In contemporary times, reality shows have taken many different forms, and while the most cringe-worthy ones might be shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians, there are talent-based shows which aren’t all that bad to watch. American Idol’s enormous success made Idol a franchise around the world, but while that show’s brand value faltered quite a lot over the years, the Got Talent brand has always stood quite strong. Nowadays, there are dozens of versions of this show across countries, and you can just about find a Got Talent show in every country with a major television network.
With so many show options out there for potential talents, we’ve seen a surge of entrants in recent years. The ones who have won have been given opportunities to further their talents on grand stages, as well as being handed a nice prize as their winning achievement. The entire concept sounds incredible and larger than life, which makes it a show with a large fanbase. A lot of these fans have taken to entering the show in order to complete their dreams of glory, and we think it’s best to inform fans and potential entrants of the rules they’ll have to keep in mind to enter a Got Talent show.
These rules are both official and the kind which are generally unspoken, but understood. So, it’s best to read through the following points if you want to be certain you want to enter yourself as a potential candidate. And if you just want to be a viewer, then check out this list so you know what to expect from a Got Talent series.
25 Contestants Have To Perform In Front Of Large Crowds
Those who aren’t too certain of their talents might not be making the best decision by going for a Got Talent audition, since these are always in front of large crowds. Unlike shows like American Idol, where auditions are done privately, Got Talent shows need to be done where the audience is watching you.
This means if you’re the faint of heart, then you’ll either have to pump up your confidence and hope for the best, or audition another time when you’ve gotten over your anxiety issues.
24 Contestants Have To Give Pre-Performance Interviews
It might feel needless when you’re waiting for your turn to audition to have to give an interview, but the show is supposed to be broadcast on TV, so there’s no choice but to give the interview prior to a performance.
These are a big deal if you want to come across as good-natured for the audience watching at home, since they might find you unlikable and root against you. The pre-interviews are also important to show the contestant’s attitude before their performance, compared to how they were when they actually performed.
23 They Also Have To Give A Post-Performance Interview
Once the performance is done and the audience’s (as well as judges') reactions are shown on TV, it’s time to see what the contestants themselves have to say about the experience. The pre-performance interview puts things in context for the post-performance interview, as the contestants' contrasting attitudes are shown.
Those who went out there, and failed, make clear about how they thought they’d succeed and didn’t, which completes the viewing experience for the TV viewer. So, if you happen to get in an audition, remember that you’ll need to do this post-performance interview, even if you’re too embarrassed to give it.
22 Contestants Need To Have A Winning Personality
The contestant could have amazing potential that could make them a star, but having a personality is vital. We’ve seen it before on numerous Got Talent series where contestants have been eliminated in the first audition itself because they lacked any noticeable personality.
You can even find clips on YouTube where talents like magicians or comedians have been turned down despite their material being pretty good, as they just weren’t engaging enough to hold peoples’ attention. Susan Boyle made it through mostly purely on talent, but you could see she had a vibrant personality before auditioning.
21 They Have To Verify Their Identities
It’s absolutely necessary to reveal everything about one’s identity before auditioning, as the person’s background is essential for them to be entered into the competition. While age isn’t a factor on Got Talent shows as it is on other shows like American Idol, one’s identity is still mandatory to be known.
Think about it, anyone could commit identity theft and pretend to be someone else before auditioning; this could be done for whatever reason, and no one would know. Plus, should one win, then personal identity is needed for legal reasons.
20 Contestants Have To Stop Performing After All The Buzzers Are Buzzed
There’s a reason why the buzzers are in place on the show, and if the judges are too annoyed or just plain done with a contestant’s performance, then that’s that. A contestant can keep going on if all but one judge hasn’t pressed the buzzer, so at least there’s that advantage.
But if all buzzers are up, and the contestant keeps performing, then that part of the performance isn’t considered by the judges. And it should be obvious that the judges aren’t enjoying the performance anyway if they’ve all pressed the buzzers.
19 They Have To Keep Performing If The Judges Press Them On
On the opposite side of the buzzers rule is when the judges like a performance too much. It doesn’t even mean that the performances are necessarily good; sometimes the judges end up enjoying bad performances if it makes them laugh a lot.
Whenever the judges want a person to keep going on, it’s understood that the contestant should continue with their show. At times, judges can request the performers to showcase additional material if they want to. It’s great if the performances are genuinely nice, but could be embarrassing if the judges are just having fun at the contestant’s expense.
18 Contestants Have To Keep Performing After Winning
Like every other talent show, Got Talent also requires the winner or winners to go on a victory tour to showcase the reason why they won in the first place. Contestants who emerge victorious go on these promotional campaigns to preserve the hype surrounding them.
The ones who become the biggest stars – like Susan Boyle – even get to perform with their idols. It isn’t as exhausting as one might think, as this is the time when the contestants are tasting fame for the first time, so having thousands of adoring fans isn’t a bad thing at all.
17 They Have To Perform In Live Episodes
The show has the option to either make its episodes taped or live, which means the ones who are performing need to contend with these format changes. While its daunting to perform in front of a crowd, a taped show still doesn’t make one feel as jittery as a live one.
When the show is live, it means along with the audience seated, the whole country is watching. We hope this doesn’t make you not want to audition, as many performers have made stars out of themselves by giving an amazing performance on live TV.
16 Have To Accept Being Broadcast In Different Countries
While the individual shows are known as America’s Got Talent or Britain’s Got Talent, or any variation of the name based on the country they are based in, the performances aren’t meant to be restricted solely to those countries.
To clarify, this means that if one were to perform in India’s Got Talent, then you can be certain it’ll be seen in places like USA or Canada – the shows can be broadcast worldwide. So, if a contestant turns in an embarrassing performance, then unfortunately for them the whole world will be watching.
15 Have To Accept Their Performances Being Replayed On Air
To make matters worse, if a contestant happened to bomb on the show, there’s also the rule of allowing their performance to be made available for viewing years down the line. Syndication means seasons for the show are shown with a gap or two in other parts of the world, which also means a performance in 2019 will most likely be seen in 2020 and beyond around the world.
For the contestants, there’s no escaping their auditions being shown for decades even, as seasons of Got Talent all the way from the early-2000s are still known to be broadcast.
14 Contestants Can't Promote Their Own Brands
Got Talent is a brand in itself, and promotion for other brands are only done when there are contracts and deals in place with these businesses, so it should go without saying that a contestant can’t promote their own business on the show.
Whenever a contestant has even hinted at bringing up their personal business on-air, the show has edited these parts out. These instances were innocent mistakes, though, so there were no consequences; those who willingly go out there and promote themselves will be in for a rude awakening.
13 They Can Be Eliminated Any Time Behind The Scenes
The show reserves the right to take a contestant out whenever it wants. If you think we mean that these people will have a farewell on-air, then that’s not close to what we’re saying. A contestant can be booted off unceremoniously behind-the-scenes and they’re just going to have to accept it.
Of course, there needs to be some sort of breach that justifies this sort of elimination, but it also indicates that no one is safe from being kicked out, even if they are the most popular talent on the show.
12 Contestants Need Public Votes To Win
The shows across the Got Talent brands have varied as to how much power the public has in their votes for the talents to win. In some countries, the public votes are the only thing that matter and judges are only there for critique, while in other countries it is a mixture of judge votes and public votes that help the contestants win.
What we know for sure, is that the public votes always count regardless of which iteration of the show we’re talking about. The least impact the public votes have is 50-percent, which means the contestants always need to have the public entertained and on their side.
11 Need Judges' Votes To Proceed Past First Round
While the judges might not be the absolute authority when it comes to enabling a contestant to win the whole competition, they are certainly the powerful authorities in the first round. Here, the talents need to ensure they have the judges on their side if they want any hope of qualifying ahead.
The first round is basically the audition, and here the live audience is only there for viewership. While their response might influence the judges, it’s the judges themselves who have the final say.
10 Need The Majority Vote To Progress
A contestant might get in the good books of a couple judges in their audition, but that isn’t a factor in letting them through the next round. What you want as a contestant is to convince a majority of the judges on the panel to vote for you.
If you get one judge raving about your talent, while the others don’t like you at all, then it’s time to leave the stage because you’re not going through. This is also why Simon Cowell gets to insult everybody but has his opinion be immaterial as the others vote the contestant through.
9 America's Got Talent Has Two Prize Money Options
America’s Got Talent loves to tout the hefty $1 million cash prize for the winner of the competition, but it’s got a pretty big (and sad) catch attached with it. Turns out, the winner can either get the winnings in one lump sum amount, but they’ll have to pay huge amounts of taxes related to it. This means a significant portion of the $1 million will be slashed straightaway due to tax cuts.
The other option is even less spectacular – the contestant can choose to receive the amount in Forty years of annuity payments of $25,000 per year. And you know what? You’ll still have to pay tax on this amount because it is considered an annual salary to the government.
8 Have To Audition For The Audition
A bunch of people who show up in the audition phase look like cuckoos who are only there for the laughs, but you’ll be surprised to know these people have already auditioned once before they turn up on-stage.
In order to be chosen to audition on TV, the contestants are first auditioned privately in front of the production team. This means that the most awful contestants have already been seen by this team, and they deliberately let them through to be embarrassed on TV.
7 Need To Wait Hours Before Their Turn
Oh yeah, you better be ready to sit around waiting for your turn for hours upon hours, because the show requires the contestant to hang around until it’s their time on-stage. Since there are thousands of talents waiting for their opportunity, it isn’t possible for everyone to roll through within a few minutes. So, if you plan on auditioning for a Got Talent show, then be prepared to be exasperated in your wait for your shot at the audition slot.
6 Can’t Be Involved With The Judges
Imagine if a spouse or significant other of a judge shows up for an audition, would you believe they were really talented if they are voted through the next stage? The answer’s no, and it’s justified too, because it’s hard to believe the judges will be impartial.
There’s also the matter of being involved with the judges after the auditions, which also isn’t allowed since it’ll influence their critique and voting in the crucial rounds of the show. Basically, don’t even think about getting close to the judges in any way.
5 Have To Compete Against Large Groups Even If Single Act
If a contestant decides to enter as a single act on the show, then that person will be placing all stock in themselves as they’ll be up against potentially a dozen people as competition. The Got Talent shows don’t count multiple people are separate acts, which means a whole group will go against a single person even.
A contestant entering can’t claim to be at a disadvantage when feeling ganged up, since this is part of the rules of the contest. The advantage for the single entrant will be the opportunity of winning the entire prize for themselves, as opposed to groups who’ll have to share.
4 Golden Buzzer Chances
The Golden Buzzer rules differentiate between countries, so we’ll take America’s Got Talent as an example for this point. This buzzer is given to every judge, and can be used to send a talent straight to the live shows, thereby removing the hurdles of competition along the way.
However, the Golden Buzzer isn’t a lifeline, and it doesn’t make a contestant immune from elimination. It’s more or less a fast track to the main round of the competition, and once they’re in the live shows, they’re on their own again.
3 Have To Diversify Their Acts
Most of the people watching Got Talent shows tend to lose interest once the audition phase is over, since this is the part where the most number of contestants – good and bad – are featured. In order to retain interest from viewers, the show requires contestants to mix things up from the following rounds.
This means contestants can’t very well do the same thing all over again and expect to be voted through to the next stage. This is where an advantage for a talent like a singer lies, since they’ll simply have to switch songs, but other talents might find it difficult to diversify.
2 Can’t Influence Judges
We’ve covered the part where the judges can’t be in relationships with contestants, but the entrants aren’t also allowed to influence them in any way. We’ve seen dozens of talents hoping to change the judges’ opinion by pleading them to let them through.
On some occasions, contestants have literally begged to be given a chance, but these have all been turned down. Other contestants have tried to use their tragic history to gain sympathy and get away with leniency in that regard. But it’s all against the rules of the competition.
1 Have To Accept Ridicule
This is the biggest rule for you to remember if you’re serious about entering a Got Talent show, seeing as this rule has been invoked the most. For the most part, people tune in to watch these competitions for the audition phase where the worst contestants are featured. That’s because it’s funny to see people crash and burn in awful showcases when they expected their performances to be praised.
And so, a lot of the times the judges are pretty hurtful in sharing their opinions about these bad showings, and the more catchy and witty insults that come out of them, the better ratings the show gets.