Talent Recap

Howie Mandel’s 5 Best Moments on ‘America’s Got Talent’

Howie-Mandel-Americas-Got-Talent-Howie-Mandel-Best-Moments-Grace-VanderWaalJon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Howie Mandel has been a judge on America’s Got Talent since 2010 and is the longest sitting judge on the panel. He has never failed to bring comedic relief to the show even while holding the contestant’s fates in his hands. Over the years, Mandel has made us laugh until we cry, given standing ovations to his Golden Buzzers, and become fascinated with him in some of his best moments.

1. Howie Mandel Hit the Golden Buzzer for Grace VanderWaal On ‘America’s Got Talent’

One of the biggest successes to come out of the entire America’s Got Talent franchise is singer Grace VanderWaal. During Grace’s Season 11 audition with her original song “I Don’t Know My Name,” Mandel was left stunned. The then 12-year-old earned his Golden Buzzer and the best was yet to come.

She was declared the winner of America’s Got Talent in 2016 after countless memorable performances of original songs. Mandel looked like a proud parent when Grace’s name was called. He wasted no time running up to the stage to give her a massive hug. The teen has gone on to create quite an amazing legacy for herself after the show and we certainly thank Mandel for recognizing her talent from the very start.

2. He was Hypnotized by a Contestant in Season 10

Hypnotist Chris Jones brought Mandel up to the stage during his 2015 America’s Got Talent audition for an act that would change the comedian’s life forever. A longtime germaphobe and OCD sufferer, Mandel has always made it clear that he does not like shaking hands with other people.

This act was so serious that host Nick Cannon had to come out and give a disclaimer beforehand. He asked anyone who did not want to be hypnotized to leave the theater. Mandel was a trooper as he went through with the process which was not fully allowed to be shown on television for fear it would hypnotize viewers at home.

At the end of the hypnotism, Mandel shook hands with Chris, signaling that the hypnotism worked. Mandel was distraught when the act was over and the judges wondered if he could permanently get over his fear of shaking hands. Chris came down to the judging table and hypnotized Mandel once more. This time, he shook hands with Mel B, Heidi Klum and Howard Stern.

Seasons later, we know Mandel is back to not shaking hands with contestants, but it was cool to see him face that fear even if it was only just for one episode.

3. Howie Mandel Shared a Steamy Kiss with Howard Stern on ‘America’s Got Talent’

After a night filled with tension between the judges on America’s Got Talent in 2013, Mandel needed to blow off some steam. He praised Stern for choosing Leon Etienne and Romy Low as his Wildcard act. The judging duo decided to make up in the best way they knew how…a steamy makeout session!

Again as a germaphobe, kissing someone other than his wife, Terry, is a big deal for Mandel. After locking lips with Stern, Mandel wiped his face to rid himself of the cooties.

“Magic is definitely in the air,” Cannon said after this shocking on-camera moment.

Stern went to go kiss his wife in the audience. Mandel being the absolute legend that he is followed closely behind and received a kiss on the cheek from Beth Ostrosky Stern too.

4. He Loves to Prank People Undercover on Set

Mandel is the ultimate prankster on America’s Got Talent. Throughout the seasons, we have seen him dress up in costumes and take on new personas to confuse the contestants and his fellow judges.

In 2017, Mandel dressed as a female production assistant. We got to watch the whole process of him getting ready behind the scenes including his little freak-out moment when his eye was accidentally sealed shut with eyelash glue.

He sat at the registration desk and got to converse with some of the America’s Got Talent hopefuls. His antics included asking a contestant to have a lunch date with him and convincing a woman to wear her contestant identification number sticker on her neck.

5. Howie Mandel Received a Hilarious 10th Anniversary Gift from Simon Cowell

In 2019, America’s Got Talent celebrated Mandel’s 10-year anniversary since joining the show. Simon Cowell had a huge gift to give his buddy after striking up quite the bromance on the show. Cowell unveiled a billboard in California with his and Mandel’s faces on it.

The kicker is that Mandel’s face was barely visible in a tiny corner on the billboard. Cowell runs the show and made sure his face and sparkling pearly whites were visible from outer space. Mandel is a good sport and had a laugh about the gift. He hugged Cowell and it was the perfect segway into what we hope is 10 more years for Mandel on the America’s Got Talent judging panel.


We can’t wait to see Mandel’s antics as he joins Cowell, Klum and Sofia Vergara on the Season 16 America’s Got Talent judging panel on June 1.

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