Terry Crews, James Corden, And More Talent Show Hosts Before They Were Famous

James Corden before fameJill O'Rourke | Talent Recap

Have you ever been watching Terry Crews, James Corden, and Nick Cannon hosting your favorite TV talent shows, and wondered what they were like before they made it big? That’s why YouTube exists.

We did the hard work for you and found videos of various hosts — from The Voice to American Idol — in their early days. It’s more embarrassing for some than for others, but we all have to start somewhere, right?

1. Terry Crews

The newest host of America’s Got Talent started out playing in the NFL, although people who are more familiar with his acting and Old Spice commercials may be surprised to hear it. In fact, the above video of Terry playing for the San Diego Chargers in 1994 has multiple comments from people who weren’t aware he played football.

2. James Corden

In 1995, the World’s Best host was a teenage showbiz correspondent on a British morning show. He got to interview singer Meat Loaf over breakfast. As James later explained to Stephen Colbert, he sent in a tape to be considered for the gig. Twenty years later, he’s interviewing people on late night.

3. Nick Cannon

The former America’s Got Talent host and current host of The Masked Singer started performing at an early age. He had the chance to perform stand-up comedy on his dad’s cable access show as a kid, and appeared on Nickelodeon’s All That as a teenager. But did you know he was also voted Best Dressed in high school?

4. Ryan Seacrest

Before American Idol, there was American Gladiators — for kids! As Ryan explained to Kelly Ripa in 2017, his first TV job was hosting the spinoff show, which featured young people. He even shared a clip from the show in which he reclines on set while hosting. Ah, the ’90s.

5. Carson Daly

Before he hosted The Voice and The Today Show, Carson was a host on MTV. Many of us probably remember him from TRL, but he had other gigs for the channel before that, including the summer program “Motel California.” Above, he hosts a familiar countdown of music videos in 1997.

6. Fergie

The Four host’s career didn’t start with The Black Eyed Peas. In fact, far from it. Stacy Ferguson (aka Fergie) started out as a child star. She was the longest-running cast member on a 1980s show called Kids Incorporated. In the above video, she performs “Dial My Heart.” Also keep an eye out for a young Jennifer Love Hewitt.

7. Tyra Banks

The former America’s Got Talent host started her modeling career as a teenager. In 1992, when her career was taking off, 19-year-old Tyra spoke to CNN about her aspirations. She mentions wanting to go into film and television. After almost 25 Top Model cycles, her dream has come true and then some.

8. Jerry Springer

If you only know this former Ameria’s Got Talent host for his salacious TV show, you may be unaware that he was involved in politics. In 1982, he sought the Democratic nomination for governor of Ohio. His campaign ad featured an admission that he had once paid a prostitute with a check. He didn’t end up winning the nomination.

9. Regis Philbin

Of course, we can’t forget the original host of America’s Got Talent. His career started long before Regis and Kathie Lee and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Above, you can see photos from Regis’ early days hosting a talk show in San Diego in the 1960s.


Jill O'Rourke
Jill O'Rourke

Jill O’Rourke is a contributor at Talent Recap, writing news stories and recaps for shows like ‘AGT,’ ‘The Voice,’ and ‘American Idol.’ She graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and Film Studies, and has been writing about pop culture since 2012, with previous bylines at Crushable and A Plus. Jill spends her free time binge-watching sitcoms and daydreaming about life as a hobbit

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