America’s Got Talent: Nick Cannon's Day When the Show Goes Live

Emily Maas Aslanian

Trae Patton/NBC

From acrobats shooting arrows to magicians and teenage singers, NBC’s America’s Got Talent offers something for everyone. Host Nick Cannon, now in his eighth year of emceeing the talent competition, snapped behind-the-scenes shots during the first live show of the season. “You never know what’s going to happen during a live show,” Cannon says. Here’s what we learned.

America’s Got Talent, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8/7c, NBC.

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The live show doesn’t start until 8/7c, but with rehearsals, taped segments and contestant interviews, Cannon (above, with the production team) puts in a full day. “I usually get in around 10am,” he explains. His first stop is a check-in with the producers. “Being the person that’s manning the ship, I need to know that we are all on the same page. It’s in my hands, down to the last second, to make sure the show goes off at the right time and ends at the right time.”

NBC

Although there’s a TelePrompTer to help him along, “I just use it as a guideline,” says Cannon, who is used to speaking off the cuff. “When people get shot in the neck on live television [as happened on August 2, when a contestant was hit with a flaming arrow by his crossbow-wielding fiancée], and Mel B and Simon decide to have a water fight in the middle of the show, you’ve got to be able to go with the flow.”

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“Sometimes I can’t make it to the gym in the mornings because the day starts so early, so I’ve got all my workout equipment in my dressing room,” Cannon says. His usual routine? “A lot of core-building. I attempt to do a thousand push-ups a day [and different] types of ab crunches. It’s an easy regimen to stay on top of.”

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No stylist needed here. Cannon, in a Perry Ellis suit and Christian Louboutin shoes, is king of his own wardrobe. “Ain’t nobody else wear all of this crazy stuff,” he says with a laugh. “I’m the one who puts it together. I have a great team that makes sure I have the right stuff in my closet to choose from.”

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All types of contestants come through AGT, but Cannon’s favorites are the gifted youngsters. “They’re just so happy to be here,” he says. “They’re like little phenomenons. These kids have so much talent, and to be performing at this level for millions of people? I just love it.”

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Cocreator Simon Cowell joined (from left) Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel as a judge this season, and Cannon can’t stop gushing. “He’s the Michael Jordan of this television-judging thing,” Cannon says. “But I don’t even really see him as a boss. Clearly he is, but he doesn’t like to be treated any differently than anybody else.”

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