Week 5 of America’s Got Talent auditions airs tonight, June 23. Fans of AGT might be surprised to find judge Heidi Klum replaced by actor and guest judge Eric Stonestreet on the celebrity panel for the episode. While Klum is still a part of season 15, she is absent from a few of the episodes due to an illness that caused her to miss some filming days.
Although She Ultimately Tested Negative, Klum Was Sent Home From Filming in Case She Had Coronavirus
America’s Got Talent season 15 filming was underway when coronavirus began spreading across the United States, and while they were able to finish their audition episodes before production shut down in compliance with social distance orders, the show was still impacted by the pandemic and will resume with its live shows via remote performances from the season’s acts.
During filming, judge Heidi Klum got sick, and since it coincided with the spread of COVID-19, production feared she might be sick with coronavirus. In an interview with People, Klum said, “When I fell ill, it was on March 10. I was experiencing fever and sore throat, so I told production and immediately the medic did my vitals and said, ‘Yes, you have a fever,’ and then I was dismissed.” Continuing, she added, “It felt strange to leave, but that was the right thing to do. I told them how I was feeling. They looked at me, checked me out and said, ‘Yeah, go home.’ Then I was asked to get tested ASAP so that I could go back to work because we didn’t know that this was all unfolding the way it did. They were like, ‘Okay, get tested as fast as you can.'”
She went on to reveal that while it took a long time for her to get her hands on a test, she came back negative for the virus, as did her husband Tom Kaulitz. Of the nervewracking experience, Klum said, “I tried and I went on the search for the test. I was unaware that there were no tests anywhere. I was just asking everyone because we were told that there are tests for everyone. That wasn’t really the case, so that took a really long time. Obviously, they were all nervous there too. We were just all learning things every day and it took a really long time until I could tell people that I was negative.”
Guest Judge Eric Stonestreet Was New Judge Sofia Vergara’s Co-Star on ‘Modern Family’
With Klum absent from the judges’ table, America’s Got Talent was in need of a replacement judge to fill her temporarily empty seat. The person they chose was actor Eric Stonestreet, who starred alongside new judge Sofia Vergara in Modern Family. The show aired its series finale earlier this year, after 11 seasons.
Very excited i got the chance to step in as a guest judge on @AGT. It was great being back with @SofiaVergara and @howiemandel, Simon and @terrycrews couldn’t have been more welcoming! Tune in tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/XlBHlEf5L0
— Eric Stonestreet (@ericstonestreet) June 22, 2020
Ahead of AGT episode 5, Stonestreet took to Twitter to promote his involvement in the new episode. In a tweet, he wrote, “Very excited i got the chance to step in as a guest judge on @AGT. It was great being back with @SofiaVergara and @howiemandel, Simon and @terrycrews couldn’t have been more welcoming! Tune in tomorrow!”
Vergara shared in Stonestreet’s excitement, writing on Instagram, “Tomorrow night, reuniting with @ericstonestreet on @agt!! Can’t wait.”
New episodes of America’s Got Talent air on Tuesday nights at 8/7c on NBC.