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New ‘AGT’ Judges Julianne Hough and Gabrielle Union “Bring Empathy and Compassion” To The Show

Kyle Montplaisir

Kyle Montplaisir

Gabrielle Union Julianne HoughTrae Patton / NBC

Last week, America’s Got Talent held a red carpet kickoff celebration for the upcoming season. Along with a new host, Terry Crews, the show is also debuting two new judges, Julianne Hough and Gabrielle Union.


Both Julianne and Gabrielle have shared what they plan to contribute to the show. And it’s not what you’d expect! Here’s what they had to say.

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Julianne Hough

Julianne Hough has a history with talent shows. She has appeared on Dancing With the Stars for many seasons and her brother, Derek Hough, is one of the judges on World of Dance. But this will be Julianne’s first gig as a judge for variety acts! She says she has so many loves though, so this is a perfect fit. The only thing she doesn’t know well is magic! But (to be honest) I personally met Julianne at The Magic Castle in Hollywood once so I know the interest is there.

Julianne says that she and Gabrielle bring “an empathy and a compassion because we have been rejected many times and we know what it feels like.” They are rooting for the contestants like we are at home!


She then went on to talk about sitting next to Simon:

“I’ll be honest, it took me a few days to figure out the dynamic.”

What a nice way to put working with Simon Cowell! But she actually explains that she gives the digs “right back” so that should make for some entertaining TV. Julianne also says that she and Simon are “very aligned in what they feel.”

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Gabrielle Union

Unlike Julianne, this is Gabrielle’s first time on a talent show. But she is not a new face to viewers! Gabrielle has quite the track record, appearing in various movies and TV shows, writing a best-selling book, and being an outspoken advocate for victims of assault. She is also married to NBA player Dwayne Wade. The two just welcomed a baby in November!


About her new job on AGT, Gabrielle says she loves “being a part of making dreams come true.”

“As an artist who gets told no a lot, it’s nice to be a part of saying yes to someone’s dreams.”

Gabrielle also shared that she is usually the “Simon Cowell” in her own life. But on the show, she is more of a softy. She doesn’t generally disagree with Simon, but says his tone can be too harsh. And as someone who has been on the other side of the judging table, Gabrielle explained that when people say no, it’s always helpful when they give tips on what you can improve on.

These two new judges will join America’s Got Talent when it premieres for its 14th season on May 28th at 8pm ET/PT on NBC. Tune in with us then!

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About the Author

Kyle Montplaisir
Kyle Montplaisir is a contributor and host at Talent Recap. He is the lead detective for the site on 'The Masked Singer' and an encyclopedia of knowledge on 'The Voice' and 'American Idol'. A graduate of Pepperdine University, Kyle is originally from Arizona, but now lives in Los Angeles. When he isn’t watching talent shows and game shows, Kyle loves eating dessert, singing karaoke, and spending time with his wife, Hannah, and dog, Stella

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