‘America’s Got Talent’ Showrunners Explain Why New Season’s Best Feature is Having an Audience

by Amy Myers

Season 16 of America’s Got Talent will be much noisier than last year. After a season of social distancing, the show welcomes back audience members to the actual theater. This will be the first time since Season 14 that contestants will have a live audience.

Of course, America’s Got Talent team couldn’t be happier to once again make the experience “feel alive.”

“The biggest thing that we are looking forward to is that we have figured out a safe way to once again have a live audience,” executive producers Jason Raff and Sam Donnelly stated.

However, this comes with a few conditions. Only “fully vaccinated and masked individuals” will be able to see the show in person. Of course, this is to ensure that AGT does its part in stopping the spread of the virus. Since the number of cases has started to once again climb, the show wants to ensure that Dolby Theater is a safe place for all that attend.

“We are happy to say that there are many elements to the season that provide a sense that things are getting back to normal,” America’s Got Talent executive producers shared. “For one, we had an audience for our early taped shows, and we will have one again for the upcoming live shows.”

They continued, “It’s great to see the way these fans respond to our judges, as well as the performers. It really provides an electricity throughout the theatre, and every day we are witnessing extraordinary acts who are being given the opportunity to chase their dreams on the world’s most prominent stage.”

‘America’s Got Talent’ Team Continues Creative Spirit From Season 15

Previously, in Season 15, America’s Got Talent didn’t hide the fact that the seats at Dolby Theater would remain empty for the duration of the show. The show’s host, Terry Crews explained that in compliance with COVID-19 social restrictions, the show couldn’t safely house audience members. Already, it was a challenge coordinating the actual performances. However, the show found some creative alternatives that would ensure the safety of its contestants, judges and audience members while still continuing with the show.

Contestants performed their auditions at home, while the judges and host were the only ones in Dolby Theater. While competitors certainly missed the sea of adoring fans, it was still a miracle that the show could still continue.

In later rounds, small groups of contestants joined the stage for acts that didn’t require much movement (like singing). Other contestants performed outdoors on a makeshift stage at a drive-in movie theater. Meanwhile, audience members remained at home–but with one significant change. Their faces and applause appeared on the big screen on stage. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the show continued to provide inspiration and entertainment throughout 2020. America’s Got Talent team will carry the same positive and creative spirit into the 16th season.