These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Marty Brown of Season 8, who after singing a dreadful performance of "You're Still the One" in the quarterfinals,note He probably got too emotional from watching the intro package before his performance. 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.
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.
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 eight 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.)
Cool Old Guy: Professor Splash seems to be this for season 6, despite the fact that he isn't all that old.
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.
Creator's Pet: Jackie Evancho could have been this, but really only if you didn't root for her to win. The problem is that she jumped into Season 5 midway and some think that she took a shortcut to usurp already established acts and was getting a much bigger media push than the other finalists. Although, to be fair, it doesn't detract from her skill.
Most infamously, during the final round, Piers constantly shilled Jackie at the expense of Prince Poppycock and Fighting Gravity. He even went as far as to buzz the former and bring that up during Michael Grimm's judging. Of course, all that speaks more about Piers than anyone else.
Of course, if you count the YouTube submissions as the equivalent of the open audition round, she really only had one fewer performance than Prince Poppycock or Grimm (and the same number as Fighting Gravity, who got to bypass the Vegas Callback round).
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.
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.
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".
Most Annoying Sound: Whenever kid ballroom dancer Ruby Castronote Appeared in Season 7 as part of the Untouchables and Season 8 as part of the duo Ruby and Jonas 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 Its 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 If you can even call him that... 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.
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.