Well, this is certainly what producers of "America's Got Talent" were hoping would happen when they hired Howard Stern to be a judge on their show. After giving a small 7-year-old boy the big red "X," indicating he didn't think the boy should move on, tears started to come down the child's face. We're sure audiences have braced themselves for the impact Howard would have on the show, and Howard himself has never shied away from giving direct critique of anything, especially when it comes to talent. After all, that's a big reason NBC wanted him on the show.
Even Stern, though, knows that 7-year-old kids might not understand that he needs to be direct and to the point. Rejection at any age is hard, but when you're so young, it's doubly difficult to hear. The audience in the theater started booing Stern when the boy began to cry, just as he was giving him praise for being brave enough to try to enter the competition. To Stern's great credit though, he recognized an opportunity to offer some extra comfort to the young boy and he actually left his judge's chair on got up on the stage with him.
Howard then walked past host Nick Cannon and the King of All Media got down on his knees and hugged the boy. He reiterated his message that it takes enormous bravery to put yourself out there and submit yourself to judgment. In fact, what Stern did was to give this young boy a great lesson in how showbiz works. It's an endeavor of rejection after rejection, and Howard made sure to give the boy some gentle comfort as well, pumping up his ego by telling him none of the rappers that come on his Sirius/XM show are as good the boy was.
In the end, Stern not only won the crowd back, but also sent the young contestant off feeling much better about his performance and his rejection. This moment proved that Howard is exactly the right man for the job. It's hard to imagine Piers Morgan, who used to hold the seat Stern occupies now, having the savvy to see the opportunity and to actually act on it by going up on stage with a rejected contestant. It was great television, and it also showed something very important to the audience: Howard isn't an evil or mean guy. He's just a straightforward judge of talent. That doesn't make him heartless-- it just makes him the best man for the job.
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- Howard Stern