By Carson Mlnarik
Whether you’re a hidden talent or a star in the making, you might just find your big break when America’s Got Talent hosts its open-call auditions in Phoenix.
The popular NBC reality show will spend Saturday, February 24, at the Phoenix Convention Center as part of its cross-country tour.
From 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., budding performers of any age and any talent are invited to show off their skills to producers for a chance to compete for a $1 million grand prize and opportunity to headline a show on the Las Vegas Strip.
While Darci Lynne, a singing ventriloquist act, won the show’s 12th season, Arizona was well represented in last year’s competition.
Dancer Oscar Hernandez made it to the quarterfinals, as well as the then-13-year-old Evie Clair, a singer and pianist, who advanced to the final round.
Clair, who is now 14 and resides in Florence, fondly recalls her run on the show, which she calls “the coolest thing ever.”
“My experience on the show was unbelievable,” says Clair, who performs at least one concert a week since appearing on the show.
“It gave me a lot of exposure, which allowed me to come back home and continue to perform and work. That was a huge blessing that we didn’t really think would happen.”
Clair won America’s heart over the summer with her unique voice, classic song choices and her powerful story about her father, who died from colon cancer while she was on the show.
She appreciates the way the show highlighted her true personality, and advises future contestants to do the same.
“Remember who you are, be yourself,” she says.
“I think that was the main thing that I wanted to represent on the show that you don’t have to change yourself or change what you love to do, to have people accept you.”
While the show has been running since 2006, its last season was the show’s most watched in five years. It scored 2.6 billion views on social media.
Executive producer Matt Banks, who has been with the show for nearly eight years, is excited to see who will surprise America this year.
“You never know who’s going to turn up and that’s the joy of the show,” he says.
“It’s really difficult to say what we’d love to turn up because often, it’s something you’ve never seen before.”
Banks only has one piece of advice for those interested in auditioning: go for it.
“There’s no point going in being nervous, you’ve just got to get over that,” he says. “If you don’t go for it, then we’ll never see the true potential that you have.”
As for the show’s 13th season, executive producer Simon Cowell is confirmed to return as a judge and the show will premiere in the summer.
Open Call Auditions for America’s Got Talent, Phoenix Convention Center, 100 N. Third Street, Phoenix, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, February 24, americasgottalentsauditions.com.