Last season on America’s Got Talent, the show welcomed a new cast member, host Tyra Banks, after longtime host Nick Cannon quit. Cannon left the show after controversy over a joke that he 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 … 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 … 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.
To read Cannon’s complete message, view it on his Facebook account, 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, now, she is back again, as the host of season 13.
In addition to Banks’ return, judges model Heidi Klum, music artist Mel B, comedian Howie Mandel and big wig Simon Cowell have all come back as well. And, while Cowell is on the AGT judges’ panel, he is also a judge on several other shows, including Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor UK.
When dishing on the current AGT auditions, Cowell revealed to USA Today that, “There’s one act in particular. Wow! I’ve never seen anything like this. It was like Linda Blair decided to audition from The Exorcist. She doesn’t talk. It’s one of the weirdest, scariest acts we’ve ever had on the show … There’s three or four singers who have a real shot. They’re different. (In 2016), I said I was hoping we could attract better singers to the show and I think that’s a big part of it now.”
Cowell also gushed about his fellow cast members, saying, “We have great producers, we’re on a network that loves these kinds of shows, we get good people to come on the show and we’ve got a great judging panel (that also includes Mel B, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel).”