Simon Cowell Airs His 'AGT: Fantasy League' Frustrations

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Simon Cowell

One of the big differences between regular America’s Got Talent and the newly formatted America’s Got Talent: Fantasy League is it’s not just the acts competing to win the competition, but the judges as well. Similar to a fantasy sports draft, the judges will each choose a roster of their favorite acts from winners, finalists, viral sensations and fan favorites from Got Talent franchises around the world. Then, the judges will compete alongside the contestants and will mentor the acts throughout the competition with the hopes of earning bragging rights and seeing an act from their team crowned the champion of AGT: Fantasy League.

Despite also being one of the producers on the show, who helped set the new rules, judge Simon Cowell didn’t expect his fellow judges—Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, and Mel B—to react so competitively.

Simon Cowell, Mel B, Terry Crews, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel<p>Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC</p>
Simon Cowell, Mel B, Terry Crews, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel

Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

“I didn’t find it funny,” the Brit wit tells Parade. “I tell you why, because I really didn’t think anybody would take my acts, but they did. I lost two acts. And I was absolutely gobsmacked, like, ‘Why would you do that?’ Even though that was part of the show, you’ve got to give the Golden Buzzer to your own act, but they stole my acts. So, I was really, really upset. I still am, actually.”

Stealing acts is another new aspect of the show and it’s done by using the Golden Buzzer, which normally sends acts straight to the finale, but the twist for Fantasy League is each judge can use the Golden Buzzer to steal an act from another judge.

Related: America's Got Talent Reveals Its New Format: AGT: Fantasy League and the 40 Acts Competing

And even though Simon knew that going in, he says, “I’m really annoyed about that.”

It was Mel B and Howie who stole Simon’s acts, and he explains, “I was more annoyed with Howie. I’ve got him on my s--t list because I had Kodi Lee on my team and he was amazing. As I’m just about to say how amazing he was, I saw this awful hand come across. I literally was like, ‘I can’t believe you’ve just done that.’ I was so upset. And so was Kodi, by the way. He didn’t want to be on Howie's team. Genuinely. His mom Tina was upset, too.”

Kodi appears on night one (Jan. 1) of AGT: Fantasy League, so you won’t want to miss that steal.

Mel B<p>Photo by: Sami Drasin/NBC</p>
Mel B

Photo by: Sami Drasin/NBC

As for Mel B, Simon says he asked her to sit in the seat that Sofia Vergara vacated for the special because, “We really did mentor the acts. Knowing her, I really felt that she would be a great mentor. It is one thing judging acts, we can all judge acts. It’s another thing rolling your sleeves up and actually making decisions that are going to make a difference. She’s done a great job. Maybe too good.”

Related: Heidi Klum Suffers Gnarly Leg Cut After AGT: Fantasy League Fall

Even as he jokes about Mel B’s mentoring talent, Simon does say that getting involved with the acts makes the show feel a bit more special, especially since a lot of these acts are back for their second and third go-rounds.

“Honestly, it’s night and day,” Simon says. “I always say when you’ve got a great artist, particularly a singer, you’ve got to find great songs. And then they’ve got to work out great arrangements. There was one performance in particular by an act, Sainted, and they performed ‘Purple Rain.’ Look, I’ve done this a long time and this is up there as one of those unbelievable moments that I’ll never, ever forget. It was just incredible. Electric. But they’ve all been actually. I think they’ve all just got better. I think they got very competitive; they’re all taking it very seriously because this is what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Our job was: how do we get you there?"

America's Got Talent: Fantasy League rings in the New Year on Jan. 1 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC and next day on Peacock.

Next, NBC Reveals Winter Premiere Dates for One Chicago, Law & Order Dramas and More Faves