So AGT aired my audition, and it was... not life-changing.
When my audition aired, my entire segment was under a minute (half of which was judge reactions), so I doubt anybody will remember/notice it. (Especially when it was sandwiched between a 1 minute montage/segment of someone painting Simon's portrait (similar ego theme), and then a lady singing the same message as me, except she did a cover song dedicated to Simon in a 3minute segment with a semi-memorable ending.)
There is a YouTube clip (with "The Darkwinner" named) on the official AGT channel (currently over 70k views, with 10x more likes than dislikes). And those fantastic AGT fans list me on their wiki.
So of those 70k people, there are maybe 5 individuals who will 1) see that original source, then 2) search engine "Darkwinner" to 3) find this page. If you found this page via that route, you are probably a superfan who wants to learn more about what really goes on at AGT.
I'm not going spoil the magic of reality TV. (That just ruins the fun.)
Yes, some of it is "produced/interfered with to (supposedly) make better TV."
No, the show is not "100% fake." (Do you really think the producers are going to jeapordize a multi-million international franchise and ignore the public's votes for "John Smith" just so their personal favorite "Jane Doe" wins instead?)
For the AGT superfan who researched to find me, I will offer my insights on what I've learned about AGT auditions (so you can align your audition better with what producers are looking for, the show gets better, and everybody wins.)
So I auditioned for 3 yrs in different cities, and have seen many first round acts that did not get on TV. I also saw acts that did get on TV, and can compare those that got a full 90seconds vs those who got edited into a montage....
Be yourself. It seems like a lot of acts just copy what they have seen on other shows. That might get you on AGT this season, but a copy has never won the million dollars...
Be your creative self. Don't just sing what you heard on the radio using your own vocal tone. Create something original and unique that only you can do. This is hard to do, which is why if you achieve it, you'll get noticed.
Practice your routine AND your pre-act For me, nerves are a bigger issue for the small room audition than once I take a big stage. Practice (in a small room) walking to a spot on the floor and saying "My name is George Jones, I'm 18yrs old, from New York City, and I like to eat pizza." (Obviously, use your own information.) Then take a deep breath and then go into your routine. (Make the spoken intro, breath, and begin the routine all part of your practice sessions.) In the room audition, you always walk to the spot and say your name, age, and where you're from. If you haven't practiced, that 3 things you have to remember when your nerves are a janglin! So practice the pre-act as well as your routine. (But don't memorize it so you sound like a robot, vary it so it stays organic/charming.)
Be aware you might get montaged. This is good if you've spent 20yrs perfecting your 2min flaming hoop act and if it's all shown on TV, no one will see your live show. (But if you're in a 2sec montage, the brochure can say "As seen on America's Got Talent!")
Montage can be bad if your comedy act is: "I like Nazis....just kidding." This can get edited to only "I like Nazis" as part of a "racists on AGT" montage. (It's an extreme/unlikely example that I made up for illustrative purposes.) You can try to plan your act so they can't take things out of context, but it won't work. Your best bet is to just go in knowing you can be edited, so you're not too upset when it actually happens.
I knew I could get edited. And after my audition aired, not yet 5 individuals have contacted me - so bad edit presentation on AGT won't ruin your life.
Also, be aware that if you use your awesome double backflip at the climax of your dance routine, AGT could air only that double backflip, and you'll have to come up with a new climactic moment for your dance routine. (But you maybe that double backflip could be your signature move at the start...which builds to your new climax.)
Have fun. The odds of winning the show are under 0.001% so don't take winning/losing as teh be-all/end-all. (My act name as the Dark"win"ner is kind of a joke.) I also think judges/audience react positively in the cattle call audition (and on TV) if you're enjoying the performance vs super-tense that you MUST peform well....
More here later (maybe)...
In my first-round room audition, I was my own creative self.
If you are curious about the 60 seconds of my audition that didn't air:
I started off with (45 secs of) intentionally mediocre standup introducing the "theme of love and surface-identity."
Then I did a (10 second) dramatic monologue demonstrating "lack of love and surface-identity."
Then I sang a 35second original song "I love you _____" In context, the song can be artistically interpreted as "kind of, but also kind of not" ironic.
Without the context, most people will think the song is just me unreservedly kissing up to Simon. (which is not really my style, and probably of less interest to Simon as well.)
But oh well, subtle comic artistic complexity gets lost in the wonders of editing for reality TV....
To be fair, the live audience who saw my full 90sec audition probably only remember "I Love You Simon" and their initial not-so-great reaction to the mediocre standup.
But I believe the reason the live audience might remember "I Love You Simon" is because of the thematic resonance/setup with the earlier material (even if they're not consciously remembering the jokes, or the rest of the song lyrics.)
If you remove the context (like what happened on TV) the song is forgetable (like what happened on TV.)
Without the context, I'm not sure my edited audition was worth one minute of over 10 million people's time. (But I think producers/editors prioritize how the episode works as a whole, not how well individual acts are presented.)
Not really. If I had to pick the "best 20seconds" of the act, it probably would be just the song, like what AGT did.
(The audience reaction to my intentionally mediocre stand-up was surprisingly vehemently not-so-good. So they could have edited to make me look much worse, if they showed just that.)
Ultimately, show biz is a risk. You do your best, and hope they choose to portray you in a positive light.
My preference would have been they had just air 60 seconds of someone else's audition, so I could try again next year without having "wasted" my main gimmick. (I do have plenty of creative act ideas, but I don't have plenty of "overcome personal challenge backstory.")
I feel like there are plenty of acts that would have been more memorable to the audience as an isolated act in a 60 second edit. And those other acts would have benefitted from/desired the exposure much more than me.
But producers pick what they feel makes for a good (overall) TV arc. Us performers just do our best and hope.
Edit: After a couple weeks, I look back and realize that even on the YouTube clip, you can tell I'm being silly. (As opposed to the heartfelt serenade love song of the next act.) If I had known they would just show my song, I would have sang even sillier (instead of aiming for the difficult-but-unusual tone of kind of/kind of not ironic.)
I think many acts wish they were edited differently. ("If they just show my climactic double-back flip without the 60seconds of front flips, it ruins the anticpation!") And even though I was semi-braced for the possiblity of unfavorable editing, I'd recommend you fully brace yourself for that result.
Overall, it was fun to believe you've got a 0.001% shot at fame and fortune, even if it is just for a little while.
I think when some people lose that 0.001% shot at their dream, they blame the show and bitterly post with as much rancor as they can. (Hence all the internet rumors on how these shows are 100% fake!)
For me, the world would be much more dreary, if there were no shows like AGT to give performers that 0.001% dream in the first place.
So yeah, I still like AGT.
Based on my current feelings/analysis, I probably won't audition again for AGT unless something changes.
Now that AGT fans have (kind of) seen the Darkwinner, producers probably won't be interested in showing me again in future seasons.
"The Darkwinner is born of vengence, baptised in fire, and tempered in the cold-hard reality of an uncaring world. He makes jokes and music."
On the off-chance I become semi/faux famous and someone wants to email me, try "contact at darkwinner daught com" I'm supposed to forward press inquiries to AGT though, so if you're press that's emailing me, I'll probably just say: "I'll get back to you after AGT lets me know."
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