By Frank Barron
America’s Got Talent gives all types of performers a chance to showcase their talents. The hit variety show, airing Tuesday and Wednesday nights on NBC, has discovered some true stars during its run with the help of its judges. For its sixth season now underway, Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel are doing the judging trying to find the best of the best from the parade of exciting and oddball talent. But to find the heart of the show, viewers need look no further than its host Nick Cannon.
Cannon offers the contestants encouragement, and sympathetic hugs when the performances fail to please the judges. The empathy he has is very evident, which creates some genuine heartfelt moments on the show.
When someone is rejected, Cannon has a knack for softening the blow when the judges get nasty. He explained, “I try to give words of encouragement to people when they come off stage, especially if they are rejected, because I realize for a lot of the people this is their big dream. When you’ve been told ‘No,’ your confidence is destroyed. So I understand that it’s important to turn off the comedian side of me and go into the mode of a caregiver. I try to let them know that I’m like them, and I’ve also been told ‘No.’ I’ve been called an outcast. But you have to be a self-motivator. You have to know that this experience is only going to make you stronger, and it’s preparing you for future experiences.”
As a comedian, musician, TV and film star, as well as an executive producer of his very own hit productions, Cannon, at 30-years-old, has had a wealth of experiences. The San Diego native started performing at the age of eight, and went to Hollywood when he was 15, playing gigs at The Improv, Laugh Factory and The Comedy Store.
A big break came when he started doing the warm-ups for the Nickelodeon show All That. It didn’t take long for the producers to make him a regular on the show, as well as the youngest staff writer at age 17. Then he created, directed and produced The Nick Cannon Show, which earned his first Kids’ Choice Award. MTV’s top-rated improv comedy Wild ‘N Out was another show he created, produced and hosted.
He’s a favorite with kids and adults who have discovered him in movies such as Men in Black II, Underclassmen, Shall We Dance?, Bobby and my favorite, Drumline.
On the personal side he and wife/music superstar Mariah Carey have been married for three years and just became the proud parents of twins, daughter Monroe and son Moroccan. Last season, Mariah joined Nick on stage for America’s Got Talent, which served as an inspiration to the hopefuls.
“The thing I enjoy most about America’s Got Talent is the energy,” reported Cannon, who has to have high-energy himself for everything that’s going on in his life. Not only is he a new dad, he is developing TV shows and films for his own multi-media company called NCredible Entertainment. In addition, he serves as the chairman of TeenNick for the Nickelodeon Network, and hosts the top-rated morning radio show in New York City.
Cannon said it’s important for him to make time for America’s Got Talent because, “It’s the greatest summer job I’ve ever had in my life. I feel like the youth culture has been infused into the show. I mean, if you just watch that these young people are really excited about the opportunity. When you think about the time and the way society is and the climate of the world, to be able to be a part of something that’s all about fun, high energy, and just that idea of reaching and accomplishing your dream — there’s nothing else like that on television. Everything else takes themselves way too seriously. This is a show where you can just forget about the rest of the world.”