The general selection process of each season is begun by the production team with open auditions held in various cities across the United States. Dubbed “Producers’ Auditions”, they are held months before the main stage of auditions are held. Those that make it through the initial stage, become participants in the “Judges’ Auditions”, which are held in select cities across the country, and attended by the judges.
Each participant is held offstage and awaits their turn to perform before the judges, whereupon they are given 90 seconds to demonstrate their act, with a live audience present for all performances. At the end of a performance, the judges give constructive criticism and feedback about what they saw, whereupon they each give a vote – a participant who receives a majority vote approving their performance, moves on to the next stage, otherwise they are eliminated from the program at that stage.