'America's Got Talent' interview with Jerry Springer and Sharon Osbourne
By April MacIntyre Jun 16, 2008, 22:18 GMT
Jerry Springer - 34th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards - Pressroom - Kodak Theater - Hollywood, CA © Glenn Harris / PR Photos
Americaís Got Talent premieres Tuesday, June 17 from 9:00 to 11:00 pm on NBC and promises to be a bigger event than last years.
The judges will include Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff. Jerry Springer will serve as host.
Executive producer Simon Cowell shared his thoughts: ďThis season we embarked on our biggest and most expensive tour yet, with record breaking turn outs.Ē
ďFor the first time auditions were held in theaters all across America. The judges, Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff were joined by a 2000 strong audience in each city.
The audience became the fourth judge, and as youíll see, they certainly let their views be known,Ē added Cowell.
Monsters and Critics joined a few online journalists and spoke to judge Sharon Osbourne and host Jerry Springer of Americaís Got Talent.
In the promos we seem to be primed for a Paul Potts moment like Britainís Got Talent from last year. And I wanted to know if you could confirm that? Thereís an opera singer thatís going to be a breakout?
Jerry Springer: Well the people - go ahead, Sharon.
Sharon Osbourne: Weíve got everything. I mean, why pick on the opera singer? Weíve got everything from magicians to knife swallowers, to dancers, to cloggers - everything.
Jerry Springer: Yeah.
What is your least favorite variety act that you just think this isnít going to go very far and then may have surprised you in the end?
Sharon Osbourne: Probably jugglers because I personally havenít seen a juggler that juggles anything else but plates or those clubs, or balls. And Iíd like to see them juggle something else.
What about you, Jerry?
Jerry Springer: Yeah, and thereís - well, I think if you realize what theyíre looking for, theyíre looking for an act that is, going to be - for example, going to be able to work Vegas and be an act that can sustain an hour, hour and a half show that people month after month are going to be trying to get tickets to.
And if itís - some of these acts just arenít big enough. It doesnít mean that theyíre not skilled. They could have a phenomenal skill, but thatís not necessarily entertaining in terms of an hour and a half. And so when these acts go out -- and Iím just speaking for myself -- when I see them getting ready to go out, Iím saying to myself oh gosh, theyíre not going to survive 15 seconds - not because theyíre not skilled, but because itís not something that could sustain this show.
I think thatís an element that the people who try out have to be thinking about.
Is there some sort of act thatís kind of taken you and surprised you, by how much you enjoyed it?
Sharon Osbourne: Probably the pig that paints. The painting pig.
Jerry Springer: Yes.
Simon Cowell has mentioned that pig at the NBC summer press day. He said there was a very talented pig.
Jerry Springer: Yes, and - yeah. Thatís - well thatís - yeah. And then we had an animal act right after that. No, it was - thereís some acts that come out that you, youíre amazed at.
Well thereís one - well I donít want to give it away what the act is. But there is one that kind of - I think, really did surprise everybody. And no one would have thought - if you just saw what was written down the next act is so and so and he does this, everyone would go boy, letís get rid of this.
Then heís out there and weíre going oh my god. So there is - I can think of some acts like that, and one in particular. But if I tell you what it is then - since heís the only one that did that particular thing it wouldnít be fair.
Sharon, youíre such an animal lover. Do you just go nuts when the animals come out and do adorable things?
Sharon Osbourne: Oh my gosh. We had some amazing animal acts, but none of them could do anything. They were all like - there were some ladies that just came with these dogs from a rescue and they did nothing and - except eat the treats.
And I just thought it was the best thing Iíd ever seen.
Jerry Springer: Yeah.
Do you think Americans had more of a talent pool than the English?
Sharon Osbourne: Well there are just more of you here, so yes thereís more talent because there are more people.
How attached do you actually get to these contestants - do you have them coming up to you after the show asking you for management or career advice?
Jerry Springer: Well I make - let me, Sharon if you donít mind, let me go first on this. Iím in a different position than the judges are because the judges -- to keep the show absolutely fair -- they do not congregate with the contestants and they keep their distance.
Obviously, they pass them in the hall, theyíre polite and everything. But thatís - at this point, theyíre not to be involved like that. My role is totally different so I am backstage with the contestants quite a bit and their families.
And the truth is, I do get invested with them at least emotionally because these are all these are all really nice people who maybe never thought they would ever have a chance at a career in entertainment.
But, wherever they live in the states, their friends and family say hey, youíve really got some talent. Why donít you try out? And theyíre really hopeful and their families are there pulling for them.
Just being a normal person you canít help but really root for them and cheer them on. And when something - when it doesnít go their way and their dream seems smashed for the moment, yeah, a good hug sometimes help and so yeah, I do feel a bit personally invested in them.
Sharon Osbourne: Well the one thing is that we can always be objective because we donít get emotionally involved with the contestants because weíre not allowed to speak to them.
Weíre not allowed to have any contact with them. And in that way, your heart doesnít lead your head.
Jerry Springer: Which is why I could never be a judge. Iíd always say aw come on, put them through, put them through.
How is it working with Piers this season?
Sharon Osbourne: Well I can tell you he is definitely a little more cocky this season. I would say heís extremely cocky this season.
Jerry Springer: I think the most fun is watching him and David because as you all know, we are privileged to be on the Planet Hoff and all of a sudden Piers is coming on his planet and wanting to be the big man out there.
So watching the competition between the two of them and Sharon being the one in the middle thatís trying to keep the peace is kind of fun, at least from my perspective seeing them fight it out.
Sharon and I share a lot of looks while the two are going at each other.
Do either of you have any secret hidden talents that nobody knows about?
Jerry Springer: Wow.
Sharon Osbourne: Jerry, why donít you go first?
Jerry Springer: Yeah. I can say without equivocation that I have absolutely no talent and I mean, honest - I just canít think of one thing that I could do where Iíd say whoa, thatís - I play around at everything like everyone else.
You take a guitar lesson and you sing karaoke and you - but no, thereís no...Itís like Iím in the wrong business. Iím in the wrong business. But no, I just got lucky. But no I donít - there really is no particular talent.
I sometimes walk. But no, itís pretty pathetic when you think about it. In fact, I was chosen as the host because next to me, all the contestants would look like they have talent. And that was a great strategic move on Simonís behalf.
Sharon Osbourne: Oh my goodness. I think itís ditto with Jerry - nothing. Canít sing, canít dance, and canít do a thing.
Jerry Springer: Oh no.
Sharon Osbourne: I am tone deaf. Completely tone deaf.
Sharon, what does your family say about the show?
Sharon Osbourne: The whole family loves the show. They just absolutely love it because itís - , thereís such a huge variety that they - , some acts that they never even have seen. , like old time fire eaters and things like that, that their generation donít get to see today.
Jerry Springer: My daughter - our daughter, itís basically - she says dad, try not to embarrass us any more than is necessary so thatís usually the advice I get from her. She has to live with the other show as well, so the poor thing. There ought to be a charity drive for her.
Sharon - you left X Factor Ė what do you think of your replacement?
Sharon Osbourne: A girl called (Cheryl) has taken my place who - sheís a wonderful, wonderful young girl from a band called Girls Allowed and sheís 27, gorgeous, She can sing herself. She actually came from the talent show. She was discovered on a talent show about six years ago.
It was a group show where two managers had to put together a group from all the contestants. A boy group and a girl group. And of course, she was in the girl group.
So yeah, sheís fantastic.
What about the Santa Claus dude from Atlanta?
Sharon Osbourne: He definitely creeped me out, I will tell you. As David would say, background check on that one.
Jerry Springer: Well I sat on his lap but other than that there was nothing...
Sharon Osbourne: Oh Jerry.
Jerry Springer: Yes. No, I just - that was wrong. Yeah.
Why do you end up with so many singers?
Jerry Springer: Itís a reflection of the culture. Most entertainment, , most performance entertainment other than actors are people who sing. Now in the last couple of years weíre starting to get more dancing.
But up until a few years ago - and itís everyone sings in the shower, so at least everyone, if theyíre not tone deaf, everyone can conceive of being a singer.
Everyone sings Happy Birthday. But not everybody juggles and not everybody is a magician, and not everyone -but everyone has at least sung once in their life. So itís just a natural form of - itís the most popular form of entertainment, I guess.
So Iím not surprised thatís the case. What is nice about - I think frankly, not nice - what is great about Americaís Got Talent, it really is the only show that I know since Ed Sullivan - and when you think these people arenít professional back to the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour, itís the only show in America in the last 30, 40 years that is a pure citizen variety show.
That is what is phenomenal. I mean, just imagine how many young kids today are suddenly starting to, say for Christmas last year they wanted to get a puppet or they wanted to try being a ventriloquist.
I mean, it just opens up all new forms of entertainment.
Sharon Osbourne: Yeah, for the younger generation, they havenít seen these variety acts. They havenít seen this art form before. And itís great to open it up and educate the kids that you can actually be a performer without having to sing.
Sharon, do you like the buzzer system?
Sharon Osbourne: Oh my god. Itís still - this is my second season and still every time Piers -- because heís always the first one to buzz...
Jerry Springer: Oh yeah.
Sharon Osbourne: As soon as he buzzes, it startles me. I canít stand that buzzer.
It could never be changed and I think that Piers does it because he loves to buzz everybody. And I think even more he loves to annoy me.
Jerry Springer: Yeah, I mean, you can picture Piers a young boy. I mean, totally annoying. But the one thought I have with the buzzers, though - there is this one act this year, without going into specifically which one it was, but there was an act this year where literally the young woman couldíve broken her neck.
And so it was - the judges just - it seemed to me they just understood in the middle of her being - she was an acrobat.
And she had to land properly. And if she didnít land properly, she could break her neck. She could really kill herself. And Iím backstage so I see that thereís no net, thereís no trick like with magicians.
Thereís no magic here. Itís really. And she - and itís live with the audience there. And Iím saying oh my god, and if a buzzer had gone off while she was way up in the air and startled her, that couldíve been the last sound she heard.
Piers sometimes pushes the buzzer just to see how people react?
Sharon Osbourne: No, he pushes it because he doesnít like anyone.
He pushes my buzzer and Iím like, , like donít do it. And we get into an argument because itís like Ďdonít do that.í I donít want to press it and, , heíll just go right ahead and do it.
Did winning Celebrity Apprentice like make his head even bigger?
Jerry Springer: Well he now comes in the freight door where the doors are wider.
Sharon Osbourne: Listen, you say cause any problems - Piers is a problem.
Heís just a big egomaniac regardless, right?
Sharon Osbourne: Exactly.
Jerry Springer: But the best is when he competes with David because thereís no room for both of them.
Sharon, what does it mean to have talent in todayís entertainment world as compared to when Ozzy was starting out?
Sharon Osbourne: Itís a - but itís a whole different world out there. Weíre talking about, the difference of 40 years here. Itís a whole different world and today with TV, somebody can get catapulted from nothing to signing $100 million in Vegas overnight.
So today with talent, I mean, if you do have talent itís instant fame. Thatís the difference. Forty years ago, 20 years ago you had to pay your dues. You had to tour and tour. And now television one season, you could get $100 million.
Jerry Springer: I think thereís also the - itís the democratization basically of the pop culture where - and itís because of technology. What - it used to be that people would sit and watch, whether it was watching an athletic event, watching theater, watching a movie, watching a singer.
But because of the technology we, the audience, has become the entertainment. And with the Internet, kids, - first of all, we had talk shows where the audience became the entertainment.
Then you had the Internet and kids would go to chat rooms, and they become their own entertainment. And you have You Tube and you have interactive, and now you have these shows where the people are voting.
The public is voting one of their own to be the entertainer. And I think so what weíre seeing is, , 30, 40 years ago as Sharon said, , once in awhile someone would come out of the woodwork because just sustaining themselves day after day in club after club, and finally make it or someone in the industry would say youíre going to be our next star and promote the person.
Nowadays, the public decides who the stars are. And I think thatís part of our whole culture. Itís the bottom up now. We donít - and television has changed. The networks donít control television so much anymore and the music industry doesnít control who the stars are going to be anymore. The people are boding.
So this translates into all of culture- even politics?
Jerry Springer: Oh absolutely. Itís our whole culture. You could not have had a Barack Obama ten years ago because the leaders of a party would never say you Senator from Illinois who is African American, you will be the nominee of our party. That never wouldíve happened.
But because of the Internet and because of technology, an individual can be known overnight by the masses. You can raise money individually. You can organize independently. So the people build up whatís going to happen.
Thatís why political parties donít have power anymore. Itís true in every element of our culture - technology has changed the center of power.
Sharon, how will you be looking at the talent differently?
Sharon Osbourne: I look at the talent very differently anyway from say the person who is voting because I always like to see somebody that knows their craft and has learned their craft, and studied well.
So I look at somebody totally different. But hey, I hope itís not a singer that wins because thereís so many shows for singers, that our show is so different that it gives other people who are equally as talented but in a different way a chance.
Jerry - which act were you rooting for last year?
Jerry Springer: Well Iím such a pansy. I mean, I liked them all. Honestly, once they get to the finals I become so emotionally invested in them because, , as I say I spend time with them and their families, , for the whole theyíre there or the two weeks, or whatever it is.
I donít want to see any of them voted off. I canít tell you that I had a particular favorite. No, I really canít. I just - the ones where this means everything...when you see how much it means to them, all of a sudden I donít even care very much if theyíre talented anymore. I just - it was - there was this one...
Sharon Osbourne: Jerry...
Jerry Springer: Okay, with this one young man who frankly didnít have a lot of talent and he went fairly far - Shakira.
And he got voted because it kind of was a funny act and, , the people were kind of voting for him. But when I saw him backstage, he and his mom and they were hugging and they were crying.
I realized that here was a kid who probably his whole life has been teased, never was very popular in school, the whole bit. And all of a sudden, for one moment in his life holy cow, everybody is paying attention.
Theyíre cheering him. There are producers talking to him. Arrangements are being made to fly into the finals or what - not the finals, but the semifinals or whatever it was.
It was like holy cow, what has happened to this kidís life, a moment of a victory, in the business we get so cold about it because weíre blessed to have victories. Every time we go out on stage people are cheering us.
A kid like this has never been cheered in his life. So I just love that. Those are the people I root for.