GRAPHIC BY YING YANG
By SARAH CHUN
Sometimes, we forget the blessings we have in our country, including the many talents Americans have.
Premiering on May 30, 2017, the twelfth season of America’s Got Talent (AGT) was arguably one of their best seasons thus far. The seventeen-week show consisted of an audition, judging, and a voting process, in search of the best act in the United States. About two hundred acts were gradually narrowed down to ten, who moved on to the season finale on Sep. 20. This year’s winner was twelve-year-old ventriloquist and singer Darci Lynne Farmer, who received $1,000,000, and will have her own live show in Las Vegas.
Despite the few shortcomings AGT had, the remarkable acts and chemistry between the judges made this past season remarkably successful.
Many seemed to complain about the new judge panel selected in the eighth season (2013), and the new host chosen this year; Tyra Banks. While it may be more difficult to vote between the four judges, as acts are required to get three votes instead of two, the judges’ and Banks’ superior chemistry outweighs the negatives.
The judge panel, consisting of Howie Mandel, Melanie Brown (Mel B), Heidi Klum, and Simon Cowell, all have very different personalities, but as the saying goes: opposites attract. Mel B’s feisty attitude combined with Cowell’s dry humor makes for a hilarious and down-to-earth relationship. At the same time, Mandel’s tendency to have love for all acts combined with Klum’s and Cowell’s critical voice make the acts have an excellent experience being judged. As opposed to a serious attitude among the judges in previous seasons, the continuous jokes and friendly atmosphere created by the judges and Banks made the show more enjoyable.
However, there is a flaw in the voting process. In the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals, there is a process named “Dunkin Save,” where two of the three acts on the fence of either continuing on or being eliminated have the opportunity to be voted by the viewers onto the next round. In “Dunkin Save,” besides the act with the most votes moving on to the next round, the judges also vote, giving an additional act on the verge of being eliminated an advancement. This seems to be very unfair, as the raw votes should be the only factor in an act’s advancement. The staff at AGT however fail to realize that this contradicts the original purpose of letting the viewers choose who may move onto the next round. The original winners should be the ones to to advance, instead of putting their winning spot in jeopardy because of a contestant that failed to attain the adequate votes.
Despite this weakness, AGT still executed a successful season due to the fact that there were creative and talented acts on the show. Before, many of the acts were admittedly talented, but generic and plain. This year, the audience experienced a diverse group of acts.
To name a few, there was In the Stairwell, an all-male acapella group from the Air Force, Mandy Harvey: a deaf singer, Singing Trump: a man dressed like our President who sings and dances along to popular songs, Collin Cloud: a mind-reader and magician, and finally, Darci Lynne: a singer and ventriloquist.
Not only were there a variety of acts, they were all highly talented, which created more competition. Because of the talent displayed from many acts, even upon elimination, they still attained success.
For example, eleven-year-old self-taught dancer Merrick Hanna failed to be voted into the finals. However, because of his originality, creativity and talent, judge Cowell commented that Hanna was the best act of the season. According to Hanna’s post-semi-final Instagram post, “[Cowell] even said he had something in the works for [Hanna]!”
In the end, even given the fact that the voting process may be unfair, and that the even number of judges make it difficult to determine winners, the excellent chemistry between Banks and the judges and the stunning acts makes up for it. These strengths seen in this season forecast more successes in upcoming seasons, and keep the viewers waiting for next year.