Spoilers ahead for the first live results show of America's Got Talent Season 15.
The unconventional fifteenth season of America's Got Talent took yet another turn right before the live broadcasts began when longtime judge Simon Cowell broke his back and required surgery. He wasn't able to take his spot as one of the four AGT judges, but AGT found a fitting substitute: original American Idol champ and current The Voice coach Kelly Clarkson. After two episodes with Clarkson judging, the question is: does AGT need to add her as a full-time judge?
Kelly Clarkson has known Simon Cowell since way back in 2002, when she won the very first season of American Idol, on which Simon Cowell was the famously hard-to-please judge of the panel. Between their long showbiz relationship and the fact that Clarkson was already in the NBC family thanks to The Voice, she was a natural last-minute choice to take Cowell's place. This isn't the first time that America's Got Talent has featured a substitute judge recently, as Sofia Vergara's former Modern Family co-star stepped in for Heidi Klum earlier in Season 15.
In her two live episodes, Kelly Clarkson threw herself into the AGT action and didn't hold back from participating and weighing in on the acts. Like Sofia Vergara, she brought a fresh perspective to a panel including veterans, but unlike Vergara, Clarkson has a lot of experience with reality competition TV shows. Her enthusiasm has been contagious, in my mind, and I find myself more engaged in the acts with Clarkson watching as well. I wouldn't mind seeing her on America's Got Talent on a more regular basis.
That said, Kelly Clarkson is a busy woman. She's returning for The Voice Season 19, she has her own daytime talk show, and she probably wants at least some time without the cameras rolling! There's also the point that America's Got Talent is fully staffed on judges at the moment. If we assume that Simon Cowell is coming back when he recovers and Sofia Vergara isn't treated as another one-hit wonder a la last season's Julianne Hough and Gabrielle Union, AGT will already have its four judges, and AGT wouldn't work with an odd number of judges.
The future is pretty uncertain for America's Got Talent, although I doubt there's any reason for fans to worry that it'll be cancelled any time too soon. The show has had to adapt its usual methods of competition, including how these live episodes have worked. AGT did at least get to start as usual, but that likely won't be the case if it returns for Season 16 before the entertainment industry opens all the way back up.
Kelly Clarkson fit right in with the AGT bunch in these past two appearances and adapted well to the demands of production changes with The Voice. If America's Got Talent says goodbye to one of its four current judges at the end of Season 15, then I am on board for Kelly Clarkson to return! Weigh in our poll below about whether she should join AGT and who she should replace, and see the next episode of America's Got Talent on Tuesday, August 18 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.