AGT superfans are real long-time fans of the show that were chosen from all 50 states of the USA to watch and judge the performances.
The celebrity judges on reality competition shows cannot always be solely responsible for the fate of the acts on the show. Hence, shows often use a variety of judging methods.
Newer seasons of some of the America’s Got Talent (AGT) shows have now implemented a new superfan judging system, whereby real superfans of the show cast their votes for their favourite acts.
The judging on reality television shows
The only thing that is more entertaining than rooting for your favourite act on a reality competition show like AGT is forming a love-hate relationship with the feedback that the panel of celebrity judges gives the acts weekly.
In the same way that not all people are natural performers, not all celebrity judges are experts in the kind of acts that they need to judge.
This is why most shows use a variety of elimination methods, including one-on-one competition rounds and public votes, to narrow down their pool of performers and to choose their grand prize winner at the end of every season.
Are AGT superfans real?
The newest AGT spin-off shows are called America’s Got Talent: The Champions and America's Got Talent: Extreme, as well as the most recent season of America’s Got Talent: All-Stars.
With these shows, the creators have come up with yet another new way to determine which acts would go through to the next rounds of the competition and which ones would have to go home.
In a bid to refresh the format of this beloved show, NBC has introduced a new “superfan” judging panel to these shows.
This means that instead of relying on the panel of celebrity judges and the public votes that used to stream in via phones calls, text messages, and internet votes in previous iterations of the show, this new panel of “superfans” is meant to represent the at-home viewers’ votes for acts in pre-taped shows.
This change-up in the AGT voting format has expectedly stirred up some controversy, with many viewers feeling like they have been locked out of giving their opinions on the performances weekly.
Many people simply feel like the show is cherry-picking votes in order to put specific acts through each week.
However, NBC has confirmed that they selected the panel of superfans through a special research team that sought out long-time fans of the show from all 50 states of the USA and that they are, in fact, real fans of the show that really judge the acts after watching all of the performances.
Furthermore, some of the superfans have even confirmed this on social media.
Why did AGT change its voting format?
Although this new AGT voting system may take some time to get used to, NBC has emphasised that they feel like this is the best way to empower their audience in the voting process.
NBC believes that since these superfans are selected from all 50 states, they make up a much more diverse pool of voters of different ages, genders, and from different areas, which makes the voting more accurate.
This voting system also ensures that the panel of celebrity judges are not the only ones who get a say in who wins the grand prize at the end of the competition.
The controversy surrounding the superfans
NBC has stated that they were very careful to select superfans from different states.
However, the application form that people who wanted to apply to be superfans on America’s Got Talent: All-Stars had to fill out required that they live near the Los Angeles area, where the show would be taped.
As a result, many people on social media speculate that what the show says about their superfan voting system is not entirely true.
How do the superfans cast their votes?
Even though some people are sceptical about whether the superfan voting system is really as diverse and empowering as the show makes it out to be, others who were chosen as superfans for the show have confirmed a lot of what NBC has explained about the system.
In the end, whether the demographic representation of the superfans’ votes on the show is accurate or not, it has been confirmed that superfans cast their votes on special electronic keypads after they have watched all of the performances in a special screening room.
In addition to these superfan votes, the show’s panel of celebrity judges also still gets to use the “golden buzzer”, which allows the act of their choice to advance straight to the finale of the show.