Reality Bites

AGTAmerica’s Got Talent returns this week to NBC. In its tenth season, it’s become a summer staple in our house.

When Howard Stern joined  the judging panel three seasons ago, the live elimination shows were moved to the East Coast to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. Matt and I took full advantage of the show being only a half hour from home, and we went to two live tapings. Except for one act that had to be pre-taped because of a complex set-up, what happened in front of us was exactly what was being broadcast on TV at home.

This past March, AGT was back at NJPAC to tape auditions for season 10. Matt and I headed into a slushy Newark for one of the tapings.

Everyone was settled into their seats, and the anticipation started growing. But before we got even a glimpse of Howard, Heidi, Mel B., and Howie, we spent a half hour taping crowd reaction shots that would be cut into the auditions during editing.

“OK, everybody! Stand up and applaud!”

“Alright. We need you all to look surprised!”

“How about some laughter?”

“Now we need to you look horrified!”

“Stand up and cheer!”

Matt looked around in disbelief as everyone pretended for the camera. It was as if he found out there was no Santa.

So much for reality television.

P.S. Heidi Klum has the longest legs I’ve ever seen.