Why Simon Cowell Thinks America’s Got Talent’s New Live Episode Format Makes Things ‘More Exciting

The seventeenth season of America’s Got Talent has brought about a lot of changes. First off, a full audience is once again present to watch the live shows, as compared to the virtual audience that was utilized due to COVID-19 restrictions that started up back in Season 15. The latest change-up for the NBC series involves the new live episode format which, according to AGT judge Simon Cowell, makes things “more exciting” for viewers.

In previous seasons of America’s Got Talent, the live shows started up during the quarter-final and semi-final rounds. This season marked the major change to those norms, as the 55 acts have been split up into five qualifying rounds, with only two from each week’s eleven-act set moving directly into the finale; one as chosen by the viewers’ overnight vote, and the other chosen by the judges from the acts that placed second, third, and fourth. Iconic AGT judge Simon Cowell explained to People what he’s looking forward to with the new formatting, and why it’s working for him so far.

We had a ton of great people this year. So trying to get that number down to 36 would’ve been really difficult. In some ways we’ve made it easier by putting more people through. In other ways, we’ve made it harder because only two people per night are going to go through to the final. But I think that’s more exciting.

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