Kenan Thompson to Guest Judge on ‘America’s Got Talent,’ Filling in for Simon Cowell

Cowell is recovering from a bike accident earlier this month

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Kenan Thompson will join “America’s Got Talent” as a guest judge this week while Simon Cowell continues to recover from back surgery, NBC announced Monday.

Thompson will join Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Sofia Vergara at the judges’ table on this week’s live episodes on Tuesday and Wednesday, following “American Idol” alum Kelly Clarkson, who filled in as guest judge last week.

Cowell underwent five-hour back surgery earlier this month after suffering a serious injury while testing his new electric bike outside his Malibu, California, home. His representatives said in a statement that the operation involved “a number of fusions and metal rod put into his back,” and Cowell remained in the hospital recovering.

The British star took to Twitter last week to make light of the injury, writing, “Some good advice… If you buy an electric trail bike, read the manual before you ride it for the first time.”

Production on this 15th season of “America’s Got Talent” resumed back in June after shutting down due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic back in March. Last week’s episodes with Clarkson — which featured new safety precautions, including an outdoor location and greater distance between the judges — were the first live episodes of the season.

Thompson, who has starred on “Saturday Night Live” since 2003, has a long history with NBC across multiple programs, including his upcoming comedy series “Kenan” and serving as a judge on last year’s “Bring the Funny.”


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