Throughout its now-14 seasons on the air, the judging panel at “America’s Got Talent” has gone through many different facelifts — but hey, this is Hollywood after all. For the current cycle, which debuted May 28 on NBC, the reality TV show welcomed Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough alongside returning judges Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel. The ladies replace longtime panelists Heidi Klum and Mel B, who both opted not to return following the winter’s popular “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” spinoff series. Union and Hough are now the 10th and 11th judges to appear on “AGT” — see the full list in our photo gallery below.
This marks one of the biggest cast shakeups in the show’s history, since Season 8 when Klum and Mel B were both hired to replace a single judge, Sharon Osbourne. Mandel has bragging rights as the longest-serving “AGT” personality after originally joining the judges’ table back in Season 5, and Cowell officially became a panelist in Season 11 after creating and producing the worldwide franchise. Other former judges include the likes of Brandy Norwood, David Hasselhoff, Piers Morgan and Howard Stern.
Union is a BET Award-nominated actress who’s perhaps best recognized for her roles in “Bring It On” and the “Bad Boys” universe. Hough is a former “Dancing With the Stars” pro dancer and judge, so she’s no stranger to reality TV; she’s also acted in productions like “Grease Live” and “Rock of Ages.”
Even though Klum and Mel B have left “America’s Got Talent,” their six seasons on the show will not be forgotten. Over the years Klum anointed such memorable Golden Buzzer acts as teenage singers Makayla Phillips and Angelina Green and crooner Sal Valentinetti, while some of Mel B’s picks were teenage singer Amanda Mena, gospel singer Sharon Irving and singing ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer (who won).
In addition to chronicling the ever-changing judging panel, Gold Derby is also keeping track of the growing number of “America’s Got Talent” hosts. Brand new emcee Terry Crews (who first hosted “AGT: The Champions”) is now the fifth person to serve as ringleader following Tyra Banks, Nick Cannon, Jerry Springer and Regis Philbin.