'America's Got Talent' Judges Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel on Season 8's Talent

The Hollywood Reporter
'America's Got Talent' Judges Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel on Season 8's Talent
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'America's Got Talent' Judges Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel on Season 8's Talent

America's Got Talent's judges are getting a taste of every kind of talent on season 8.

In preparation for the variety show's June 4 premiere on NBC, the judges are traveling across the U.S. to find the country's next great superstar. Their most recent stop took place at Hollywood's Pantages Theatre on Wednesday for a three-day live taping. A long line of hopeful talents waited outside before stepping into the historic building to perform their acts in front of this season's four-person panel.

Returning to season 8 as a judge, Howie Mandel spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about how adding an additional judge affects a competitor's chances of moving forward.

"Because there are four judges, it changes the rules. You need three yeses to move forward. Because you need three, I think that has upped the game in the talent," he said.

"You have to do that much better to convince more judges that you're worthy of it. And I think that has proved great [for this season]," Mandel added. "America is going to be so surprised at what they see." 

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The replacement of Sharon Osbourne with newcomers Heidi Klum and Mel B (aka Melanie Brown) isn't the only change on America's Got Talent. This season's performers will take center stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. (Last year's reality competition was recorded at New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, N.J.)

"I'm excited because Radio City Music Hall is one of the most historic stages in the world," host Nick Cannon told reporters. "There are entertainers out there that are professionals that have never performed on that stage, and to give an everyday American that opportunity to experience that is going to take the show to a whole new level."

As for the dynamic between the judges, Cannon admitted there is some fighting. 

"They all bicker. Mel B bickers with Howard [Stern] a lot. Howard and Howie still go at it. But it's all love."

Mel B, who served as a judge on the Australian version of The X Factor in 2011, mentioned that everyone on the panel has their own opinions.

"We all get along, but one thing is that we're all very opinionated so we disagree a lot. Sometimes we agree if the talent is literally pow wow amazing, but it's definitely a roller coaster ride," the former Spice Girl told THR. "You get to see a lot of different interactions between the four of us."

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Serving as a new panel member with Mel B, supermodel Klum said she wanted to be part of the reality competition because they get to see so many talented individuals.

"All day, we look at approximately 60 different acts from singers, dancers, ventriloquists, magicians, jugglers, snake whisperers, dog acts—I mean you name it, they’re here," The Project Runway host told THR.

"I want to see what L.A., Hollywood has to offer because this is the place of crazy, but yes, also a lot of talent," added Klum. "People come from all over the world because they feel like they have something [to offer]. I'm eager to see if it will be a little different in L.A. than in San Antonio, for example."

America's Got Talent premieres June 4 at 9 p.m. on NBC.

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