America’s Got Talent At Radio City

AMT Judges

The “America’s Got Talent” judges Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Howard Stern and Mel B had quite the time of it at Radio City.


“America’s Got Talent” and Radio City Music Hall have a madhouse on their hands.


The popular NBC variety show kicked off season eight’s live shows by bringing the showdown to one of the nation’s most prized theaters Tuesday — and even the show’s judges admit the enormity of it all gave them butterflies.


“Of course I’m nervous!” Heidi Klum told Confidenti@l after taping a segment with Radio City’s famed Rockettes that will be used as an intro in the live shows. Both Klum and co-judge Howie Mandel say the “danger” acts, which include acrobats and sword swallowers, have them most concerned.


“We ask, ‘How many times have you done this?’ and they say, ‘I’ve only done it twice and I need it to work,’” marvels Mandel.


Sure enough, the first act at Radio City provided thrills and spills when, thanks to a leaky water tank, magician Alexandria the Great was forced to perform her escape act before the 9 p.m. live broadcast began, When it aired an hour later between live segments, judges Mandel, Klum,  Mel B and Howard Stern, along with the 6,000 audience members, already knew she’d escaped a watery grave while America held its breath.


The “AGT” sideshow has been no less exciting. Off camera, Stern routinely searches the crowd for his wife Beth, exchanging thumbs-up, thumbs-down signals over acts he’s just voted on. Following one opening night musical performance featuring a pint-sized heavy metal singer that Stern judged gimmicky and Mandel endorsed, Stern traded disapproving glances with the missus, then walked over to Mandel’s chair and wound up in a heated chest-to-chest debate with his startled co-judge. From 10 rows back, audience members could hear Stern demanding, “Did you really like it?”


Last year’s finalist Tom Cotter, who lost out to a team of show dogs, tells Confidenti@l his post-“America’s Got Talent” career as a comedian has been “fantastic” and he expects to see comedians fare well this season.


“I just got a deal with HBO,” he told Confidenti@l exclusively. “$9.95 a month and the first three months are free,” adds the jokester.