How to improve “America’s Got Talent” for Season 13 & beyond

“Jake’s Take” wants to congratulate Darci Lynne Farmer on winning “AGT.” (Photo property of NBC)

By: Jacob Elyachar,

As DARCI LYNNE FARMER celebrates her victory and prepares to headline the show’s America’s Got Talent Live, producers will be hard at work organizing the Season 13 auditions.

But I honestly believe that Simon, Jason Raff, and the America’s Got Talent production team should be fine tuning the show and making it better for Season 13 and beyond.

Jake’s Take has several suggestions that could significantly improve the long-running NBC talent competition.

No more sob stories!

Many fans have vented their frustrations of seeing acts such as Evie Clair, Kechi, and Sara & Hero, who have what they consider “sob story backgrounds” advance over truly talented acts such as Colin Cloud, Eric Jones, and Yoli Mayor. I think if the producers rethink their strategy of using sob stories and emphasize more on either Vegas potential or Sin City ready talent, they would receive double the ratings and the attention they get from media outlets.

Create a children’s only version of “Got Talent.”

Another concern that fans have voiced over the past two seasons is that since Simon joined the show, there have been more kids in the finals. For longtime fans including this author, yes, kids are talented…but they are taking away deserved spots from adults who have worked decades for a break. Creating a kids’ only version of AGT that highlights talented children will not only bring families together but also gives them an incentive to compete against (and become friends with) people their age. Numerous countries such as Italy, Turkey, and Ukraine have versions of Kids’ Got Talent, and if the show was successful in America, it could be a huge hit in other countries. Kids’ Got Talent would be perfect as an NBC online exclusive series or on the CW, MTV, and Nickelodeon networks.


Original “AGT” judge Piers Morgan and veteran “Voice” coach Christina Aguilera are known not to mince words and together, they could make some potential contestants squirm if both of them were on the Season 13 Judges panel. (Photo properties of NBC)

Shake up the Judges’ Table with harsher judges.  

If I were Simon and the team, I think it would be time for a clean sweep of the judges’ table. Howie Mandel, Mel B, and Heidi Klum just finished their eighth and fifth seasons, and at times, all three of them have gotten on fans’ nerves. If Simon wanted to replace Howie, I would suggest Piers Morgan. Piers is recognizable to the fan base and was at the ground level in seeing AGT evolve from a summer show to a television powerhouse.  Also, Piers has been known to buzz acts left and right, and I think fans miss hearing his harsh critiques that would put fires in acts’ bellies.  If Simon wants to replace one of the ladies, I would recommend another member of the NBC family: Christina Aguilera. The six-time Voice coach has won countless of awards and Rolling Stone named her one of the Top 100 Singers of All-Time. She also has a good taste for talent (see Alisan Porter, Chris Mann, Frenchie Davis, Jacquie Lee, and Kimberly Nichole) and could stir up controversy with her character destroying and harsh remarks (see Melanie Martinez and Tony Lucca). By having Piers or Christina (or possibly both) on the show, it would help build the acts the necessary skins that the contestants need to have to continue their journey in the entertainment industry.

Return the Judges’ Cuts to Las Vegas

For seven seasons, all of the acts that the Judges gave their blessings to headed to Las Vegas to find out who would be performing in the live rounds. Also, it gave the audience a taste of what each act could bring to the table during and after the show. Plus, the Vegas rounds separated the acts from $1,000,000 contenders and the pretenders. I would advise the production team to bring back the Judges’ Cuts back to Las Vegas and also keep the format of bringing celebrity guest judges to assist with the cuts.


If South Korean dance crew Just Jerk was chosen as the Semifinals’ Wild Card pick, it might have changed “AGT: Season 12” for the better. (Photo property of NBC)

Let the fans select the Wild Card acts

This season, the Judges chose the Wild Card acts to participate in the Season 12 Quarterfinals and Semifinals. One of the biggest surprises that upset a lot of fans was the Judges’ Wild Card pick for the semifinal rounds: the Pompeyo Family Dogs.  The average act was chosen over deserving acts such as South Korean dance crew Just Jerk, video mapping act Oskar and Gaspar, and the Three Masqueraders. For Season 13, Simon and the AGT production team should give the power of bringing back acts over to the viewers, and they can choose which contestants could reenter the competition.


Season Four runner-up Barbara Padilla & Season Eight finalists The Forte Tenors would bring the Dolby Theatre audience to its feet if they were invited to perform during an “AGT: Season 13” Results Show. (Photos property of NBC)

More alums to perform on Results Shows  

The final piece of advice that I would give to the America’s Got Talent creative team is to open up all of the Season 13 results show entertainment slots to their diverse group of alumni. While we got appearances from Grace VanderWaal, The Clairvoyants, Jon Dorenbos, Mat Franco, Piff the Magic Dragon, and Terry Fator, the show should invest in other acts who have not made appearances in years. I would be up for a Forte Tenors (Season Eight finalists) reunion as they perform “The Prayer” with Season Five runner-up Barbara Padilla. I could also see a joke off between Heidi’s “husband” and Season Eight runner-up Taylor Williamson and Howie’s Season 10 Golden Buzzer act (and runner-up) Drew Lynch.

What do you think of the suggestions? What would you suggest to Simon and company?



  1. I agree with much of what you have to say about improving America’s Got Talent, separate shows for kids, different judges, etc. What I now know is that the primary goal of this TV show is to generate as much profit as possible no matter the outcome. Every opportunity to add revenues was reviewed and utilized (the professional performers they included in the shows had concerts, tours, or new albums to promote) Decisions are made on this basis. Example: To get more viewers to watch every week, they played on their sympathies with stories about the challenges several of the acts and performers faced. Having the most talented performers be selected to move forward was not the top priority. I think the judges were a part of this plan. This was so unfair to the worthy performers, the audience and the credibility of the competition. However, it worked as more people voted this year in the finals. Thus, I predict there will be even more of the same format next year. Though I did enjoy the show for many seasons, including the quirkiness of some of the acts, the mix of the different judges, the fun people were having and seeing the top talent win, this year I was very disappointed. Will I watch next year? Not if they continue with this format.

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar