‘America’s Got Talent’ 2017 Judges & Host

"America's Got Talent" 2017 Judges & Host

Tonight is the season 12 premiere of America's Got Talent, with participants of all kinds on board as contestants. The game is the same, but one thing has changed - the host. Tyra Banks has replaced longtime host Nick Cannon, who quit the show after controversy over a joke that Cannon made on his stand-up special Stand Up, Don't Shoot. Cannon said that his decision to leave was after NBC network executives threatened to fire him over a racial joke. In a statement on Facebook, Cannon wrote the following message: I write this from a deeply saddened and dolorous mindset. After days of deliberating over some extremely disappointing news that I was being threatened with termination by Executives because of a comedy special that was only intended to bring communities closer together, I was to be punished for a joke. This has weighed heavy on my spirit. It was brought to my attention by my "team" that NBC believed that I was in breach of contract because I had disparaged their brand. In my defense, I would ask how so? Or is this just another way to silence and control an outspoken voice who often battles the establishment. Recently many of my mentors have cautioned me that soon "The System" would come down on me because I was speaking too many truths and being to loud about it. I had no idea that it all would hit so close to home. Cannon continued: I find myself in a dark place having to make a decision that I wish I didn't have to, but as a man, an artist, and a voice for my community I will not be silenced, controlled or treated like a piece of property. There is no amount of money worth my dignity or my integrity. I have loved hosting AMERICAS GOT TALENT for the last 8 seasons, watching talented, brave, and courageous Americans accomplish their dreams in front of millions has been nothing but a joy, and everyone has been a pleasure to work with but my soul won't allow me to be in business with corporations that attempt to frown on freedom of speech, censor artists, and question cultural choices. Not to get too detailed but this isn't the first time executives have attempted to "put me in my place" for so called unruly actions. I will not stand for it. My moral principles will easily walk away from the millions of dollars they hang over my head. It's never been about the money for me, what is difficult to walk away from is the fans, the people who love me on the show. This hurts tremendously. I felt like I was a part of the fabric of our great nation every summer, representing every culture, age, gender, and demographic. Now for the rug to be pulled from underneath me and to be publicly reprimanded and ridiculed over a joke about my own race is completely wrong and I have to do something about it. I have fought many battles in my career and have never been afraid to go up against the system. I have mulled over my process for days and felt it was best to once again speak my mind about an unjust infrastructure that treat talent like they own them. Maybe it was my mistake for signing the contract in the first place, in which I will take full responsibility and have already taken action to restructure my own team of advisors. I now have to set out on a journey of freedom as an artist. As I was quoted in a recent interview, "You can't fire a Boss!" and that is the essence that I possess. So I wish AGT and NBC the best in its upcoming season but I can not see myself returning. If you would like to read Cannon's complete message on his Facebook account, click here. As for Banks stepping in as the new host, she was announced as the first female host of the show in March 2017. And, in addition to the panel of four judges, there are four celebrity judges who will be appearing on the show this season as well ... and one of them is judge Heidi Klum's ex-husband. Chris Hardwick, DJ Khaled, Laverne Cox, and singer Seal are all on board. But, let's get back to the full-time cast of judges. Check out the latest news and background on each of them in our AGT season 12 cast gallery. (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)