“America’s Got Talent” returns next Tuesday with a judges lineup that includes old favorites Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel, returning panelist Heidi Klum and newbie Sofia Vergara. And while “AGT” fans and contestants know by now what kinds of acts Cowell, Mandel and Klum love and hate, the “Modern Family” alum’s preferences will be a mystery until Season 15 premieres.
Well, everything but her intense dislike of the ukulele, that is, as she revealed that particular pet peeve on Thursday’s “Tonight Show.”
“Sometimes I wonder, there are people that come and I don’t know if they’re really honest that they think they deserve to be there and win $1 million, or if they’re just doing it for the fun of it,” Vergara told Jimmy Fallon when discussing what she has learned during her first-year stint judging the NBC competition series. “So that’s kind of weird. But also I realized something I had never even thought in my 47 years of my life: I don’t really enjoy the ukulele.”
“I don’t know. I don’t love it that much. When the act comes out — I never even thought of a ukulele until now!” she added. “What is it? It’s so tiny. It’s not a guitar. What is it? I don’t know. I’m not saying there are not acts that are good with the ukulele but it’s not my favorite. It doesn’t excite me.”
Vergara said she did not know at the beginning of her “AGT” judging career that “the ukulele was gonna cause this” feeling, but she still tries to be “fair” to ukulele players.
“I do try to open my heart and I say, ‘OK, it’s a ukulele, but,'” she said, before being interrupted by Jimmy’s laughter. “No, but I try to be fair. I give them the chance. I don’t just push the red button because the ukulele showed up. I give them the chance.”
Watch the interview above.
This season, Vergara and Klum will be filling the panelist chairs vacated by outgoing “AGT” judges Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough, who both exited at the end of Season 14.
News of Union’s departure was accompanied by multiple reports describing behind-the-scenes clashes between her and the show’s producers over what was described as a “toxic” workplace culture. Former “AGT” judges Howard Stern and Sharon Osbourne subsequently spoke out against the “boys’ club” environment on the show, which they said was facilitated by Cowell.
An investigation into practices at “America’s Got Talent” began in January but no results were ever given.
The premiere date for Season 15 of “AGT” was set last month, when filming had already been completed on part of the season prior to production shutdowns due to the pandemic. It is currently unclear how the NBC competition series will handle the live shows that come later in its season.
“America’s Got Talent” Season 15 premieres Tuesday at 8/7c on NBC.