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AGT: Eric Stonestreet, Howie Mandel Discuss Judging Without Live Audience — 'It Was All Weird'





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Meanwhile, first-time judge Vergara told PEOPLE that she was a "little upset in the beginning" of her inaugural season after production was shut down due to stay-at-home guidelines.

"I felt like I was robbed of the opportunity to experience and learn the whole thing," Vergara said. "I only had two weeks of actually shooting in the actual venue with the contestants. And then, they had to take away the audience. So that was different for me. I was already getting used to the whole thing, and how it was supposed to be."

Since the auditions were filmed, all the judges, including Klum, and host Terry Crews resumed production and filmed the Judge Cut rounds. Each act was filmed in separate locations with minimal AGT staff and did not perform in front of a live audience. (Safety and health protocols that adhered to state and local requirements were set in place.)

America's Got Talent airs Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.

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TV and Movies

AGT: Eric Stonestreet on Reuniting with Sofia Vergara and His Reaction to Replacing Heidi Klum




Of the producers' decision to bring in Stonestreet after Klum's emergency exit, Vergara tells PEOPLE that AGT was "lucky" to book him.

"We were like, 'Oh my God.' I mean, it was not even the coronavirus, Heidi got sick out of the blue," Vergara says. "She couldn't come to work. And then everybody was thinking, 'Oh my gosh. She's got the virus.' That day we needed to judge. So they needed someone."

Klum, who ultimately tested negative for COVID-19, was dismissed from production prior to learning her results.

"It was lucky that Eric was in Los Angeles and that he was available that day. And that AGT was one of his favorite shows," Vergara says. "He really was excited to do it and to be able to do it with me was great, too."

America's Got Talent airs Tuesdays (at 8 p.m. ET) on NBC.

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