Do the new “AGT” judges have talent?
That’s the big question looming over “America’s Got Talent” as the summer talent-competition series gears up for its eighth season, premiering tonight (Tuesday, June 4, at 9/8c). For the first time in its history, the show will have four judges rather than three, as Heidi Klum and Spice Girl Mel B (Melanie Brown) join veteran judges Howard Stern and Howie Mandel on the NBC show.
Technically, the two newbies are replacing one person — Sharon Osbourne — but they’re also on-hand to test whether there is room on this show for four judges.
The answer to that depends on whether or not Heidi and Mel possess two basic skills: One, a talent for judging TV’s widest variety of home-grown performers, and the other, likability.
How do Heidi and Mel stack up? Well, we already know Heidi Klum has a talent for reality-TV judging since she’s long been a judge on her own show, “Project Runway.” Mel B, 37 — also known as “Scary Spice” — is untested as a reality-TV judge on American TV, although she’s been a judge on talent-competition shows in Australia.
As for likability, that’s a more subjective area. Klum, 39 (she’ll be 40 on June 1), has sometimes come across as too stern for some long-time “Project Runway” watchers, while others like her and respect her for her production skills and business acumen — not to mention her beauty.
In the publicity campaign NBC has crafted for Klum in the weeks before her debut on “AGT,” she’s positioning herself as outgoing and, believe it or not, comedic.
Take her yodeling skills (perhaps obtained in her native Germany, though she wasn’t raised in an Alpine region) …. In a preview clip from the upcoming “AGT” season, Klum is seen out-yodeling an auditioner who came on the show dressed as a space alien in Alpine lederhosen.
Can Mel B top that? Well, we have no idea if Scary Spice will ever be called upon to yodel on “AGT,” but she’s already been dogged by stories about getting booed at various “AGT” tapings, when audience members haven’t agreed with her reactions to various acts. It could be that Mel B could use a publicity campaign of her own.
Watch the season premiere of “America’s Got Talent” on Tuesday, June 4, starting at 9/8c on NBC.