Being a judge on a competition show means you have to give out some critiques - not every performance can earn a rave review, but you also have to be careful about how you word what you say and who you say it to. It's a lesson Howie Mandel learned the hard way and it was all caught on camera.
The America's Got Talent judge was watching auditions for the current season of the NBC show when two children came out. The young ballroom dancers, ages six and eight, are actually the offspring of Alla Novikova, who competed on season 11 of AGT in 2016, doing a dance act with her son Daniel, who is now 14 but was just nine at the time. The pair was successful and made it all the way to the quarterfinals, where they were ultimately eliminated.
At that performance, Howie gave them a red buzzer and dragged them, saying, "When we first saw you, you were a surprise, but this is the third time I'm seeing the same moves. Third strike you're out as far as I'm concerned." The audience and Howie's fellow judges were surprised by his words, with Mel B calling them "harsh."
Well Simon Cowell called Novikova to the stage to join her younger kids, and she used the opportunity to tell Howie how she felt about what he said. She stated, "I would love to say you are actually really, really rude. You see a little kid performing on the stage, dancing his heart out. He was dancing with joy. He was doing his best and you were so hard on him."
Fortunately for Novikova, her younger children didn't need to face any criticism. Their dance was met with a huge applause including a standing ovation from Howie, who told them, "That was amazing."
As for Alla and Daniel, Howie apologized, adding that he "doesn't ever mean to hurt anyone's feelings."
Check out new episodes of America's Got Talent on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.