How America's Got Talent Got Used to Socially Distant Judge Cuts

Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel dish on how filming for America's Got Talent had to adapt to the pandemic.

By Lauren Piester Jul 28, 2020 11:00 PMTags
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Just like all of us, America's Got Talent has had to adapt. 

Production couldn't continue like usual for the competition series, but production could still continue in a different way. There's no audience, and the judges have to sit far apart from each other while watching the acts perform on a screen. Last week's episode was also recorded on Zoom. It's not ideal, but it still works. 

"It's definitely different when you normally have 5,000 people behind you. For us, most of the time, they cheer. Sometimes if they don't agree with what we have today, they boo," judge Heidi Klum told E! News. "For the acts, when they have the audience there, there's this energy there that amplifies their act even more, so it is harder, I think, for them... But at the same time, what are we gonna do? We're very thankful and lucky that we can continue on, that these amazing people can still show their act, that people at home can still watch them, we can all still continue filming." 

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Klum said the team is happy they can still put the show on TV, and Howie Mandel added that the changes in filming enhanced the show in a lot of ways. 

"I love a live audience as a judge and on AGT, but each stage of this journey has its upside," he said. "In last week's show, when we went to Zoom and Heidi came back and joined us, there was something amazing... There was something intimate and wonderful about that that added to that." 

Mandel promised that tonight's Judge Cuts was even "better" and "more exciting" than it has ever been before. 

"It is a nice change," Klum said of the "creative" new format. "I think the audience will like it." 

You can see it in action in the clip below, featuring Simon and Maria performing during the episode.

The judges have also taken advantage of the fact that they might not have to dress up quite as nicely as they usually do, and you can hear Klum and Mandel argue about it (Klum was not wearing pajamas last week) in the video below. 

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America's Got Talent airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC. 

E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.