Early in the show, Howard said he'd just returned from the "America's Got Talent" auditions in St. Louis, a disarming high point: "The talent was the best we've seen so far." The best, though he wasn't passed through to the next round, was a karate master capable of punching his students 20 times a second: "So he starts to smack these guys around and they just stand there...it was the funniest thing I'd seen since The 3 Stooges." The act made a lasting impression: "I was in my hotel room all night laughing to myself." Another misstep came when Nick Cannon intervened in the judges deliberations to defend a rapping contestant. Howard returned fire, but was cut off by "AGT's" producers: "I started to talk about Nick and they shut me up!" Howard appealed to Howie for support, asking him: "How big is his rap career that he's a rap expert?" But Howie told him to back off: "It was like a mafia hit, man. It was like, 'Shut up!'"
America's Got Emotions, Inspiration
Howard said many of the acts suffered emotional reactions to the judges' assessments, so the producers hired professional help: "There was a psychologist working backstage." The auditions eventually touched Howard as well: "Even I was emotional. One of the acts made me really emotional. Like, I thought about how great the country is. It just inspired me."