For along with the familiar panel of judges — Simon Cowell, Mel B., Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel all returned — came a new host, supermodel/actress/all-around boss Tyra Banks. And much to the surprise of absolutely no one, the woman famous for hosting huge shows like America’s Next Top Model and her own self-titled daytime talker seemed to fit in just fine.
In fact, Banks was welcomed with a lavish backstage celebration, complete with cake and balloons — a far classier affair than when Cowell joined the AGT family back in Season 11. (If memory serves, his fellow judges toasted his arrival with orange juice in Styrofoam cups.) You can watch Banks make her grand entrance below:
With Banks officially in the fold, it was time for auditions, which were — as usual — a mixed bag of insanity. The premiere served up everything from a musical Donald Trump impersonator…
…to a mind-blowing magician…
…to a depressing clown-faced crooner named Puddles:
(To be fair, Puddles already has a pretty substantial online fanbase — including yours truly — so I’m not sure if AGT can really claim that it “discovered” him, but I’m happy to see him getting national attention all the same.)
And then came precocious ventriloquist Darci Lynne, who scored the first Golden Buzzer of the season, via Mel B.:
Your thoughts on the new season of AGT thus far? Grade Banks’ first night as host below, then drop a comment with your favorite audition of the night.