Howard Stern’s presence on the show America’s Got Talent was cause for handwringing among fans of the show as well as America’s moral crusaders, as it is fair to say that the outspoken talk show host’s reputation precedes him to a very large degree.
To wit, those unfamiliar with the Howard Stern show might expect the radio shock-jock to bring some of his characteristic raunch to a prime-time reality talent competition, not realizing that Stern is actually quite a serious and reflective fan of such competitions.
Howard Stern, as regular listeners will tell you, approached analysis of the whole TV talent show genre very seriously, and many considered him somewhat of a connoisseur of the format — Stern regularly did detailed takedowns of the previous night’s performances even before he was offered the America’s Got Talent gig.
So when Howard Stern made his debut on the show, it was not without some apprehension on the part of many with a stake in the show’s continued success — and indeed, while Stern was still his normal straightforward self (even making a pint-sized rapper cry, and getting visibly upset by it) he has also, by and large been on his best behavior.
In fact, during a recent episode, he took co-judge Howie Mandel to task for screwing with the spirit of the competition. The tension between Howie Mandel and Howard Stern was over the former’s support of a contestant known as Big Barry, and Stern thought all along that the hopeful didn’t have a shot at winning.
Mandel ultimately told the singer:
“Barry, I’m going to be totally honest with you. You’re not a good singer. But you’re an amazing character, and you’ve got this God-given stature and sound. I think you’re an incredible novelty act that people would come and see and pay for.”
Howard Stern found Mandel’s grandstanding to not only be high-handed, but he seemed to think it messed with the integrity of the judging process. He huffed at Mandel:
“You know, the Howie filibuster is getting annoying to me actually… I gotta tell you, Big Barry, this isn’t about you. This is about Howie and how he treats the show and the apology you owe to Flo Jo’s daughter, to Andrew DeLeon, to all the people that could have gotten through instead of Big Barry.”
“You ruined their chances… There was nothing funny about [voting for a novelty act.] And there was a ton of people who had more talent than Big Barry… Howie owes all of those performers who could have had a shot on this stage [an apology]. Big Barry, no offense to you, but you’re not fun, you’re not funny and you’re not talented. It was a big waste of time. Stop the nonsense… Really, it’s offensive.”
No one get distracted by the fact Howard Stern called someone else offensive. Nick Cannon and Sharon Osbourne then intervened in the catfight, with Osbourne exhorting the “girls” to calm down. Did you agree with Howard Stern’s complaint about Howie Mandel?