I know a lot of people love this show as much as I do, and I wanted to give them a heads up of what to expect when they audition for AGT. It has always been a lifelong dream of mine to perform on this show and, even though I didn't make it this year, I still had a blast! If you don't want to listen to me blabber on, skip to the bottom of this post to see a few tips on how to prepare for your audition.
So, in the December of 2017, my parents took me on my first trip to Vegas so I could try out . We stayed in the Rio, same hotel were the auditions were held. I reserved the earliest spot to audition (much to my mother's dismay) and after a night of exploring downtown Sin City, caught a few hours of sleep before the big day.
I woke up, got my gear in order, and headed down to the main floor of the hotel. My mom was as exited as I was, and she came with me to the audition. We followed the signs to one of the larger conference areas in the hotel, and began the adventure by standing in line for half an hour. After we got through security, we entered the first part of the conference center. It only took a few moments to get to the receptionists and receive the paperwork to fill out. Best of all I finally got my audition number and sticker. The paperwork took about 20 min to fill out, but it was kinda fun. They ask you questions like who are you, why are you trying out, what are your hobbies/interests, what do we need to know about you, that kinda stuff.
When I first walked into the foyer, it was like a dream come true. It looks exactly like it does on TV, with the dance floor, makeup stations, studio lights, and banners all around the room. (Needless to say, my mother insisted on taking LOTS of pictures)
I spent most of my day inside the main room, just sitting around and chatting to people. I met a really funny comedian named Sandy who told me how his daughter convinced him to try out for the show. I heard a gentleman confined to a wheelchair sing the most amazing version of "Simple Man" you can imagine. I even got the chance to meet with a few other magicians and swap tricks with them! There also was, I kid you not, some random guy in a full body chicken costume running around break dancing. (I really hope he makes it onto the show)
Even though I spent most of my time visiting, the staff members did a lot to make sure everyone was having fun. They set up photo stations for the acts, filmed them at the make up tables, and (best of all) had a giant dance party in the middle of room. They invited all the dance acts to show off in front of everyone, and it was really cool to see all the incredible talent in the room. During all this time, the cameras were constantly rolling, capturing every potential winner.
This went on for about five or six hour. Some on the time I spent exploring, others sitting or taking pictures with Mom. Finally, they started calling acts in groups of fifty to line up and head to the audition rooms. They split these big groups into smaller groups of about ten and led each of them into smaller conference rooms. Before we went in, they did one last check with the acts to see if they needed anything. Then, it was showtime.
Inside my room was a single producer behind a table. He introduced himself and told us that we each had exactly 90 seconds to show him what we could do. My group included several of the magicians I had previously met, one other magician I had not, two comedians (including my new friend Sandy), and a few singers. I was called up to be the fifth act, and even though my heart was pounding, I introduced myself and began the performance. I won't bore you with the details, it was basically a book test with a new reveal I created. After all the acts were through, he thanked us, kept a few of the others behind, and said that, if you were chosen, you would be contacted in a few weeks. And that was it.
I got to talking with the other magician in the room whom I had not met, and told him how insane his act was. I later learned he had performed for Penn and Teller at the same hotel! I thought I had an idea how his trick worked, to which he responded by smiling and handing me his props to inspect. (The magic equivalent of the middle finger) He was a nice guy and a very talented performer,
and I wish him the best of luck.
As soon as my audition was finished, I met back up with my parents and went to get some food. We wandered around Vegas for the rest of that day and the day after, and went to see a few shows on the strip. I even got the chance to meet former AGT winner Mat Franco. (Who is, I might add, one of the most talented, down to earth performers to ever live) I never did get a call back, but I still scratched off an entry on my bucket list, and made some memories that will last a lifetime. Still, next year, I fully intend to take what I have learned and give it another shot!
If you plan to audition for AGT youself (which I highly encourage you do), here are a few tips:
Prepare ahead of time
I HIGHLY recommend planning your audition and trip ahead of time. You can submit all your formal applications ahead of time on the audition website, and this will help streamline your admittance. Also figure out where you will be staying, and how long it will take you to get to the audition site.
Practice your timing
You would be surprised how strict they are about the whole 90 second thing. My producer told us that he would not hesitate to cut us off, and ended up doing it to the first guy who went on. Practice your act until you are sure you can do it quickly and competently. You should show them what you can do, but also leave them wanting more.
Show up early
I would advise you to choose the second earliest time slot available. My time was scheduled for 8:00, but I did not perform for the producer until around 1:00 PM. When I left the conference room, the line had stretched from down the hall to around the building!
If you want to beat the line and get to the fun stuff, show up a little early.
Bring some snacks
I'm not sure if they provide food at every audition, but it is a good idea to bring your favorite snack with you. They will definitely have drinks available to the acts, but I would still recommend bringing a water bottle. (Especially if you are going to be talking or singing)
Don't be afraid to visit
Not gonna lie, I saw some WEIIIIIIIRD thing in Vegas! Even though it can be frightening, don't be scared to strike up a conversation with the person next to you. It will make the day go by faster and, who knows, you might end up making some new friends.
I got a little overwhelmed when I first got there, so I did not necessarily participate in every event the staff offered. In hindsight, that was a mistake. If you want to be on TV, you should be getting as much camera time as possible. That means always be interacting with your fellow auditioners, spend a lot of time at the dance party, and stand in line to use the makeup stations. If you see them doing on camera interviews as well, make sure above all else to jump in line. The more they see of you, the more likely they are to pick you.
Make a video
Just because you go in for an open call does not mean that you cannot also submit a video to the producers. Doing so is inexpensive, and it allows them so see more of what you can do than what the 90 seconds will allow. I mean, it can only improe your chances, so why wouldn't you?
Believe in yourself
Confidence. Is. Key. If you have a shy personality, don't be afraid, the producers are very friendly. But do not think for a moment that you do not deserve to be in that room. Let me be the first to tell you that you are freaking awesome just for considering to audition. If you have got a talent, or something that makes you special, then the world deserves to see it. Most of all, don't forget to have fun!