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America’s Got Kenan Thompson Filling In for AGT’s Simon Cowell This Week

Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for The New Yorker

While we’d love a surprise 120-minute-long rendition of What’s Up With That?, in all likelihood Kenan Thompson will be delivering actual judgment when he subs for Simon Cowell on America’s Got Talents this week. The Saturday Night Live star will be filling in for the AGT judge for the reality competition show’s live episodes Tuesday and Wednesday. The show will be swapping America’s sweetheart for America’s greatest straight man, as Kelly Clarkson previously took over Cowell’s AGT duties last week, following the producer’s August 8 electric-bike accident, which left him recuperating from spinal surgery.

Thompson will join the show’s other judges, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and Sofia Vergara, as well as host Terry Crews. Coming off his recent Emmy nomination for SNL, Kenan’s temporary gig feels like a decision by NBC to position him as even more of a network star ahead of the release of his upcoming sitcom, currently scheduled to premiere midseason. Thompson also served as a judge on Fox’s The Masked Singer for several episodes in 2019.

America’s Got Kenan Thompson Filling In for Simon Cowell