Sharon Osbourne and Jerry Springer dish on 'America's Got Talent'
By Christopher Rocchio, 06/17/2008
America's Got Talent executive producer Simon Cowell has stated the NBC reality show's third season will feature "one of the most talented people on any show I've been involved in." However neither the show's judges or host are ready to reveal which contestant Cowell -- who has certainly had no problem making his favorites known while judging American Idol -- considers worthy of such lofty praise.
"I do know who he's talking about but you're going to have to wait and see," America's Got Talent judge Sharon Osbourne told Reality TV World during a Friday conference call.
Unlike Osbourne, host Jerry Springer said he doesn't know of whom Cowell is speaking about in the third-season promos -- but said even if he did he wouldn't give his opinion on the talented individual.
"That kind of would make it unfair because remember, the public votes. And if the public gets a clue -- who the judges for example, may like, then that could slant a vote. So that wouldn't really make it fair," he told Reality TV World. "I saw a few acts that I really thought were phenomenal. I've seen some that I could see winning, let's put it that way."
While it may be home viewers who ultimately determine the show's winner, America's Got Talent's judging panel -- Osbourne, Celebrity Apprentice winner Piers Morgan and actor David Hasselhoff -- do wield some power with their constant buzzing or lack thereof.
However Osbourne said she tries to look at the show's talent differently than a viewer.
"I look at the talent very differently anyway from say the person who is voting because I always like to see somebody that knows their craft and has learned their craft, and studied well," she told reporters during the conference call. "So I look at somebody totally different. But hey, I hope it's not a singer that wins because there's so many shows for singers, that our show is so different that it gives other people who are equally as talented but in a different way a chance."
Springer added the fact that so many singers audition for America's Got Talent is a "reflection of the culture."
"Most performance entertainment other than actors are people who sing. So at least everyone -- if they're not tone deaf -- can conceive of being a singer," he explained. "But not everybody juggles and not everybody is a magician, but everyone has at least sung once in their life. So it's the most popular form of entertainment, I guess."
Osbourne agreed that the show's younger generation of participants are unfamiliar with variety acts from the past that didn't just highlight singing.
"The younger generation, they haven't seen these variety acts. They haven't seen this art form before," she explained. "It's great to open it up and educate the kids that you can actually be a performer without having to sing."
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"What is great about America's Got Talent, it really is the only show in America in the last 30 or 40 years that is a pure citizen variety show. And that is what is phenomenal," he said. "It just opens up all new forms of entertainment."
While Springer said new forms of entertainment do lend to some "crazy acts," home viewers are eventually able to weed them out if the judges don't do so first.
"Even though you may get some crazy acts along the way, the truth is in the end the public votes and they really do vote for the people with the most talent. I really have to say the public kind of knows what good talent is because the votes really go there," he explained. "There may have been a shock that one wins over another, but in terms of the whole group, I have to say that someone who is not a crazy person, let's say, I think they have just as good a chance of winning because I think the public makes that determination."
Osbourne said she applauds all the hopefuls who have the guts to show-off their various talents, regardless of what they may be.
"They've got an awful lot of courage to go up and do what they do because I don't think that people realize how hard it is to go up on a stage and perform in front of three people on a panel," she said. "It takes a lot of guts to do that."
Because of the determination and heart shown by many contestants, Springer said he does become personally attached to them.
"The truth is, I do get invested with them, at least emotionally because these are all really nice people who maybe never thought they would ever have a chance at a career in entertainment," he said. "Just being a normal person you can't help but really root for them and cheer them on. When it doesn't go their way and their dream seems smashed for the moment, a good hug sometimes helps and so I do feel a bit personally invested in them."
On the flip side of that, Osbourne said she and her fellow judges do their best to not grow attached to contestants.
"For us, the one thing is that we can always be objective because we don't get emotionally involved with the contestants because we're not allowed to speak to them," she said. "We're not allowed to have any contact with them. And in that way, your heart doesn't lead your head."
Even if he did interact with the contestants, Morgan's heart almost certainly wouldn't affect his judging.
"He's always the first one to buzz... As soon as he buzzes, it startles me. I can't stand that buzzer," said Osbourne, adding she'd like to see the show do away with the buzzers but knows that will never happen. "It could never be changed and I think that Piers does it because he loves to buzz everybody. And I think even more he loves to annoy me."
Osbourne said the sharp-tongued Brit is even worse this season because he's fresh off his Celebrity Apprentice victory.
"I can tell you he is definitely a little more cocky this season," she said. "I would say he's extremely cocky this season."
Springer added that all Morgan's extra arrogance did was make the interaction between him and Hasselhoff all the funnier.
"I think the most fun is watching him and David because as you all know, we are privileged to be on the Planet Hoff and all of a sudden Piers is coming on his planet and wanting to be the big man out there," explained Springer. "So watching the competition between the two of them and Sharon being the one in the middle that's trying to keep the peace is kind of fun, at least from my perspective seeing them fight it out. Sharon and I share a lot of looks while the two are going at each other."
Despite seeing everything as simple as singing and dancing to as complex as juggling and speed sewing, Springer said his favorite part of the show is still being surprised.
"The nicest surprise, I think, always is -- no matter what the talent is -- I think we all love when someone comes out and surprises us," he said. "In other words, just maybe by their demeanor, maybe by the way they're dressed, maybe because of what kind of act it's going to be, you're just coming out and saying okay, what's this going to be. And then all of a sudden you stop and go whoa, that's what you really look forward to. And it's happened. You know, it happens. Every town we go to, there is at least one or two acts that just really shock us because we didn't expect it."
America's Got Talent's third season will premiere with a two-hour broadcast on Tuesday, June 24 at 9PM ET/PT. Following its debut, NBC will air another America's Got Talent two-hour broadcast on Tuesday, July 1 at 9PM ET/PT, with one-hour episodes commencing July 8 in its regular Tuesdays at 9PM ET/PT time slot.
Due to NBC's coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing -- which will begin August 8 -- America's Got Talent will take a brief hiatus until August 26, after which performance episode broadcasts will resume airing Tuesdays at 9PM ET/PT and results shows will begin airing on Wednesdays at 8PM ET/PT.