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Speaking With... Nick Cannon 01.25.13

Nick Cannhas been host  NBC reality show 'America's Got Talent' since 2006. | NBC Mark Seliger

Nick Cannon has been the host of the NBC reality show "America's Got Talent" since 2006. | NBC, Mark Seliger

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‘AMERICA’S GOT TALENT’
AUDITIONS

♦ 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 26-27

♦ McCormick Place,
2301 S. Lake Shore Dr.

♦ Enter at Gate 4 or Gate 25. Holding room will be on level 3 of the South Building. Onsite registration/check-in 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days

♦ Visit www.americas
gottalentauditions.com/audition-cities/chicago/

OK Chicago, here’s your big chance. “America’s Got Talent” is hosting auditions Jan. 26-27 at McCormick Place. So dust off your tap shoes, get your voices warmed up, pack up those talented performing dogs, work out the kinks in your group dance routine — you get the picture— and head to the lakefront venue for your chance to wow the show’s producers. (You can pre-register online at www.americasgottalentauditions.com.) Chicago is among the final three cities on the audition circuit for season 8, and those selected to move on to the next round of auditions — in front of the judges and a live audience — will be notified by the show’s staff at a later date. The reality show returns this summer on NBC.

While judges Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel won’t be present for the auditions (so far only Stern has confirmed he’s returning to the panel for season 8), host Nick Cannon will be here to cheer from the sidelines. The busy father of twins, with superstar wife Mariah Carey, has been hosting the show since 2006.

Question: What’s the audition process like from your vantage point?

Nick Cannon: It’s quite exciting to see the amount of people who come out for this. All different kinds of talent, soloists, families. For me it’s very fulfilling. Pretty much everybody files past me. The producers see thousands of acts; the judges see about 200 a day for those who make it that far in the audition process.

Q. Why has the show connected so well with American audiences?

NC: I think it has a lot to do with the idea that the everyday person could become a star and a millionaire. And it’s not because you have to be the world’s greatest singer. This show is about any talent. We all know someone who’s very talented but never had the opportunity to make something of it. This show comes to the community to find those people. And it’s just great family entertainment.

Q. How has the dynamic of the show changed since the addition of Howard Stern on the judges’ panel?

NC: It’s more like a rock show now. Anything can happen. He brings a new element to the show with his fan base.

Q. Who’s the biggest softie among the three judges?

NC: That’s a tough one because it’s not who you might think. I would say Stern, to a great extent, is the most compassionate. Howie is an entertainer so he’s a little harder on the acts than Howard. Howard is more sympathetic because as he often says he could never get up on a stage and do that.

Q. Any tips for folks heading to the auditions?

NC: Dress to impress! Dress like you won a million dollars already. My grandfather always told me don’t dress for the job you got, dress for the job you want.

Q. What’s the biggest mistake contestants make once they get on to the show’s competitive level?

NC: They get comfortable. YOU NEED YOUR A-GAME EVERY WEEK, PEOPLE!

Q. So what’s it like in the Mariah Carey-Nick Cannon household in terms of both of you being part of a hit reality TV show? Do you guys exchange notes?

NC: [Laughing] We don’t even talk about the show. We’ve got kids to raise. We don’t have time to talk about TV.

Q. Whose got the tougher gig, you or Mariah?

NC: We’re both really happy with our jobs. But I wouldn’t want to be a judge, so for that aspect, her job is harder. I wouldn’t like to critique people. I enjoy being a cheerleader on the side. ... I always say [“AGT”] is the best summer job anyone can ever have.

Q. How do you keep your cheery attitude even when the acts are just awful?

NC: You gotta go with it and just have fun. Step back and perceive the show for what it really is. It’s a TV show. It’s about fun.

Q. Where does your great passion lie — stand-up comedy, acting, music or “AGT”?

NC: It would come down to comedy and music. It’s somewhere between there. Either one of those would be a close second to the other.

Q. What’s the difference in Nick Cannon the comedian and Nick Cannon the singer?

NC: Stand-up is the one where you’re completely stripped down to your soul. No tracks, no dancers, no backup singers. It’s you, the mike and the audience. I don’t fear either one. But it’s definitely more challenging to entertain an audience for over an hour with just your conversation.

Q. Who’s the best comedian working today?

NC: Wow. I would have to say Don Rickles. He’s amazing. I love his style. To be his age and doing comedy for so long and to be as quick and witty as any young kid out there. They could never out-wit Don Rickles.

Q. Any really exciting acts so far in this audition tour?

NC: We just started the process, but nothing really promising yet. But I’m pretty sure some good stuff is coming. Chicago is gonna BRING IT!



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