AGT from the franchise’s shows in other countries.
Finalist Zucaroh, for example, is a professional acrobatic troupe based in Austria that was a finalist in France’s version of the show. Canadian magician Shin Lim has toured internationally and appeared on two episodes of Penn & Teller: Fool Us.
Singer Glennis Grace is a well-known recording artist in her native Netherlands who has released seven solo albums and was a member of Ladies of Soul; Courtney Hadwin was a finalist on The Voice Kids in her native UK; and Michael Ketterer is a Christian recording artist.
Violinist Brian King Joseph has performed with artists like Machine Gun Kelly and George Clinton, toured with a reggae group and appeared on MTV.
Singers who win AGT generally don’t find success
Even though half of the winners in AGT’s first 12 seasons were singers, none have gone on to amazing careers in the music industry.
Season 11 winner Grace VanderWaal is the most successful of the singers but Bianca Ryan, Kevin Skinner and Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. have gone back to obscurity after albums that flopped. Pop-opera singer Neal E. Boyd, who won Season 3 of AGT, died earlier this year at 42.