‘America’s Got Talent’ Judges Julianne Hough, Gabrielle Union On Bringing ‘Compassion’ To Competition

Season 14 of America’s Got Talent is almost here, along with a few big changes. The NBC competition series will gain two new judges–actress Gabrielle Union and dancer Julianne Hough–in place of longtime judges Heidi Klum and Mel B. Union and Hough are as excited as ever to join the team, and they can’t wait to bring their perspectives to the table.

The two stars appeared on the red carpet kickoff for the new season on Monday evening, where they spoke to Entertainment Tonight about what’s to come.

“One thing that Gabrielle and I bring is an empathy and a compassion, because we have been rejected many times, and we know what it feels like,” said Hough, who starred on Dancing with the Stars for several years. “So before [the contestants] even come out, they should know we’re rooting for you and we want to see your best.”

Likewise, Union explained that she knows what it’s like to hear “no.”

“I love being a part of making dreams come true,” the 46-year-old actress said. “As an artist who gets told no a lot, it’s nice to be a part of saying yes to someone’s dream.”

The series will also be gaining a new host, Terry Crews, in replacement of Tyra Banks. Crews recently hosted NBC’s special America’s Got Talent: The Champions series. The actor shared that he, too, is rooting for all the contestants because he doesn’t want to see anyone fail.


“I am a bodyguard for these acts’ dreams,” he said.

Rumors of Klum and Mel’s departures began circulating earlier this year. Sources from the series confirmed that there would be replacements in Season 14, but not due to any drama or bad blood. The network simply wanted change. In addition, Banks, Klum, and Mel all reportedly have important projects to focus on, so the change came at a good time.

NBC’s President of the Alternative and Reality Group Meredith Ahr released a statement in February officially confirming the news. She explained that America’s Got Talent’s secret to longevity is its “fearlessness to reinvent itself,” ExtraTV reported.

She continued on to say that she is excited to see the fresh take that Hough and Union will bring, calling them “aspirational” women.

Klum also spoke out about her departure in February, according to Fox News. The model shared a photo on Instagram of the AGT team during last season’s finale and thanked fellow judges Mel, Howie Mandel, and Simon Cowell as well as Banks. She had been a judge on the popular series for six years.