America’s Got Talent is heading to Houston this weekend for two days of auditions (January 18-19). I had the privilege to interview Jason Raff, a producer with America’s Got Talent who started in the beginning nine years ago. He shared some insight and advice for those folks trying to earn a spot on the 9th season. As you know, one person on the show will ultimately win $1 million and launch a career!
What kind of trends do you expect to see with auditions this year?
Each year is a little reactive of years’ past. If a comedian won, then you might see a lot of comedians. The technical acts seem to inspire new technology or new ideas and just get more innovative.
So why is Houston the only Texas city lucky enough to be hosting auditions for this season?
Texas is the place we go to for auditions every year. We rotate through Houston, Dallas, and Austin and people will drive from another city for them. People have good luck in Texas!
I saw The Texas Tenors audition in Houston for season 4 of America’s Got Talent, and they are now performing in Branson, Missouri. Does that happen often?
There are many entertainers working in Las Vegas and Branson that got their start with America’s Got Talent. There are probably 12-14 acts in Vegas right now. It just proves what can happen. It’s an opportunity that can change your life!
What makes for the perfect audition?
The perfect audition gets your attention. These folks stand out from the crowd, and I’ll get goosebumps. It’s an amazing feeling that this person’s life will change because of what they did in that little audition room. In a bad audition, people don’t show their personality and won’t look at us. They need to perform for us and look out.
What kind of numbers are you expecting for the Houston audition?
We hope to see 2,000-3,000 acts. We bring 10-12 producers for the audition rooms and have a staff of 30-40 local people. They start at registration and then head to the holding room. That’s where you can meet some interesting people! Then they proceed to the audition room. We’ll bring in 3-5 singers in at one time, for example, and they’ll have 90 seconds each.
What advice would you give for folks auditioning in Houston?
Just do it and stop thinking about it! We actually love people who have never auditioned before. You need to start big and end bigger! You’ve got a good story to share, if nothing else. At the very least, you tried it and met some interesting people.
The Houston auditions are January 18-19 at Reliant Center, 8400 Kirby Drive. Register online at the America’s Got Talent website if you are interested in auditioning. Opening hours will be approximately 8 am – 7 pm.
The auditions this weekend are NOT open to the public. If the next round returns to Houston, that will be with host Nick Cannon, the judges, and the live audience.
Good luck! I hope one of my readers is attending and will share his or her experience!