It didn't take long for us to realize that there would be very little talent on Monday's America's Got Talent premiere. So instead, we focused our attention on the newest addition to the judges' panel — Howard Stern — the man who has managed to make this season of NBC's talent competition show more relevant and talked-about than any of the six seasons before it.
America's Got Talent welcomes Howard Stern
Between the whirlwind media tours and promotion to the point of ad nauseum (not to mention his reported $20 million paycheck), the pressure on the shock jock had certainly reached new heights. So with all the build-up surrounding Stern's judging ability, we thought it was only fair to turn the tables and judge him. Below, check out our Howard Stern Scorecard*, where we break down Stern's first official night as a member of the AGT panel.
HOWARD STERN SCORECARD
*Based on a 0-10 scale — 0 being low/despicable, 10 being high/impressive.
BRUTAL HONESTY: 7
If there was one thing Stern promised viewers, it was that he would be ruthless — the kind of judge who says what everyone else is thinking. For the most part, he successfully accomplished that. "I wanted to see some magic and all I saw was a guy with his pants off and a rather small package, quite frankly," he told aspiring magician/stripper Aoni Jackson. When it came time for a group of dancers, he admitted that at home on his couch, "when the dance acts come on, I hit fast forward." Props to Stern for keeping it real.
SHOCK VALUE: 2
The only thing shocking about Stern's judging style is how soft and passive he was at times. This, from the guy who said, "These executives at NBC must be out of their minds taking a risk on me. I don't know who's responsible for this, but they should be fired immediately. I say I won't make it through the first show." He gave a standing ovation to a frumpy-dressed freestyle rapper and said that a crossbow shooter with an affinity for posing like Zoolander was "remarkable." Perhaps it was "shocking" when he asked bird trainer Miss Less, "If you were on an island and all you had were your birds, would you eat them?" But his brashness was later offset by an unlikely moment of Stern compassion after a unique dance performance. "This is going to sound all sappy... but we are the greatest country in the world. You're everything that makes America great." Were we shocked? Yes. But not necessarily in a good way.
America's Got Talent: Get ready for a more "compassionate" Howard Stern
INTERACTION WITH FELLOW JUDGES: 5
The first hour was basically The Howard Stern Show, so there was no interaction. Howie [Mandel] and Sharon [Osbourne] got minimal air time. But eventually, I started to feel like the dynamic worked. I expected there to be palpable tension as a result of Stern stealing the spotlight, but Sharon and Howie didn't seem to mind playing second fiddle. Of course, his compliments didn't hurt either. "You look beautiful, Sharon," he said, unprovoked, in between acts.
I tried to count the number of times Stern used first-person pronouns throughout the show, because anyone who is a fan of his knows that it's all about Howard. And on America's Got Talent, it was no different. Here are a few examples: "I've been doing radio for over 35 years," "get off my stage," "it's my show, "I made my career out of originality" ... you get the gist. But for some reason (and maybe I'm biased because I'm admittedly a Stern fan), his narcissistic act is part of his charm.
What did you think of Stern's first night on America's Got Talent? Will he be a likeable judge?