While the rumors about America’s Got Talent overhauling its entire judging panel for season 14 turned out to be untrue, it turns out that there are some big changes.
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Today, NBC confirmed that former Dancing with the Stars judge Julianne Hough and also actress Gabrielle Union are replacing Mel B and Heidi Klum on the judging panel for the show this summer. Klum and Mel have been a part of the show for a significant chunk of its run. (Howie Mandel, the longest-tenured member of the panel, will remain, as will Simon Cowell.) Meanwhile, Terry Crews is going to continue forward as the host following his run on America’s Got Talent: The Champions this winter – which we are very excited about since we love him!
So why move forward from Mel and Heidi? It’s a great question — while neither were perfect judges, they had good chemistry with the rest of the panel and the ratings for the show were great. You don’t quite know what Hough or Union are going to be like within the context of the show and that may be somewhat of a challenge. It feels in some ways like an unnecessary change, but we’ll give it a chance and see precisely what the new panel ends up looking like.
Judging from the statement today from Meredith Ahr, the President, Alternative and Reality Group, for NBC Entertainment, it feels like this move just represents the network making a move before they got into a position where they felt like they had to:
“One of the many secrets to the success and longevity of America’s Got Talent is its fearless drive to reinvent itself … The next evolution of the format brings in fresh expert eyes to join Simon and Howie on the panel. Gabrielle and Julianne are two of the most aspirational women in the business, on top of being electric entertainers with talent across disciplines. I am excited to see how their knowledge, compassion and sheer joy enhance the experience for acts and viewers alike.”
While we do think that the judges are important for a show like this, at the end of the day America’s Got Talent will continue to be more about the talent first and foremost. If the show can deliver memorable performers this summer, then it really doesn’t matter anywhere near as much who is sitting on the judges panel.
What do you think about this change-up when it comes to the America’s Got Talent: The Champions panel? Be sure to share right now in the comments, and check back soon to get some other news on Champions. (Photo: NBC.)