Judge Howie Mandel Confirms He Missed ‘AGT’ Due to Covid-19

Jill O'Rourke
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Howie Mandel on 'America's Got Talent'Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

Judge Howie Mandel was absent for part of this week’s America’s Got Talent and he has confirmed it was because he tested positive for COVID-19. This makes us wonder how the show will handle his absence going forward. Will a guest judge sit in his place?


Howie Mandel Missed ‘AGT’ Due to COVID-19

A fan on Twitter noticed that Mandel had been absent from the judges’ panel in an early release video featuring the dance group Urbancrew. Mandel retweeted the fan’s question about it, writing, “I got Covid.”

The show, however, didn’t give quite as much detail. Host Terry Crews shared that Mandel wasn’t feeling well and that it would just be three judges for the time being. The rules were changed so that two “yes” votes sent an act through, and three red buzzers stopped them.

Mandel previously shared that he had contracted Covid-19, saying it happened at the Kids’ Choice Awards in April, when AGT took home an award in the Reality Show category. It’s ironic that Mandel then had to miss tapings of the show due to being sick.


“They made me go to the Kids’ Choice Awards,” Mandel told Jimmy Fallon in an interview last month, “and a lot of people get slimed. I went viral.”

SEE ALSO: ‘AGT’ JUDGE HOWIE MANDEL’S BEST GOLDEN BUZZER ACTS, RANKED

Will Mandel Be Replaced on the Panel?

It’s not clear exactly how much of the season Mandel will be absent. The show is likely airing auditions out of their order in which they were taped, since Mandel appears on the panel in an early release audition for next week’s show.


Mandel seems to have gotten sick rather late into the filming process for Season 17. Tapings for the show kicked off on April 1, and the Kids’ Choice Awards were April 9. So it’s possible that he was only out for a small portion of the season.

Still, the recent news that Season 17 will apparently have 10 weeks of auditions has us wondering if the show might find a temporary judge for the time Mandel was gone. AGT faced a similar situation in Season 15, when Heidi Klum was out sick. She was replaced on the panel by Modern Family star Eric Stonestreet.

Putting a guest judge in Mandel’s seat could create the opportunity for a surprise Golden Buzzer this season. Might it even be an audience member? Contestant Harper’s father was invited to sit at the table for her audition last week. You never know what might happen on America’s Got Talent.

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