Governor Gavin Newsom passed new regulations restricting California citizens from leaving their homes on Thursday, March 19.
The decision had significant implications for the whole of the entertainment industry, with TV shows like America's Got Talent shutting down production at a rapid pace.
So, when was 'AGT 2020' filmed?
The audition rounds were filmed at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in the spring of 2020, Good Housekeeping reveals.
The lockdown posed a hefty dilemma for the creators of the show, however. As Simon explained in an interview with People, they didn't have enough footage for the whole Season 15 — and for a while, they were seriously considering the possibility of canceling the show altogether.
Fortunately for loyal viewers, they eventually came up with something much less drastic. Instead of abandoning plans to shoot the rest of Season 15, the creators decided to create a new opportunity allowing would-be contestants to submit videos online.
"We started to realize that, for obvious reasons, the audience was getting smaller and smaller and smaller. We had this obligation to make sure that everyone got their fair share, and was auditioned well," Simon described what the last weeks of shooting in front of a live audience had felt like in an interview with People.
"We've worked out about three different scenarios for how we can shoot the live shows with or without an audience, or a limited audience. And each one of them creatively works," Simon revealed.
To make sure that every contestant gets an equal opportunity, the judges will be using the same evaluation criteria for the performers they saw live and the ones submitting online.
"They're pretty much in the same position as the people who did regular auditions [...] The important thing was trying to make sure that the people we missed, as much as possible, were still given an opportunity to compete in the show," Simon told People.
However, Simon felt much less confident about changing the original format of the show altogether. As he told People, switching to online submissions was only a temporary solution. According to the latest plans, the finals will be filmed in front of a live audience.
Although the submission format might have been altered slightly, the aim of the show remains the same.
To provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to the most talented performers out there, the judges will select from the online submissions for the time being.
The next few America's Got Talent episodes will combine pre-recorded footage with commentary Heidi Klum, Sofía Vergara, Howie Mandel, Simon Cowell, and show host Terry Crews will film in the safety of their homes. After that, however, the show is expected to return to normal.
"There will be finals, and there will be a winner. Someone's going to walk away with a million dollars," Simon told People.
Catch new episodes of America's Got Talent every Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.