America’s Got Talent (AGT) held a press event last Wednesday, the America’s Got Talent BBQ, at Rockefeller Center for the announcement of the finalists. As I ascended the grand staircase, I expected to be met by a garrison of Jason Bournes in black, press-zombies, and flash-grenades, but instead I proceeded through a casual check-in process that resembled an afterwork networking event or pub-crawl as a simple wristband was attached and my name crossed off a list. Security vetted me, not some impenetrable firewall I also imagined.
I rode an elevator up to a secret floor with an old, gentle, and anachronistic elevator operator in classic NBC uniform before I stepped off onto a long, sheened, ivory hallway. Down the stretched corridor was a room and all I could see were attendees moving around like tadpoles, the obvious source of all the fireworks. The snapping of camera shutters and cackle and flurry of traffic began to crescendo as I rounded the corner and found Heidi and Howie on a Twister mat.
Elbows were thrown to get the right moment as both celebrities were perfect camera teases, accommodating and playful from one berth or game to another, including Twister and some kind of costuming, which I didn’t understand. At one point, Howie wore a paper crown that looked like the one in the Burger King meals. He was a great sport with everything, but Heidi was more affectionate looking tastefully Nordic and svelte, which the camera version could almost stand in for the original. She was so doting that she even left one interviewer (a finalist in last year’s competition) with a desirable pattern of her smooches all over his face, and the camera loved it too. I arrived twenty minutes into the affair, so maybe I missed Howard and Mel B.
Light fare and an open bar kept everyone easy and lubed, as the semifinalists floated around freely available. I didn’t approach like other mongers, but I could’ve, as the contestants were well poised but excited to be receiving the attention. I focused on making videos and taking snapshots of all the current finalists; it was a rare opportunity before the show streamed live on a television.
Everyone watched fates dished out by a subjective fan-base, whether or not a certain contestant literally nearly killed their dreams to get there — all contestants get exposure for their talent. Sprawling emotions on edge were well housed in this inner, NBC sanctuary. You could imagine all of the post-season celebrations, and the television development and focus group events that were hosted here, as pictures of NBC icons hung like deities speaking to current regimes.
After interacting with the semifinalists and panelists in person, it’s not like experiencing the mysterious, unattainable, and enigmatic entities on the big screen. You meet real people with the same aspirations as yourself.
All coverage can be viewed on Beauty News NYC Twitter and Instagram. We will also cover the finals for America’s Got Talent on NBC.