Jay Leno Joins ‘America’s Got Talent’ and Really Feels For These Contestants

America’s Got Talent searches for the next big act. This summer, America’s Got Talent is enlisting the help of a series of famous guest judges to help give the show some needed fresh insight into the acts. As expected, the judges will each have a certain genre they are pulling for. Country singer Brad Paisley joins the show this season as a guest judge and will likely find singers with a little country twang right up his alley. Likewise, when Jay Leno participates he will most definitely have a soft spot for comedians. 

Jay Leno
Jay Leno | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

America’s Got Talent is a unique talent search show

America’s Got Talent is a live competition show in which all kinds of different acts compete for a giant cash prize at the end of the season. It has a panel of full-time judges including Simon Cowell,  Julianne Hough, Gabrielle Union, and Howie Mandel. 

Each season contestants will advance through several rounds of auditions to make it to the live competition. There, they will compete for affirmation from the judges which will send them on to the live finale. 

The season finale is when the finalists all will compete against each other to earn votes from viewers and a chance at the cash prize. Final performances take several episodes to air and competitors are usually allowed more than one performance to seal the deal. 

Who are this season’s guest judges?

This season America’s Got Talent is inviting a series of famous names to add to their judge line up. Talented guest judges will include Paisley, Ellie Kemper, Leno, and Dwyane Wade. 

Guest judges will have the same kind of power as the regular judges to promote or eliminate contestants. They will even have access to their own Golden Buzzers which means they can send an act of their choosing straight ahead to the live finale. 

Jay Leno has a lot of compassion for comedian contestants

Extra’s Terri Seymour sat down with the esteemed comedian to get the details about his feelings about being on the show. They discuss how the show is particularly difficult for comedians to compete effectively. Leno notes, that you cannot possibly get the audience invested in your act in only a two-minute routine as a comedian. 

Great comedy relies on building a rapport and a relationship with your audience. Leno mentions that it takes a while to determine whether you think someone is funny, especially when you’re noticing the small nuances of someone’s show like their body language. Thus, he really feels for the comics on America’s Got Talent because they have such a limited amount of time to display the range of their skills. 

“There’s a human element involved, there’s a human connection involved,” Leno explains. Comedy has to be able to make a real connection to hit a home run. 

What Jay Leno doesn’t get about ‘America’s Got Talent’

The show is extremely diverse, and that seems to be throwing Leno a bit. He explains that although he really loves watching the show, the diversity of the acts involved seems extremely challenging. 

“It just so diverse,” he laments. “I don’t know how you can put a comic against an opera singer, against a magician, against a dog. It seems incredibly tricky.”

He’s ready for the challenge though and mentions that he finds the kids who can do amazing things fascinating because they are so genuine.  We’re looking forward to seeing who Leno decides to use his Golden Buzzer for and which acts he will send on to the finale. We’ll be watching  Tuesdays at 8 pm EST on NBC.