“America’s Got Talent” judge Heidi Klum isn’t swayed by onstage tears or sob stories when deciding which contestant to push through on the popular NBC reality competition show.
“I don’t care how sad the background story is,” Klum told a room of reporters during the “Talent” panel at NBCUniversal’s Summer Press Day at Langham Huntington in Pasadena. “If the act is bad, the act is bad, and I get my ‘X’ out and say no.”
That said, the show’s ninth season, which premiere’s May 27, promises, per host Nick Cannon, “some of the best talent yet.”
In addition to the famous red buzzers, the show will also sport a never-before-seen golden buzzer that judges can use to “save” someone from elimination.
“If someone gets three ‘X’s’ they are automatically out,” Klum explained, “but one time only throughout the entire season you can hit the golden buzzer and save them if they don’t get through.”
Other updates to the show include limiting the audition locations to venues in New York and Los Angeles.
“When you’re the most talented person in Poughkeepsie it’s one thing,” said Cannon, “but when the people come from all over the country it raises the (level of) talent.”
“In New York, the contestants are flown in and audition at Madison Square Garden,” noted judge Howie Mandel. “In L.A., they are going to be on the stage at the Dolby Theatre, where the Oscars take place. So already, their first time out is an epic experience, and there’s going to be more pressure than they have ever been under before.”
Whether the act is a prodigious child singer, a cutting-edge dance troupe or, as the screened sneak peek teases, a guy who chews through a license plate, Mandel told reporters that the ultimate goal of the contest is to discover what and who “captures America’s attention” more than all the other contestants.
“We are truly really excited about what we see,” said Mandel. “I think in each previous year we’d look at each other and say, ‘Can you believe that guy did that?’ And this year is even more dangerous, more spectacular and more off the hook than this show has ever been before.”