America’s Got Talent has seen it’s fair share of scandals. The show has made headlines on many occasions, but there were not always about talented performances.

The judges have witnessed performers from all around the world and as expected, there’s only one winner. However, a talent contest show can always have a little drama involved. It may have been bad luck or a misunderstanding, but the judges and the public had a bad taste in their mouths after these shocking revelations. Some got caught in lies, and others simply deserved better.

Find out more as Reality Titbit lists the top most shocking scandals in the history of America’s Got Talent’s all 17 seasons on the air.

Marcelito Pomoy

As a winner of Philippine’s Got Talent 2011, Filipino singer Marcelito Pomoy didn’t disappoint in America. Despite his undoubtedly singing skills, he was not given a Golden Buzzer moment. The reason was that “it was too early on the night of the show.”

Fans of the talent show know that the judges only get one chance to hit the Golden Buzzer. Once pressed, it automatically advances the performer to the next round of the competition. However, it can’t be handed out all the time.

Being reluctant of pressing the button, Marcelito was only given the four yesses by the judges. Simon Cowell ended up gifting the Golden Buzzer to another contestant, which left viewers at home devastated over the lost opportunity to Marcelito.

Marcelito proved that he could make it as far without the help of a Golden Buzzer. Indeed, he did taking the 4th place in AGT: The Champions 2.

Tim Poe

Talent can take you onto better things, but a good background story will always help stars be memorable. Tim Poe’s emotional story during his audition on season 14 warmed the hearts of the audience and the judges. However, not everything was exactly true. That’s why it’s in our list of America’s Got Talent scandals.

He shared the story of how he had suffered brain damage from a grenade blast during the time he had served in Afghanistan. The explosion left him with a speech impediment. However, that wasn’t actually Tim’s full and truthful story despite having served in the military.

According to The Wrap, reports revealed Tim didn’t get injured by a grenade, nor that he was awarded a Purple Heart Medal for the wounds sustained during his service in the military. Tim did come to the audition with a photograph that resembled him but it actually belonged to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Norman Bone.

Screenshot from America’s Got Talent 2012 Tim Poe, Singer War Veteran YouTube | Credit NBC

After getting caught in the act, AGT’s production company, FremantleMedia, issued an apology statement. Poe admitted to the incidents not having happened exactly like he said it did, blaming it on his memory loss.

Tim also admitted to having lied about his interest in the music industry after joining the military. He said after that “before I could even think about answering, my words had already come out.”

Fans were left fuming once the news came out, saying “there was no excuse for making such a huge lie.”

Max Major

During covid-19, America’s Got Talent was just like many other shows without a live audience. For the time being, the audience participated from their homes. Magicians like Max really had to make it work to pull it off to win the judge’s approval.

During Max’s magic act, he wanted to prove “we are all connected” using Howie as well as the audience at home in his act. Using a sheet of paper, viewers were told to imagine they were on an empty street and draw what they saw.

Max also made a prediction and drew what he thought the audience had drawn as well. Once finished, the audience revealed their drawings just to find out that everyone had drawn the same image: a sun.

Nonetheless, the audience at home took over Twitter to accuse the magician to be faking and setting up his performance. According to Talent Recap, Max himself revealed himself on the show that he sent “subliminal messages to get people to draw a sun.”

Although, arguably not the worst scandal for America’s Got Talent, as other magicians have used this trick.

However, participants confessed through Reddit they were allegedly told to fake it to make it work.

Paul Zerdin

Paul Zerdin, the winner of season 10 of America’s Got Talent was accused of using stolen material from other performers. As per Chortle, David Strassman and Ronn Lucas accused the Briton of stealing parts of their routines during his performance.

Similar to Ronn Lucas’ performance back in 1997, Paul’s quarter-final performance showed an argument with his puppet Sam. We see him leaving the stage and telling him: “If you think you can do better on your own, then you’re very welcome.

Lucas, who has very upset about seeing someone else using his material, called out the magician publicly during an interview. He told Deadline: “What bothers me is that he won by stealing other people’s acts, including my own, and that he takes credit for the originality.”

Paul responded by saying that he “never claimed ownership of any of the concepts.” He revealed he was inspired by exceptional fellow ventriloquists, which is the reason for their similarities.

Sacred Riana

The Sacred Riana scared the audience and the judges, for sure. However, she herself had a scare when her performance was interrupted in the middle of her act. Mysteriously, the show went to commercials in the midst of her time on stage.

According to Metro, once the show went back on after advertisements, the audience missed part of the live performance, which upset many.

America’s Got Talent was accused of doing it on purpose to affect the public votes. A leaked document from the show’s team on Twitter alleged the sudden interruption of the commercials was intentional on the part of the producers.

A spokesperson told Good Housekeeping the sudden cut was part of Riana’s performance, and fans thought it was a technical glitch.

Riana was eliminated from the quarterfinals and many blamed the show.



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