Photo Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC
America's Got Talent has been shaking up judging panels for years. (Long before American Idol got in on the act, by the way.) And when the show's two-hour, Season 8 premiere arrives (NBC, Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET), it will once again feature some new faces. This time, Sharon Osbourne's out, and remaining judges Howie Mandel and Howard Stern will be the elder statesmen. How do you suppose Stern reacted when he heard that Heidi Klum…
…would be sitting next to him on judging panel? Perhaps something like this?
And this season features a second surprise: the addition of yet another new judge, former Spice Girl Mel B. She's already a veteran of talent show arbitration, as she was a judge on the Australian version of The X Factor.
"I don't think I was hired to be shy, let's put it that way," she says in this sneak peek:
Executive producer Jason Raff admitted that at first, he worried that the assertive shock jock Stern might dominate the female judges during tapings. “But the others didn't hesitate to put him in his place, and they all fought for the acts they believed in,” he said. “In the end, they seemed to gel beautifully.” Naturally, producer Simon Cowell confirms that sentiment: "There's really good chemistry with the judges and the host [Nick Cannon]," he told Billboard.
Apparently, there was never any concern that the two Howards might fight over the supermodel in their midst. It's clear from this clip that they might actually like each other a little too much!
The premiere will feature a mix of auditions from three cities: San Antonio, Los Angeles and New York. “We’ve put some interesting, unique and bizarre things in front of the judges this year to see how they react,” Raff told the New York Daily News. “It’s a fun show that’s open to anyone. We’re not doing rocket science here.”
No, but they are steering one of the network's biggest talent competitions through some choppy waters. With ratings declining at Idol, The X Factor and even Dancing with the Stars, AGT is under growing pressure to please a diminishing talent show audience. Let's hope Heidi and Mel B do the trick!