On a day when the role of judges on network talent competitions came into focus, as Britney Spears and Demi Lovato were called in as new judges on “The X Factor,” Howard Stern made his much bally-hooed debut on the season premiere of “America’s Got Talent.”
Immediately, he set a tone of honesty generally absent such shows since Simon Cowell. He also took over all the comments, the entire focus of the judges panel and kept up the kind of deadpan patter and natural banter with ordinary people that Groucho Marx used on his comic game show eons ago, “Who Do You Trust?”
It helped show how little an impression Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel have been making on the show, making oddball choices based on something less than pure ability. To think that Piers Morgan was the third with these two, and that the stiff David Hassellhoff was also once an esteemed judge on what is essentially a talent show indicates how weak a show it all was once.
It’s still edited in a way that makes it nearly impossible to watch, with ay too many cuts and an overlay of pop songs to goose emotions needlessly. It’s almost like a clip show about a show rather than a show itself. And the way it goes on and on – two hours on Monday and another two on Tuesday, make you wish Howard were in charge of every aspect of the show. He wouldn’t let it go on so long just because the network has nothing else to offer.