(NBC) — “America’s Got Talent” returns tonight for a new season, and like just about everything else, it too has been impacted by the coronavirus.
It started as a normal season when production began three months ago, with the arrival of a new judge in Sofia Vergara and the return of another with Heidi Klum.
But nine days into auditions COVID-19 took hold.
“This is the nightmare that’s been going on in my head for the last 64 years,” says AGT judge and noted germaphobe Howie Mandel.
The crew managed to get in two days of filming without an audience before they were completely shut down.
“It just didn’t feel safe anymore,” judge Simon Cowell says.
How AGT moves forward beyond the auditions remains up in the air.
“It’s definitely going to look differently, but I don’t think the quality’s going to be compromised,” Cowell says.
For the next two months though, it’s the same show audiences know and love, including an emotional audition tonight.
DNA evidence exonerated Archie Williams last year in Louisiana, and after years behind bars watching AGT, he was finally free to audition.
His performance wowed the crowd and the judges.
“It’s a really, really sad story, it’s still a story about hope and courage,” Cowell says.
“America’s Got Talent” premieres tonight at 8 p.m., on 22News followed by the season four premiere of “World of Dance” at 10 p.m.
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