How is the seventh season of America's Got Talent different from all other seasons?
"These NBC executives must be out of their minds taking a risk on me, but they should be fired immediately," highly anticipated new judge Howard Stern deadpanned before the first act—a magician who literally got booed off the stage (and that was before he started stripping)—went on.
And as for Stern, people who worried that he was going to be a foul-mouthed, unsavory addition to the family friendly show were sorely disappointed.
Not that he wasn't himself. Stern did think to comment on the stripping magician's "rather small package" and offer some helpful advice.
"As a stripper you can't have man-boobs, you understand. I have them, but I'm not a stripper," the radio superstar added.
Stern's reactions and observations were center-stage on this premiere episode, when it's always more about what the judges have to say than anything the auditioners are bringing to the table that matters.
But he wasn't too much of a big shot either, giving standing ovations and bowing to deserving talent like William Close, a sculptor and musician who ran massive wires across the theater and actually coaxed beautiful music out of them, a one-man industrial symphony.
So, another season of America's Got Talent is underway—with a twist! Or is Stern joining Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel at the judges table really that much of a twist? At times, it seemed as if he had always been there.