Who pays expenses for AGT contestants?

AGT pays the travel, lodging, and per diem expenses of the contestants that make it to the judges’ auditions stage.

Hundreds of people audition for America’s Got Talent (AGT), but only a select few make it through to the judges’ audition stage of the show .

However, once contestants make it to this stage, the show covers their travel, lodging, and per diem expenses if they have to travel to Los Angeles.

About the AGT auditions

Every season, hundreds of people audition for the wildly popular AGT in the hopes that the show will be their big break into the entertainment industry.

However, the auditioning process to even get onto the show is a lot more complicated than most people realise.

First, prospective contestants have virtual open call auditions with members of the AGT production team. If the act is interesting enough, it will move on to auditions with the executive producers of the show.

Contestants will only actually audition in front of the judges if they have passed these first two rounds of auditions and have ensured that they adhere to all of the other auditioning rules for the taped show.

Who pays expenses for AGT contestants?

Once a contestant’s act is approved for the judges’ audition stage, they need to travel to Los Angeles where these auditions are filmed.

According to Theresa Graham, NBC’s manager of unscripted formats, the audience and everything on the show plays out on screen as it does in real life, from there.

However, not all of the acts that make it to the judges’ audition stage of the competition reside in Los Angeles. This means that they will need to incur additional travel and lodging costs to attend the judges’ auditions.

AGT does not compensate acts for appearing on the show, but the show does cover the travel and lodging costs of contestants and one parent or guardian if the contestant is younger than 18 years of age.

When acts comprise large groups of children, these rules do get a bit more complicated, as each child will need to have a parent or guardian present on the trip. Alternatively, a maximum of four children can be entered under the guardianship of a single adult.

As an added bonus, acts who get past the judges’ audition round of the show and move on to the public voting rounds also receive a per diem allowance of $25 to cover additional expenses while they are on the show.

Reports have also surfaced that the show’s production team helps the contestants with costuming and make-up every week following their judges’ audition, to which all contestants have to arrive already camera-ready, similarly to other shows like American Idol.

How do the travel and lodging costs work?

AGT covers travel costs differently, depending on how far contestants need to travel for their auditions, as is outlined below:

Travel distance AGT policy
150 to 300 miles away from the theatre Contestants will be reimbursed $0.20 a mile for driving or will be provided with a bus or train ticket.
Over 300 miles away from the theatre Contestants will be given a plane ticket to Los Angeles.

On top of this, AGT also provides contestants with a hotel room the night before their judges’ audition and for the night of the audition.

Are family members’ travel costs covered?

If the contestant who made it through to the judges’ audition stage is a child under 18 years old, the show will cover the same expenses listed above for one adult guardian.

However, the rest of the family members will not be covered, and neither will the spouses or children of adult contestants. This also applies if a contestant has a coach that they would like to accompany them to the performance.

What happens when contestants are done with the judges’ auditions?

If the contestants are selected by the judges on the show to continue to the next round of the competition after the judges’ auditions, the rules pertaining to the costs change slightly.

These rules are not as widely publicised, but it is reported that the contestants are taken into a room if they have a successful judges’ audition, where all of the specifics about their contracts are explained to them.

This includes things like living arrangements, travelling arrangements to and from the location where the show is being taped, food or food allowances, costuming allowances or arrangements, and the specifics of special props, stereo equipment and more.

While contestants are being filmed to appear on any show, the producers of the show are responsible for their general wellbeing, which is why AGT covers these costs.