Indian Dance Troupe Crowned Champions of America’s Got Talent20 Feb 2020
The talent show America’s Got Talent has been a staple of American television for the past fifteen years. AGT, as it is commonly known, was the brainchild of British record executive, Simon Cowell, who originally conceived the show as Britain’s Got Talent. There are now Got Talent series in some 68 countries. With virtually no limit on the types of acts that can compete on AGT, singers, dancers, acrobats, magicians, animal acts, ventriloquists, comedians, and contortionists all try for the top prize – and it is not even required that the performers be from America. It is up the judges or voters to determine which acts advance, and which are sent home.
AGT typically airs during the summer months and has been such a hit that the producers decided to create a spin-off – America’s Got Talent: The Champions that will run during the winter season. This version of AGT takes top performers from the original and its sister shows across the globe, so that all have the opportunity to compete for the ultimate Champions title.
On Monday, February 17, 2020, a dance troupe named V.Unbeatable was crowned this year’s winner. V.Unbeatable hails from Mumbai. They made a name for themselves in the United States when they first appeared on AGT in 2018. (As stated, and contrary to what the show’s name implies, the individuals and teams who compete on America’s Got Talent need not all be Americans.) The group came to the U.S. to pursue their American dream, and wowed audiences with amazing acrobatics and choreography, but ended up taking fourth place in the finals.
When V.Unbeatable was invited back to compete in AGT: The Champions, it quickly became clear that the group was determined to win it all. They put on an absolutely breathtaking performance in the first round, fusing traditional dance with hip-hop, and intertwining this all with flawless choreography and jaw-drawing acrobatic stunts. The result was a “golden buzzer” for V.Unbeatable, sending them straight to the finals. There, the team managed to put on its best performance yet. Although producers did their best to create drama and tension while waiting to announce the winner, it seems a safe bet that it wasn’t even close, regardless of the talents exhibited by the competition in the finals. But V.Unbeatable was clearly the star of the show.
It should be noted that the winner of AGT: The Champions was determined by a select group of fans, most, if not all of whom are Americans. The producers of AGT chose fans from each state in the U.S., and only these “superfans” were permitted to vote for the winners of the competition. In many international competitions, there are concerted efforts taken to prevent nationality bias (e.g., American voters generally tend to favor American competitors). Yet, here we had a dance troupe that was not American, and somehow still represented the embodiment of the American dream.
This is a group that came from nothing, and has faced true adversity. Many of the group’s members were raised in Mumbai’s slums. Several years ago, one of the founding members, Vikas Gupta, died from a fall he suffered during rehearsals with the group. (The V in V.Unbeatable was added in Vikas’s honor.) Yet years of hard work and perseverance helped to propel this troupe to fantastic heights. For the superfans, perhaps being raised in a nation of immigrants helped them to set aside national favoritism to honor a group of foreigners who have demonstrated more than anyone that the American spirit lives on, and pursuit of the American dream is boundless. [See V.Unbeatable: The Dance Troupe that Won America’s Got Talent, BBC.com, 19.Feb.2020.]
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