main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
YMMV: America's Got Talent
  • Base Breaker:
    • Marty Brown of Season 8, who after singing a dreadful performance of "You're Still the One" in the quarterfinals,note  got to move on to the semifinals anyway due to having a huge amount of support from the country community. AGT fans were not pleased with this. After his semifinals performance, in which Marty sang a lot better but played it completely safe, he lost to the other country singer mentioned directly below for a spot in the Top 12.
    • Jimmy Rose is also this because he got the last performance spot in the live shows twice, which means that he was the freshest in America's minds both times, while also getting the next-to-last spot of the Top 12 performances just before the superior Cami Bradley. This all gives him a bit of an unfair advantage, as he has now made it to the finals partly because of these lucky spots. Also, like Brown above, he has a large amount of support from the Deep South. He ended up in third place for Season 8.
    • "B-Double O- T-Y" singer Tone the Chiefrocca is either highly entertaining or a complete waste of space, depending on the viewer. Doesn't help that Mel B used her wild card pick to save him for the semifinals.
    • Contemporary pop and country singers in general can fall under this trope. They've won 5 out of the 9 seasons, and there are at least three other shows out there built specifically with them in mind. On one side you have those who say "This show is not meant to be another American Idol. Send the singers to one of those other shows and let the variety acts shine for once!" On the other side you have those who say "This is a talent show. Singing is a talent. Let it be."
    • The replacement of Piers Morgan with Howard Stern. While Howard is much more fun than Piers and brings his own brand of humor and enjoyment to the show, he has much of the same ego problems and has already become the "head" judge of the show. You either embrace his sense of humor or you hate him for his arrogance.
    • Howie absolutely loved "Those Funny Little People" in Season 6, while Piers absolutely loathed them and Sharon was in the middle, finding it entertaining but not really Vegas-worthy. However, a major reason Howie loved them is precisely because Piers hated them — he jokes when he brought the act back as a Wild Card that he didn't see much of the act because he was busy watching Piers watch the act and was just as entertained by that.
    • Howie is also a bit of a Base Breaker as a judge. Some love him for his fun-loving Nice Guy nature to counterbalance the more "serious" judge(s) on the panel (Piers or Howard). Others don't like him for not taking the show as seriously as he could be, especially in regard to his insistence that So Bad, It's Good acts actually have a chance in being in the live rounds.
    • Season 9 brought Maggie Lane, an opera singer who came on-stage wearing a trenchcoat, and in the middle of her song untied the sash and dropped the coat to reveal she was wearing a bikini. Some applaud her for being a talented singer and being proud of her body, others find she resorted to the gimmick of sex appeal to help get through instead of relying on her talent.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: In Season 6, the auditions were going smoothly, until out of absolutely nowhere, this happened.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: In a sense, as it applies to America's voting habits. It's been noted on occasion in-show that singers and dancers tend to find more success on this show than variety acts do. In fact, five out of nine winners were middle-aged male singers (Terry Fator doing so through his puppets), a sixth winner was a dancer, and the seventh winner and many second-placers are also singers of some kind.
    • A major aversion in Season 7 in which for the first time ever in series history, none of the finalists are singers in any way, although we still got a music act in William Close and a dance act in The Untouchables.
      • By the way, the season's winning act was a dog act, which is also an American weakness. The U.S. just loves them doggies! (Compare with Britain, who in the same year voted a dog act over a singing duo.)
    • Averted again in Season 9. The finals were heavy on singers and there was an acrobat/dance troupe as well, but they all got beat by a magician.
  • Cool Old Guy: Professor Splash seems to be this for season 6, despite the fact that he isn't all that old.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • There is a lot in the audition rounds, but the real Crazy Awesome acts are the ones who survive to when America votes. Look at Season 5's semifinals. Rock-climbing dancers! Kite-flying as a performance art! Guys who play music with lightning! A blacklight performance troupe! And...however you describe Prince Poppycock.
    • Hannibal Means (also Season 5) really embodies the crazy with rainbow muumuus, the (knitted!) hats, weird warm-ups...and the awesome? The man can really sing.
      • Pity he didn't make it further. He could just stand on-stage and talk and people would still watch him.
    • Professor Fig from Season 6. He walks on stage in a purple sequined suit and a cat on his shoulder and it got weirder.
    • Season 6 also gives us the Kinetic King, who invents Rube Goldberg machines that explode and collapse on themselves and speaks with a distinctly Minnesotan accent with a very dry sense of humor.
  • Creepy Child: Jackie Evancho.
    • Creepy awesome!
    • Season 8's Aaralyn O'Neil. When she auditioned, she was six years old, wore a cute polka-dotted skirt, and sang an original death metal song called "Zombie Skin."
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Several acts; Grandma Lee in Season 4 was the most successful.
  • Dancing Bear: Some acts can make it past auditions and occasionally past the quarterfinal on the basis of being one, but they never get very far. This is especially notable in the case of the more subpar child acts like Future Funk.
  • Ear Worm:
    • "Studio" by Sponjetta (Season 5 auditions). Now with a remix featuring T-Pain!
    • From Season 7: "Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do?" Even the judges had trouble getting it out of their heads.
    • Season 8's "B-double O-T-Y" was another one the judges couldn't forget easily.
    • Ray Jessel's audition song "What She's Got (The Penis Song)" from Season 9. One of the funniest original songs on the show.
    • The main theme itself. I challenge you to listen to the theme without humming it for a bit afterward.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: In Season 6, Howie advises a couple acts that this is basically a popularity contest and they should adjust accordingly. For male pole dancer Steven Retchless, this seemed to just mean rein in the more flamboyant parts a bit; but when he gave this advice to Dani Shay (aka the Justin Bieber-looking girl) it came off more as "Don't Be Yourself, be more of a cliché inoffensive singer."
  • Glurge: Heaping amounts. During the initial auditions, if the next performer has a sob story to tell, you can pretty much be assured they'll go through. And even if they don't, by the time of the final rounds they'll be talking about how inspirational and hopeful their progress has been for their families who have supported them all the way and they want to win so badly to use the money to help their family...
    • Neal Boyd was Susan Boyle before Susan Boyle was Susan Boyle.
    • Kevin Skinner shows every bit of the Kentucky backwoods from where he comes.
    • Christina and Ali Christensen, two decent-but-not-great singers who seem to have made it into the Top 10 on the basis of their sob story. You see, they're SISTERS with CYSTIC FIBROSIS and they're GOING TO DIE and Christina's ONLY THIRTEEN and they're SO INSPIRATIONAL.
    • Every week we had to hear about Michael Grimm and his poor upbringing and wonderful grandparents.
    • Season 7:
      • Subverted with Tim Poe, who had a bad speech impediment from brain damage he got during military service in Afghanistan. It came out after his audition episode aired that this was a big fat lie, though the show was able to sweep it under the rug because he had been eliminated in Vegas Week anyway.
      • Yet, it was played straight again in this season with young mariachi singer (and his band) Sebastien "El Charro de Oro" de la Cruz. He's pretty much saved himself in the competition by wooing Sharon over for her to save him as a Wild Card. Then, after doing a mariachi version of Frank Sinatra's classic "Theme from New York, New York" in said round, he pretty much won America's votes not only with that song but by sobbing that he had to miss his little brother's birthday just for his performance.
      • Contortionist dancer Turf's backstory as a homeless street performer is mentioned more than his actual moves. Somewhat subverted since he has since moved to Las Vegas after his audition, and is living a much better life since he makes more money street performing on the Vegas Strip.
      • The Untouchables are also guilty of this. Even though those kids are definitely very good if not professional dancers, they cry after each performance while being praised by the judges and the audience. In fact, they won America over to send them to the finals by having their youngest member, an 8-year-old girl named Ruby, say that she's crying because she's so happy. However, it was later subverted when news broke out that they've been causing a ruckus at the Newark hotel they've been staying at for the finals. Then, after their finals performance, they subverted this trope again by basically laughing it off after Howie mentions their incident. This probably helped play a role in why they ended up in last place among the finalists.
    • Season 8 gave us Deanna DellaCiopaa, who made sure to remind everyone that this was her "last chance" and cry before and after her performances. She got the boot fairly early.
      • Jimmy Rose. Mother of God, Jimmy Rose. Lord knows how much of an Internet Backlash there would be if he actually won Season 8.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • Season 2 was a lot better than the first in many ways. A better idea of how elimination was working, not wasting time calling contestants from the audience, replacing Regis Philbin and Brandy with Jerry Springer and Sharon Osborne respectively, less buzzer BS (Brandy hitting the other people's buzzers on a burlesque act was just disrespectful), etc. Terry Fator, the season's winner, is also arguably the most successful act to come out of the show so far; in 2008, he signed a long-term contract with the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and has been performing there ever since.
    • Season 5 managed to grow the beard to the point where even Vote For The Worst members were won over despite the site relentlessly bashing it previously.
    • Season 7, which was the debut of Howard Stern as a judge, had much less singers moving on in the live rounds (not to say that there weren't any good singers that season) and a complete absence of them in the finals, allowing for more variety in talent. It may also be a sign of America's fatigue with singers on the show, especially now that NBC has a hit singing competition of their own.
    • Season 8 dropped the YouTube and the Wild Cards rounds in favor of increasing the amount of quarterfinalists to sixty. While dropping the latter round and having the judges pick just one wild card semifinalist each was a questionable decision, especially since their wild cards didn't even make the Top 12, the series did make the right decision to drop the YouTube round as not only is it more fair to those who've been competing throughout the season, but also that the MySpace/YouTube rounds almost always sucked.
  • Ho Yay/Les Yay: Howie and Howard in late Season 8. They even wound up kissing, though they both looked ready to throw up afterward - even so, that didn't stop them from imitating Jack and Rose from Titanic the next week during Forte's performance of "My Heart Will Go On". Since then, the two occassionally play it intentionally for the laughs.
  • Most Annoying Sound: Whenever kid ballroom dancer Ruby Castronote  talked.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Too many contestants to count, which plays a small but significant role in the show's success. Some of these kinds of acts have even made it past the auditions.
  • So Bad, It's Horrible: Unfortunately, this also happens a lot. Many performers do get rejected because they're this, but there have been some who managed to get through because at one of the judges (usually Howie) think they're more of the trope above. Case in point, Season 7's Big Barry, a terrible, elderly lounge singernote  with dwarfism who actually made it past Vegas Week above more deserving acts, including those who messed up that week like fan favorite Andrew De Leon.
  • Tearjerker: New Directions and their performance of "Old Man River" in Season 5. It left the normally-excitable and talkative Nick at a loss for words.
  • Uncanny Valley: Jackie Evancho can invoke this. Seeing a professional-level opera singer's voice come from a ten-year-old girl is, for some reason, creepy.
    • It was a similar situation with Bianca Ryan in Season 1.
    • And also Those Funny Little People. Despite being fairly popular, some people, including Howie (who brought them back in the Wild Card) find them scary because of their odd movements and facial features.
    • Turf, the contortionist dancer who auditioned in season 7, is able to twist his body in unusual ways. It's almost unbelievable to see him fold his shoulder blade to the front of his body while twisting his arms around.
  • The Woobie: Prince Poppycock became this in many, many fans' eyes after Piers buzzed him during the finals and then continued trashing him after his performance.

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy