“Modern Family” actor Eric Stonestreet quickly experienced the pressures of being a judge on “America’s Got Talent” when he stepped in as a last minute substitute for Heidi Klum on Tuesday’s episode. Heidi was feeling ill so Sofia Vergara called up her Emmy winning former co-star to join her at the judges’ table alongside Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel. The first act to perform after Eric arrived was a dance crew called Xtreme Dance Force and Eric was immediately thrown into the fire as the deciding vote as to whether they would advance or not. Watch Xtreme Dance Force’s audition above.
“We all met when we were younger,” they told the cameras. “We’ve all grown up together, gone through lots of things together, girls, breakups, serious family issues, injuries. We’ve just always got each others’ backs. That will never change. This audition could change everything for us. Being able to take our group and the Xtreme Dance Force name to the next level and be among the Jabbawockeez would be insane.”
Ranging in age from 14 to 19 years old, Xtreme Dance Force excited the audience with a fast-paced hip-hop routine that included some high-flying acrobatics, but the judges were split. While Simon and Sofia gave the dance crew a standing ovation, Eric whispered to Howie, “I don’t feel compelled to stand up.”
“You looked amazing up there!” exclaimed Sofia. “I was dancing from the beginning and I know about dancing.” But Howie was less enthusiastic. “I think you’ve got a great future, but I don’t think this was great,” said the persnickety judge. “It was sloppy. You can’t be sloppy on an audition here. It was!”
Simon absolutely disagreed with Howie and didn’t care if they made a few mistakes. So it all came down to Eric. “I’m somewhere in between Howie and Simon on this,” he admitted. “I love your ambition and my girlfriend’s son is eight and wants to be a dancer so I’m excited for him to see this, but it seemed a little disjointed to me.” When it came time to vote Simon and Sofia gave them a “yes,” while Howie said “no.”
“So my first moment on ‘America’s Got Talent’ and it’s all up to me,” Eric anguished. “This is your lucky day because I will not squash a dream. It’s a yes!” And with that, Xtreme Dance Force advanced in the competition and Eric gained a whole new respect for what it takes to be a judging on the world’s most popular talent show.