April 18, 2012 4:41pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'America's Got Talent': Howie Mandel Sells 'Compassionate,' 'Constructive' Judge Howard Stern
Howard Stern may be a polarizing radio host, but audiences expecting the King of Mean to bring the same attitude to NBC's America's Got Talent will see a different side of the shock jock, fellow judges Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne said Wednesday.
Speaking at NBC's Summer Press Day in Pasadena, Mandel and Osbourne extolled Stern's less-frequently seen -- daresay softer -- side when America's Got Talent returns for its seventh season in May.
"He is so passionate about finding a star, about the show, that I think America will see a side of Howard they haven't seen before," Mandel told reporters. "Yes, he's edgy and honest, but he's a very bright, smart man. Nobody gets to that height without knowing what they're doing. He's also compassionate, emotional, serious and has good constructive criticism. He's a good judge."
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Stern, a longtime fan of the series -- he'd frequently discuss the contestants on his radio show -- was brought in to replace Piers Morgan as a judge on the Star Search-type competition series late last year.
Osbourne, who also ribbed Mandel for being Stern's fan club president, noted that the perception of Stern is "really dated" and said viewers shouldn't expect the same outrageous radio host. "He comes to us as a man of great experience of music, as a former station manager," she noted. "Everyone has preconceived notions of him, but he's a mature man now, and he doesn't need to try and get attention because he's already the king of all media."
Speaking to Stern's softer side, Mandel shared an audition performance in which a 7-year-old boy attempted to rap for the judges with Stern hitting the buzzer and sending him packing almost immediately. After the disappointed boy fell to the stage in tears, Mandel said Stern ran to the stage, picked him up and coddled the kid, joking that he wanted to take him to the final live rounds in Las Vegas.
"You're seeing him do good judging, but at the same time he's a father, human being, a son," Mandel said.
Stern, meanwhile, did not attend the event, with Mandel joking that he was supposed to appear via hologram.
Meanwhile, America's Got Talent host Nick Cannon told reporters he was in good health and wouldn't dream of missing a moment of participating with the show. "My health is 100 percent," he said. "[The show] never feels like work; I love doing this."