Though many of the panels at the NBC Summer Press Day have been sedate to the point of sleepy (with the exception of an annoying squeaking chicken for the Sprout kids’ network), things became much more lively when the judges of “America’s Got Talent” took the stage. When the initial questions were aimed at new judge Heidi Klum, returning judge Howard Stern had no problem making his opinion about that known.
When Klum explained how she was juggling “AGT” with her existing schedule, Stern said, “You’re gonna judge, but you’re gonna be neglecting your children.” When Klum countered that wouldn’t be the case, he kept gleefully hammering away. “You’re gonna bring the kids while we’re doing the show? All, like, ten of them? That’s gonna be fun.”
Of course, Stern’s co-workers gave as good as they got. When another question was lobbed to Heidi and Stern grumbled, Klum said, “She asked me, not you.”
Later, Mel B (Scary Spice of the Spice Girls) also showed some spunk, saying, “Another Heidi question? Now I’m getting pissed off.”
“Didn’t you guys get the memo? I’m the star of this show,” Stern added.
Despite the friendly jabs, Klum was able to answer questions about why she joined the show (“How can you say no to ‘America’s Got Talent’?”) and why she felt qualified to judge. “I feel like I’ve seen things all over the world. Being married to a musician for eight years, I’ve seen a lot of things, [and] I want to tell everyone how they’re doing. I think it’s part of my personality, too.”
Stern interjected, “Nick is married to Mariah Carey. There are questions to be asked. I have about 50 of them,” before adding. “I’m only answering Heidi questions. Why don’t you ask me what it’s like to be a mom?”
“See how much fun this panel is?” Mel B said.
“I’m not having fun,” Stern said.
When asked if the judges would be bringing anything different to the show, Stern said, “I’m not bringing anything different. I’m an honest judge; you saw how good I was last season. I’m gonna take these six- and seven-year- olds and make them cry.” On a more serious note, he added, “I want to say, it’s delightful working with this panel. It’s so much fun. Some of these days get very long, but with people like this it’s very pleasant.”
One change to the show this season will be that successful contestants will get the chance to perform at Radio City Music Hall, though executive producer Sam Donnelly said other changes would be “subtler,” mostly having to do with showing more spontaneous moments with the judges and a tweak to the show’s storytelling.
Even though they’ve only been shooting for a few weeks, judge Howie Mandel promised that audiences will “see things you’ve never seen before. I actually thought I saw somebody end their life on stage… People are just pushing it.”
“I’m picking out outfits for Heidi, Mel B and Nick Cannon,” Stern added. “I take no credit for Howie.”
Another change is that, with four judges on the panel, each contestant must get three yes votes to go through to the next level. “And they’ve also given me complete veto power over the other judges,” Stern added. If that were true, we’re sure the other judges would have plenty to say about it.