Due to the coronavirus pandemic, America's Got Talent has implemented some significant changes to its production. Not only did they forego having an in-studio audience during the audition process, but they have also produced episodes virtually. On Tuesday night's episode, AGT showcased the judges — Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, and Simon Cowell — judging the acts from the comfort of their homes for the very first time.
The coronavirus pandemic forced AGT to get creative when it comes to their production. The NBC competition took a page out of The Voice's book as it saw the judges giving commentary on various acts that performed live in front of them via video. This setup is a major change for AGT fans, but the alterations aren't going to stop there. According to USA Today, the show has implemented a plethora of adjustments so that fans can still get their fix of the show every week.
In addition to judging various acts from home, AGT did head back to production for the Judges' Cut episode, which will air on July 28. Instead of heading back to the studio, the show made use of a drive-in movie theater to allow the judges to watch the acts on a big screen. "We have the four judges show up separately in cars" that reflect each of their personalities, NBC's executive vice president of alternative programming told USA Today. "They walk on to set, and it's this big, kind of drive-in movie screen. They walk to their (socially distanced) director chairs and watch the performers on a big screen and then speak to them, live from the places that they were, about their performances and whether they were moving forward. It ended up being really inspiring."
While watching auditions in a drive-in movie theater is definitely a different experience for the judges, Cowell explained that the resulting product was pretty exciting. "It was surreal, like being in a movie," Cowell told USA Today via email. "As we drove onto the lot, everyone is walking around with masks, and we go into this room, and we're told what we can do, what we can't do, and I'm thinking this is going to be a tough day. But there was this real buzz of excitement that we were all back together."