‘America’s Got Talent’ Is Hosting Virtual Auditions. Here’s How to Apply

The Dance Town Family performs on last season's America's Got Talent. They were eliminated in the quarterfinals but performed as a wild card in the semifinals, where they were eliminated again.
The Dance Town Family performs on last season's America's Got Talent. They were eliminated in the quarterfinals but performed as a wild card in the semifinals, where they were eliminated again. Photo courtesy of NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Ready to propel yourself from relative obscurity to a stage in front of millions of viewers? Here’s your chance to shine on “America’s Got Talent.”

The audition crew is surfing the web to find the diamonds in the rough for season 16. Open-call auditions this year will be held entirely online — with four dates to try out live in November and December.

America’s Got Talent Season 16 Audition Dates

The AGT crew is offering up plenty of chances to prove yourself by holding auditions online, making them available nationwide.

Here are the four dates for live-streamed auditions with AGT producers:

  • Nov. 14
  • Nov. 15
  • Dec. 12
  • Dec. 13
Pro Tip

Signing up for one date does not guarantee an audition. You can choose one date or all four if you’d like. 

If you can’t audition virtually on any of those days, you can send in a pre-recorded video audition instead. For video submissions, be sure to keep it to about two minutes in length, and do not do a lot of post-production editing such as vocal processing, auto-tuning or splicing a bunch of clips into a highlight reel.

Your video needs to reflect something you can do in-person.

How to Apply to ‘America’s Got Talent’

Only a few steps separate you from glory.

Eligibility Requirements

Nothing is worse than being discounted on a technicality. Make sure you’re eligible to participate before you sign up. The good news is that we’ve read the fine print, so you don’t have to.

The big takeaways: You must be a United States citizen, legal permanent resident or hold a current employment authorization card at the time of the audition. Minors may audition, but they must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Pro Tip

Even if you have signed up and auditioned with the show before, you will need to do so again for the latest season.

Also, you can’t be currently running for public office… thankfully. We don’t need politics interrupting our time with Simon Cowell, right? You must agree not to run for public office until a year afterward, too. Sorry in advance if you were looking to “America’s Got Talent” to jump-start your campaign.

Audition Registration Process

If you fit the bill so far, head over to the ”America’s Got Talent” audition website to register your “performer profile” for season 16.

During the registration process, you can select a specific date you’d like to audition via live-stream with the AGT staff. Live auditions will be held over Zoom. Otherwise, you can submit a pre-recorded video.

Normally, we’d suggest going for the live audition so that you can interact directly with the judges and, hopefully, make a good impression. But if your act includes several performers, it’s best to submit a video to keep in line with CDC guidance.

“We strongly discourage groups from gathering for a virtual audition, at this time, and suggest you upload a pre-existing recording,” the audition website advises.

What to Expect the Day of the Audition

For previous seasons, auditions were typically held in large stadiums or theaters where you’d arrive early in the morning, sit in line for hours and hope to end up in front of the judges before they closed the doors for the day.

Because auditions are online for season 16, things are different. An element of chance is still involved. You’re not guaranteed an audition. Instead, performers are chosen on a “first come, first seen” basis.

Basically, during the chosen date(s) of your audition, you’re supposed to be ready to roll during your assigned check-in time. That timeframe is also not the guaranteed time of your audition. Your audition could run before or after your check-in time depending on the flow throughout the day.

The website states that audition days typically start at 9 a.m. Pacific time and end around 6 p.m. To be safe, prepare to be on standby the whole day — just as if you were waiting in-line, in-person for your name to be called.

Tips to Nail Your Virtual Audition

Judges watch performers for America's Got Talent.
Left to right: Simon Cowell, Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Terry Crews judge last season’s contestants from Universal City. Photo courtesy of NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

You’ll need to be a little more creative and mindful of your audition for season 16, considering it’s online and the staging is up to you.

These tips will make sure your act is worthy of public berating by Simon Cowell.

  • Test your tech and then test it again. A strong internet connection is critical. Judges will have probably endured dozens of glitches and connection issues throughout the auditions. Don’t add yourself to that number — and their annoyance.
  • Set your own stage. Be sure your live-stream or pre-recorded video is shot in good lighting. Being outside is an option, though keep in mind the Wi-Fi limitations. If you’re in-doors, the website says you should remove art or decorations from your walls in the frame.
  • Make sure your act is fit to perform on stage. Even though you might have limitations in recording or live-streaming space, keep in mind that the end result will be on stage at a theater or performance hall.
  • For dancers, one or two full songs are best for performances. It’s difficult for NBC to secure rights to medleys for broadcast. Original works are also OK, though the show suggests that popular songs are best.
  • Tips from Cowell himself: Be fearless and original, and make sure to dress to impress.

And a personal tip, if you want to shake it up: Consider the winners of past seasons and distinguish yourself. A spoken-word poet, a singer-pianist and a music-themed magician won seasons 15, 14 and 13, respectively.

Good luck, and may the Wi-Fi gods be ever in your favor.

Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He’s an expert in unique ways to make money. Read his ​full bio here​, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.