Howard Stern Debuts as America's Got Talent Judge: Rate His Performance!

howard stern agtHe’s got a reputation for being outrageous, inappropriate, and downright bawdy, but Howard Stern showed another side — warm, honest, a little bit sentimental — as he made his debut at the America’s Got Talent judges’ table during the show’s Season 7 premiere on Monday.

Oh, sure, Stern still brought the occasional shock to NBC’s cheesy variety show. After asking one deluded singer if his mom or dad had ever dissuaded him from pursuing his music dreams, the guy responded that his parents were dead. “And they died of embarrassment?” Stern deadpanned, scoring a mean but solid laugh. Earlier, when confronted by a woman covered in live cockatiels, Stern surmised (correctly) that her multi-patterned blouse was designed to hide evidence of the bird’s, er, natural functions.

Stern also exhibited a wry chemistry with fellow judges Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne. After the judges and Mandel’s elderly mother rode a malfunctioning backstage elevator in St. Louis, Stern pushed his way off, citing his fear of a disfiguring death. When Mandel teased that Stern had pushed aside an octogenarian to save his own hide, Stern lobbed back the night’s best zinger: “She’s lived long enough!” Plus, she’s dispensable to the show, he added.

Just as important, though, Stern seemed to take very seriously the job of finding a $1 million act. While he chided “instrument inventor” William Close for looking like a hippie, then acted incredulous that the guy made a living teaching his trade in schools (“No wonder China’s beating us!”), the radio host changed his tune when the guy broke out his “Earth Harp” — 3,000 feet of instrument string extended from the stage to the balcony — and played a haunting symphony.

Stern also wasn’t immune to the emotions of everyday folks getting their 15 minutes on a contrived reality show. When the newest member of the energetic Loyalty Dance Team openly wept that his troupe had accepted him as family, Stern congratulated the whole crew on “a beautiful, emotional performance,” then sent ’em forward to Vegas. Later, he gave 47-year-old “Simply Sergio” a second chance (following a botched “Girl From Ipanema”). When he warbled a decent “God Bless America” — the swelling orchestral music signaled it was better than it actually was — Stern strode up on stage, hugged the trembling waiter, and sent him through to the next round.

It may not have been great talent, but it made AGT a little more tolerable than it usually is.

What did you think of Stern’s AGT debut? Take our poll below, then hit the comments and expand on your thoughts!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Michele Franco Perez says:

    The one thing I find infuriating about AGT is that they insult truly gifted, talented and trained opera singers but calling junk frauds like Sergio an opera singer. These judges have no idea what good singing is. Maybe to the untrained ears of the masses, they sound good but not to anyone that actually knows good singing. Piers at least had a fairly good ear when it came to singing, the rest of the judges do not. Other than that, Howard was extremely entertaining and a good addition. I’ll watch.

    • Cash says:

      What does Piers know of music? He picked Michael Grimm over Jackie Evancho in season five. Jackie has gone on to release a gold and platinum selling album, with a third on the way, has performed next to greats like Tony Bennett, was featured on PBS’s Great Performances series, and just started a second nationwide soldout tour. Grimm, on the other hand, got married, sang on Ellen twice, and is now opening for Stevie Nicks. Yeah, good call on that one, Piers.

  2. mandy says:

    Howard Stern was funny. I had no idea how it would go but he was funny but showed he had a heart too.

  3. Trish says:

    Thought it was quite simply fantastic.

  4. Janet B says:

    I only watched because of Howard Stern. He was entertaining, but I still won’t watch the show for more than a couple of minutes at a time.

  5. greysfan says:

    Howard Stern was great. Deserves an A. Good choice and pleasantly surprised.

  6. ASH1157 says:

    Howard Stern was great, but having never really watched this drivel before…I doubt I’ll be able to stomach it at length. Oy…and I thought the audition rounds of Idol were bad sometimes!

  7. Betsy says:

    I wish they would have almost all GOOD talent and just a few bozos instead of it being the Bozo Show with just a few really talented acts. I quit watching after about the first 45 minutes (didn’t make it an hour)…..They should go ahead and give Howard Stern the million dollars and get it over with!

  8. Marcie says:

    Just another ratchet down in civility for America.

  9. Alienate says:

    Hooray for Howard! BOOOO for the lousy talent, and the way it it presented.
    I don’t think I’ll be able to stand watching it this year.

  10. tahina says:

    a cheesy show needs a cheesy judge..great choice for Howard Stern!

  11. Bob says:

    110% better than Piers Morgan. People tend to judge him just by what they read in the media (which is usually negative). If you’ve ever listened to his radio show, over time you would know that he’s sharp, knowledgeable, and a great interviewer. He knows honest talent when he sees it, which is why he’ll do well on AGT.

    • Shona says:

      Totally agree with you. People think he’s some big perve but it’s a character on a radio show. And Howard is extremely intelligent. I think he’ll be great on here.

  12. syb says:

    Howard was funny with the one liners and snappy retorts as expected. He’s also making the show about him as expected, which is too bad if it continues that way through the season.

    I think this show has been campy fun in prior seasons, and I enjoy it at that level, at least through the audition stages. My biggest disappointment is that Nick seems a little off his happy go lucky charmer game as MC this season, maybe due to his illness and some heavy editing required to cover for it.

    Nobody too impressive last night, but its a nice guilty pleasure to cut the superseriousness of the other talent shows, including the one it just replaced.

  13. teatime says:

    Howard Stern was made for this. He has a great appreciation for unconventional talent.

  14. Lesa howell says:

    Stern ruins the show. He goes or I stop watching. He is offensive and much too full of himself. He is out