Last night, “America’s Got Talent” crowned its latest winner, and it was a deserving one in Kenichi Ebina. The dancer / performer had a knack for creating some innovative routines that we haven’t quite seen on the show over the years, and did so while also being extremely humble and personable.
But this article is not about whether or not Kenichi was the right winner, since we believe that he not only was, but that he was the best winner that the show has seen since Terry Fator. Instead, the question is whether or not we are going to see the same panel of judges on in the future. Howard Stern, Mel B, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel were by and large entertaining, though they did occasionally run into some flaws during the live shows. For example, Mel suddenly acted like she loved everyone most of the time after being famously harsh on “The X Factor” UK, while Howard was surprisingly uncontroversial save for playing chicken with Howie Mandel at one point.
Overall, though, we have to say that this was the best judging panel of a talent show in the past year. Not only were they fun, but they seemed to be having fun themselves sometimes. Nick Cannon even got to loosen up occasionally, and he surely would more if NBC did not force him to be robotic to keep the show on time.
But will we see this group return again? For Mel and Howie, we think that the answer for sure is yes given that they both have a history of judging at this point. However, Howard’s future may be a little more unclear given that he commands a ton of money, and this show forces him to have some extremely long days given how early he has to get up for his radio show. He doesn’t need to do the show, so we would not be shocked if he decides to move on.
As for Heidi Klum, we see her staying unless other commitments get in the way. While we were worried about whether someone famous for modeling would be a good judge of talent, similar to our concerns with a comedian like Ellen DeGeneres on “American Idol,” Heidi seemed to be aware that this is entertainment more than anything else. She tried to have fun with it, and we appreciated that.
The biggest changes “America’s Got Talent” needs to make are to its production more so than the personalities on the show. We don’t need two-hour finales, and the product placement has become ridiculous along with the producers really pushing that many of these acts can become stars. Kenichi is the closest thing in years to a star on this show, and we say that in hopes of him getting to run a Vegas show featuring his style, and possible even other dancers.
Given that the ratings this year were pretty strong for the finale, just don’t expect “America’s Got Talent” to go anywhere. It will be here for a while.