Since 2006, America’s Got Talent (AGT) contestants have taken to prime time to compete for a $1 million prize and the opportunity to headline their own Vegas show. These days the Strip is packed with AGT talent as highlighted by America’s Got Talent Presents: Superstars Live. The Vegas-based spin-off of Simon Cowell’s successful TV franchise features performers from previous seasons of America’s Got Talent, America’s Got Talent: All-Stars, and related series.
The 85-minute variety show based at Luxor Hotel and Casino’s 1400-seat theater features eight acts plucked from the prime time spotlight and offers approximately 480 shows per year with new acts from the most previous season added in December. Since the November 2021 kick-off, Superstars Live has welcomed over half a million Vegas visitors including large subsets of families and those that AGT insiders fondly dub their “Super Fans.”
America’s Got Talent has been one of NBC’s top draws for over a decade, giving contestants the opportunity to perform on a national stage that reaches millions. Renewed for a 19th season, recent contestants have performed for nearly 6 million viewers per episode. The side effects? Lots more followers.
AGT’s longterm reach has helped build a base of talented performers from around the world that can fill a Vegas theater and then some. Today, 35 of them are on stage at the Luxor Hotel and Casino.
“The popularity of AGT brings a lot of people to the show,” says opera singer and ventriloquist Celia Muñoz, 2021 winner of Got Talent Spain and an AGT season 17 finalist, who will finish her Vegas run in December after nearly a year with the variety show. Muñoz discovered that some of her AGT fans made the Vegas journey in order to catch her act. With approximately eight shows per week and as many as ten during high season, there are plenty of opportunities for fans to catch their favorites.
Backed by 40 crew and staff and 35 performers, the current show emceed by season 17 stand-up comedian Mike E. Winfield, features Muñoz, singer-songwriter and pianist Kodi Lee (season 14 winner, AGT: All-Stars), tech neon light show dancers Light Balance (season 12), rapping magician Mervant Vera (season 17, AGT: All-Stars), Pack Drumline (season 17), aerialist Aidan Bryant (season 16 runner up, AGT: All-Stars winner), Silhouettes (season 6), and Human Fountains (season 18).
What happens if someone needs to take a sick day? The AGT talent pool is deep with familiar alternative talent on speed dial. If your favorite is MIA, expect to see other similarly talented AGT alums hit the stage.
Variety Show Perks
The variety show format means sharing the stage and the 85-minute window means some acts clock only about 8-minutes. That’s good news for audience members who might not embrace a specific art form, but bad news for artists hoping to test longer acts. Still, AGT alum are embracing the opportunity and finding great takeaways that don’t exist in solo shows.
“Being able to do the show every day especially in a big theater increases your confidence and polishes your skills. The performance begins to feel even more organic. Doing this every day, the performance becomes almost second nature,” says Muñoz who was an accomplished opera singer long before she became a famous ventriloquist.
Ready to kick-off his second year on the show, Mervant Vera agrees. “It’s helped me learn how to manage my energy and effort every day no matter how the day is.”
Both artists acknowledge the synergy of being part of a team. “Being surrounded by talent gives you good energy and grows your creativity,” notes Muñoz.
“It’s given me respect for everyone’s art. It’s been a big lesson of ego,” says Vera whose blend of magic and hip-hop offers a uniquely enjoyable approach to experiencing the art forms.
While being cast in the show means a steady paycheck, nothing to sneeze at in the performing arts where gigs come and go, it also gives talent a taste of a Vegas residency, something artists like Celine Dion, Adele, and Garth Brooks have embraced, albeit in varied degrees. No need to travel—just unpack and stay put.
There’s no set up and tear down or tech struggles in unfamiliar or unprepared venues. And since Vegas audiences change like the wind, performing daily to an ever-changing demographic helps build skills and new fan bases. If practice makes perfect, Superstars Live is doing their part to help create even better talent.
Not Your Backyard Talent Show
This isn’t your high school talent show. Packed with Vegas polish and Hollywood set design, Superstars Live gives every act their shining moment. From fire and neon to sequins and stars, designers haven’t held back in bringing a piece of the franchise to the Strip.
“Brian Burke, the director, really created a beautiful atmosphere for my act and that showed me the power of this kind of production in showcasing talent,” says Muñoz whose drive-in movie set channeled the high-gloss AGT act that gained her national attention.
At the core of it all, is a Vegas vibe that whispers, “You’re in the Entertainment Capital of the World.”
Vera says that he continually feels compelled to bring his best performance no matter what. “This is somebody’s first and somebody’s last time in Vegas.”