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'America's Got Talent' Team Reveals Format Changes

NBC's summer talent competition introduces their version of the save and boosts its live component for season nine.

America's Got Talent Judges - H 2013
NBC

America's Got Talent is making some tweaks for the ninth season.

While NBC's summer reality staple returns host Nick Cannon and judges Howie Mandel, Howard Stern, Mel B and Heidi Klum to New York City's Radio City Music Hall, producers have updated the way in which the finalists are chosen.

Judges in the new season of America's Got Talent will take a page out of The Voice and American Idol, introducing their version of the save: the golden buzzer. (The Voice introduced the "Instant Save" earlier this season.) "Every judge has the opportunity to save someone," Klum explained to reporters Tuesday at NBCUniversal's summer press session in Pasadena. The catch? The golden buzzer can only be used once during the entirety of the season.

The other format change comes with boot camp, the final round of auditions that determine the top 48 acts that advance to the live performance shows. Beginning this season, that round -- held May 14-17 -- will be held in front of a live audience in New York, a first for the show, though executive producer Sam Donnelly cautioned that aspects of the round are "still developing." As Mandel told it, "When there's an audience, they rise to the occasion."

This year, auditions are being held in New York's Theater at the Madison Square Garden, Newark's New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Los Angeles' Dolby Theatre (April 21-26), with talent from other cities flown in to either coast.

A preview of the new season included a magician magically taking Klum's bra off and a man biting through a license plate. "If you capture our attention and America's attention, there's no category -- there's nothing specific that you can do that may get you to the end," Mandel said of the free-for-all vibe of the show.

"They have The Voice ... we have everything else," he added.

America's Got Talent premieres May 27 at 8 p.m. on NBC.

Email: Philiana.Ng@THR.com
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