June 04, 2013 7:00am PT by Kimberly Nordyke
'America's Got Talent': Mel B Previews the Good (and Bad) Auditions, New Judges' Panel
America's Got Talent viewers will get their first real look at the two new -- but familiar -- faces on the judging panel when the NBC talent competition returns Tuesday night.
Mel B and Heidi Klum join returning judges Howie Mandel and Howard Stern on season eight of the reality show, which also will relocate from Newark's New Jersey Performing Arts Center to New York's Radio City Music Hall when the live episodes begin July 23.
Ahead of Tuesday's premiere, Spice Girl Mel B, who also has served as a judge on the Australian and U.K. versions of singing competition The X Factor, talked to The Hollywood Reporter about what viewers can expect, how the judges are meshing and who are some of the most memorable talent -- both good and bad -- so far.
The Hollywood Reporter: How did you become involved with America's Got Talent?
Mel B: I got the phone call and got offered the job and was like, "Yeah!" I love this show, and of course the fact that it's now in New York at Radio City Music Hall -- that's a legendary place that makes the show even more exciting. It's a great family show, and people love watching it. I've watched for many years; I sit down with my kids and watch it. It's nice to be a part of it.
THR: How has your experience as a judge been so far?
Mel B: I was actually a judge on The X Factor in the U.K. and Australia, but this is different because I have no idea what to expect next. Someone comes on the stage and all of a sudden there's a snake around their neck or they're putting a sword down their throat. Then there's also singing and dancing. It's truly a proper variety show, and anything can happen. It's like experiencing a roller-coaster ride, everyone is so different, but thoroughly enjoyable.
THR: What can you tell us about the auditions?
Mel B: They're all over now. We've been going up and down America from San Antonio to New Orleans, from Los Angeles to New York -- literally everywhere. We've seen so many interesting acts -- good ones and bad ones. There was one guy and his girlfriend piercing each other wire, through his nose and then through his wife's nose, and then his cheek and his wife's, backward and forward, zigzagging their bodies with this piece of wire. I found it repulsive. They were bleeding, literally. Then someone went up an 80-foot-pole with no safety net and did a handstand. There were normal acts too -- cloggers, dancers. It's been an interesting journey so far. The talent definitely upped the ante over last year. Now they are combining things, riding a unicycle while jugging and balancing a dog on their face. One guy shoved 27 swords down his throat and brought out an X-ray machine to show the swords going down in his stomach. Howard and Howie loved it; Heidi and I were like, "No."
THR: What's the chemistry like among the four judges?
Mel B: I've known Heidi for quite some time, and we get along like a house on fire. We give off a girl-power vibe. Howard and Howie are absolutely hilarious. We all come from entirely different backgrounds, but we all have something valid to say because of our experiences in life.
THR: How would you describe your style of judging?
Mel B: I don't think I have a style of judging. I'm just very, very honest. That's it. When you watch the show, you can judge my judging for yourself, but I'm just honest. At the end of the day, whether it's a magic act or a dancing act or a singing act, if I want to buy tickets to come see your show, I'm going to like it. As long as you're professional and entertaining, I appreciate that.
THR: Do you think the Radio City Music Hall setting will bring a new energy to the show?
Mel B: I think it will make everybody feel a little more nervous because legends perform on this stage. It's one of the stamp marks of America.
America's Got Talent returns with a two-hour premiere at 9 p.m. Tuesday. Watch a preview below.