Howie Mandel Admits He Was "Terrified" When Heidi Klum Was Out Sick During 'AGT' Auditions

Kayla Keegan

From Good Housekeeping

  • Judge Heidi Klum makes her triumphant return to America's Got Talent on Tuesday night.

  • Heidi has been absent from the show after missing audition tapings earlier this spring.

  • Howie Mandel and Heidi talked with Extra about the Making the Cut star's illness and how AGT is making adjustments in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

America's Got Talent judge cuts are here, and Heidi Klum is back on the show.

After missing several season 15 audition episodes due to illness, Heidi is returning for AGT's one and only judge cuts event on Tuesday evening. Ahead of the new episode — which was taped drive-in theater style to maintain social distancing — Heidi and fellow judge Howie Mandel spoke with Extra about continuing the NBC competition series amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Heidi gave a glimpse into the different safety protocols now in place: "We get tested [for COVID-19] before, no one touched me, and I didn’t touch anyone. I did all my hair and makeup myself, I mic myself, I bring my own food … People are there, but everyone is wearing masks and gear and gloves. They are all far apart … We also have a nurse there.”

Even with these extra precautions though, Howie admitted that he has been uneasy about filming during the pandemic.

"I have been terrified almost the whole time, the whole season," Howie began. "The first thing that terrified me, to be totally candid with you, was Heidi. I was really concerned and at that time, as luck would have it, it turned out not to be COVID-19, and even more importantly, she is fine.”

Photo credit: Rodin Eckenroth
Photo credit: Rodin Eckenroth

Reports noted that Heidi went home during an audition taping on March 10 due to illness. The next day, AGT tapped Modern Family star Eric Stonestreet to fill in for Heidi while she focused on recovering. Thankfully, Heidi revealed on March 24 that she had tested negative for COVID-19.

But when she started to feel sick at the time, Heidi was understandably worried. "This was in the very, very, very beginning," she told the outlet. "Now we know so much more … I was like, I probably have it and who knows if I gave it to all these people?"

Today, Heidi appears to be feeling much better, and both she and Howie are very much looking forward to what's going to happen next on AGT. Despite having to film without a crowd, Heidi is confident AGT has found a fun way to continue the search for season 15's champion.

“It is the best solution that we could continue on, and it’s still amazing," Heidi promised. "I think the people at home will enjoy it.”

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