That’s the question on everyone’s mind after the “AGT” creator broke his back in August 2020 while testing out an electric bike at his Malibu home, USA Today reported. As a result, the British TV personality missed out on the second half of season 15.
Comedian Kenan Thompson (of “Saturday Night Live”) filled in as a guest judge for the remainder of the season while Cowell recovered.
Will Cowell return as well?
Is Cowell Returning to ‘America’s Got Talent’ for Season 16?
Cowell is returning to the judge’s panel for Season 16.
It’s a big step for the longtime “AGT” judge, who broke his back in an electric bike accident in August 2020, according to USA Today, an injury that forced him to miss half of season 15. Cowell was in surgery for six hours and had a metal rod placed in his back.
After months of recovery and physical therapy, Cowell told “ET” that his injury could’ve been a lot worse.
“If you saw the scan, I mean, I was like a millimeter away from just completely cutting my back in half. So I consider myself lucky,” he explained to the outlet prior to the season 16 premiere Tuesday.
Another silver lining?
Cowell said physical therapy forced him to exercise more, and as a result, he feels stronger than he did a year ago.
The star judge is more than ready for the new season and to rejoin his fellow judges.
“Both Heidi and Sofia are actually very, very funny,” Cowell told “ET” about his co-stars. “People always ask me, ‘What are [they] like in real life?’ And I always say that you’re both very funny. You make me laugh.”
Here’s When ‘America’s Got Talent’ Airs & How to Watch
The long-running NBC hit will air Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern starting on June 1.
According to Newsweek, “America’s Got Talent” will air auditions now through July. The live shows are scheduled for August, which means fans will be able to vote for their favorite acts then. The finale is scheduled for sometime in September, and that’s when a winner will be named. What does the “AGT” winner get? A Las Vegas show and $1 million.
“America’s Got Talent” is available to stream on Peacock and Hulu (per Newsweek). Episodes will also be available on the NBC app and website.
A Live Audience Will Return to the NBC Show
Season 16 of “America’s Got Talent” is welcoming back a live audience.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show couldn’t shoot with an audience during season 15, which aired in the summer of 2020. Mandel told PEOPLE ahead of the 2021 premiere that this season will feature a limited audience.
“It was wonderful — it’s like you’ve been lost forever, and now you feel like, ‘I’m home,’” Mandel told the outlet about taping auditions for the new season.
He added: “Just to hear a reaction behind you, just to hear anybody be behind you and, kind of, affirm that what you just heard or what you just saw or how you just judged — they’re either in agreement with [you], or they’re totally opposed to what you just said.”
“America’s Got Talent” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on NBC.