Interview with Heidi Klum of America’s Got Talent
Heidi Klum of America’s Got Talent
Heidi Klum joins the judging panel for the eighth season of “America’s Got Talent,” NBC’s top-rated summer reality competition series, which brings the variety format back to the forefront of American culture.
Klum is a major star in the fashion and entertainment world and established herself as a top model, making great impacts for such clients as Victoria’s Secret and appearing on the covers of pop culture mainstays, including the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition.
Klum is the host and executive producer of the eight-time Emmy Award-nominated “Project Runway.” Klum also hosts Germany’s “Next Top Model,” which has been a runaway hit in that country. Her other ventures include maternity lines for A Pea In the Pod and Motherhood Maternity, a jewelry collection for QVC called Wildlife by Heidi Klum, an activewear collection for New Balance, a collection for Babies “R” Us called Truly Scrumptious by Heidi Klum, and campaigns for Ann Taylor, Dannon and Clear Scalp and Hair Beauty Therapy. She has also launched Heidi Klum on AOL, a channel for women to find information on every topic.
Klum‘s modeling career began in her hometown of Bergisch Gladbach in Germany, when she won a national model search. She has since worked with many of the world’s top fashion photographers, including Sante D’Orazio, Patrick Demarchelier, Gilles Bensimon, Rankin, Matthew Ralston, Arthur Elgort, Walter Chin, Robert Erdmann, Marco Glaviano, Michael Thompson, Raymond Meier, Richard Burbridge, Mark Seliger, Wayne Mazur, Peter Lindbergh and Steven Meisel.
She has been featured in all of the top magazines, including Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, Good Housekeeping, ID, W, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Allure, Lucky, Self, Town & Country, Redbook, Better Homes & Gardens, Esquire, Forbes, Arena, GQ, British GQ (for which she was named “Woman of the Year” twice in a row), French, British and German Vogue, German Elle, Fitness, Dutch, New Woman and Grazia magazines.
Klum‘s acting appearances include Miramax’s feature films “Blow Dry” and “Ella Enchanted,” as well as ABC’s “Spin City” and guest roles in “How I Met Your Mother, “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Sex and the City,” PBS’ “Sesame Street,” and a voiceover for The Weinstein Company’s “Hoodwinked Too.” She co-hosted the “60th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards” and has hosted various specials for MTV, TNT and CBS. She also swam with sharks for an episode of Discovery Channel’s popular “Shark Week.”
“America’s Got Talent,” NBC’s top-rated summer series from producer Simon Cowell’s Syco Television and FremantleMedia North America, returns this summer with the hottest performers from across the country ready to compete in the blockbuster reality show’s eighth season. The live shows again will originate from the New York tri-state area. This year, high-octane entertainer and former Spice Girl Mel B. joins supermodel, designer, producer and TV host Heidi Klum as the newest judges. They’ll take their seats alongside comedian, TV host and producer Howie Mandel and outspoken radio personality and author Howard Stern. This marks the first time that a fourth judge has been added to the panel. Actor, producer and comedian Nick Cannon returns as host.
With the talent search open to acts of all ages, “America’s Got Talent” has brought the variety format back to the forefront of American culture by showcasing performers from across the country. The series is a true celebration of the American spirit, featuring a colorful array of hopeful stars, including singers, dancers, comedians, contortionists, impressionists, jugglers, magicians and ventriloquists, all vying for their chance to strut and perform on stage hoping to win America’s hearts and the $1 million prize.
Can you share a little bit about how you manage to pull off looking good so effortless?
Heidi Klum: Thank you very much for the compliment. Well, I always – you know, I always try to change up my look. I have a fantastic stylist. Her name is (Miriam Malekfour) and I am definitely someone who plans – you know, who plans in my head – who plans ahead. I plan my outfits and I do, you know, long days of fittings where she comes to my house and she brings various different outfits and then we try them on. She makes them fit perfectly, and once I have the outfit, then I work with my hair and makeup team, and you know, we decide about if the hair is up or if it’s down. So it’s really about having a great team, and they hook me up. They make it all work for me, because I surely do not walk in the door looking like this when I come in the morning.
As a newbie to the group, what have you expected and can you describe the first time you joined the group?
Heidi Klum: It was better than expected. You know, last year I only watched and judged from my couch at home, but you know, this year being there for the first time, it’s – you know, you just really see how grueling it is in terms of you know, for the talent. You know, they really – there are thousands of people that line up outside and you know, one second. Sorry, sorry. You know what, really, it’s so distracting for me when you guys type so fast. I – it’s so hard for me to like, focus, sorry. Everyone is typing around me so quickly on their computers I can’t focus. But when you see all these people and they’re outside lined up around, you know, and they wait all day, sometimes at the end of the day we have to tell them, sorry, you know, we can see you tomorrow and then they have to come again the next day and wait in line. And it just you know – and at the end, there’s only a certain amount of talent that then actually gets viewed by the audience at home, and that’s what I mean by grueling. It is really so hard for these contestants and for these, you know, for these people who want to be on America’s Got Talent to actually be seen on TV because so many that we have seen, that I have seen, with – you know, with Howard, and with Mel, and with Howie, that you know, people at home actually never saw. We saw sometimes up to 40, 45 acts in one day, and you know, most of them will get cut out, or maybe some of them make it in kind of like a compilation, you know, reel or something like that, but it’s a lot. It’s so many people, and then in the beginning, I love everybody. I’m like, that’s kind of great, and that was great too, and then later the more you see, you realize and you kind of see who is actually really, really good, and yes, someone who has a talent but who is not really that great. So you do get – for me it was like that. I kind of got harder, you know, as the weeks went on.
Do you discuss the contestants during commercial breaks or behind the scene?
Heidi Klum: Yes, it was between American Hit Men and Anna Christine, and that was a tough one, and yes, when we go into commercial break, we do – you know, we do talk about it, of course, and – but they don’t really say, oh, I’m going to pick her or I say, oh, I’m going to pick this person. This was particular a very tough one, and I would have changed the rules to be honest with you in that very moment. Instead of moving four forward I would have moved five forward, because I actually did love American Hit Men also, you know, and they deserved to be on America’s Got Talent, and I feel like we should have seen them one more time and then really know, because they are a great rock band, but then you know, when they say, you can only choose one, so it’s between American Hit Men or Anna Christine, you know, I just fell more in love with her, and I think that she is such a soulful singer, you know, for 11 years old. I just really love her, and I don’t know. I wanted to give my vote to her, but then in the end, America got to vote, and so you know, they also chose Anna Christine. But when those moments happen, yes, of course we talked. You know, we talked, you know, sometimes we go into like a, I don’t know, a two-minute commercial break and we talk about them for sure. But they don’t always, you know, Howard and Mel and you know, Howie, they don’t always say then who they will choose in the end. We will kind of discuss how they were, you know, last – you know, on the last performance that they did and how we see the future going, and we talk about for example that Anna Christine, you know, she did kind of forget her lyrics for her moment and she was a little off. But then you know, that can happen. You know, that happens, you know, to the best of us, even you know, big performers that happens to, so we just thought you know, give her a shot.
Is there a particular contestant who was eliminated that you would like to bring back?
Heidi Klum: Well, I know who, you know, are the 12 acts every week, and I do definitely have my favorites. You know, there are for example, you know, the kids that are dancing that I love. There is a brother and sister couple that I, you know, that I love. It’s Ruby and Jonas. I love them a lot, and you know, her brother (Deangelo) and the girl Amanda, they are also fighting you know, to move forward. I have my eyes on them. I thought that they were fantastic. Then who else did I love? I love (Alexander Megalla). He’s going to be on tonight. He’s the guy that you know, had the sword down his throat and he kind of did this – you know, he did this dance you know, where he falls down on the pole and he had that knife in his throat. Like, I have high hopes for him. I think that he’s fantastic. There’s another girl. She’s going to sing tonight. (Keana) is her name. She’s from Hawaii I believe, beautiful voice, forte. I loved him. I know, but I was the only one. I don’t know. It was between him and (Kitt DeWinde).
Are you excited to see Robin Thicke perform?
Heidi Klum: I love…I think he’s great. He actually just did my finale in Germany, for Germany’s Next Top Model, so he was so awesome. He is such a humble guy, because my girls are…
Do you find him sexy?
Heidi Klum: Yes, I find him sexy. He’s a sexy guy with a beautiful voice. He knows how to dance, and he’s very kind of sure of himself, which I like in a guy. He’s not shy. I think he’s great. He’s sexy, yes. I would say he’s sexy. Hey, it’s not that I want him. I’m – but he is not – but he is not bad to look at. Topless, let’s see. Let’s see if he can be topless tonight, tomorrow night.
Do you think your experiences as a judge on previous shows have helped you to take on this new project?
Heidi Klum: For me I feel like that life prepares me to judge from just traveling around the world for the last 20 years, being in the entertainment business and seeing amazing you know, stars perform, and you see who is kind of the real deal and who is not, and some who, you know, just do things that blow you away, and you know, others that don’t. For me it’s not so much you know, that I’ve learned from Project Runway or from Germany’s Next Top Model, because it’s very different. You know, this is more about singing and you know, circus acts and juggling and you know, danger acts, so more, you know, in the sense that you know, these are acts that I’ve seen you know, along my travels, you know, going to, you know, theater performance and whatnot all over the world. Yes, like when Mel and I, when we were in Vegas, we went and watched a show. We went to the theater when we were there.
What do these acts have to do to win you over?
Heidi Klum: They just have to make us laugh. They stand out if they make us laugh. I mean, to me, the guy last week didn’t make me laugh, but you know, there’s always an audience for someone. Like you know, sometimes you know, you sit there at Radio City Music Hall and the people are just laughing and they think it’s hysterical, and I try, and I just can’t laugh. You know, so what is funny to you is not necessarily funny to me, and you just have to be true to you know, what you think is funny and then you judge.
Do you have a relationship with any of the other judges?
Heidi Klum: Yes, I hosted the Emmys with Howie Mandel before, and I’ve done Howard Stern’s show once a hundred years ago.
Can you tell us about a contestant who may have left an impression on you?
Heidi Klum: Yes, the… Another contestant who I fell in love with too, I don’t know if you remember him, his name is (Jonathan Ellens). I think he’s going to come on not tonight but the following week, and he also is a very, very good singer, too. He – and he also has a very sad – you know, very sad story that he was telling us about, you know, not being welcome over to his parents’ home anymore, and he didn’t have a job, and it was all because – you know, because he is gay, and they couldn’t deal with it, the parents, and they basically kicked him out. And I remember when I met him for the first time and he opened his mouth and he sang, I was so happy for him that he has this talent, and hopefully you know, a new career might start for him here on America’s Got Talent. Sorry. I had too much coffee. Am I too chatty? I’ll be quiet now. I had too much coffee. I’ll be quiet now.
Is there something that you are passionate about doing that we don’t already know about?
Heidi Klum: Mine would be cooking, you know, because I love cooking, but I don’t think anyone cares about cooking. Well, then again, a lot of people do.
What are some of the differences in some of the shows you have judged in America vs oversees?
Heidi Klum: It’s hard to say because the show here, it’s a variety show, so it’s not like specifically on just singing or just dancing or just you know, like a circus act. You know, what is so different about this show is that it is variety. You know, when I do Top Model, it’s about models and about photo shoots and how they walk on the runway, so it’s – you know, you can’t compare.
How challenging is it for you when you have multiple good talents?
Heidi Klum: For me it gets hard when they’re all equally good, you know, when you kind of get – when you get rid of you know, the people, yes, who have a talent, but who are not you know, a ten out of ten. You know, once they’re gone and only the best is left, then to say this person is better than that person, that for me is the hardest, you know, to judge, because when they all deserve to be there and when they all deserve that shot, you know, in Las Vegas to get their own show and get the $1 million, then for me it is the hardest. You know, up to this point, you know, you kind of see the differences. You’re like, they have it. They make my hair stand up. They give me chills. They’re that amazing. They keep me on the edge of my seat. I want to see more. Then it’s easy to say yes, you’re it, and when someone comes, you know, and the performance is not that great, it’s hard to blow someone’s bubble and say, sorry, you’re not going on, but it is easier in the sense that you see the difference between A and B, who really has it and who doesn’t.
What in your mind do you think this show gives these acts that they wouldn’t have without it.
Heidi Klum: Well, I think also it’s good to see how many talented people are out there in the world that we never see and know about, you know? There’s you know, someone, you know, maybe in your office that you would, you know – that all of a sudden have these hidden talents and all of a sudden they’re standing in line for America’s Got Talent and then you’re like, what? I never knew that you could juggle with 15 balls, or something like that. I think that there are so many people out there and it’s a platform for them to show how good they are, and you just never know. Maybe one of them will win that million dollars and go to Vegas, and you just have to be in it to win it, and yes, there is every year all these dreamers and people that think that they’re really good, and you know, at the end of the day, everyone gets to be put in their place in terms of how good their talent is, you know, next to someone who is maybe better, and the next one who is even better. You know, so I think it’s good. I think it’s great for everyone to have that opportunity to be seen by you know, millions of people, and ultimately, America will vote who they think is the best out of all these people.
How do you sort of balance what’s best for the television show with what’s best for the contestants and for their future careers?
Heidi Klum: Well, at the end of the day it’s always up to you to continue, you know, or not. You know, for example, when I do Top Model, I tell the girls all the time, pack your bags and go to either Paris, go to New York, and really be in a place where you know, you have to be in order to be a model. You can’t win Germany’s Next Top Model and go back to your small town, sit by the phone, and think something’s going to happen. You know, once you win, you have to keep working. It’s the same as Project Runway, and the people who have won Project Runway or even have not won Project Runway, the people who work and send you clothes and put their face out there and attend events and just hustle, you know, someone like Christian Seriano for example, who sends me always clothes, so I wear them. They get seen. You know, you invite all these designers, and who comes? He does. You know, so I think that it’s up to you at the end of the day that even if you win or you’re second runner up or whatever, you are making your destiny. I think that we can only push someone forward and out there, but ultimately it’s up to them to keep it going and put yourself out there and be professional and do it.
Daedrian McNaughton | Premier Guide Miami