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  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: In season 6, the auditions were going smoothly, until out of absolutely nowhere, this happened.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: In a sense, as it applies to America's voting habits. It's been noted that singers and dancers tend to find more success on this show than variety acts do. In fact, five out of six winners were middle-aged male singers (Terry Fator doing so through his puppets), and the remaining winner and many second-placers are also singers of some kind.
  • Cool Old Guy: Professor Splash seems to be this for season 6, despite the fact that he isn't all that old.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • There is a lot in the audition rounds, but the real Crazy Awesome acts are the ones who survive to when America votes. Look at Season 5's semifinals. Rock-climbing dancers! Kite-flying as a performance art! Guys who play music with lightning! A blacklight performance troupe! And...however you describe Prince Poppycock.
    • Hannibal Means (also Season 5) really embodies the crazy with rainbow muumuus, the (knitted!) hats, weird warm-ups...and the awesome? The man can really sing.
      • Pity he didn't make it further. He could just stand on-stage and talk and people would still watch him.
    • Professor Fig from Season 6. He walks on stage in a purple sequined suit and a cat on his shoulder and it got weirder.
    • Season 6 also gives us the Kinetic King, who invents Rube Golberg Devices that explode and collapse on themselves and speaks with a distinctly Minnesotan accent with a very dry sense of humor.
  • Creator's Pet: Jackie Evancho could have been this, but really only if you didn't root for her to win. The problem is that she jumped into Season 5 midway and some think that she took a shortcut to usurp already established acts and was getting a much bigger media push than the other finalists. Although, to be fair, it doesn't detract from her skill.
    • Most infamously, during the final round, Piers constantly shilled Jackie at the expense of Prince Poppycock and Fighting Gravity. He even went as far as to buzz the former and bring that up during Michael Grimm's judging. Of course, all that speaks more about Piers than anyone else.
    • Of course, if you count the YouTube submissions as the equivalent of the open audition round, she really only had one fewer performance than Prince Poppycock or Grimm (and the same number as Fighting Gravity, who got to bypass the Vegas Callback round).
  • Creepy Child: Jackie Evancho.
    • Creepy awesome!
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Several acts; Grandma Lee in Season 4 was the most successful.
  • Ear Worm: "Studio" by Sponjetta (Season 5 auditions). Now with a remix featuring T-Pain!
    • From Season 7: "Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do?"
  • Elimination Houdini / Reality Subtext: Donald Braswell, who finished fourth in Season 3, only got into the Top 40 because a Russian Bar act had to withdraw due to injury.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: In Season 6, Howie advises a couple acts that this is basically a popularity contest and they should adjust accordingly. For male pole dancer Steven Retchless, this seemed to just mean rein in the more flamboyant parts a bit; but when he gave this advice to Dani Shay (aka the Justin Bieber-looking girl) it came off more as "Don't Be Yourself, be more of a cliche inoffensive singer."
  • Glurge: Heaping amounts. Neal Boyd was Susan Boyle before Susan Boyle was Susan Boyle. And Kevin Skinner shows every bit of the Kentucky backwoods from where he comes.
    • Christina and Ali Christensen, two decent-but-not-great singers who seem to have made it into the Top 10 on the basis of their sob story. You see, they're SISTERS with CYSTIC FIBROSIS and they're GOING TO DIE and Christina's ONLY THIRTEEN and they're SO INSPIRATIONAL.
    • Every week we had to hear about Michael Grimm and his poor upbringing and wonderful grandparents. For this troper, it made it seem like he coasted on this and this is how he won.
  • Growing the Beard: Season 2 was a lot better than the first in many ways. A better idea of how elimination was working, not wasting time calling contestants from the audience, replacing Regis Philbin and Brandy with Jerry Springer and Sharon Osborne respectively, less buzzer BS (Brandy hitting the other people's buzzers on a burlesque act was just disrespectful), etc. Terry Fator, the season's winner, is also arguably the most successful act to come out of the show so far (in 2008, he signed a long-term contract to perform at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas).
    • Season 5 managed to grow the beard to the point where even Vote For The Worst members were won over despite the site relentlessly bashing it previously.
  • Hate Dumb / Misplaced Nationalism: The American version has gotten hate simply because "It's not the British version."
  • Tear Jerker: New Directions and their performance of "Old Man River". It left the normally-excitable and talkative Nick at a loss for words.
  • Uncanny Valley: Jackie Evancho can invoke this. Seeing a professional-level opera singer's voice come from a ten-year-old girl is, for some reason, creepy.
    • It was a similar situation with Bianca Ryan in Season 1.
    • And also Those Funny Little People. Despite being fairly popular, some people, including Howie (who brought them back in the Wild Card) find them scary because of their odd movements and facial features.
    • Turf, the contortionist dancer who auditioned in season 7, is able to twist his body in unusual ways. It's almost unbelievable to see him fold his shoulder blade to the front of his body while twisting his arms around.
  • The Woobie: Prince Poppycock became this in many, many fans' eyes after Piers buzzed him during the finals and then continued trashing him after his performance.
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