Pop Culture

Houston’s Got Talent! The dirt on my AGT experience

Here it is – the dirt on my experience at a taping of America’s Got Talent: the best show on television with exploding glittery American Flags everywhere! We weren’t allowed to bring phones or cameras, so I’m going to have to dish from memory. But don’t take my word for it! Watch it yourself starting this summer!

Thanks to the awesome people over at Houstonponthecheap.com (actually their twitter people @HOUcheap), I signed up for tickets to go see a taping of America’s Got Talent in Houston last night.

America's Got Talent Taping

They had 4 AGT tapings in Houston total – 2 per day for 2 days – one afternoon and one evening. It was completely free and the only stipulation was that you not bring a camera or cell phone (they were very strict about this) and that you dress in “hip, upscale attire” (actual quote from the ticket).

The experience was a blast!

The low point: Logistics!

There seemed to be no direction or plan for getting people from security into the theater. We showed up a few minutes before we were told and it seemed the masses had decided amongst themselves to form a line (logical). For one brief moment a woman with a headset was yelling and pointing… but even those close by couldn’t hear what she was actually saying. It surprised me that a show with an obviously large budget didn’t hire a few more people for crowd control (or at least print some signs out and borrow some velvet rope from the venue). And this was show 4 of 4 for the week… not their first time at the Houston circus.

Yes, this really happened.

We had been standing in line for about 45 minutes – snaked across the foyer, down the stairs, around the corner, right up to the door of the theater, standing in line like civilized adults – and the person directing us in says “Ok. The lower level is full. You guys get to go up to the grand tier.” And then stared at us. I had no idea what the grand tier was or if the view of Sharon’s fierce shoes was better there or what (4 inch white patent leather boots, in case you were curious – and they were fierce). We waited for a moment and when it became clear that she had no intention of giving us any more direction or escorting than “go,” the entire line then took off literally SPRINTING in the direction of the lobby. By the time we had rounded the corner, gone up the stairs, and back through the foyer… it was virtually a mob. Nice.

The high point! The Judges!

We eventually settled into seats front and center of the balcony. This means that because there were only really cameras on the lower level, we won’t be on TV… but we had a great view of the action! Including the judges!

Preface: Sharon Osbourne is an inspiration to me. I adore her. She has been through so much SHIT and has emerged triumphant, vibrant, and extremely awesome. I love watching her on stage because she truly has heart and passion in everything she does… but she is unbiasedly honest and frank with everyone. And yes, she looked great (note the aforementioned patent leather boots).

Then there’s Piers. It’s amusing to me that on the show “America’s Got Talent” two judges are British and one is a German sensation. Nick adds some diversity, I suppose. Piers is the kind of guy you would want to grab a beer with. He won Celebrity Apprentice and he often out-Simons Simon Cowell on the British version of the show.

The One and Only – The Hoff

David Hasselhoff came out wearing a full length black leather trench coat and a black studded cowboy hat. He looked like some sort of Australian Indiana Jones. Then as the show went on he would put his feet up on the desk to reveal his black leather motorcycle boots. He was a joy.

The highlight of the evening was hands down that Hoff was signing 3×5 headshots of himself and the crew was passing them out to the audience between acts. Jason and I each got one and it now hangs proudly in my cube, where I can properly show it off to my jealousy-ridden coworkers.


The Real Dirt

There were really only a few juicy things that happened during the taping. #1 was a trampolining girl with no legs coming dangerously close to hurting herself on a high jump. and #2 can best be described in 140 characters:

(Not following qcait on Twitter? You’re missing out on gems like this!)

Best moment of Am’s GT: Hoff says watching bad act is low point of his career. Bad act says “what about that time w/ the hamburger.” Ouch.


Yeah. That just happened.

A few additional notes and shout outs

  • When a judge “X”es someone in the middle of their act it doesn’t seem that dramatic on TV, but it is actually QUITE terrifying. Way up in the balcony we couldn’t hear very well over the crowd noise, but when someone would X it was like a jolt that shook the room. Not to mention they set off strobe lights for a split second for added drama on an X. I jumped in my seat every single time. And it didn’t seem to phase the performers for the most part. There was one who was mid back flip during the buzz who somehow managed to stick her landing through it all.
  • We didn’t actually see Nick Cannon but for a few minutes before the show. He was busy doing those backstage interviews before and after each act. A few times, he would come out to help an act and the audience would go… WILD. He’s a crowd favorite. I just kept screaming “I LOVE YOUR WIFE!! SWEET, SWEET FANTASY BABY!!!” Or something like that. Again, no cameras or phones to prove it.
  • The parking at the theater center garage was SUPER convenient and VERY well run. The staff at both the theater district garage and the Wortham were EXTREMELY helpful and EXTREMELY amazing. Hats off to these guys, who deal with confused patrons en masse before and after shows every night.
  • The guy warming everyone up between acts – I think his name was Jim – was great. It must be an exhausting job keeping everyone entertained… and he was awesome.

In Conclusion!

The moral of the story is, go check out the show. The last auditions will be in New York city this week, and the live tapings will be a few days after that. Check NBC’s News blog for more details. If you can bring a group of 20 or more people, they will actually pay you to come out. There were a few church groups and high school there and I think it’s a very cool fundraiser if you can get it together quickly!

And be sure to watch the Houston show in mid July and see if you can see any of your friends in the audience!

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