America’s Got Talent has kicked into high gear now that the live shows have begun at Radio City Music Hall. Heidi Klum and Mel B talked with reports recently, including BuddyTV, about what it’s like to be the new judges, why they’re qualified and if a comedian stands a chance at winning. And read on to find out what happens during the commercial break before the judges have to make the final decision of the night.

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The New Judges in Town

Heidi and Mel are excited to have joined America’s Got Talent this year, and they feel that they not only have a lot to offer the show, but are also qualified to be judges. Heidi said, “I feel that life prepares me to judge from just traveling around the world for the last 20 years, being in the entertainment business and seeing amazing stars perform, and you see who is kind of the real deal and who is not, and some who just do things that blow you away, and others that don’t.”

On what it’s like being a first-time judge and seeing a wide variety of talent, Mel said, “I think that the biggest thing [I realized] is that you don’t even know what to expect from the stage. You don’t know if it’s going to be a danger act, a magician, a singer, somebody who runs a little trike or bike. It literally is across the board, varied talents.”

One of Mel’s favorite acts was tellAvision. “But they didn’t make it through. I thought they really stepped up their game from the very first audition to then the Vegas audition and then to New York. I thought that they were brilliant, but not everybody agreed with me, and that’s just what happens.”

We all know Heidi from Project Runway and her many other projects, so has her experience on that reality competition series helped prepare her for AGT? “For me, it’s not so much that I’ve learned from Project Runway or from Germany’s Next Topmodel, because it’s very different,” Heidi went on to say. “This is more about singing and circus acts and judging and danger acts, so more in the sense that these are acts that I’ve seen along my travels, going to theater performances and whatnot all over the world.”

The Spice Girls’ Mel B agreed, saying, “I definitely think traveling helps a lot because whenever I travel I always get to go to a show, whether it be on Broadway — I think any kind of theater show — and having lived in Vegas and done my own show there.” Heidi added that it’s not just that, but also being in the entertainment industry “helps you be able to judge, and justifies why your opinion’s valid.”

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What Happens During the Commercial Break?

During the live rounds, the judges always get to advance an act at the end of every results show. And in the first week of the quarterfinals, they had to decide between American Hitmen and Anna Christine; it ended up being a tie, putting it back in the hands of America for the outcome. When the show go to a commercial break before the judges made that call, have you ever wondered if they consult with each other and determine who’s voting for which act ahead of time?

According to Heidi, there is some discussion, but they don’t normally reveal who they’re siding with: “Between American Hitmen and Anna Christine — that was a tough one. When we go into commercial break, we do talk about it, of course, but they don’t really say, oh, I’m going to pick her, or I say, oh, I’m going to pick this person. This was in particular a very tough one, and I would have changed the rules [allowing five to advance], to be honest with you, in that very moment.”

She believes Hitmen deserve to be on AGT, but she “just fell more in love with [Anna]. … I wanted to give my vote to her, but then in the end, America got to vote, and they also chose Anna Christine. But when those moments happen, yes of course we talk.”

“But Howard and Mel and Howie, they don’t always say then who they will choose in the end,” she continued. “We will kind of discuss how they were on the last performance that they did and how we see the future going, and we talk about, for example, that Anna Christine, she did kind of forget her lyrics for a moment and she was a little off. But then that can happen … so we just thought, give her a shot.”

Can a Comedian Win AGT?

Over the years on America’s Got Talent, many comedians have tried out, some making it farther than others. But never has a comedian ever won the grand prize. (I don’t count Terry Fator since he’s first and foremost a ventriloquist.) What will it take for one of them to go all the way? “They just have to make us laugh,” Heidi said. “They stand out if they make us laugh. To me, [Kevin Downey, Jr.] didn’t make me laugh, but there’s always an audience for someone. Sometimes you sit there at Radio City Music Hall and the people are just laughing and they think it’s hysterical, and I try and I just can’t laugh. So what is funny to you is not necessarily funny to me, and you just have to be true to what you think is funny and then you judge.”

Mel finds it tough to compare the comedians with the other acts in the competition. “I don’t think you can say one is better than the other. You have to really compare a magician act to a comedy act, say, from the fact that that comedy act is the best one. If it’s funny, it’ll be everyone’s.”

But when it comes down to it, it’s all about who is entertaining, no matter what kind of a talent it is, according to Mel B: “Entertainment is entertainment, no matter what it is, so it’s really kind of easy to judge for me because I’m an entertainer and I like to be entertained. So it doesn’t matter what the act is, as long as it keeps my attention. It can be as diverse as watching a ballet dance or watching somebody with a bunch of TV’s on stage making mad, crazy patterns. It all really depends — is it entertaining? That’s my #1 thing.”

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How the Acts Can Learn from the AGT Experience

Many will audition, some will go far, but only one will win. And even if they don’t win, Heidi suggests that the acts shouldn’t just go back home and sit around waiting for something big to happen. She said they need to use the exposure of being on America’s Got Talent to make their dreams happen, even if it means moving to a place like New York City. Mel agreed, saying, “They get exposure to 15 million people each week, and they get to experience performing in front of 6,000 people right there live. … They get complete exposure, and they get an experience of what it actually takes to perform live and deliver.”

America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9pm on NBC.

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(Image courtesy of WENN)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.