"America's Got Talent" is making a change to the competition in Season 9 and told Zap2it about it first.
The judges now have a "golden buzzer" at their disposal. It makes the typically obnoxious sound but is more important than their usual red X buzzers. This one allows one judge to override the others, or break a tie. Each judge only gets to use this save once.
During the New York City auditions Friday (April 4), Howie Mandel used the new twist to keep Emmanuel and Phillip Hudson, a brother rap/comedy duo.
"It's a great tool to save somebody," Mandel tells us a couple of hours before becoming the first of the judges to use it. "We only have one, and this is it to say 'I want this person.'"
During a break between audition sets Friday, judges Howard Stern, Mandel, Heidi Klum and Mel B spoke with Zap2it about the show and the new save.
At the time they had sat through three days of auditions in New Jersey, four days in New York and six in Los Angeles, but they had not yet seen anyone they were ready to fight for.
"I haven't been that passionate yet," Stern says. "You have to be super passionate about the person."
Klum adds, "I want to use it."
After hte Hudson brothers' audition, Klum and Stern vote against them, but Mel B and Mandel like them. Mandel uses the Golden Buzzer to break the tie.
The show could use a little tweaking, Stern says: "From a TV standpoint, it's a great idea. All of these shows need to reboot."
"America's Got Talent" returns to NBC on May 27
Photo/Video credit: NBC