‘America’s Got Talent’: How Howie Mandel Has Learned to ‘Agree to Disagree’ with His Fellow Judges

by Emily Morgan

Howie Mandel couldn’t be more excited for the new season of “America’s Got Talent.” The new season of the NBC talent TV show aired on Tuesday, and Mandel is back in the judges’ chair. However, despite being a longtime judge on the show, there were some growing pains with his fellow judges. Mandel judges alongside Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, and Sofia Vergara.

While Howie Mandel loves his job, it comes at a price. In the past, the 66-year-old has been the subject of criticism for being too harsh on the contestants. Nevertheless, he’s known as one of the show’s toughest judges, even compared to Simon Cowell. Yet, according to the longtime comedian, he’s “just brutally honest.”

“What’s great is, I think we disagree, but we agree to disagree,” he said in a recent interview with ET’s Matt Cohen ahead of the new season. “We respect the disagreement. We don’t have the same taste, and that’s what we love about everybody there. That’s what I love about Heidi [Klum], Sofia [Vergara], and Simon.”

Howie Mandel hilariously quipped, “And Simon, I’m just glad to have him, [because] he keeps falling off his bike.” Returning for a new round of contestants, the longtime judge has one word for what fans can expect this season: “exciting.” During the same interview, the TV personality teased what’s to come in the upcoming episodes of Season 17.

Howie Mandel struggles to find the words on ‘America’s Got Talent’

“This year, it is off the hook. It’s not normal!” Mandel said. “People are thinking outside the box. They really are! Nothing seems normal. Because of what the world has gone through, it seems like everybody was trapped in their little bubble,” Howie Mandel explained. “They were! They had to stay in their country, and they couldn’t travel, whether they stayed home or they stayed home from school.

“Now, in season 17, they explode our stage,” he added. “And the word explode is under-describing what people are doing.” In addition, the Canadian-born star recalled how, during the auditions, he had a hard time putting his amazement into words.

“I said like four words besides the 1000 times saying ‘wow” or ‘amazing.’ I said ‘wow’ and ‘amazing’ until I made myself sick of saying ‘wow’ and ‘amazing,'” Mandel recalled.

“America’s Got Talent” dominated in the latest TV show ratings. The NBC show opened Season 17 with 6.1 million total viewers and a 0.7 demo rating.

Tuesday night’s two-hour premiere featured some excellent contenders despite a few duds here and there. We saw serious contenders, like the incredibly charming stand-up comedian Mike E. Winfield, XOMG Pop (a rainbow-bright tween girl group created by Youtube stars JoJo and Jessalynn Siwa), and incredible saxophonist Avery Dickson, who also received host Terry Crews’ Golden Buzzer at the of the night.