‘America’s Got Talent’: Heidi Klum Reveals How She’s Changed as a Judge Over the Years

by Caitlin Berard

Heidi Klum has enjoyed an incredibly successful career. In addition to her legendary days in modeling, Heidi Klum has appeared in several hit movies and TV shows, including Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives. She’s also earned a number of Emmy nominations over the years for her various hosting jobs.

After hosting two popular modeling series, Germany’s Next Topmodel and Project Runway, she moved on to America’s Got Talent, where she’s served as one of the competition show’s iconic judges since 2013.

In her near-decade with America’s Got Talent, Heidi Klum’s judging style has slowly evolved and shifted. And while she’s never been as harsh as Simon Cowell was on American Idol, she does admit that she’s softened with time. These days, she just wants everyone to have a positive experience with the show.

“For me being there, I want to have fun,” Heidi Klum explained to Fox News. “I want to have fun, I want to be entertained, I want to be blown away, but I want to have a good time. I want good vibes from the people.”

Klum then confessed that maybe the difference isn’t that she’s nicer. Maybe it’s America’s Got Talent raised their standards and she now judges only the best of the best.

“Maybe I was harsher before, I don’t know,” the AGT judge said. “I feel like maybe I’ve gotten nicer over the years, or maybe they have just gotten so much better. Maybe that’s why I’m so much nicer because I don’t have to be so mean. I don’t think I was ever mean to be honest with you.”

The Emotional ‘AGT’ Performance That Made Heidi Klum Hit Her Golden Buzzer

At the beginning of each season of America’s Got Talent, each of the judges (and host Terry Crews) receives a golden buzzer to award to the contestant of their choosing. Upon pressing the buzzer, the contestant automatically advances to the Semi-Finals of the competition.

America’s Got Talent welcomes talents of all kinds. However, singers are extremely common and often the favorite among judges and fans alike. As such, Heidi Klum planned to save her golden buzzer for a unique act this year. A singing act simply wouldn’t be enough, no matter how good.

But then Heidi Klum encountered Lily Meola and had no choice but to change her mind. Before singing “Daydream,” Lily shared the heartbreaking story of her mother’s cancer diagnosis, which delayed the singer’s musical dreams.

Heidi Klum was immediately taken with the touching story and emotional performance from Lily Meola. And despite swearing to reserve her golden buzzer for a more unusual contestant, awarded it to the moving singer.

“For this season, Season 17, I was like, ‘There’s always a lot of singers on the stage, and I want to give someone else a shot,'” the AGT judge explained. “But I can’t help it. Because I really, really like you. So I’m doing to do this. I’m going to push the golden buzzer for you. It’s you!”