'America's Got Talent': Welcome, Howie!

There are two things you can always count on with NBC's America's Got Talent. One: Weird contestants with bizarre acts. Two: Celebrity personnel switch-ups. As the season 5 premiere airs in two parts this week (Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, and Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET), it's already on its third host. (Regis Philbin and Jerry Springer preceded current emcee Nick Cannon.) And two judges -- Brandy Norwood and David Hasselhoff have come and gone, too.

The new kid on the block this year? Howie Mandel (Deal or No Deal). And I can't think of a better judge to preside over this variety show/talent competition, with its Coney Island-like parade of contortionists, impersonators, fire jugglers, singers, hoofers, beauty queens in black leather catsuits, break-dancing kids, and puppeteers -- all chasing a $1 million prize. As co-judges Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne already know, handling all the versatile "talent" requires a special touch. You need to be funny, but not condescending, when dispensing feedback about a contestant who just blew up his own underwear. (Hey, we all have different gifts.)

Mandel is ideal because he's never been known to take himself too seriously. “My first day on the show, I saw the giant crates in the back," he told Canoe.com. "I saw this giant crate with Piers' name on it. Then...I saw the next giant crate with Sharon’s name on it. Then I saw the third crate and it says 'Brandy' on it, and it’s crossed off, and then it says 'David,' and it’s crossed off, and then handwritten in a Sharpie it said 'Howie.' It just kind of said it all.”

Plus, he's already a fan of the show: “I’ve been doing this job (judging) in my underpants from my couch without getting paid,” Mandel said. “So to be invited to the party is great.” In a season 5 preview on AGT's website, he's seen defending contortionists who grossed out Morgan. "Before I was a judge, I used to sit on the couch," Mandel told Morgan. "And this is when I would scream, 'Shut up! It's good.'"

And that's good for viewers.

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Are you looking forward to see Howie Mandel as a judge on America's Got Talent? Chime in below!

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