Heidi Klum, Simon Cowell, And More ‘AGT’ Judges Before They Were Famous

Jill O'Rourke
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Simon Cowell before fameYouTube

It may be hard to believe, but America’s Got Talent judges like Heidi Klum, Simon Cowell, and Mel B weren’t always famous. They started out as relative unknowns just like the contestants they critique on the show. But have you ever seen any of them before they found success?

From game shows to catwalks, the internet has videos of just about all the AGT judges (past, present, and future) before they were famous. We did the work for you and put them all in one place to enjoy. Look how young everyone was!

1. Heidi Klum

In 1997, model Heidi Klum walked in her first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. She was 21 years old. Heidi would go on to model for the brand for 13 years. “I will always love Victoria and never tell her secret,” she said when she left.

2. Simon Cowell

You’re used to seeing Simon Cowell in the judge’s seat, but at one point he was actually a game show contestant. He appeared on the UK version of Sale of the Century back in the day. Turns out, he’s pretty good at trivia. (Also check out his T-shirt-clad appearance on the show Right to Reply.)

3. Mel B

We all know Mel B was in the Spice Girls, but have you ever seen her audition for the group? Check out the above video of her singing Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” for a chance to be a pop star. It worked out for her, as she ended up becoming Scary Spice.

4. Howie Mandel

You’ve seen Howie judge AGT and host Deal or No Deal, but have you ever seen his early stand-up comedy? Here he is on The 6th Annual Young Comedians Show in 1981. One commenter on the video suggested that
“on AGT this would have got voted off by Howie Mandel himself.”

5. David Hasselhoff

Before he was an AGT judge, the Hoff appeared on shows like Knight Rider and Baywatch. But before that, he was modeling costumes for the 1976 film Logan’s Run. Skip to 2:00 in the above behind-the-scenes video to see for yourself.

6. Howard Stern

You might not recognize shock jock Howard Stern in the above video from the ’80s. Watch him host his morning show in the Washington, D.C., area, with help from longtime co-host Robin Quivers.

7. Sharon Osbourne

Before she married Ozzy Osbourne in 1982, Sharon was his manager, helping to launch his solo career. In the above 1981 interview, she says of Ozzy, “He is the most romantic man I’ve ever met in my life.”

8. Brandy Norwood

Before her self-titled debut album was released in 1994, Brandy appeared on a short-lived sitcom called Thea. In the above video, teenage Brandy can be seen performing Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” on the show.


9. Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle was recently announced as a new judge on America’s Got Talent for the upcoming season. Before landing her big break in Bring It On, the actress appeared in other teen movies in the late ’90s, including 10 Things I Hate About You. Check out her role at 1:00 in the above clip.

10. Julianne Hough

Julianne is another new judge for next season. The Dancing With the Stars alum has been dancing from a young age. In the above video, a young Julianne performs with her brother Derek and fellow DWTS pro Mark Ballas.

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